Tag Archive | hope

Tree With Deep Roots: An Overview

a rabbit hops by as Chae Yoon digs for prince's medicine

a rabbit hops by as Chae Yoon digs honeysuckle, for the prince’s medicine

Confucian scholars dialogue with the king at the palace gate _ep16

Confucian scholars debate with the king at the palace gate, a skirmish with words _ep16

king + highest palace maid + 3 girls + chief scholar search clues to find missing Soyi, Moohyul has urgent news _ep12

king + chief palace maid + the 3 assistants + chief scholar look for clues to missing Soyi; Moohyul hurries in with news _ep12

King Lee Do slips on the stairs seeing Prince Gwangpyung is safe

King Lee Do slips on the stairs, overwhelmed with joy, when he sees that Prince Gwangpyung & Soyi are safe

King Lee Do, Prince Gwangpyung, Soyi, & Ddol Bok on the day he becomes the King's friend _ep15

Lee Do, Gwangpyung, Soyi, & Ddol Bok (on the day he becomes the King’s friend) _ep15

Moohyul defeats Yeon Pyung and meets Kareupeyi

Moohyul defeats Yeon Pyung (kneeling) and meets Kareupeyi (center, in monster mask)

Moohyul, the king, and chief scholar in one of their confidential meetings

in the king’s main hang-out his study hall, he + Moohyul + chief scholar in one of their casual confidential meetings

Scholar Han teaching the king's alphabet to sweet Yeondoo and mysterious Kareupeyi _ep16

Scholar Han teaching the king’s alphabet to sweet Yeondoo and mysterious Kareupeyi _ep16

Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful.

Bursting with the triumph of the goodness in man. It’s the answer to a particular monarch’s gamble at sharing responsibilities with the common everyday folk.

It’s a 24-episode South Korean historical drama (sageuk) based on King Sejong the Great’s “invention” of the Korean writing symbols, han-gul. In one of the scenes it is explained that the ministers are like the roots. Hence the title symbolizes the balance of and struggle for power among the participants in the kingdom’s governance as guided by Confucianism.

The king depicted here is a lovely person. He is so sincere I’ve easily fallen in love with him. How I wish all of us in the world have purposes as pure as his, of whatever ‘kind’ or size or leaning or ‘significance’, so that only the hopeful, hence life, comes out through all the faults that a human may have. King Lee Do (his personal name) faces his fears, he wrestles with the foes in his head and in his heart, he comes out very bruised but stays on his feet and goes on with living. How I admire him.

The king has to do these battles alone but it’s very fortunate that he has friends around him. First there was the queen in his younger days. Then now there’s his son the handsome prince who has no problems with his father, his bodyguard Moohyul, the baby-faced soft-spoken very-steady chief scholar who is as much a support to the king as Moohyul is, the head of the palace maids together with the four younger ones who are like extensions of the king’s brain, the two young scholars who are the smartest in the Hall of Worthies, then finally Ddol Bok a.k.a Kang Chae Yoon. I should also mention Garion, although he doesn’t belong to the group because he has other motives.

Instead of the peacock feathers on the military men’s hats there are strips of cloth or yarn. The king does not wear dragon-design shoes but one that is similar to the ministers’. His main hang-out is his high-ceilinged wooden study hall. His four girl attendants have jewels on their hair ribbons. There are no evil queens, palace maids, and concubines here. The king is amused of the effect it has on his attendants whenever he speaks swear words. He is an expert on sudoku, having solved a 33 x 33 game when he was yet an insecure young king overpowered by his father — his attendants and computers then were all palace maids (yes!!). And these are the best: the king casually quasi-sunbathes (because he still has clothes on), and himself applies watered fecal matter as fertilizer to experimental plants, and he gladly pours a drink to the butcher (the lowest ranking person in his society).

There are 7 martial arts masters in here: Moohyul (very handsome and proper), Chae Yoon, Lee Bang Ji (the best for me), the half-masked pale face (Yeon Pyung, who has a blue ribbon on his hair, respectable as a warrior but is scared of Moohyul), a high-rank Confucian scholar in the court who went to the dark side of the force, a legendary Chinese mercenary (Kareupeyi/Kareulpae, who’s a little girl’s best friend), and a female Chinese agent who’s understandably terrified of the latter.

The subplots emerge, interweave and synchronize like a Jabbawockeez dance. There is humor interspersed all-throughout. The contrast between sleekness and bulkiness, the suave and the coarse, weakness and strength, simplicity and complexity blend in harmony so that it has the same effect as the OST’s subtle playing — they are well integrated and do not get in the way of where the focus is.

The focus is on the story itself — on how the king could go on with his plans. It is a story not of personalities but of a big dream, a wonderful dream that solicits horror from the opposing ‘brains’. Even the charm of the Ddol Bok–Dahmi sub-story pales beside this dream. This dream is bigger than the king — aside that it is not his will alone that feeds it, he knows that its fruition is precarious. It’s like a seedling that must be protected from the elements until it waxes and its roots have taken depth. Each speaking scene is essential, no dialogues are superfluous, at times the words themselves serve as swords. Some dialogues are picked up from where they were left off as if the participants are engaged in a continuing board game. The next time I watch it I intend to take note of the dialogues the king is in. He’s very good at saying things indirectly that he manages to confuse the Confucian scholars.

The viewer will find himself steadily hoping for goodness to win out, that Ddol Bok and Dahm meet without a mishap, that the king comes out of his lone battles sane, that Bonwon must have blind spots, that Lee Bang Ji dies with honor and happy, that somebody can defeat the Chinese mercenary, that the four girls and Chae Yoon’s buddies stay unharmed, that the prince keeps faith with his father, that the half-masked man doesn’t harm So Yi, that Chae Yoon doesn’t kill the king, that Bonwon doesn’t kill the king, that Moohyul doesn’t get ahead of the king, that the king doesn’t kill himself with overwork, that the han-gul characters finally gets known to the common people.

The fights makes the drama unfit for children to watch. Aside from that this work of art is solid food for the heart and the brain. It does not sugar-coat the reality of human struggles, though I am thankful that grime isn’t graphically depicted — I carry with me the consciousness of this condition of the majority in the world that it’s quite easy for me to disbelieve the ‘clean-ness’ of drama sets. I appreciate that the palace decorations are toned down and they do not steal attention. Even the grand study hall’s impact is neutralized by the gravity of the dark wood interior. It looks so lived in that I can almost smell the fine dust that could have collected through the years within its tiny crevices.

Deep_Rooted_Tree poster

an official poster: great king, palace guard, prince’s maid — each is essential to each other

This drama doesn’t glorify the king, in fact a bit of going on the other extreme of making King Sejong a ‘human’ whom everybody could love. There are no doll-like females — yes they’re as pretty as dolls alright but they don’t invest on dreamy-gazes intended for frames, and hence even the crybaby visual artist didn’t jar my nerves. Soyi and her 3 friends look delicate but they are made of stuff such that they are the king’s strength: his database, processor, and memory bank.

Jang Hyuk as Dae Gil in Chuno I’d think as theatrics, whereas here Chae Yoon is just brimming with contained potential, a dynamo held in check. Chae Yoon’s life parallels that of the king’s. He is a reflection of the king and So Yi is the mirror with which they see themselves.

Lee Bang Ji and Ddol Bok/Chae Yoon are the perfect teacher and disciple, warm and open to each other — what I wished for Munno and Bidam had Munno been not too wrapped up in his ideals. There is a host of interesting characters here but Lee Bang Ji fascinates me the most: he is ephemeral, lowly (by his own description), fatal, and also utterly tragic had it not been for Chae Yoon’s need of him. Chae Yoon is very fortunate to have had two very loving fathers. The place where Lee Bang Ji went to die helped the story obtain a full circle.

What’s saddest for me is that the king had to pay so much in exchange for his people’s sake. What’s happiest for me is how the king finally emerges with the conviction of the depth of his love for the common people. The scenes of common folks’ singing at their work lifts the spirit. Ddol Bok’s vision of his and Dahm’s father is like a glimpse of heaven. A beautiful facet of the story is in the showing of how the relationship between parents and children is a foundation for a person’s major decisions.

The drama Tree With Deep Roots or Deep Rooted Tree depicts the yin and yang of life on earth: interacting, fluid, flowing, hardly ‘happily-ever-after’ nor one-directional. Yet it insists on goodness, it insists on the worth of persons both individual and collective, and it denigrates the greed for power in its varied forms. It is a jewel of an expression of the humbled human soul.

Lee Bang-ji Sonsaengnim and Ddolbok

Lee Bang-ji, musa (warrior), sabunim (respected elder) and sonsaengnim (teacher) to Ddolbok

on communication

I brood over communication. I’m thinking of whether we all of us see the same hues. Since we each of us  are unique individuals with body cells programmed by our unique DNA codes, then we shouldn’t necessarily have exactly similar rod and cone cells in our eyes. Also, only a single pair of eyes can occupy a point from which to view an object. Angles of reflecting and refracting light from source to object to eye would be different then. Hence, the red that I see wouldn’t be the red that you see. The color #b10611 may not necessarily appear similar to any two persons in the world.

love♥  <<< this is in the color #b10611.

We each of us perceive differently and yet we are capable of grasping each other’s perception. I simply find this amazing. When I woke up yesterday the thought of dust-laden mucus being directed by cilia outwards of my body—not anywhere else—made me seriously question as to which of the two, cilia or mucus, should the will of expulsion be attributed to. I thought then that the mucus is a non-living substance. Therefore the life, the willing-to-happen, is in the cilia. The cilia ‘know’ what to do, so to speak, and they do it. Amazing. Billions of microscopic cilia in my respiratory tract ‘talking’ to each other so that the pollution in the air I breathe in is barred from entering my vital functions.

This webpage, from where I got this picture from, has an easily understandable explanation.

bronchicilia from bio.davidson.edu

I was about to say that everything that has life communicate with its own kind, but then I realize that the-making-of-things-to-happen is not confined within forms that we tag as having “life”, or alive. I was thinking that all cells withing our body communicate with each other, but then when I get down to the basic building blocks I end up with just aggregates of proteins interacting with each other according to the chemical laws. However, I also think of the virus that’s dead outside a living cell but alive when it’s inside. So the wood particles comprising my table react with each other, yes, but not in the same way as the particles within the pine tree outside my window.

Of course when we really get down on it everything we can observe are nothing but just permutations of chemical configurations, held together by the fundamental forces—at least this is how we know things to be. But the matter of perception-comprehension-communication between us humans are also permutations of possibilities (and so there’s a similarity there, but more). You may or may not be able to understand what I say. You may or may not be able to understand what I say the way I meant for you to understand it. You may be able to grasp something from what I say which is entirely outside of my perception.

happiness is by Charlie Brown

So I find it amazing when love and life and laughter and beauty and hope and friendship is communicated between persons of differing worldviews and backgrounds and experiences and convictions and aspirations.

I say that there is a sort of a quantum gap (my term for that which is traversed in a quantum leap, and I’m using them here for mental pictures only) between a non-life and something  alive. Life is such a profound mystery. This marvel is manifested in the way living things communicate. Their interactions with one another—cell to cell, ant to ant, mind to mind, for instance—might just seem to be on the spectrum of matter interacting with each other but the possibilities defy quantification. Science has been very good at quantifying so many things and has been taming matter for a while now, but Life still defies quantification. It eludes our grasp, cannot be boxed.

Peanuts gang

I’m reminded of what Jesus of Nazareth told Nicodemus, that the spirit like the wind is there but one cannot predict its movement. Whenever I wonder at what moves life I think of this wind and then I am humbled by the many things that I have no comprehension of but yet are evident. It is evident that the world is in shambles, yes, but one has only to look at obscure nooks and one will see that life and goodness and hope are thriving and are spreading, being communicated from one living being to another. Things that deaden are overwhelmingly everywhere—concrete or plastic everything, garbage in mass media, our inner struggles, etc.—yet we only need to look at the green leaves and know that they, too, cover the earth. I only need to remind myself that the next person’s skin is as vulnerable as mine, which means I am among humans who like myself have stories being carried around all the time, everywhere.

This communication thing, it’s as elusive as Heisenberg’s electron, but it can be done and in many different ways. Cells, and humans, thrive by communicating. I realize that communication, in its many forms, is as vital as food and air. No wonder it, too, is so enjoyable.

(Many thanks to the creators of the Peanuts drawings.)

The One You Feed

“A fight is going on inside me,” said an old man to his son. “It is a terrible fight between two wolves. One wolf is evil. He is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other wolf is good. He is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you.”

The son thought about it for a minute and then asked, “Which wolf will win?”

The old man replied simply, “The one you feed.”

— by Wendy Mass, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life

————————————————————————————–pack, winter

I came across a book which made me appreciate wolves. It’s “Women Who Run with the Wolves” by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. It’s easily among the best books I have and will ever come across. It’s about making choices, looking beyond the box, being appreciative of who and where you are, genuinely loving oneself so as to genuinely love another.Women Who Run With the Wolves cover

I came across an interview with Sting. I like it that he likes Mahatma Gandhi. I like it that he puts his optimism into his songs. He just used different words but I see that he’s actually putting across what the excerpt above says.

I came across a theologian who said that the beauty of the Bible lies in the fact that there is a God who one day will redeem humanity [has redeemed humanity]—that this is the fate of humanity—, and not in the fact that the end is punishment/destruction and death, despite the mess we find ourselves in right now.

Another book that’s among the top of my list is “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl. It’s a short read and it has the feel of a documentary-for-life. It’s about survival in the midst of the most dire straits. It speaks for humanity.

I like it that both books that I mentioned were written by psychiatrists who are not just “clinical” but are real flesh-and-blood humans with beating hearts. I like both Sting and the Mahatma, very much. I like the message of hope that I choose to listen to from the Bible, and that’s why I like the Bible, too.

Damo is mae hwa and dan shim ga

!good morning! I have only one post on Damo and it doesn’t center on the two main characters, Ohk and Yoon. It centers on my reaction to the theme song called mae hwa bat. Because I have not studied music then I have no discussions on what kind of music it is, sorry. For a layman’s viewpoint I can only say that it’s a lovely instrumental, haunting, and it pictures the mood of this drama. I edited this post because I finally learned how to create a picture gallery, which I thought was fun, so I made them here. !and it is spring! — a post with ume and sakura rightly deserves attention 🙂 Today is April 20, 2014. I greet Happy Easter all who celebrate it. Here’s to a new life for all!

Damo is one of those unforgettable tale of loves, in its varied facets and set in a specific time. But it speaks for the entire history of mankind. I share with you some of my thoughts on it, welcome again. The smaller pictures enlarge a bit when clicked on. Have a nice day everyone 🙂 … thanks for dropping by …

 

—————– original text:

I can sum up Damo this way: it is a statement on commitment. In this particular story its focus is the one between Hwangbo Yoon and Jang Chae Ohk.

Sure there are the usual political intrigues and plot twists but these are, to me, only background material against which the dynamics of “commitment” are played. The entire series follows the development of the investigation involving counterfeit coins, until the point where a conspiracy almost succeeds. This line by itself is absorbing, substantive, and it’s strong enough to make Damo into a no-nonsense quasi-extended movie. However, it is the dynamics in the personal relationships between the three main leads that produces the episodic sub-plots.

The start of the story is a presentation of the challenge to this commitment. Before this first episode ends the commitment has been made crystal clear. It is awesome how Yoon and Ohk can go to extreme lengths just to be able to ensure the well-being of the other. This is the scene that I remember their commitment to each other by:

Yoon and Ohk passing through an ume (?) grove

I had thought that these are cherry blossoms, sakura. However I noticed that among the official soundtracks is one called mae hwa bat, translated as A Grove of Japanese Apricot Blossoms. Ah, so, these are ume, and not sakura. This is only a conclusion by association, and is not necessarily a proof.

There are two incidents that immediately precede this scene. The earlier one is the day’s polo match with the other branch bureau that ended in a riot because of Ohk’s furtive participation in the game, which was sanctioned by all the guys. In that event was shown the close camaraderie within Yoon’s command.

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Because of that riot Ohk independently decides to take all the blame to save Yoon’s career, by offering her right arm to the sword of the Right Police Bureau Commander. This enrages Yoon and he quarrels with Ohk as well as with that other commander.

Commander Hwangbo treats Ohk’s sword cut

Fortunately Ohk’s arm wasn’t cut off. But the sword grazed her. Yoon treats it on their way home. As Yoon applies medicine this is their dialogue:

Hwangbo Yoon:  “Does it hurt?”

Chae Ohk:  “Yes.”

HY: “It hurts me as well.” (background music starts) “Although you are my subordinate you are no different from a younger sister. Don’t hurt me.”

CO:   “My lord, since I was seven I’ve been at your side. I would lay my life down for you, but I do not want to become an obstacle. I have served you for 15 years. I know the suffering you went through better than anyone else. I do not want to see your dream fall apart because of me.”

protecting each other (2)HY:  “I have no intention of sacrificing you in order to achieve my dream.”

This conversation is significant because personal involvements across class levels is illegitimate in their society. However, both have crossed this line on the very day they met, when they were just children. As Yoon’s servant Ohk is not permitted to even lift her gaze while he talks to her. She is vigilant, therefore, that her association with Yoon does not tint his reputation in society, which is that of the noble class. Ohk understands this very well because she herself belonged to the noble class by blood. Yoon, too, understands this very well because his mother is of the servant class and he has seen how she had suffered.

There are many reasons why I like Damo but I cannot name all of them yet. I do not have to justify why I like Damo. It’s more than just a love story or the exploits of a policewoman-cum-tea-server in a society that denigrates her status. It’s a valuable work of art. I would recommend it to anyone anytime anywhere who has an interest in non-West themes about life and the human capacity for loyalty, or devotion, which is what steadfast love is. Only that I have to say, too, that it’s 14 hours long and that it’s bound to make one cry, a lot. But this depends on the viewer’s constitution, of course. For myself I could still cry over it days after having watched it.

There are scenes that are not believable, but that’s part of the art, of the martial arts genre films. These are the scenes in the series that belong to the dream world, where people can fly. I had to brace myself against the sword-fights and such, though. (Btw, do horses get hurt when they are shot being shot? These scenes in films bother me.) I appreciate that the night-lighting effects considers the realistic illumination by fire. It’s cozy to the eyes. The four female characters aren’t “protector” dependent. They are just humans that happen to be female and they didn’t make me want to gag. I’d say the story is awash with machismo, but that certainly isn’t a reason why I like it. It goes with the context and so the male egoism is not out of place. The two ideals, Hwangbo Yoon and Jang Sung Baek, have very heavy burdens to carry. straw sandals for Chae OhkThey have dedicated themselves to fighting the ills of their society. I appreciate it that they were not projected as superheroes. They are like any one of us who have dreams and are motivated towards that goal despite the narrow road or the uphill path.  I also saw the gravity of straw-sandals-for-servants versus shoes-for-the-nobles, at all times, even in winter. This thing really speaks volumes.

There are five people-forces interacting in the story. First is Hwangbo Yoon’s immediate circle, in the Left Police Bureau. Second is Jang Sung Baek’s immediate circle, just ordinary poor people but tagged as “rebels” nevertheless. Third is the potential represented by the king, one that can move much but depending on the information that reaches the throne. Fourth is the hidden government officials who ruthlessly manipulate Jang Sung Baek. Fifth is the common folks living ordinary everyday lives. The main characters Hwangbo Yoon, Jang Chae Ohk, and Jang Sung Baek navigate among these forces within the parameters of their societal values.

I am not Korean. I am new to the world of the Korean culture. I do not know the teachings of Confucius and Mencius. I know that I have to know the words spoken in the dialogues so that I can get into the delicate nuances that have mountains of meaning behind them, which is of a particular worldview. Alas, I am totally dependent on the English translations (and millions of us around the world are very grateful to the translators!) But I know deep within my bones what discrimination is, what helplessness is, what hopelessness is, and of that bubbling spring present within me that resuscitates hope and self-help.

This is the beauty of the sageuks that I have so far seen, that they cater to the presence of the bubbling spring deep within any one of us. (But I do not agree with the formulaic emphasis on revenge.) This should be one of the beauties of Damo: that it fights against helplessness and hopelessness. Any human can identify with that. When I watch a sageuk I do not think of the events I see on the screen as confined only in that part of Korea and in that particular period of history only, but that I am in fact looking at the soul of the human being. This is what a human is. S/He can be strong, weak, corrupt, upright, joyful, depressed, cruel, gentle, vindictive, generous, and s/he can be anyone anytime anywhere, of any age, in the entire globe, regardless of ideology or conviction or worldview. Not one is exempted—most especially those who consider themselves privileged because of one factor or another, like class or economy or education or achievement or status or heritage or conviction.

Both Yoon and Sung Baek are precious to Chae Ohk. To Yoon, she is mute. The forces limiting their bond are too strong for arguments. In their last scene together in the series, Yoon had to remove the binding around her mouth so that she could shout out her most important line in the entire story. To Sung Baek she is blindfolded. She gropes in the dark in her acknowledgment of their bond. It was within the darkness of a cave where she intuitively saw Jang Sung Baek’s significance to her.  Chae Ohk is an epitome of will-power and loyalty. Any Yoon would be very blessed to have an Ohk, and vice-versa. Indeed I wonder if her character is realistic, though it is one worth aspiring to. All in all the story of these three has a feeling of a (modern-day) mythology.

Having considered all of these it is now worth noting that the couple’s scene beneath the blossoms does not have mae hwa bat (A Grove of Japanese Apricot Blossoms) as the background music, but has dan shim ga (A Song of Devotion) instead. A Song of Devotion plays whenever the story focuses on the bond between Ohk and Yoon, like in this scene under the blossoms. I found out about this in my quest to familiarize myself with the melody of mae hwa bat, thinking that it is played in this ethereal scene.

I have located six scenes where mae hwa bat is played: in Episode 4 (in one Ohk drinks out her misery of having separated from Yoon, in another Ohk cries after it got emphasized to her face that her servant status makes it “impossible” for her to “mix” with Yoon’s social class); in Episode 6, as Ohk thinks of her father and is having a conversation with Sung Baek; in Episode 7 when Sung Baek was removing the bullet from Ohk’s shoulder; in Episode 9 when Yoon, after the royal doctor’s failure, holds Ohk to his chest, and astride his horse, is on their way to their Teacher (Seonsaengnim actually, or Sonsengnim, but to my ear sounds like Susunim) as the last measure to save Ohk; finally, in Episode 10 when Ohk was revived by Yoon using their Teacher’s harrowing method.

 

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Mae hwa bat plays in scenes where Ohk is “hurt” and her resilience, for survival itself, is tested. It’s an apt symbolism because the mae hwa blossoms at the end of winter, in coldness. Speaking of which, there is a magnificent shot of Yoon and Ohk practicing their sword skills learned from their Teacher, in their mountain world, their home, their heaven, before they came down to the police bureau.

Damo_Episode_2_English_Sub_Korean_Drama_damo___02_part_3.flv_snapshot_11.57_[2013.08.01_08.42.38] BOTH IN SNOWYoon’s circumstances is similar to Ohk’s. He realized this the moment they met, when immediately forged a bond as Ohk, the newly acquired family servant, took his offer to be carried on his back as they ran in the rain through the bamboo forest. Though favored by his nobleman father, Yoon is still a half-blood because of his lower-class mother. He’s like a non-person, like those of Ohk’s class. It is illegal to call his father “father” and he is not qualified to take the military service exams, let alone the civil service. Yoon and Ohk had to grow up and blossom under these suppressions.

Mountain home, aerial view. Yoon and Ohk appear as dots right in the middle.

 

Sung Baek_4 Damo_Episode_8_English_Sub_Korean_Drama_damo___08_part_2.flv_snapshot_04.10_[2013.08.06_11.37.08]Jang Sung Baek is also a mae hwa. Sung Baek_3 Damo_Episode_6_English_Sub_Korean_Drama_damo___06_part_2.flv_snapshot_07.59_[2013.08.06_10.30.57]His father was the capital’s library director. Sung Baek had already received excellent education from him before the family tragedy happened. His father had him brought then to an excellent teacher who was exiled in the mountains. As the son of a nobleman convicted of treason, and so forever in hiding from authorities, Sung Baek also had to blossom in dire conditions.

Sung Baek_6 Damo_Episode_1_English_Sub_Korean_Drama_damo___01_part_3.flv_snapshot_14.35_[2013.08.06_09.49.30]

Soo-myung

Sung Baek_1 Damo_Episode_7_English_Sub_Korean_Drama_damo___07_part_2.flv_snapshot_04.26_[2013.08.06_11.26.30]

Jang Sung Baek

  I would like to give special mention to the character Soo-myung, the constant companion of Sung Baek. She is also a mae hwa. She is beholden to the scum who manipulates Sung Baek but when the time came to draw the line she chose Sung Baek without any hesitation. Her speaking lines are short and her role is simple but she is projected as a bulwark for Sung Baek. She locates her life’s meaning in Sung Baek — this is nearly similar to what Ohk and Yoon are to each other. Their harmony is apparent all throughout the story and most likely they would have lived together happily until whenever had the circumstances been different. But the winter was too cruel for this mae hwa of theirs to blossom.

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On the other hand, dan shim ga is played many more times in the series. It is played when Yoon worries about Ohk, when Ohk worries about Yoon, when it is emphasized how one is committed to the other against an opposing factor like a disagreement, or when both express to each other his/her intention to her/him like in the scene under the Japanese apricot blossoms. Dan shim ga is certainly calling for another post. Ma ji mak ahn shik chuh (The Last Haven), which is associated with Yoon, and bi ga (A Song of Sorrow), which is associated with Jang Sung Baek, are also worth looking at. Damo’s main soundtrack is sook myung (Destiny) – it’s self-explanatory.

The ume and the sakura look similar but they bloom at different times of the year and so that’s a major indication. However, those who have paid attention to their differences can generally tell one from the other. To the none-too-particular viewer they are indistinguishable. To everyone they are both as lovely.

SONY DSC

sakura = cherry blossoms

SONY DSC

ume = maehwa = Chinese plum blossoms = Japanese apricot blossoms

The maehwa is the Chinese plum blossom meihua (梅花), or simply the plum blossom, and is also called the Japanese apricot blossom. In Wikipedia it says that in Chinese culture: The plum blossom is seen as a symbol of winter and a harbinger of spring. The blossoms are so beloved because they are viewed as blooming most vibrantly amidst the winter snow, exuding an ethereal elegance, while their fragrance is noticed to still subtly pervade the air at even the coldest times of the year. Therefore the plum blossom came to symbolize perseverance and hope, but also beauty, purity, and the transitory-ness of life. In Confucianism, the plum blossom stands for the principles and values of virtue.

In Damo the maehwa largely symbolizes the relationship of Hwangbo Yoon and Chae Ohk, as well as of Jang Sung Baek and Chae Ohk (…I hope to find time to write on this…it’s the dynamics in these two intertwining relationships that makes this sageuk unforgettable…).

Thanks to thegardenofzen.com for the pictures of ume and sakura. A million thanks to the sites that made it possible to access Damo shots, and a billion thanks to all translators.

Thank you for reading and all the best to you.

♥ p.s. [My post on Seiji and Kiyoha, click here, has a picture of a sakura grove.]

hello. uhm, just a quick note before this amazing realization slips my mind… 😉 I was at my usual meditative position (hahaha) when I sort of just suddenly snapped together some strains of thought that have been with me for several days now… im jae bumfirst, it’s just that I suddenly got hooked on Yim Jae Bum’s voice and so I simply had to take a peek at Chuno again — in fact I’ve made a 6+ minute video of captures from episodes 12 & 13 using the OST Stigma — and so it got me to compare Chuno and Damo, of how can two dramas of despair be alike and yet be different, or are they? This actually is a continuation of my meditation on why is it always imperative for movies to include romantic themes in order to be assured of box-office success — I was thinking along the lines of: what if the romance was removed from Dae Jang Geum, Chuno, and Damo? I was actually thinking of how come there are no kissing scenes in Dae Jang Geum (the lead actress suggested that it wasn’t important in the story line) and despite of it/because of it, it was a big success? Then how come that Hwangbo Yoon’s and Daegil’s angst are hinged on their love for a woman, and would the story be empty without this angle? And so I came to the conclusion that (but not an answer to the last question) Damo is actually just Ohk’s story, of her world and what happened to her, and that Yoon is not an essential part of it, because any man not as magnificent as Yoon could just take his place WHEREAS Jang Sung baek is ESSENTIAL to Ohk’s story. Sung Baek_5 Damo_Episode_5_English_Sub_Korean_Drama_damo___05_part_3.flv_snapshot_18.10_[2013.08.06_10.23.13]I now even say that Damo is the story of both Ohk and Sung Baek, and that the main male character is in fact not Yoon but Sung Baek <— 🙂 this is that sudden amazing realization 😀 and I must write something on it one of these days. I mean, sure, what I wrote above in the original post still goes, that is, if one looks at the back-and-forth movements of Ohk from Yoon to Sung Baek and back and back (hehehe yeah it really begs for another post 🙂 ) then it is commitment. But then this vacillation happened because Sung Baek exists, and in fact the start of the story has both Ohk and Sung Baek at the center of it. For Yoon Ohk was just an accessory, an accident, and it could have been anyone or none there in that way for him. But for Sung Baek Ohk is an essential. The angst of the entire story line could not have materialized had there been no Ohk and Sung Baek, and of what happened to them.

As to Daegil, well, I’ve come up with the conclusion that the underlying story is the chasing after hope, after a dream, after a false dream, after a mirage, after a dream that will bound to disappoint one, albeit has Daegil’s particular world as the main sphere of movement, and so it must be presented in different manifestations (though I don’t intend it to sound this negatively, and in fact it’s something I, too, would opt for, I mean, rather than just “lay down and die” so to speak PLUS that Daegil’s life Chuno_24 CLOSURE 23wasn’t at all that empty and useless like he thought it was, and me at first impression, too — but all these have to be written on one separate lovely post ❤ ).  For example, unrequited romantic love is one popular and easy illustration for it. Also, the chasing after the slaves, the life and cause of the slaves, the motive/incentive of the minister’s son, the life of a chuno, Seolhwa’s life and the likes of her, Chuno _Seolhwa (1)the life of the female innkeepers, the cause of Song Tae Ha & companions — these are the vehicles where hopelessness has been illustrated and I like the way all these threads were woven together into one story that at first glance didn’t make me see all of them (I was immersed at the action and the music 😉 ). Actually I’d say the Un-nyeon part somehow represents the vanity of all this chasing after something that forever eludes… I mean, the Un-nyeon character is the embodiment of how pathetic a chasing-after can be. Sorry, it doesn’t mean the way I’m sounding here, because I certainly with all my heart concur that the slaves’ cause and the ordinary folks’ lives like Seolhwa isn’t pathetic — but, there, see, it’s too complicated to speak about in just a handful of sentences … and so I just need to put them all here before they all totally escape me and I wouldn’t be able to catch them again (so to say) haha!

today is April 26, 2014, a lovely spring day, and I’m trying not to panic over my undone homework 😉 ciao. May God bless us all.

greed is in everyone

and who can say that a one-to-one effect is less evil than a many-to-many?

——————————————————————– an excerpt:

Although the five Indian nations had made earlier attempts at resistance, many of their strategies were non-violent. One method was to adopt Anglo-American practices such as large-scale farming, Western education, and slave-holding. This earned the nations the designation of the “Five Civilized Tribes.” They adopted this policy of assimilation in an attempt to coexist with settlers and ward off hostility. But it only made whites jealous and resentful.

from-  http://www.pbs.org   -and search for “Indian removal 1814 – 1858

————————————————————————————-

Greed has always been everywhere, any time.

Even before grammar existed to speak of it. Man has always been man.

He is a system of shifting cerebral circuits.

He is prone to so many possibilities.

He could not always control his thoughts and will and desire and action.

He would always be prone to think that he is in the right side of the fence,

painted the correct color, behaving admirably.

When the time comes when skin colors do not matter anymore,

I hope that the heat of the sun will not be too tough on those who are proud that they have less pigments, or have a different sort of “pigment” …

… LOVE, who said that (they) do not know what (they) are doing, will save the day.

Let Live

“Live, and let live.”
The turf isn’t boundless yet the possibilities haven’t yet been fully explored;
and there are possibilities that do turn up fresh from time to time,
it is senseless to yearn beyond the bounds
—  that’s already edging towards greed;
it’s absurd to be wanting to be beyond one’s reach  –let that be–
because, here, sometimes, at your feet, looking up at you,
is something amazing and worth your time.
Sometimes we need to stop looking at the strain-to-reach-sites
because, down here, in front of our face, next to our breath,
something needs our sight. We need to look at it.
Leave out some things. Let your self live.

Musings of a Sincere Fledgeling

Tayo ay nakasakay

sa Mundong naglalakbay…

Hello world.  It is wonderful to be aware that Earth is floating in space.

It is wonderful to be aware.  It is wonderful, this awareness, of this possibility that has come to pass, of this awareness that other possibilities could have come to pass and of other possibilities coming to pass that we have and would have no way of being aware of.

ang lahat ng bagay ay magkaugnay

Just to be is wonderful.  To be carried on by active-unseen-implied tendencies this way and that.  To be present in the movement, to be moved with eyes open, to be aware of the capability of seeing — this is a wonder.

I have been floating on something.  I lived on where I had been floating.  Some may have defined it as merely thriving, but no-one that we can define knows everything.  I may have had a full life, too.  Or perhaps fulness is merely accidental to being — because I am a sacada, and who would say that I have not lived?

I look back at my life, at our lives, at how we lived, at how we were helpless amidst the interconnected currents carrying us along — because I have become aware of new stirrings — and though I am new to this I am aware that my being legitimizes my presence…

… that is, sacada lang ako, but my story matters, my being cannot be denied.