issue 26 - i believe i can fly
places to get good veggie cuisine in Hong Kong, Losing My Mind with CRi, exploring poignant storylines with LINE Friends and more
welcome back to FRESH! find us on insta @freshbywing ♡ do something small to work towards a dream of yours this week.
hey again, FRESHers - it’s a special double FRESH week! we’re keeping this issue shorter and sweeter today in terms of content range, as i’ll be at Clockenflap this weekend!! expect a writeup of that in next week’s issue - for the time being, let’s get on with things this Sunday:
FRESH: events and happenings
Cultural Reads 42
if you caught our Friday GUESTFRESH earlier this week, you’ll be familiar with Cultural Reads already! i wrote a few recommendations for Thomas’ newsletter about places to find good vegetarian cuisine in Hong Kong, tried and tested by yours truly. find the scoop, and more unique cultural finds from Thomas below:
i would also add this very unique omakase spot to the list, which i had the chance to try earlier this week!
continuing its streak of taking acclaimed film awards by storm, EEAAO has come out top at the SAG Awards! click through the post above for snippets of the cast’s moving acceptance speeches, and here for the full context of James Hong’s mic-drop moment.
FRESH: new music
Montreal power duo CRi and Jesse Mac Cormack are back with their latest collaboration, Losing My Mind - a warm, sonically uplifting groove perfect for ushering in Springtime. the pair have a growing collection of collaborations in their discographies, starting with Keep It Real back in 2017, and two more on CRi’s fantastic debut album Juvenile in 2020 - Never Really Get There and Faces, one of my personal favorites.
audiovisual listeners will note that Losing My Mind has thematically similar cover art to CRi’s previous single last March, Something About… could another era and album be in the works?
listen to this new release and more on our dedicated FRESH 2023 playlist!
the FRESH five
short lists of five things to savor
5 of our most played artists this past month:
Brown and Friends
(spoilers ahead for the series!)
we’re big LINE Friends enthusiasts here at FRESH HQ - so even though we’re way past the age demographic for nonverbal cartoons, we had to give its new animated series a spin! Brown and Friends is a Netflix Jr special series, with 18 episodes in its first season released right after Christmas last year. each episode is split into three different themed ‘shorts’, and features the entire cast of LINE Friends popping in and out of each episode, with the main characters Brown himself (a bear), Cony (a rabbit) and Sally (a baby chick) appearing most often. the series revolves around the coffee shop that Brown and Sally work at, situated on the ground floor of the apartment block the LINE Friends live on.
this children’s comedy cartoon is not as simple nor naive as its packaged to be. it packs an emotional punch that perhaps only adult viewers will recognize, and integrates some complex modern social dilemmas with nuance into its storylines - such as Brown’s addiction to social media and its effect on his relationships, and how miscommunication or misperception can wreak unnecessary havoc on romantic relationships.
some of the most poignant moments in the series come from the storylines of Edward the caterpillar, one of the characters in the series with the least ego to maintain. his motivations are pure-hearted and simple - in the short “Edward the Butterfly”, all he wants to do is achieve his dream of being able to fly, and not have to slowly trail far behind all the other LINE Friends every time they hang out. he enlists the help of Sally, who builds various contraptions to help Edward fly (DIY cardboard bat wings, a hot air balloon, rocket, slingshot-powered paper airplane…), none of which are successful.
after crash landing into the park pond on the last attempt, a dejected and tearful Edward crawls to shore (absolutely heartbreaking to watch), resigned to the fact that he may never live out his dream. he has his own Mulan Reflection moment staring into his reflection in the pond water, until his friends Choco and Pangyo present him with a drone contraption shaped like butterfly wings, letting him finally fly all around town and helping his friends along the way.
it is hard to ignore the metaphorical significance of Edward in many ways - first as a representation of young children wishing to grow up and have the freedom that adults seemingly do, but also as an allegory for people with physical disability, mental illness, or even the POC experience. the story of feeling different from everyone else, wanting to rise above personal ‘setbacks’ or ‘flaws’ and reclaiming one’s individuality is quite universal, and one that we can all relate to in some shape or form.
in “Square Meal”, an exhausted Brown finally finishes his coffee shop shift late at night, closes up shop and is walking home when he notices a mysterious ramen vending machine on the street corner! he punches some buttons, and violà a bowl of steaming hot ramen appears! too hungry to wait, Brown sits down on the curb and chows the whole bowl down, but when he turns around to give the machine a second look, it has vanished into thin air.
this happens repeatedly over several nights, until Brown notices a moving shadow inside the machine one night, and pries open the door panel from curiosity - to find that Edward has been the ramen masterchef inside all along, piloting the movable machine to and from the same corner each night! a shocked Brown asks Edward why he went to all this trouble, upon which a montage plays - of Brown stopping to ask Edward if he needed help, shielding him from the rain, boosting him to give him a better view, and holding the cafe door for him. a very moved Brown hugs his friend, and sits down on the curb once more to eat ramen together.
not going to lie, this one really got me. i was not expecting our caterpillar friend to be the mastermind behind everything, and knowing it was done out of his pure kindness and care touched my heart in a way that no other cartoon has been able to. add on top of that the cultural significance of food as a love language, especially in my own Chinese culture, and it’s a surefire recipe to get wing in (good) tears.
have a blessed week ahead, fly high and we’ll be back soon with all the Clockenflap scoop!
love served fresh from a mysterious vending machine on your street corner,
alright, over to you now - hit up the comments section, or reply to this email with your thoughts! if you enjoy a little prompting:
which is your go-to vegetarian spot, where is it and what is your order?
what cartoon do you think is underrated and why? is the genre itself underrated or not given enough credit?
head over to freshbywing.com to catch up on past issues of FRESH, and find us on instagram!
That show sounds so ADORABLE, I'd probably tear up every episode. I def think there are MULTIPLE animated shows that are high quality in terms of plot, characters and of course the animation itself. Arcane is an excellent example of all three. However, I feel still even in 2023, the people who appreciate it most are still people like us who are connected to that world in one way or another. The "average" person still thinks animation, in terms of tone, is either SpongeBob or Family Guy. No in-between lmao.