Elaine Yuki Wong from Singapore - Lenglui #41
Name: Elaine Yuki Wong
Date of Birth: Nov 8, 1988
Blog URL: http://www.myfatpocket.com/blog/elaineyuki (closing down)
About: Elaine Yuki Wong was a full-time model-blogger born in Singapore to a Hong Kong father and a Singapore mother and has always been crazy about Korean and Japanese pop culture. In April 2011, Elaine became one of the only few Singaporeans (Ferlyn Wong, Natasha Low and Alfred Sng) who were offered a full contract up to 5 - 7 years from a Singapore-based entertainment company, Alpha Entertainment to be part of a five-member Korean girl group. Earlier on, Elaine auditioned at the JYP & Alpha Asean Region Audition 2010 help in Singapore and Hong Kong in December 2010 alongside with over 5,000 K-popster wannabes.
Fellow Singaporeans Ferlyn Wong and Elaine have also been cast in an upcoming Korean drama that will likely see Korean teen idol Kim Junsu as their co-star. According to Mr Alan Chan, CEO of Alpha, the girls will earn about US$1 million (S$1.2 million) a year if they are successful. But when Ferlyn and Elaine fly to Korea at the end of this month to undergo Alpha's K-pop "boot camp" and start their new careers, it will spell the end of life as they know it.
It's strictly no boyfriends, no mobile phones and no unsupervised trips - even to the toilet. When in public, the girls can't ever take off their sunglasses lest their tired peepers are caught on camera. They must speak only Korean and respond to their Korean stage names. They'll address their Korean management as their family. For most of their 14-hour days, the use of make-up is prohibited as the Koreans require a bare-faced, natural look. After 7pm, there will be no eating or drinking - even a single drop of water won’t be allowed. At meal times, they'll both be given the same food to eat. And they're not allowed to sing in public until their debut (that's why Elaine and Ferlyn weren't singing in the video since they've signed the contract).
The Alpha Korean staff's list of what-to-dos and what-not-to-dos reads more like a girl's nightmare. The two girls were picked by Alpha Entertainment to form an as-yet-unnamed group that will debut next March and include three Korean girls as well. Five hours of gym, dance, vocal and Korean language lessons are compulsory daily. There will be no fraternizing with other K-pop stars or anyone outside their "family". And they're not allowed to go anywhere without their Korean manager, who used to manage popular K-pop girl group Girls' Generation. This includes all leisure activities like going to the movies and shopping at the mall.
On their rest day, they will have to spend bonding time with their "family", be it at the beach, bowling or watching fireworks. Even in Singapore, where they will return once every three months for a week, a local staff member will take over the watch. Flout the rules? A warning will be issued. And getting caught more than once means a possible termination of their five-year contract. If any band member should want out during the six-months training period, they will be fined US$20,000. If someone quits the group after the training period, the penalty sum will be discussed between her and management.
Food and lodging is free for the training period only. Group members will be paid every three months, a sum dependent on how much they made during that period. But is stardom really worth giving up one's identity and freedom? According to Ferlyn, "During dance training, we were asked to put our arms up in a certain position. Once we lower them a little, we’ll get shouted at. Elaine pulled the muscle on her inner thigh while doing a split and couldn't move it for some time but we still had to push through the training." Added Elaine, "We knew that to be K-pop stars, there were sacrifices to be made. We really want this. And even though the Korean management is very strict with us, they are fiercely protective of us and treat us really well."
Imagine a life like this. Day in day out, you are told what to eat, when to eat, where to eat. When you need to pee or take a dump, a "guard" is stationed outside the toilet cubicle. You are to obey the authority figures around you. You are stripped of your name, your identity, your freedom, your mobile phone, your friends and family. And don't even think about using Facebook. If this sounds like a prison sentence, then starry-eyed Singaporean wannabes Elaine Yuki Wong is a voluntary inmate. After all, this is apparently what's required of carefully manufactured K-pop female idols these days. For someone who can't tell Wonder Girls and Girls' Generation from 2NE1 and 4minute, it's all looking very "factory production line".
Snippets from Elaine's last blog post:
"A little update on what I'm doing right now. I just came back from Seoul. Went there to train, sign contract and for photoshoot. Now, I'm back in Singapore and am busy preparing to fly over end of this month and will be staying there for good for my career. Talking about my twitter and facebook, I'll have to shut my current twitter account(not sure when but soon) while my manager will set up an official twitter for me.
And sadly, this is my last blog post. There won’t be anymore posts. As you can see, I've deleted my old entries as well. As I delete those post, my heart was crying. I feel sad. It was all my hard work and it's like my 'journal'. It has been with me for many years and has already been a part of me. But I know I'm closing it down for something bigger and better in life.
Alot of you have been supporting me and sending me emails as well as twitter. I really appreciate it and I really thank all of you. I'm really touched by all the support given. Although yes I feel very stress and under alot of pressure because a lot of you told me this:” make Singapore proud and we'll be looking forward to your debut!” and I’m very worried I can’t live up to everyone’s expectations. But on the other hand, that very sentence also motivated me very much. I brought that sentence along with me to Korea and kept telling myself that I’ll have to make it no matter how tough the road is. Everyone is waiting for me. I'll work really hard for my debut next year and see you guys again."
Elaine has given us a peek into what goes on in the sweat shop of showbiz dreams. However, the rules she has to comply with are, in a word, insane. These young ladies have only experienced the tip of the iceberg with their one-week immersion programme in Korea. But once the honeymoon is over, one wonders if they'll still be smiling. Even though they are going in with their eyes open, nobody can see what lies ahead. Are they truly ready - physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually? Have they been counselled to handle stress and even failure? And ultimately, will they be losing more than they stand to gain?
Whatever it is, you'll have our support Elaine! Leave your support for Elaine here and hopefully she'll get to read it one day! Anyway, only the best of Elaine Yuki Wong all filtered by http://pemandanganmata.blogspot.com