Nov 18, 2008

Ballads of Seo Dong (5)

" Destiny is not the path that you can't avoid but the path you choose to take although you can choose to avoid it. But there is one path that I took because I could not avoid it; it was an unavoidable path - that path was you my princess" - Jang/ King Mu

Finally, I got to rewatched this favourite drama of mine (Really, really discipline myself not to drop by any cds shop). I wanted to skip the episodes before Jang was born and his childhood years, but with my 'excellent' memory, I already forget relevant information, sigh! so I do need to rewatched those episodes...
So to cut the story short, Jang was born from a forbidden liason of the King WI Deok of Baekje and a palace dancer Yeon Ga Mo. Knowing of Yeon Ga Mo preganancy, the King ordered her to flee and hide for her life. He gave her a pendant, a night glowing pearl, in which only the his sons could possessed, therefore if she gave birth to girl, he ordered her to throw the pendant to the deepest pond. Yeon Ga Mo raised Jang on her own till he was 10, when she couldn't rein in his 'inventiveness' anymore, she send him to Mok Ra So at the Taehaksa institute. [Taehaksa was Baekje’s prestigious institute of science technology located within the palace ground, it possessed and developed the most up-to-date technology at that time, and the institute was always in danger of industrial espionage from other countries like the Goguryo and the Silla]. Mok Ra So was the guy she was in love with and planning to marry before the king get in the way.
King Wi Deok, was a sorrowful king, oppressed by the nobles and his own nephew, Buyeo Sun who was after the throne. Apart from Jang, he had three other prince that was acknowledge, the eldest Crown Prince Ah Jwa, the second prince died at a young age and the third one was also very ill. Crown Prince Ah Jwa had to seek safety in Japan, after several attempts to eliminate him, and there were rumours that he was already dead. Buyeo Sun pressed the king to appoint his father, the king's brother, to be crowned as the next succession to the throne. However, on the night of the ceremony, strong storms came about, in which halted the ceremony to a stop. Buyeo Sun blames it on Taehaksa people, specifically Mok Ra So who was the strong supporter of Crown Prince Ah Jwa, and ordered them all to be killed. But thanks to Jang, Mok Ra So and several others managed to flee before the raid began. Hahaaha... it was funny to think that no matter how advanced our science and technology is right now, the possibilty for us to engineer desirable weather conditions at will???? let alone during that time period...
So anyway, Jang brought the runaways to his mother village before they all flee to Silla. He and Mok Ra So asked the identity of Jang's father, but she still keep the secret. She told Jang to come back to her when he was 20, then she would tell him who his father was, but alas she was killed by the soldiers who was pursuing them. They all took refuge in Silla, where they became tradesman supplying goods to the Silla's palace. There, while delivering the goods, Jang met Princess Seon Hwa for the first time...
The love story between Jang and Princess Seon Hwa was truly a better "Romeo and Juliet" story. Born to two different enemy states, at first Princess Seon Hwa thought that her royal title was nothing but a burden, separating her from Jang. She was willing to give it all up, her princess status, her parents, life of luxury, her country just to be with him, just a lowly peasant. I would call any real person who did this stupid and naive, but since this is just fiction...what-the-hell, it was touching to see a love so great, that there's nothing she would not do for him. It brought to mind the phrase, 'behind a successful man, stood a strong woman', it was true in this case, cause without Seon Hwa, it might not be possible for jang to raise to greatness. She was there to paved the way for him, always there when he needed her, when he's feeling lost and defeated, she pull him back up again and prod him to move. But what has he done for her?
The first time I watched this drama, I hate the character Satek Giru so much. But now, I can see him in a different perspective. Like he said, he might be a villain in Baekje but in Silla he was a hero, willing to risk his life and infiltrate enemy camp, to learn their tools. Like he said also, who in this world isn't selfish, willing to do something for personal gains? A much lesser man, would slunk into the corner after all he had worked hard to build gone in a blink of an eye. But not Giru, he lost everything, his country, his family and the woman he love. What else is there to lose apart form his life? He got nothing to live for anyway. Its either Everything or Nothing at all, he said. All I want is everything.
Jang said Giru mistake was betting his life on someone else while what he should have done was betting on himself. Blinded by his hatred towards Jang and driven by vengeance, he let himself be used and when he's no longer useful to that person, he was hunted down to be eliminated. But even in the end, he dont know what he had done wrong to deserve that fate, he still put the blame on Jang.

Another pityful figure, Princess Woo Young. At first she was a hateful character, just another one of her brother, Buyeo Sun's henchman. But then, she realised that after all those challenges that Jang had faced and overcome, she had come to admired him and fall in love with him. She sacrificed a lot for Jang and save his life countless time, but she can't make him love her. The joy on her face, when painstakingly finished handsewing a garment for Jang and then to have it rejected. I know it is better that way, for Jang to make her known where she stood, break her heart and be done with it, rather than show her kindness and giving her false hope - there are times you gotta be cruel to be kind, but still...sigh!

Then, after she also helped him with the nobles, Jang gave her the most precious thing he had, th night glowing pearl, to show her his appreciation for all her helps that he could never pay back - she rejected it. She said, if he wants to thank her, then promise her that in his next life, he'll be her man. If not them, then the next life, or the next life...sob! sob!

Another woman who was in love with Jang, was Eun Jin, the girl he grew up with at Haneul Jae. But although she truly loves Jang also, she always shows her merry and supportive face. I truly like Koo Hye Sun character here (dying to see her serious side in The King and I).

Will it make that lasting impression for me before if the last episode was not a tear-jerker romantic? I don't know...cause the last episode was the one I remembered the most, but now after rewatching it again I believe there were other scenes between Jang and Seon Hwa that are more touching. Lee Bo Young was beautiful as Seon Hwa, but she just don't have the chemistry on screen with Jo Hyun Jae. And when she tries to be playful and mischievous, it just isnt the same class as Lee Da Hee and Yoon Eun Hye.

Jo Hyun Jae - what else is there to say, he's perfect. His strong gaze shows his stubborness when he believes he was right. His troubled face, when he was thinking too much. I just wished that Ryu Jin was a bit on the smaller stature as Hyun Jae, so that he does not steals the scene with his taller big frame...

In one of the website, found this....

In an interview Hyun Jae was asked what he thought of Jang. He answered, "In my opinion, he is like God. He is too good to be true, like no human. He always thought about others before himself ". He went on to say, "While portraying him, I thought, 'If I were him, I would have done this'. To be honest, my personality is nothing like Jang. He is very generous. No matter how others treat him, he always accepted and was willing to forgive, which is not possible for me. I think no one in this world would be like that."

Jo Hyun Jae as Jang /Suh Dong (King Mu of Baekje)
Lee Bo Young as Princess Sun-hwa of Shilla / Ladi Jin Ga Gyeong
Ryu Jin as Sa Taek Gi Ru / Kim Do Ham
Koo Hye Sun as Eun Jin
Im Hyun Sik as Bumro's dad
Lee Chang Hoon as Mok Rasoo
Jung Sun Kyung as Mo Jin (Eun Jin's mother)

Kim Yeong Ho as Buyeo Sun

History Lesson:

During King Mu reign, the Three Kingdoms (Goguryeo, Baekje, and Silla) were at war with each other, as alliances shifted and the neighboring China also experienced a change of dynasties.
Because reliable historical sources are hard to find for the
Three Kingdoms period, the specifics of Mu's policies are not known.
Early in his reign, Mu attacked Silla several times. He also requested assistance from
Sui Dynasty of China to attack Goguryeo. Following the Goguryeo-Sui War, the Sui was replaced by the Tang Dynasty in China in 618.
In 627, he attempted to recover land lost to Silla, but stopped when Tang intervened diplomatically. The same year, he sent the Buddhist monk
Gwalleuk to Japan with texts on Buddhism, astronomy, history, and geography.
He formally established the
Mireuksa temple in 602. He is also said to have ordered the repair of Baekje's Sabi Palace in 630, and the construction near his palace of the earliest known artificial lake in Korea [2]. His policies in the latter half of his reign, which emphasized construction projects at the expense of national defence, are often thought to have contributed to the fall of Baekje which took place twenty years after his death.
There is reason to believe that he moved the capital of Baekje from
Sabi in Buyeo County to Iksan, at least briefly. Archaeological evidence in Iksan, including tombs attributed to Mu and his wife Queen Seonhwa, appears to confirm this. [3]
Mu retained close ties with Tang China, but Tang later allied with
Silla in the wars that ultimately unified the Korean Peninsula under Silla's rule by 668.

Samguk Yusa relates a legend regarding Mu's marriage to a princess of Silla, although historians consider it unlikely to be true, given the hostilities between the rival kingdoms. In this story, the young Seodong (Mu's childhood name) falls in love with a Silla princess, and intentionally spreads a song about the princess and himself among the people. Thanks to this song ("Seodong-yo," or "Seodong's Song") the Silla king banishes the princess, and Mu marries her and becomes the king of Baekje.

If you watched Jumong, then Jang was the great, great great.... grandson of him. One of Jumong's son founded Baekjae.

Nov 17, 2008

Yi San Vol 1 and 2

Also known as: Yi San - King Jeong Jo / Lee San, Wind of the Palace
Episodes: 77

The story so far...

It all started when Yi San was still young. His father, the Crown-Prince was imprisoned inside a rice box, in the middle of the scorching courtyard, without food and drinks. He was punished by the king who believed the rumours that his own son is organising a rebellion to kill him and take the throne. What kind of king - and his own father to that- would punish someone based only on heresay without solid proof? Furthermore, why would his own son, who he already crowned as his successor, was so in haste to take the throne that he know would soon been his? Isnt that already a tad suspicious?

Yi San, tries to smuggle some food to his father, and on the way meet Song Yeon; the palace maid and Dae Su; soon-to-be-palace-eunuch, who also was sneaking around at the palace. They agreed to help each other that night and a bond of friendhip was formed - without them knowing the real identity of Yi San. The Crown Prince asked his son not to have revenge in his heart, and not to hate his grandfather. He told his son to showed his grandfather the painting he paints of the three of them- then maybe, his grandfather will see the truth. But darn, the grandfather only took a glance at it. The Crown Prince died.

Yi San survived the palace to adulthood, after all the schemes to eliminate him also. Though he was crowned as the Crown Prince by his grandfather, he's still didn't manage to win his grandfather's heart. So living in the palace was not a guarantee of happiness, he was walking on egg-shells, don't know who wants him deads and missing his two bestfriends who had to run away.
Then, the three friends was reunite again when Dae Su and Song Yeon came back to the city and managed to get a job in the palace. And the culprits behind all those schemes was revealed one by one. Even Yi San was surprised to find the person who were honey-mouthed and always kind to him was the ones out to get him, his grandfather's daughter and wife (the queen). But does it really take a brain surgeon to find that out? Just think who will benefits the most with him out of the picture. Not his two young half-brothers, or is it half-uncles...I forgot already.
At first I thought Princess Hwu Wan was the king and Queen Jeong Sun's daughter, but i was wrong. She was the King daughter with another woman. The old king married Queen Jeong Sun when he was 66 (! kubur kata mari dah oooi...) and she was barely 15. It seems they don't have any offsprings. So she was young and barely experienced the world when she was confined to life in the gilded palace, and the king was busy running the nation that he cant spare her enough time- thus making her power hungry.
Hmmm...I watched many historical korean dramas already, and I dont think the king has absolute power in everything. There's the noble and other ministers that could forced the king hand. But then everyone desires to be king.... I dont understand...why asked for headache?

The picture above shows Princess Hwa Wan (the king's daughter) and her adoptive son who helped her cooked up all those schemes. Lady Kyeon (Yi San's mother) and Yi San's sweet and understanding wife Crown Princess Hyo Eui ( I believe she helped Yi San and Song Yeon to be together- wouldn't any man just love to have a wife like that?)

Hong Gook-young is the man who helped Yi San to claimed the throne, his very loyal and smart advisor but I believed he betrayed Yi San at the end because of power-greed also. (I read Wiki before when I first heard about Yi San the drama - so I remembered bit and pieces. Now I try not to spoil the ending by rereading it again). Anyway, doesn't he look like Song Il Gook (Jumong) here? I didn't notice the similarities in New Heart...

What else do I remember in Vol.2... Hmmm...Yi San and Song Yeon finally realised their true feelings of each other (thanks to his mother's scheming to separate them - haha...sometimes good intentions do backfire!). Then just as all the bad people get punished, the King has dementia and sometimes forget things...fudge!

Lee Seo Jin as Yi San / King Jeong Jo ,
Han Ji Min as Seong Song Yeon ,
Park Eun Hye as Queen Hyo Eui,
Lee Jong Soo as Park Dae Su

Extended Cast:

Jo Yeon Woo as Jeong Hu Kyeom
Lee Soon Jae as King Yeong Jo,
Kyun Mi Ri as Lady Hye Kyeong,
Sung Hyun Ah as Princess Hwa Wan,
Kim Yeo Jin as Queen Jeong Sun,
Han Sang Jin as Hong Guk Young, Lee Ip Sae as Cho Bi,
Lee Hui Do as Park Dal Ho / Uncle Park,
Maeng Sang Hoon as Eunuch Nam / Nam Si Cho,
Park Ji Bin as young Yi San,
Lee Han Na as young Song Yeon,
Kwon Oh Min as young Dae Soo,
Lee In Sung as young Hu Kyeom.

Nov 12, 2008

Surgeon Bong Dal Hee (4)

I finished Yi San Vol.2 a few days after my return from Taipei trip. There was something wrong with the 3rd Disc, so I went to the shop to exchange it. Funnily enough, the salesgirl didnt bother to check for my receipt- just get me a new disc unfussily. Hmph! If I lost my receipt, then I'm sure they would ask for it. Gosh! I thought it was only up to Vol.3, but now I found out its up to Vol.4!!! Fudge, maybe by middle of next year, the last final Vol will be available here...maybe I should wrote something about it before I completely forgot whats in Vol I & II
Anyway, did I wrote before that along with Oh Pil Seung, I also bought another boxset? These from the cds shop in Kiulap (across Hua Ho), the nice saleslady there already memorize my face and said it's okay if it tooks me months to finish the dramas, if something wrong, I can still get an exchange. She also gives a further discount- unlike some other shops I know...

So anyhow, after Yi San, I started watching Surgeon Bong Dal Hee a week ago and finish it off last night.Its another korean medical drama, as nice as New Heart :) but much more funnier I think with Dr. Park antics.

Bong Dal Hee (Lee Yo Won) had to dropout from her second year residency at a hospital due to health complications, but now she's back on her feet and had to restart her residency again at the Han Book Hospital. She had to lie to her mother, saying she's studying abroad, for her mother forbids her to be a doctor - fearing it will jeopardize her life again.
At the hospital, her teamates were Dr. Park, Dr Jo and Dr. Lee (Like in Grey's Anatomy, its Meredith,Lizzy, Yang, George and ...). At first, she was the 'outsider' being she graduated from an unknown hospital and she's a bit older than the rest of them (so they presumed she's a bit on the slow side)- especially Dr. Jo. I know another key thing to predict who's gonna end up with whom in Korean Dramas; their soulmate would be the person who they met first (incidentally or not) before the other person -unless of course the other person is their childhood bestfriend or something; then that timeline is tough to beat, so that scenorio doesnt apply in this 'theory'

There's an attraction between her and Dr. Lee Geon Wook (Kim Min Joon) the head of General Surgery from the start. But will it come to fruitation? Dr Lee, just return back to Korea, he went abroad for a year after he divorced his wife Dr Jo Moon Kyung (Oh Yoon Ah) when he found out he was not the biological father to their 6 years-old son. Even after a year the wound is still raw and bleeding, in that he still cant even see the cute little boy he thought his son for years. Or will the relationship between him and Dal Hee is just 'platonic' in that they feel comf0rtable being with each other? He carries too much baggage with him...

Then there's Dr. Ahn Jong Geun (Lee Bum Soo), the arrogant, self-righteous cardiac specialist. He was actually adopted by Dr Lee Geon Wook's uncle (who was the chief doctor in that hospital too) ,until he was 12and then a tragedy happened and he was kicked back to an orphange. He change his name and made himself a successful and famous doctor through his own hardwork and dedication. So you could understand where the coldness come from. What was his motive from coming to work at the hospital? Pure or Evil? Anyway, he and Dal Hee don't get off to a good start, but as the two grow fond of each other as time goes by. I think the turning point for Dr Ahn was when he found out how passionate Dal Hee was in being a doctor in that she don't care if her life was cut short.

Thats the gist of the drama, but in between there's story of the patients and the doctors. Gotten so sad over the Dong Geun who had cancer. Remembering back, I used to be non-chalant when I read/heard about people who had cancer. Its the same illness, as the other illness - it leads to death. But now, hell I kinda understand whats the big deal about cancer is - the pain, suffering, helplessness, hopelessness. (Err...does this kid really have some kind of illness? Cause in the drama goodbye party, he still look sickly as in the drama...hope he will get better)

Back to good mood! Lets talk about the funny Dr. Park... I laughed when he was giving penicilin injection to Dr Ahn when Dal Hee walks in-at that time there's something undercurrent already between Dr Ahn and Dal Hee. He only tell Dal Hee its penicilin, so Dal Hee assumed Dr Ahn got syphilis through the normal means (lots of partners) while in truth he prick his finger with the syringe he just injected to a syphilis-infected patient. She asked him snidely if he wants her to buy for him a box of condoms, he tell her not to bother, he got boxful of supply already. Dal Hee exits the room in a huff! Out of her earshot, he scolded Dr Park and order him to tell the truth of the matter to Dal Hee ^_^

Yawn! I'm so sleepy now...all other of my favourite scenes flies off my mind... Will Dal Hee survive her residency? Will she ends up with Dr Lee or does he reconcile back with his ex-wife? What about Dr Ahn, is there space for him in her heart?

Lee Yo Won as Bong Dal Hee. Dont like her in Bad Love and Fashion 70s, but here she's very good. She's very beautiful too!

Lee Bum Soo as Ahn Joong Geun. I think what makes his look weird is his 'non-prominent' eyebrows - just didnt match with his thick black locks, big eyes and huge smiles. But what I like about him is his facial expression, you can guess the feelings he wants to potray just by the changes in his expressions.
Oh Yoon Ah as Jo Moon Kyung. Hmm...didnt notice her before in other dramas
Kim Min Joon as Lee Geon Wook. Like him in Damo, never got to finish Into The Storm... He look very manly except for the way he sit and use his hands when he's talking, so pondan-ish

Extended Cast:
Choi Yeo Jin as Jo A-ra. (It was nice not seeing her as a bitch from start-to-finish)
Kim Hae Sook as Yang Eun Jah (Dal Hee's mother)
Kim Jung Min as Bong Mi Hee (Dal Hee's sister)
Kim In Kwon as Park Jae Bum (He's very cute with his small, bow-like mouth)
Song Jong Ho as Lee Min Woo (Forgetable)