Super Junior – 10 years anniversary and their 10 best music videos

The South Korean male group Super Junior celebrate their ten years anniversary at November 6 this year.

Most members are now between 28-32 years old, and over the years the group setting has shifted between eight to as much as thirteen active members depending on various circumstances, such as contract disputes and mandatory military services. The Canadian Henry Lau (1989-) – whose parents are from Hong Kong and Taiwan – is however only a part of the Mandarin-singing sub-unit Super Junior-M and during the last years he has mainly focused on his career as a solo k-pop artist. There is also another member of Super Junior-M, Zhou Mi (1986-) – born and raised in China – who is not a part of the regular SuJu setting, and Han Geng (1984-), also from China, is not a part of neither the main group, nor Super Junior-M, any longer.

Since the group – in tandem with their management company, S.M. Entertainment, which has founded the group and does generally decide its current sound and image – has released a vast amount of material over their active years (especially if one adds all the different sub-units such as Super Junior-K.R.Y., Super Junior-M, Super Junior-H, and Super Junior-T), it might be relevant to pick the ten best SuJu music videos in order to get a decent overview.

As the chronological selection below indicates, I am personally speaking more into the more catchy electronic dance music than ballads and R&B songs. Some of the more rap/rock-oriented stuff, such as the Triple 8 song ‘Twins’, and ‘Don’t don’ – which was produced and released when the group’s name was Super Junior 05 – does also appeal to my taste, and perhaps because these songs remind of bands like Faith no more and other hybrid acts of the late 1980s and early 1990s. However, if I could only pick one absolute favorite in has to be ‘Bonamana’ (2010), which is still a fantastic song and MV. Note that ‘Super Girl’ (Korean version) is part of the sub-unit Super Junior-M, and hence this song and MV is also released in Mandarin.

Super Junior has definitely been a part of the recycling of different music genres and sub-genres among pop groups – a phenomenon that has become fashionable over the last years – while at the same time has been in the forefront of new music and fashion trends. Generally speaking, girls like SuJu more than guys do, but from a male perspective it may be quite inspiring to look into the fashion styles and demeanors; so if one has planned to go and shop anytime soon it is relevant to check out some of the MVs.

The seventh album, Mamacita (2014), is largely adjusted to the Latin American markets, such as Mexico, which is a consequence of these markets’ relative size and commercial significance and the group’s large popularity in this region.

Det sydkoreanska pojkbandet Super Junior – som under åren har växlat mellan att ha åtta till 13 aktiva medlemmar, beroende på en mängd orsaker, till exempel obligatorisk militärtjänstgöring – firar sitt tioårsjubileum den sjätte november i år. De flesta medlemmar är nu omkring 28-32 år gamla, men Henry Lau (1989-), som är född i Kanada av hongkongesiska och taiwanesiska föräldrar, och Zhou Mi (1986-), född i Kina, är enbart medlemmar i Super Junior-M. Han Geng (1984-) – även han från Kina – är inte längre medlem över huvud taget.

Eftersom denna grupp, i direkt anslutning till managementbolaget S.M. Entertainment, har släppt en stor mängd material under sin livstid, kan det vara relevant att lyfta fram de, enligt mig, tio bästa musikvideorna och låtarna. Jag har lagt upp dem i kronologisk ordning nedan.

Det som dominerar mitt urval är gruppens mer elektropop-aktiga material från 2009-2012, men även vissa rap/rock-låtar som Triple-8-covern “Twins”, och “Don’t don”, finns också med på listan. Noterbart är att samtliga låtar är på koreanska, men gruppen har lanserat material även på japanska (Super Junior K.R.Y.) och kinesiska (Super Junior-M), och i enstaka fall även på engelska. Om jag bara fick välja en enda video och sång skulle det bli “Bonamana” (2010), som fortfarande är en lika fenomenal dansuppvisning.

Super Junior är ett typexempel på fenomenet då popgrupper återvinner äldre musik- och modetrender, samtidigt som de är med och bidrar till nya sådana. Man kan även nämna den innehållsanpassning som har skett i och med det näst senaste fullängdsalbumet, Mamacita (2014), som troligen är en direkt följd av att gruppen är mycket populär i delar av Latinamerika, till exempel Mexiko. Det innebär att k-pop vidgas från de östasiatiska musikmarknaderna till andra sammanhang.

Essential amino acids – which are they and how does one get hold of them?

An essential or indispensiable amino acid is an amino acid that cannot be synthesized de novo (i.e. from scratch) by the organism, and thus must be supplied in one’s diet.

According to William Cummung Rose’s (1887-1985) work, as well as later studies, nine amino acids are essential for both adults and infants: valine, phenylalanine, threonine, thryptophan, leucine, elecine, lysine, hystodine, and methionine. Arginine is also essential for infants.

If one broadens the scope there is also semi-essential and non-essential amino acids which are all of more or less relevance, but I will mainly focus on the essential ones and and how one can absorb them by to eat properly.

Good sources of essential amino acids are for instance white fish, chicken, eggs and quark, as well as various plants and fruits such as apples, bananas, sesame, broccoli, soybeans, tofu, carrots and seaweeds. Thus, for a vegetarian it is somewhat more tricky in this respect and even more so for a vegan.

Perhaps the most optimal approach – especially if one is interested in fitness – is to have a diet akin to for instance this one. The important thing is to cover all the essential and semi-essential amino acids and to avoid both over-consumption and deficits. If one eats moderately of animal protein sources, and/or large amount of relevant vegetable sources, then it will be just fine with regard to essential amino acids.

Additionally, as the quotes below indicate – which are both taken from a relevant study – it is also about nutritional balance and to overall cover all the known amino acids:

Western diets are characterized by high omega-6 and low omega-3 fatty acid intake, whereas during the Palaeolithic period when human’s genetic profiles were being established, there was a balance between omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids as well as amino acids [1-3, 9-16]. Therefore, humans today live in a nutritional environment that differs from that for which our genetic constitution was selected. Cohort studies have demonstrated that European vegetarian diets of Seventh-Day Adventists, Mediterranean diet (fruit, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, olive oil, wine fish, chicken), Japanese diets; (vegetables, raw fish, whole rice), IndoMediterraneandiet (whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and mustard oil) and the French paradox diet ( vegetables and wine) are protective against cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. All these diets are rich in amino acids as well as w-3 fatty acids, however, only omega-3 fatty acids has been considered in the mechanism of benefit without any consideration for amino acids. The total energy from proteins may be approximately 16% en per day which is closer to huntergatherers diet.


Essential and nonessential amino acids consist of hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen and carbon atoms. These simple molecules play an important role in the human body [5, 17- 19]. The 22 known amino acids, essential and nonessential, affect a broad range of physical and mental processes. Recent studies have witnessed the discovery that amino acids are cell signalling molecules as well as being regulators of gene expression and the protein phosphorylation cascade [5]. Majority of the neurotransmitters can influence mind-body interactions and are composed of amino acids. Additionally, amino acids are key precursors for syntheses of hormones and low-molecular weight nitrogenous substances with each having enormous biological importance. Physiological concentrations of amino acids and their metabolites (e.g., nitric oxide, polyamines, glutathione, taurine, thyroid hormones, and serotonin) are required for the biological functions in our body. However, elevated levels of amino acids and their products (e.g., ammonia, homocysteine, and asymmetric dimethylarginine) are pathogenic factors for neurological disorders, oxidative stress, and cardiovascular disease. Thus, an optimal balance among amino acids in the diet and circulation is crucial for whole body homeostasis. There is growing recognition that besides their role as building blocks of proteins and polypeptides, some amino acids regulate key metabolic pathways that are necessary for maintenance, growth, reproduction, and immunity. They are called functional amino acids, which include arginine, cysteine, glutamine, leucine, proline, and tryptophan. Dietary supplementation with one or a mixture of these amino acids may be beneficial [5, 17-19] for ameliorating health problems at various stages of the life cycle (e.g., fetal growth restriction, neonatal morbidity and mortality, weaningassociated intestinal dysfunction and wasting syndrome, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, the metabolic syndrome, and infertility) [5]. Amino acids can also optimize efficiency of metabolic transformations to enhance muscle growth, milk production, egg and meat quality and athletic performance, while preventing excess fat deposition and reducing adiposity. Thus, amino acids have important functions in both nutrition and health.

De essentiella aminosyrorna är valin, treonin, fenylalanin, trypofan, leucin, isoleucin, metionin, lysin och hystin. För barn är även arginin essentiell.

För att få i sig en tillräcklig mängd av dessa krävs i allmänhet det som av experter vagt brukar kallas en “allsidig och varierad kost”. Mer specifikt handlar det om till exempel animaliska, proteinrika källor som vit fisk, ägg, kyckling och kvarg, samt vegetabiliska dito, som sesamfrön, chiafrön, sojaprotein/tofu, jordnötter, bönor, broccoli, morötter och sjögräs.

Man kan förslagsvis följa dessa riktlinjer, och därmed äta en högre grad av animaliskt protein om man är fitnessutövande.


Joseph Nye

When I write about Korean culture this subject can be more or less broadened since studies on contemporary Korean culture are often intimately linked to what is happening in other East Asian nations, the United States, and partly also other countries and regions of the world.

One example of this is that some key concepts which are relevant in relationship to Korean studies are also used in many other different contexts. Soft power – coined by the American poltical scientist Joseph Nye (1937-) in the late 1980s, developed in his work Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power (1990), and re-elaborated in a number of later books and articles – is one such key term.

According to Nye soft power signifies ‘the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion or payments’, and hence it is different from hard power phenomena such as miltary force, funding, and sanctions. Power – whether ‘soft’ or ‘hard’ – is often connected to foreign policy and a particular country’s will to influence other countries of the world by the means of dissemination of their own particular cultural taste.

Looked upon in a broader way, it can simply mean dispersion of culture in general and has less to do with power in the normal sense; but since soft power is often linked to current (Western) economic models and globalization, it can be hard to distinguish between soft power and hard economic power. In fact, the economic and the cultural dimensions do often overlap; or rather, soft power is often funded by governments.

I well not try to analyze or describe this complex concept in more depth. However, I will give a brief explanation of how soft power can be used these days. This I will do through a list which comprises five significant countries that use culture in one way or another – often in tandem with funding and/or export of cultural products – as a means of soft power.

The United States
The United States – the world’s largest economy and superpower (although a declining such) over the last 150 years or so – does unhesitatingly use a lot of hard power, such as military force, the almost global imposition of their currency, and sanctions against certain countries. But soft power-wise, one can also highlight the near-global dispersion of American popular culture – films, music, sports, fast food etcetera – and its largely market-based economic system and liberal democracy that many other countries either already have absorbed or wish for. The quote below offers a relevant and nuanced overall description of how hard versus soft power can be understood in the case of America:

Take the United Stated as the example. The worldwide popularity of Hollywood movies, Apple products, Google, Starbucks, and the NBA — to name just a few — may be cited as evidence of U.S. soft power, but it would be far-fetched to argue that this soft power has been a crucial factor behind the U.S. ability to get what it wants in other parts of the world. For one thing, drinking Starbucks coffee or watching the NBA does not necessarily translate into pro-American policy preferences. For another, it is difficult to imagine that the symbols of American soft power would have spread to the rest of the world and had such broad appeal had it not been for unrivaled American economic and military power.


Chinese soft power has become more evident during the recent years – a country to be the largest economy in the world in the not too distant future – and this has been manifested through for instance the large funding and dissemination of Chinese academic institutions and Chinese cultural centers around the world, as well as large-scale events such as the Summer Olympics in Beijing in 2008:

The Chinese government also has spent hundreds of billions of dollars improving the communication capabilities of its media outlets like CCTV, organizing mega events such as the Olympic Games and Shanghai Expo, funding Confucius Institutes, hosting summits attended by dozens of world leaders (e.g. APEC), and sponsoring forums on regional security and prosperity (e.g. the Boao Forum). An important justification for such lavish spending is that these activities can contribute to China’s soft power.

In democratic countries like Canada and Sweden, the academic freedom appears to have been undermined by Chinese-funded and -controlled institutes, which has resulted in several shutdowns of Confucius institutes that promote research on Chinese culture.

Perhaps China may not be as successful as The United States in this regard – people do generally long more for democracy and Starbucks than Confucian values – but the Chinese government does still strive for the use of soft power and has funded a vast amount of projects with large sums of money.


Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is in total a rich country indeed – and at the same time it is one of the most authoritarian regimes in the entire world.

Saudi Arabia’s soft power is intimately connected to the country’s Wahhabi doctrine, a ‘modern’ and fundamentalistic form of Islam that was founded during the late eighteenth century and which advocates a draconican, Sharia-based (Hanbalic school) interpretation that will not allow any other interpretation, or for that matter any other religion, than their particular form of Islam. This religio-cultural framework has been funded by rich and influential Saudis since the 1970s onwards:

All in all, Saudi figures show that in the period 1973 and 2002, the kingdom spent more than $80 billion to promote Islamic activities in the non-Muslim world alone. This truly colossal sum has built a huge network of Wahhabi-controlled institutions, including over 1500 mosques, 150 Islamic Centers, 202 Muslim colleges, and 2000 Islamic schools in non-Muslim countries alone. (Alexiev 2011)

Unfortunately, far from all people around the globe stand against Wahhabism and its ideological twin, Salafism, which is manifested through the Islamic State and other organizations and movements that partially hinge on these totalitarian ideas.


Russia constitutes one of the largest countries and economies in the world, and like China and Saudi Arabia it is more or less authoritarian. Another current characteristic is its geopolitical expansions in for instance Ukraine.

Besides military hard power, influential Russians use soft power by the means of media channels such as Russia Today in order to spread an alternative world-view, different from the Western, pro-EU and pro-American counterpart.

This might be a relatively fruitful way to get both Western and other people more on the Russian side, or at least to have a more nuanced understanding of Russia and what it aims for both culturally, economically and (geo)politically.


South Korea
I have written serval posts on the Korean wave and explained why I do generally support its dissemination and proliferation.

However, I might add that the South Korean government – after recognizing the good financial results in the aftermath of the distribution particular TV dramas and k-pop – currently uses Korean wave products as means for national branding and consequently increasing revenues through tourism and export of Korean wave products, such as music, TV dramas, and food.

This will probably lead to – and has already to some exetent led to – a positive feedback relationship, since a probable consequence may be a better depiction of South Korea in the global community as well as more revenues; and the revenues can in turn be used for more investment in cultural products and their distribution, which may lead to even larger revenues.

It is also interesting that Chinese leaders are concerned about the vast popularity of South Korean celebrities in China. South Korea is definitely one of the big soft power players these days and constitutes a pop cultural alternative to both the US’ and Chinese products.

När det gäller nutida eller samtida koreansk kultur, är det ofta relevant att vidga vyerna eftersom den sällan kan förstås som isolerad från det som sker i övriga Östasien, USA och i viss utsträckning även andra länder och regioner. Dessutom kan det finnas kopplingar till aktuella saker som sker i världen. Detta inlägg utgör en sådan bredare utblick.

Begreppet soft power, eller mjuk makt på svenska, myntades av den amerikanska statsvetaren Joseph Nye (1937-) under slutet av 1980-talet och har blivit mer utarbetat i ett flertal böcker och artiklar sedan dess. Det handlar om att övertyga med hjälp av attraktion snarare än ekonomiska eller militära maktmedel (hård makt).

I detta sammanhang kan till exempel populärkultur spela en viktig roll, vilket har varit fallet med inte minst USA, som på närmast global nivå har spridit filmer, popmusik, tv-kanaler, snabbmat och mycket annat under 1900- och 2000-talen.

Nedan ges fem exempel på länder som kan sägas bedriva soft power i en mer löst definierad mening, om än delvis på väldigt annorlunda sätt.


USA har varit världens ledande supermakt under cirka 150 år och är det alltjämt, även om Kina successivt lär komma ikapp både ekonomiskt och militärt. Detta land har också varit framgångsrikt i att sprida amerikansk (populär)kultur på många håll, till exempel filmer, musik, snabbmat och en mängd teknologiska produkter och företeelser.

Mycket av det som USA gör utrikespolitiskt kan visserligen kategoriseras som hard power, men populärkultur, liksom amerikanska politiska ideal och livsstilar, har onekligen attraherat många människor runtom i världen.


Kina har intresserat sig för mjuk makt under ett antal år, och har bland annat försökt bedriva detta genom att finansiera Konfuciusinstitut runtom i världen. Något tidigare har kinesiska wuxia-filmer och sommar-OS i Beijing år 2008 varit två företeelser som kan kopplas till kinesisk soft power-strävan.

Satsningen på att sprida kinesisk kultur i och genom akademiska sammanhang verkar dock ha fått visst bakslag i demokratiska länder som Kanada och USA eftersom det har lett till, eller tros kunna leda till, censur på institutionerna i fråga – känsliga ämnen som relationerna mellan Kina och Taiwan, Kina och Hongkong, och vad som hände på Himmelska fridens torg 1989 verkar inte vara tillåtet att belysa på Konfuciusinstituten, vilket leder till inskränkt akademisk frihet.

Det återstår att se om Kina kan hitta andra, alternativa lösningar och bli mer framgångsrika i detta avseende.


Den globala spridningen av wahhabism, liksom den mycket närbesläktade salafismen, har finansierats av saudiska oligarker sedan 1970-talet och framåt. Det rör sig om enorma summor, så mycket som 80 miljarder dollar enbart i icke-muslimska länder.

Wahhabism är en “modern” och fundamentalistisk form av islam som uppstod under slutet av 1700-talet och vars lära är synnerligen intolerant gentemot andra religioner, inklusive kristendom, liksom andra inriktningar och tolkningar av islam som till exempel shia och sufism.

Tyvärr verkar den trots det ha en viss attraktion bland framför allt unga män på många håll runtom i världen, vilket har kunnat skönjas i fråga om omfattande rekrytering till al-Qaida, IS och andra terrororganisationer-/rörelser som i stor utsträckning bygger på wahhabism eller salafism.

Idén om att som jihadist komma till ett paradis fullt av villiga kvinnor – till skillnad från de sexslavar som används i dag – kan utgöra en del av attraktionen, liksom viss grad av individuella maktanspråk och det meningsskapande som sker genom att vara en del av en kollektivistisk rörelse med högtflygande målsättning.

Ett litet tecken som dock pekar i rätt riktning – och om inte annat är det lite intressant kuriosa – är dock att en saudisk prinsessa gillar G-Dragon!


Ryssland har invaderat Krimhalvön i de östra delarna av Ukraina under 2014 och 2015, vilket förstås kan klassificeras som hård makt.

När det gäller mjuk makt har dock den välproducerade och engelskspråkiga nyhetskanalen Russia Today varit ett viktigt redskap för att sprida en alternativ och samtidigt mer positiv bild av Ryssland och samtidigt en mer negativ dito av västvärlden, framför allt USA och EU. Givetvis finns även amerikanska och västerländska motsvarigheter – Russia Today har i mångt och mycket uppstått som en motvikt till dessa globalt mycket inflytelserika medier.


Jag har redan skrivit ett flertal inlägg om den den koreanska vågen och varför jag generellt stödjer dess spridning och behöver därför inte utveckla detta så mycket.

Man kan dock nämna att den sydkoreanska regeringen, delvis i samarbete med grannländer, försöker hitta nya sätt att attrahera konsumenter av koreansk populärkultur. Man kan exempelvis tänka sig ett större fokus på det koreanska köket framöver.

Noterbart är också att ledande kineser har oroats en del över att koreanska stjärnor får så mycket uppmärksamhet i Kina, till skillnad från de inhemska motsvarigheterna. En av de allra kändaste kinesiska stjärnorna är talande nog också en k-pop-artist, Victoria Song från gruppen f(x).

Pros and cons with outdoor gyms

As I see it, outdoor or park gyms should, generally speaking, be regarded as either a complement to a more or less complete indoor gym, or as the second option if one for some reason is not able to work out at at the regular gym. But it can seldom replace the full package so to speak, since outdoor gyms tend to lack proper free weights and machines, which both are crucial in order to optimize hypertrophy or strength gains.

Nevertheless, during spring and summer time one can do core and abs workouts in particular at a local outdoor gym, and if one travels and does not have any gym subscription it is definitely better than nothing to do some ad hoc training, mosty likely chins-ups, dips and various abs/core exercises.

Over the last ten years, I have tried several local outdoor gyms in Sweden and overseas in for instance California (Muscle Beach of course), Seoul and Hong Kong. Here in Stockholm where I live, there is a great outdoor gym in the vicinity, Eriksdals utegym.

Recently, I and a friend of mine visited this particular place. If one lives in or visits Stockholm during the warmer periods of the year, I would definitely recommend to pay a visit there. It may also be combined with to have a refreshing sea bath in Årstaviken.

Som jag ser det är utegym att betrakta antingen som komplement till ett vanligt, mer eller mindre komplett inomhusgym, eller som så att säga det andra alternativet. Däremot kan det sällan ersätta ett vanligt gym eftersom det saknas tillräckligt med fria vikter, maskiner etcetera, som är helt nödvändiga att ha tillgång till för att optimera hypertrofi eller styrka.

Hur som helst, man kan till exempel välja att träna mage/core i anslutning till ett utegym, eller ha det som plan B om man av något skäl inte har möjlighet att ta sig till det vanliga gymmet. Det är särskilt trevligt att göra under de varmare delarna av året (och omöjliggörs mer eller mindre under de kallare).

Jag har testat på ett flertal utegym under de senaste tio åren, både runtom i Sverige och andra ställen, till exempel i Kalifornien (Muscle Beach så klart!), Seoul och Hongkong. Det är nästan aldrig fel med lite chins, dips eller magträning och en del ställen ger även möjlighet till betydligt fler övningar än så.

Här i Stockholm är jag särskilt förtjust i Eriksdals utegym som ligger alldeles i närheten av min bostad. För att vara ett utegym är det riktigt bra och är också väldigt trevligt beläget. Nyligen var jag där och tränade med en vän. Kan verkligen rekommenderas om man har vägarna förbi. En fördel är också att det kan kombineras med ett svalkande havsbad i Årstaviken.

저는 가끔 공원체육관 에서 특히 배 운동을 해요. 예를 들면 여행갔을때는 캘리포니아, 서울 하고 홍콩 에서 여러 운동을 했지만 표준 헬스클럽들이 대체로 더 제일 좋아요. 헬스클럽들이 공원체육관 들이 보다 운동기계 있어서 헬스클럽 더 최선의 선택 이에요.

스톡홀름 에서 좋은 공원체육관 (Eriksdals utegym) 있어요. 작금 저 하고 친구 같이 그게서 갔어서 운동을 하고 그 근처는 Årstaviken 에서 시원한 수영하기 경험했어요. 스톡홀름이 있으면 그곳을 정말 추천하세요.

Muscle Beach in Venice Beach

Outdoor gym at Namsan in Seoul (2009)