The Hairband

The Hairband - Clie Pan the Hand Model

Today is the Hairband’s happiest day of his life.

He’s hugging her elbow as she commutes to work.

It’s been a full month since he left the factory. Thirty-one days spent sitting at the back of the dusty shelves in the supermarket. Out of all the bags of hairbands on display, she picked the one he is in. And out of all the hairbands she could have picked this morning in the bathroom, she picked him.

It’s destiny.

The world is amazing. The world is beautiful.

All these sights and sounds.

All these busy people going to mysterious places.

Just travelling with her wrapped around her elbow, exploring the world, and going on this adventure is just bliss.

The world is wonderful and exciting again. He has great expectations of his life with her from now on.

He will hold her hair while she is eating, keep her hair neat in meetings.

When she is bored, she will play with him in her smooth hands and make little shapes.

He has great expectations. The world is beautiful.

She reaches out to the Hairband and pulls him out of his embrace of her arm, preparing to tie her hair.

The Hairband drops into the gap between the train and the platform.

She reaches into her bag and pulls out another Hairband.

Sojung, Korea’s Queen of Ballads

I don’t remember when I first heard Lee Sojung’s voice. Unique, Husky, Sincere, Honest, Gentle. It would have been most likely this video of her singing “I Don’t Love you” by Urban Zakapa from YouTube and I was mesmerised. There is a strange painful and melancholic quality to her voice. She looked like she meant every word she uttered and her facial expressions just reinforced that.

Slowly I went to check out other songs she did.

She did a collab for “I don’t want” by Jung Key and it’s the same heart wrenching quality that makes you want to be honest to yourself and cry your heart out. Maybe I’m weird, but I don’t know how better to explain the feeling when I hear her sing.

One of her latest song “Better than Me” again slows you down and just like in the music video, makes you look into nothing and focus on nothing and just soak in the melancholy.

After getting all the lyrics translated, the powerful phrases made the songs immediate classics in my mind.

How does her voice have this quality? Who is she? What are her life experiences?

I set out to investigate.

Lee So-jung, one of the finalists on The Voice Korea 2012, main vocals of Ladies Code. Then I read up more about Ladies’ Code and I cried…

The band Ladies’ Code was formed by Polaris Entertainment and the band originally had 5 members. Ashley, EunB, RiSe, Sojung, Zuny. On 3 Sep 2014 the group returning to Seoul after a performance at Daegu ran into a fatal accident. The back tire of the van they were in fell out and the van ran into the wall. EunB was dead at the scene of the accident and she was 21. RiSe had 4 surgeries but doctors had to stop when her blood pressure fell and she went into a coma. 4 days later RiSe passed away, she was 23.

Sojung had major injuries as well and underwent surgery for her arm and fractured skull. Sojung reportedly apologised for her inability to continue with their current performances with Ladies’ Code when she regained consciousness not knowing that her bandmates have passed. She then suspected something when all her visitors came in black.

The other two members Ashley and Zuny did not have any major injuries, but were said to be treated for their severe shock.

How did this accident turn out so terribly horrific? The ambulance worker stated, “While saving the lives of those who were collapsed after going out to the site, I do not recall undoing any seat belts.”


How would you feel if you were 3 of your 5 band mates that had an accident and needed surgery, but you were the only one that survived?

The accident was on 3 September 2014. Sojung’s turned 21 that fateful day.


A week after the tragedy, a music video for Ladies’ Code’s song “I’m Fine Thank You” was released showing Ladies’ Code having fun, working hard, and talking directly to the camera. The song had become a rallying cry by fans after the tragedy. It also became the memorial song for Ladies’ Code after the accident killed two members.

Then one year later, Ladies’ Code released “I’ll Smile Even If It Hurts”. It’s painful just to see the lyrics knowing what happened.


Anyway, Sojung have amazing talent and I’ll continue to watch out for her music.


Sojung released two new songs around the 5th Anniversary of Ladies’ Code. ‘Crystal Clear’ and ‘Stay Here’.

I’m liking how her music direction is going.

Thepans Japan 2017

The trip we have all been waiting for. We head to Japan and will be at Osaka and Kyoto. There will be lots of sightseeing, shopping, food and cultural immersion.

Rather than doing a big blog post, I’ve been journalling our journey in Instagram instead and here is the full collection of our best photos.

KONICHIWA Japan! Much excites! #ThepansJP2017 #cleopan #clarapan #cliepan

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A few lovely photos of #cleopan that was on Pearls phone. #ThepansJP2017

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Kids hungry so parents become foodPANda delivery service. #ThepansJP2017

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Breakfast. #ThepansJP2017

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Ive always wanted to stay in a proper legit Ryokan and this trip to Kyoto, our stay is the highlight. To book for our family of 5 is not so easy and Ryokan is also charged per head, it all adds up to quite a bit. I took too long to choose, then there are only a few left I could book and Im glad my top shortlist Yachiyo was still available. Our room is called Honkan (yes its true) I remember when I was young, my parents would bring us on trips and create wonderful memories and knowing that they managed to provide that to my siblings and I, Ive always told myself I must also be able to provide my kids such trips to and to create good memories when they are young. So my kids have their grandparents to thank. We arrived today and was not disappointed. Very nice and how Ive imagined a Ryokan should be, the staff were also very professional and friendly. Past few nights Ive been telling the girls about what Onsen is and how they need to keep know the etiquette of a public bath in Japan and they freaked out. Their dad made them travel all the way to Japan to be naked in front of strangers was unfathomable. lol. I had my fun for a while as they were glad to realize it was a private bath. Im really looking forward to the authentic Kyo-Kaiseki 12 course Japanese dinner tmr in our Ryokan in our Yukata. But first, lets sleep. The kids all KO after their dip. Arashiyama tmr. #ThepansJP2017 #Kyoto #Japan #cliepan #clarapan #cleopan

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Glorious morning. #ThepansJP2017 #Kyoto #Japan #Ryokan #Onsen

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We spent the whole afternoon at Nishiki Market. Lots to see and eat. We lunched thru our journey in the Market. One thing to note is that in Japan, always eat at the stall and get rid of your trash at the same stall, else its kinda rude to walk around with your food and there are no bins so always bring small plastic bags. Ice cream with mini rice crackers is the bomb. It adds that much needed texture kick to an ice cream. Kids found Daiso branded clay and they went crazy and almost emptied the shelves. Apparently it is a much sought after ingredient to make slime with the perfect viscosity and the slime wont turn to muck or harden. The whole Singapore no more stock already since Jan 2017. #ThepansJP2017 #Kyoto #Japan #cliepan #cleopan #clarapan

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Simple day today. We left Kyoto via Shinkansen for Osaka and everyone was amazed at how fast it was as the normal train to Kyoto took quite some time. Dropped off our luggage at the Hotel and headed for Kuromon Market to have lunch and check out the giant crab legs and seafood. We then walked to Denden Town to checkout the toys. Clara bought a bunch of cute Japanese figurines. Cleo got a few too and as a bonus I found a Star Wars Scout Trooper which Ive always wanted but too lazy to order. Went to Gram with the hopes to try they super fluffy pancakes but they only sell 20 sets every 2 hours and we were there at the wrong time. Anyway, headed back to the hotel and had a simple non Japanese Dinner. Pizza! Ok, time to do laundry and get ready for USJ tmr. #ThepansJP2017 #cleopan #clarapan #cliepan #Osaka #Japan

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USJ day in Osaka. Cleo and Clara wore their onesie for the whole day and felt totally comfortable in it. It looks fun and was also functional in the cold. We eventually did not get the express pass as no one really take rides in the family. Lets just say all the rides we took had < 5mins queue. Think Tea Cup / Merry Go Round. The most exciting one would be the one Cleo and Clara *yawn* took *yawn* have you seen the angle of the steep slope!! Harry Potter world was quite amazing. The whole place felt out of this world. Jaws was meh. Felt like lots of seafood. Jurassic World had a super scary ride and we were so entertained just looking at people screaming. Jaws felt like a big seafood area and Backdraft section knew their swing music. :) Minion world was colorful but not really our thing. We walked pass the rest briefly. Tiring day but we felt like Good parents. #ThepansJP2017 #cliepan #cleopan #clarapan #japan #osaka #UniversalStudios #USJ

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Started the day with waffles for brunch at Namba Wall then took a train to Shinsaibashi to Shop. Daimaru, 7 floors of Tokyu Hands where we went crazy only to be followed by 3 floors of Daiso. Walked a lot more and slowly walked back to Namba where our hotel is. Kids at the Cup Noodles they made at the Cup Noodle Museum and we parents went out to eat random local food. I had raw sea urchin for the first time and it was in a bowl of low grade raw stuff and rice. Ewww… lol. Had to get back to hotel to have MY Cup Noodle which my eldest Cli caringly made for me complete with chopsticks, wet wipes and a bottle of water. ?????? Ok now to shower and sleep. Tmr we gonna split up and me and the kiddy girls will go Denden Town again and the big girls will do their girly shopping. #ThepansJP2017 #Osaka #Japan

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Last minute shopping day started with Ice Cream for breakfast. We spent most of the day at Bic Camera knowing that our luggages are bursting at he seams. Cleo and Clara really like their Gachapon (that put money in then turn turn to get a capsule ball surprise). Clara was amused to see an adult also so excited about it. I bought a smartphone gimbal (stupid me, should have bought it at the start of the trip). That is the final thing I bought for myself on this trip which totals at 2 items lol. The other was a Star Wars Scout Trooper figurine which Ive been looking for ages. Last bite at Namba with Osakas famous octopus balls and we are off to the Airport heading for home on a red eye flight. #ThepansJP2017 #cliepan #cleopan #clarapan #Osaka #Japan #Namba #BicCamera #travel #holiday

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Till the next trip.