Jan 22, 2009

Hong Gil Dong (5)

To start off, Hong Gil Dong was a fictional character from a Joseon dynasty story. He robbed from the rich so he could give the money to the poor; The Robin Hood of Korea (I didn't know this when I was watching the drama, I thought he's a real-life historical figure, so now knowing this I kinda feel better about the drama in general). Anyway, since its a fictional book in Joseon dynasty era, the drama is very loosely based at the time it was set in, and the King was not really as mad (I think!) as it was potrayed.

Hong Gil Dong albeit born to a high ranking aristocrats, but being illegitimate and his mother was a slave, he was (could not) be acknowledge by his father (and the world at large) as his son. He also didn't fit-in in either society, he wasn't an aristocrats but not really a slave also. He got ambition when he was young, but it was drilled on him by his father, he could do nothing (meaningful) as he was a slave. So he spent his years growing up doing nothing, just lazed around and harassing the town people. Since he could do nothing about the world, he couldn't care less whats happening to the world around him; just minding his own business. Oh yeah, he's good at fighting since a local monk took him under his wing and taught him martial arts. He's not truly bad - just more like a naughty child.

Heo Yi Nok, had just returned to Korea from China with her grandfather. They made their living by putting on shows and selling their special brand of medicine in the marketplace. She's a simple-minded girl with a kind heart - a bit slow on the uptake though. She first met Gil Dong when he accosted her to teach him to speak Chinese while she was peddling her medicine at town. A simple friendship started at first, but begin to develop into more as they got to know each other....but then Gil Dong had to take the blame, and sacrifice himself. He was shot with an arrow and fall down the cliff. Don't worry, that isn't a spoiler (much) since it was in episode 6 or something, so obviously he didnt die, but only believed to be dead to the world and sob! sob! Yi Nok.

Gil Dong was first an 'accidental' hero, then a 'reluctant' one before he really feel the injusticeness of the world he live in and inspired to fight for equality in the society. I like this conversation he had with Chang Hwi.

Gil Dong: “So this is all to take your stolen place back from the king?… Why must you become king? Because you’re the legitimate blood prince? Just as I cannot be anything but a servant, being born to a servant, you were born to be king, so you must do anything to become king, is that it? As I promised, I’ll die. You’ll live on, so keep thinking about it — why it is that you must be king.”

and afterward Chang Whe laments, “I’ve never once thought about why I must be king..."

Lee Chang Hwi had been told since he was young that he was the rightful heir to the throne which had been usurped by his half (illegitimate) brother. He had also just returned from his hiding in China and was plotting to overthrow his brother the king. How bleak would your life seems to be knowing your mother sacrifice herself in order for you to live unhunted. Maybe, the reason to live was only because if you didn't then the reason your mother had given up her life would be for nothing.

The three got entangled in love, hate, loyalty and betrayal and only one side can win. And sigh! its another 'hell hath no fury like a woman scorned' again. Chang Hwi although he got reasons (his love for Yi Nok and political) to force Yi Nok to stay at his side, he didn't. Well, at first he did, saying that when she's only precious to him, he can let her go so that she can be happy but now that he had another reason to need her to stay, he wont let her go anymore. But alas he did, with tears (unconvincing) in his eyes.

Ahem.. I digress, anyway there was this aristocrat lady who was engaged with Gil Dong's legitimate brother, but was obsessed with Gil Dong. I know her life being in the gilded house might be dull, so she wants some adventure which she could find when she was with Gil Dong. But please why can she be satisfied with her life and let Gil Dong and Yi Nok be? In Hyung wasn't so bad for a husband, yes he's a coward, and no so smart but he truly cares for her. But no!, since she could not have Gil Dong, then he had to die. Argh! I really hate it when they showed how the men are more giving while the women are petty and vengeful - and this drama was written by the Hong sisters (female!). But maybe on the positive side, female had more backbone than male, they fought what they want rather than being meek and step back.

Then, there is Gil Dong's father/master, his blind, stupid, stubborn loyalty to the crazy king was beyond my understanding (kinda remind me of Hang Tuah). Yes, maybe the king was a decent man at first, with ideals to make the world a better place -before he got sidetrack with his guilt and insecurities - but when the king turns 180 degrees (or should it be 360 degrees?), why couldnt he own up to his mistake, count his losses and make it right? Adding more wrongs won't make it right. Why did he as the monk said "could only look on when the world he help to build and protect kills the persons he love"?

There's so many scenes that I love in this drama, so many dialogues...to describe it all would make this post even more longer. Lets just keep it short and say I LOVE KANG JI HWAN! Haha... I don't know if I love KJH or his character here. Its just that his face are so expressive. It was said Joo Ji Hoon and Jo Hyun Jae were supposed to star in this drama as Hong Gil Dong and Chang Hwi but they both were unable to make a compromise with the production agency. Much as I love Jo Hyun Jae, but I don't think he's suitable for the role of HGD, maybe Chang Hwi... (Sorry, I don't like Joo Ji Hoon - he's much a wooden actor compare to Jang Geuk Seok).

Jang Geun Seok, what can I say about him? Maybe, it's just hard to act as a cold person. Would it need a haughty look? a sad look? or maybe seems like wooden man or a robot. But I love him as the young master in Hwang Jini, cry buckets over him. Here, not so much (but I bet he's better than Joo Hi Hoon would be :P ) When I was watching the HGD's special at the end of the drama he was so cute and adorable when he smiled and laughed. Hmm... if one of my nephews look more like him, maybe I would be like 'pilih-kasih' (favoritism) just to see him smile... haha...maybe!

Sung Yuri - love her here! After dissapointed with her passable acting in Snow Queen and One Fine Day (hate her in First Love of Royal Prince), she really shows some improvement in this drama. And the chemistry she had with Kang Ji Hwan - no wonder they won the KBS best-couple award.
There's this scene where she offered Gil Dong some kinda food (maybe candy) to Gildong. He ate it at first, and commented on the weird taste. She told him the candy get wet cause she didn't remember it was on her when she took a bath at the stream earlier. Gildong remember then, she not only took a bath in the stream, she also took a piss there! He took out the candy out of his mouth and gave it back to Yi Nok, and she non-chalantly put it in her own mouth. Did she really ate the candy Gil Dong spit out? or did they swap it with a new one?

Hmm... to date I think this is the first drama that I rewatched immediately after finished watching the entire drama - to the point I put Yi San Vol.4 on hold. The 2nd time around, I watched it at more leisurely pace - since I already know the ending - savoring the good scenes. The 2nd time around, I noticed the ridiculousness of the band of thieves would help Chang Hwi claimed the throne, being Chang Hwi group that killed their former leader in the first place. They said he was a good man, their leader - worth dying for; but they thought they foiled Chang Hwi first attempt to dethrone his brother was a sufficient revenge??? Ridiculous!

Love the sountrack, especially these two songs:

If - by Tae Yeon

Fate - by Park Wan Kyu


Name: 강지환 / Kang Ji Hwan *
Real name: 조태규 / Jo Tae Kyu (Cho Tae Gyu) *
Profession: Actor *
Birthdate: 1979-Mar-20 *

Triple (MBC, 2009) *
Hong Gil Dong (KBS2, 2008) *
Capital Scandal (KBS2, 2007) *
90 Days, Falling in Love Days (MBC, 2006) *
Exhibition of Fireworks (MBC, 2006) *
Be Strong Geum Soon (MBC, 2005) *
Save the Last Dance for Me (SBS, 2004) *
More Beautiful Than a Flower (KBS2, 2004) *
Nonstop 4 (MBC, 2003) *
Summer Scent (KBS2, 2003) *

Dying to see Triple (Yoon Kye Sang is also in here!), gonna rewatch Capital Scandal, Err...hesitate to watch 90 days and Fireworks coz i don't like both lead actress and can't find Geum Soo with a subtitle!!!!

Name: 성유리 / Sung Yu Ri (Seong Yu Ri) *
Nicknames: Shil Shilee / Tokki *
Profession: Actress and singer *
Birthdate: 1981-Mar-03 *


Swallow the Sun (SBS, 2009) *
Hong Gil Dong (KBS2, 2008) *
The Snow Queen (KBS2, 2006) *
One Fine Day (MBC, 2006) *
Prince's First Love (MBC, 2004) *
Thousand Years of Love (SBS, 2003) *
My Platoon Leader (MBC, 2002) *
Bad Girls (SBS, 2002) *

Name: 장근석 / Jang Geun Seok *
Profession: Actor, singer *
Birthdate: 1987-Aug-04 *

Beethoven Virus (MBC, 2008) *
Hong Gil Dong (KBS2, 2008) *
Hwang Jin Yi (KBS2, 2006) *
Alien Sam (2006) *
Lovers in Prague (SBS, 2005) *
Nonstop 4 (MBC, 2003) *
Daemang (SBS, 2002) *

Still wonder why they cast him in a love-triangle alongside KJH and SYR, he's so much younger than them!!!!

Jan 14, 2009

The Last Templar

After my discovery of korean drama, I wasn't much of a bookworm, there are some books that are left unread, or I just read one or two chapters here and there, and then forgotten when I'm in my havenly room again. Usually, I would continue reading no matter how dull the book is just to know the ending. But now stories in written form doesn't grab me as it used to be. I wonder, is it because I already know the author's style and can predict the storyline myself? But then, there's two novels by authors that I had never read before, it was also left unfinished.
Anyway, this friend of mine - highly recommended this novel to me and lend me her copy. I wasn't having high expectation - since I didn't like the last novel she lend me :P. So it was the weekend, and I had to work during non-office hours, so I brought this novel with me, and in between entertaining some queries, I read the novel. It was really good! For me, better than Da Vinci Code... you might think with the book cover, the story was more leaning towards christianity, but its not... It topped international bestseller lists at number one, and spent more than 3 monts on the New York Times bestseller list in hardcover. Haha... I would think with its content, it won't be as popular in the Christiandom.

A little bit of synopsis:

Present day, Manhattan: Four masked horsemen, dressed as Templar Knights, emerge from the darkness of Central Park and storm into the Metropolitan Museum, the gala opening night of an exhibition of Vatican treasures. The leader of the horsemen homes in on one piece in particular, a strange geared device. He utters a few cryptic words in Latin as he takes hold of the device with reverence before leading the others escapes.
Tess Chaykin, an archaelogist was a witness to all this and together with Sean Reilly, FBI's an anti-terrorist specialist as well as a practising Catholic tries to solve the crime. As the horsemen's dead bodies start turning up, and as the importance of the stolen device becomes more and more apparent, Tess becomes more than a witness to the crime. She and Reilly get drawn into the dark, hidden history of the crusading Knights, and of the last surviving Templars' fateful journey from Acre to the pyres of Paris. With Tess fuelled by an unswerving commitment to scientific truth, while Reilly is plunged deeper into a spiritual and professional conflict which ultimately leaves them with the troubling burden of their shocking discovery.

Website of the book ---> www.thelasttemplar.com/

Though the end of the book was kinda 'straight drop' ending, but I can't imagine any other ending. Yeah, it will be chaotic to say the least if one of the most powerful religion in the world was publicize as nothing more than novel/manual created by mere-mortal.

One of my favourites quotes from the novel; " Faith is easy when you are standing infront of a miracle, the real test of any faith is when there's any signs"

Jan 10, 2009

Resolution for Life

Know kinda left behind with the resolution thing...haha...its been years, decade maybe since I made resolutions for new years. Quit making resolution when feeling dejected every end of the year when my resolution was not reaached or only lasted for a few moments in time. This one I'm gonna make a resolution that has no time limit; that if I stumbled - I'll pick myself up, dust it off, and discipline myself not to stumble again... yeah, lets see if people can change - starting with myself!
One of my resolution for life (the simplest one), is stop being sarcastic! Haha... I notice how frequent people saying "Atu..pedas" or "Merah telinga ku" or just direct "atu sarkastik!" after I said something that I meant only as a joke... hmmm, wonder what would people reaction be when I really meant to be sarcastics??? So this resolution is easy (I hope!), I'll just shut my mouth and keep my opinion to myself. (or maybe write-something-here-but-never-published-it to let out all my sarcastics thoughts, hehe...don't wanna end up in the psychiatric ward somewhere with all the bottled-up-negative-brain-activities).
So peeps, here's a toast for the NEW me... let me budak baik and hidup baik-baik.
^_^ Now, I'm considered as the quiet one (though not in the family circle!), hehe...maybe if I do my resolution right, I'll be the 'dead' one among the living...
Excerpt from Robbie Williams's Better man:
Give me endless summer
Lord I fear the cold
Feel Im getting old
Before my time
As my soul heals the shame
I will grow through this pain
Lord I'm doin all I can
To be a better man

Jan 8, 2009

Yi San Vol. 3

I can't remember the start of Vol.3 since it was about a month ago I started watching this. Been busy with other activities other than watching dvd in my rooms plus this boxset was a tad boring in the middle, so I kinda lost interest in continuing....

Anyway, I think it started with the old King waking up from his coma and with his memory in full capacity. He handed to the Crown Prince to levy punishment on those who scheme to take over the throne. Princess Hwa Wan was striped of her royal status and banished to some remote place, her adopted son, Jeong Hu Kyeom and other nobles who were caught red-handed was sentenced to death by poison while the Queen Jeong Sun was also banished; but only to the remote part of the palace. Then the old King die and the Crown Prince ascended the throne.

King Yi San, establishing himself in the royal court, changing old-handed-down customs and laws - making the the other surviving Noron Nobles fidget in their seats and protest. Like I said...boringly dragging.
Then, things started to get interesting when The Queen Mother appointed a Royal Mistress, the king right handed-man, the man he trusted the most, Secretary Hong's own sister over the candidate Queen Hyo Eui proposed, Son Yeun. The Royal Mistress was so manipulative and petty, to her brother she make it look like everything was the Queen Hyo Eui's fault for her falling out favor later with the Queen Mother, when actually the Queen was such a kind selfless woman that I don't think it's possible that such a kind woman really exist. Hmmm... I remember reading somehere when Han Ji Min (the actress playing Song Yeon) was interviewed, she said is she really was in Song Yeon's shoes, she don't think she can stand it watching the man she love with another woman - no matter how much she love him (or something like that). Yeah... there's just something in this scarce world you just can't share.
Anyway, Secretary Hong started to shows his true colours, although he's loyal still to the king, but there is just no suppressing his ambition and his desire to survive...on top! They say power corrupt people :) its easy to say that you will remain fair and just when you don't have any power, but once you got the power - you have the capacity to manipulate things to make yourself stay in power. The end of the volume, Song Yeon's long lost brother showed up. The baby brother she had to give away for adoption when she was still a kid herself; the one she thought was already dead. He was unjustly framed by someone as being part of the rebels; and Secretary Hong turns a blind eye towards the contradictary evidence, because he has an agenda of his own...

Jan 1, 2009

13 things about Twilight!!!!!

Whenever i get internet access, I have a few blogs that I like to frequent once in a while (dramabeans.com - everyday!) for my news dosage of koreandrama, so while i was browsing thru them this tired night, i saw a tag on Twilight on one of the blogs - so what the hell, lets see whats this writer who almost have the same taste in korean dramas as me think about Twilight the series....

Wakaka...his/her writings make me forget about my tiredness, banished my sleepiness... I like it so much that I want to post it here *evil grin*. Couldn't write/express/disseminate the series better... so here are the 13 Reasons Why She/He Don't Like Twilight - courtesy to Sevenses ^_^

1) Define yourself by your boyfriend, Bella, there’s a good way to be a self-actualized woman. “Not a wolf girl” and “I was his” gets tossed around a lot. She also has no personality outside of ‘Edward doesn’t like me, Edward does like me, why does Edward like me, Edward, Edward, Edward.’ Do I need to tell you why this is wrong, or can I just assume all of you know and we can move on to more outrage?

2) Meeting obsessed - most emphatically not meeting cute. HE WATCHES HER SLEEP ALL NIGHT LONG. Guys, do I need to go on? He follows her around, in her house, when she’s cooking, when she’s out for a night with the girls and when she’s sleeping, apparently unaware that there’s freaking stalker right there IN HER ROOM, omg, whut. On the other hand, all she does is think about him and moon and not pay any attention to people around her and omg Edward loves her thus Bella’s life is complete! He talks down to her, like she is a child that constantly needs things explained to her. This is the love of the ages? This is what we’re supposed to aspire to for a perfect marriage?
Let us keep in mind that when they met, Bella was only attracted to the surface hotness of Sir Edward Cullen, Esq. And in return, he was fascinated with how much he didn’t know about her thoughts. And then, two weeks later, they both decide rather like Romeo and Juliet that they’re oh so much in love and need the other like oxygen (err, only metaphorically in Ed’s case). What. The. Hell.
(And, by the way, Romeo and Juliet wouldn’t have lasted.)

3) The only womb is apparently one that reproduces - a viewpoint espoused by Esme, Rosalie, Bella and now Leah … that’s practically a roll call of the female characters. At no point does she present a woman who is self-actualized and happy without feeling the need for a ‘babby‘. Breaking Dawn is all about the baby, and while I think mother love is one of the most powerful forces in the world, if your entire life just revolved around your child… there’s a problem (both for you and the child, actually, and please someone stop me from segueing into child development RIGHT NOW). If you mention Alice, well… the girl’s clairvoyant and pretty much doesn’t think, ever. She just acts on her visions. (Also, if you know your Freud, she’s pretty much in the latent state of things.)

4) When Sparkles breaks up with you, the best, most rational path of action is to go around trying to kill yourself. Seriously. There were four months of catatonia (which thankfully spared us from Bella’s meeblings for a few chapters) and then she decides to take up both cliff-diving and motorcycle-riding to maximize the probability of death. Now, I know she’s not good with math, but hey, why not go with an activity that actually has an 100% chance of killing you? Oh yeah, then we wouldn’t have such cracktastic sequels. All snark aside, though, this is most definitely NOT acceptable behaviour in anyone.

5) Born to be a vampire - just, what? Because humans are obviously not meant to be humans, and live normal lives and die. No, they get to be ever-lasting ice marble vampires (if they are lucky - if not, then they’re just chow). Bella calls her mother her best friend, but we are always seeing/reading her disparaging both Renee and Charlie, as if they’re somehow less intelligent by virtue of Not Being Bella. And you know what? After she becomes vamped, she doesn’t see Renee, ever again. In fact, Bella’s relationship with other humans is so tenuous that after her marriage, pretty much all the humans from before disappeared. (And this girl lived 16 years in Phoenix and didn’t make one best friend? Wow, call me cynical, but someone’s a bit sociopathic.) Conclusion? Bella doesn’t need humans, she’s fine with her superpowered vampirism.

6) Bella wants to have sex with Edward but Edward wants to get married to Bella first but Bella doesn’t want to get married super early but Edward won’t have sex with her without being married and Bella is perfectly okay with dying and spending the rest of her life as a vamp but somehow it is not okay to get married at the tender age of 18. That section of the series was such a cause for headdesking, you have no idea.

7) Marrying at 19, having a kid, pretty much being happy and sexing away forever. No education, no traveling the world, no broadening of your goddamn horizons nor (more seriously in my mind) the desire to. They keep mentioning college but she never goes and I bet you she won’t either, not when she has eternity to somehow gaze with awe upon the perfection that is her vamp family. Someone hand me something to gnaw on now, please.

8 ) Furriners, dey is baaaaaad. Yes, thank you, WASP unconscious. [First of all, as an East Asian, I just have to say here, what happened to 1/6 of the world's population? Somehow they are just not represented?] Second, her non-white characters are severely limited. There’s the Brazilian cleaning lady who is in that classic hispanic stereotype of America - domestic service. Carmen tends to spout random Spanish at random times but has no function otherwise. The Amazon vamps are … warrior-esque, buff, and pretty much bristling with exotic I’m-so-not-American-nor-even-possibly-civilized airs. The Egyptian ones, oh dear. The Italian vamps are Machiavellian, the Romanian ones sinister and decrepit, the English one craven. (And who was it that held out during all the bombing for three years at war with the Nazis? Who was the one that refused to fight until their own harbour got bombed and subsequently took all the credit for being noble? Thank you.)

9) Mary Sues are bad enough within fanfiction, I do not want to see them in print too. Bella can do everything better than you, even while tripping over the air! Bella attracts the hot, mysterious guy! Strike that, Bella has hordes of willing boy victims following her around! But she is not beautiful, no! Bella is a super vampire with super control! BELLA SMASHES THE PREVIOUSLY UNDEFEATED VOLTURI! (Need I go on? Because the list is quite extensive and my fingers are getting tired.)

10) It’s so horrible to be old(er). Okay, this rubbed me in all the wrong ways when I was reading (skimming would be a better word) through the later books, when it’s all, whine I wanna marry Edward whine but he won’t let me whine and now I’m getting old whine. (First of all, SHUT UP.) Seriously, what is wrong with actually seeing the world a bit? She’s not going to be wrinkled and old and stuff if she takes a few years off to see her options instead of immediate vamping. She’ll be more mature, have seen more of the world. But Bella doesn’t want that, no, she wants to settle down immediately. I have to say, if you’re afraid your potential husband will no longer love you after a few years and when you are not so attractive (relatively speaking), you have to look at the strength of the relationship and wonder a little. Living with him for all eternity may not turn out to be such a hot idea.

11) General attractiveness issues. I mean, all the vamps are super attractive, except for the evil ones (James is nondescript and the Volturi are shale-like, old and generally creeeeeeeeepy). Also, point 10 already goes into this, but Bella’s a very superficial girl sometimes. (Okay, all the time.) She cares so much about her outer appearance that she totally wants to be frozen now so she won’t get older (and it is inferred, uglier). Um, yeah.

12) Imprinting. IMPRINTING. Because when a guy stays around you all your life and loves you? You don’t get to refuse him. Yeah. (Both Claire and Nessie are infants when this imprinting thing happens. Other people, like Emily, just deal, I suppose.) No free will whatsoever.

13) Wish fulfillment. I’m okay with wish fulfillment in general (where would we be without Harry Potter?), but I do think this is taking it too far. What does it say about the fanatics that even with all the above indices, they still picture Edward as the ideal and Bella as themselves?