Don’t Go Fading

Wrist

Wrist slitting. The first thing that springs to my mind whenever I come across the word suicide, and far as I know, it’s the most stupid method to choose if you’re really decided to end it all.

Okay, suicide itself is outright stupid, but committing it by cutting the wrist makes it more foolish because:

1. I read that most people do not die from it (Maybe because they didn’t do it the right way. Some say the slash must be done horizontally or vertically or whatever. Try criss-cross.);

2. Unless you’re a masochist and incredibly morbid who wants to watch yourself bleed, I don’t think anyone would enjoy dying this way. And basically, you kill yourself to end your misery, right? So why choose that one that’ll take its time in bringing you to the finish line? You should choose a suicide method that’ll get you dead in a wham;

3. It’s messy! Just imagine the blood stains that you’ll leave on your bed sheet (assuming your attempt worked). It’s too gross, and don’t be selfish, it’s heartbreaking enough to lose someone/a loved one, so don’t make other people’s feelings worse by making them clean the evidence of the disgrace you did.

Oh no. Before you get any ideas, no, I’m not suicidal or anything. The reason why I thought of this madness is because I read about the high suicide rate in South Korea today. There was even a report that said that South Korea has already surpassed Japan when it comes to this.

As I read about it in the office, I was pretty okay because it was just an info I got to know, so I thought that life would go on. But when I got home and I still couldn’t get it out of my head, I started to get sad for the Koreans and feel lucky that I’m from a third-world country.

The Korea Herald or The Korea Times News article that I read said that when the democratic Korea wasn’t rich yet, the nation’s suicide rate was one of the lowest in the world. But when the globalization hype started, that’s when the increase began.

Overworking is one of the reasons for this. To be globally competitive, one must work extremely hard, so that’s what they have been doing. Koreans would willingly work long hours everyday (Yes, even past the regular working hours, I’m just not sure if they get paid for overtime.), which means they get less sleep.

Likewise, students don’t get enough rest, too, because each day, after their regular schools, they still need to attend hagwons (or cram schools), and they take not just one subject. There’s this Korean that shared on the Internet that he takes five hagwon classes at the moment. He only takes two in a day, but they’re still two—two additional subjects aside from the ones being studied in school each day. Of course, when they get home they still have to do their assignments and study for the next day, which means they get to sleep at around two in the morning, and wake up at 5am, I think. I don’t know how they do it, but they sure are hard working and competitive. I can’t even imagine myself doing that. No, not in a gazillion years.

And oh, they have something about sickness, too. Whether they’re workers or students, they all continue with their everyday lives even if they’re sick. The explanation for it is that showing utmost effort and diligence are just too important for them that they’ll only get themselves absent if their illness is already leading them to the verge of death (maybe that’s a little exaggeration on my part).

Depression is another reason why South Koreans commit suicide. Alright, every person around the world gets depressed sometimes, but I think it’s on a different level in this country. Psychiatry is still a taboo for Koreans (or so I read), meaning going to such doctors would automatically make others think that they’re insane, so they’d rather stay away from help and keep to themselves. And we all know what happens when we keep everything inside. So that, couple it up with overworking and you get people saying goodbye to the world permanently.

I don’t know what you think about this bit of knowledge, but it sure got me affected. I just find it ironic that they work hard to make their lives the best, but in the process, they give up and end that very thing that they’re working on.

P.S. Even a simple chit-chat about veins and wrist cutting makes me writhe and cringe like someone’s actually trying to lacerate me, so taking a photo of my wrist is never easy. And to make my feelings worse during the “photo shoot,” I got to see my veins protruding like they’re saying hello to me (and they have the right to since it was the first time I ever paid attention to them). It was actually good as far as the photo is concerned because I think (I think) it stressed my point about wrist slashing, but the feeling I got! Ughhh… It took me a couple of takes to get that shot ‘cause I kept on producing blurred pictures, and you know why. -_-‘

*Originally posted on my Project 365 on August 3, 2011.

The Brilliantly Crafted “Mother”

There’s no bitch on earth like a mother frightened for her kids.
―Stephen King

Photo grabbed from Wikipedia

We receive the greatest love from the tender person who brought us to this world, but how far can this adoration go? In the film Mother, she’s willing to reach as far as hell, so don’t you dare provoke her.

Mother (마더 ; Madeo), a 2009 South Korean movie of the acclaimed director Bong Joon-ho, tells a story of an unnamed woman (Kim Hye-Ja) who is deeply devoted to her mentally-challenged son, Do-joon (Won Bin), to the point of taking the role of a gumshoe to clear the latter’s name, and thus, humiliating the investigators of a criminal case.

 

The film’s maternal figure lives a quiet life with her only son, Do-joon, in a village and makes a living as a medical herb seller and unlicensed acupuncturist. Then though not quite right in the head, Do-joon is the shy and quiet type, a perfectly harmless guy–except if he’s called retarded–with a pretty and innocent face.

That is, until a schoolgirl is murdered, and few evidence, like a golf ball with his name on it, say that Do-joon is the one behind it. The case is immediately closed and he is jailed, while his mother, along with her firm conviction, does all she can, dedicating her time and exhausting all her resources, to prove that her son isn’t responsible for the hideous crime.

The powerful storytelling and phasing of the movie is effective and extraordinary. Viewers will be persuaded by this mother’s careful inquisition and sneaky probing that she’s already near the truth and they will agree with her, thinking, “Yes, that’s the real one!” only to be disappointed with her because she’s actually very far from it yet. But failures don’t discourage her, after all, the title of the film ins’t named after her for nothing.

Expect multiple shocking twists thrown at the right time and impressive acting especially from the two awarding-winning actors, Kim Hye-Ja and Won Bin, in the entire 128 minutes of this magnificent film.

A real piece of art that garnered lots of awards and nominations. A must-watch, so you should see it. 🙂

“Late Blossom”: Love is Ageless, it Knows No Limit

Photo grabbed from AsianWiki

Though your hair may already be graying, your skin sagging, and wrinkles long been forming on your face, it can never be too late for true love.

Late Blossom (Keudaereul Saranghamnida ; 그대를 사랑합니다), a 2011 South Korean indie film and one of the featured films at the recent 2012 Korean Film Festival in the Philippines, revolves around the lives of four old people whose ages do not limit their abilities to love and be loved. 

 

The Story

Kim Man-Suk (Lee Soon-Jae), a milk delivery guy that uses his motorbike, is a grumpy old widower on the outside but is really soft and sweet on the inside, while Ms Song (Yun So-Jeong), a scrap paper collector and seller, is a soft-spoken old woman who is alone almost all her life. They run into each other before dawn a few times and eventually, develop a strong affection for each other.

Meanwhile, Jang Kun-Bong (Song Jae-Ho), the neighborhood parking lot manager, and Jo Soon-Yi (Kim Soo-Mi), who has Alzheimer’s disease, are a married couple who once had their three children living with them but, naturally, as they started having their own lives, left the couple living alone yet contented together.

The two couples journeyed through old age accompanied by each other’s love and new-found friendship.

Just like what I said in my blog entry, All Hail the Hallyu Wave! (2012 Korean Film Fest)Late Blossom is very touching and was worth more than the every tissue I pulled out of my pack during its screening in the film fest. I am not the emotional type, but I cried while watching the film, when my friends and I were talking about it right after seeing it, when I retold its story to my sister, and even when I remembered some of its scenes while I was on my way to work. The film was that amazing in pushing the right buttons of its audience.

And how can it fail to be great when each role, whether major or minor, was played by an actor who’s expert in his or her field, plus the fact that the South Korean film industry has a seemingly effortless ability to make everyone cry with just the right facial expressions, words, settings, and angling of the scenes. With that, it is not surprising when it became a box office hit in its home origin.

 

Thoughts, Sentiments

(Warning: Spoiler Alert)

“That’s how I wanted to grow old,” Ms Song murmurs as Jang Kun-Bong slowly walks away, relieved and thankful, while carrying his wife on his back. Already late for work, the old man accidentally leaves their home’s gate unlocked which enables his wife to go out and wander around the village, oblivious of how she’ll go back. Upon learning about this horror, Kun-Bong then spends the next hours running and shouting around the neighborhood, looking for the love of his life. When he finds her walking with Ms Song and Kim Man-Suk, he runs toward her, very much worried, and holds her tightly. This scene, filled with strong emotions, is when one can learn how powerful love is, that it can incessantly work its magic despite oldness and the other half’s shortcomings.

The enormously worried Jang Kun-bong holds his wife tightly when he finally finds her. (Screencap from Late Blossom)

Ms Song’s sentiment may be the reason the movie gets a sobbing crowd. Or at least in my case. Everybody wants to grow old with someone who shares the same passionate feeling as ours, and whose only condition in perpetually loving you is just you being at their side through good times and bad times. Just that. It doesn’t matter if you’re not able to give as long as you’re simply there, breathing the same air they breathe, and occupying the same space that they do. So just imagine that thought, coupled up with a film that shows exactly that kind of unending love rolling right before your eyes, and you’ll surely be fumbling through the things in your bag, hoping you can finally get a hold of your tissue. I’m speaking based on experience, yes.

Then as though the tears that already flowed out of your eyes aren’t enough, the film continues and later on, the viewers are presented with a weeping old man on the verge of committing suicide with his wife. He can’t take the fact that due to a severe disease, death will soon be snatching his beloved away from him. “Goodbye. I’m a timid old man. I couldn’t go on without you. So hold on to my hand. Let’s find each other again,” the married old man is saying behind the camera, as the scene zooms out showing the now departed couple, peacefully holding each other’s hand.

Again, everybody wants something like that. Who doesn’t? There’s a realest of the real love that even death can’t completely break into two. It’s somewhere out there, and the only thing you can do is wish that someday you’ll be one of the fewest lucky winners of that kind of love. But what are the chances? That is the question.

Like teenagers. Grumpy but sweet Kim Man-Suk and soft-spoken Ms Song on a date. 🙂 (Screencap from Late Blossom)

Then if sweet love exists, there’s also a bittersweet one that no matter how you admire each other, you have to willingly let go of the relationship right away out of fear for possible heartaches and sorrows.

While walking home from the late married couple’s wake, Ms Song tells Kim Man-Suk that she’s going back to her hometown ’cause due to age, both of them will both depart from the world soon, and she won’t be able to take it if the latter goes first. As a person who has been lonely almost all her life, she thinks it’s better to stop what they share right away than wait for that moment to come. Upset by what he just heard, old Man-Suk walks out, leaving behind the authentic, black leather gloves which the old woman gave her, but comes back immediately when he finally comprehends Ms Song’s sentiments. He agrees about the set up but asks the woman if they can meet each other before they both pass away. At the end, Man-Suk leaves the world looking elated while Ms Song hears the familiar sound of Man-Suk’s motorbike, opens the door, and finds him outside, flashing her a smile and inviting her for a ride. They’re finally reunited and nothing can hold back their happiness together anymore.

I read before that if a man truly loves a woman, he will let her go. Maybe that’s it, maybe that’s it. And that form of sacrifice is indeed very touching.

 

How about you, have you watched Late Blossom? Did you cry as much as I do? If so, what do you think is the reason it was able to conjure so much emotion from you? 🙂

All Hail the Hallyu Wave! (2012 Korean Film Fest)

Long before the Gangnam Style that’s still making the world dance today, South Korea has already been creating a huge impact in the Asian entertainment industry, all thanks to its relentless efforts in what is popularly known as the Korean wave. Whether music, film, or drama, admit it, we all know at least a single title from one of the mentioned sub-industries of that country.

This year, as a proof that there is no pausing for a break for its homeland, the Embassy of the Republic of Korea and the Korean Cultural Center opened the 2012 Korean Film Festival last September 18, 2012.

The 2012 Korean Film Festival ad

Starting from SM Megamall that ran until the 23rd of September, the film festival, now on its fourth year, then went to SM City Baguio from September 26 – 30, and its last stop will be at SM City Cebu from October 3 – 7, 2012.

With the theme “Family Time”, the seven featured Korean movies were all top-grossers when they were first shown in South Korea. Want to know what the movies are all about? Read on for the Korean Cultural Center‘s short descriptions about them:

Ho Hwang’s “Spellbound” is an unusual mix of horror and romance, and focuses on the love story between road magician Jo-goo and the muse for his overnight success, Yu-ri. Yu-ri is haunted by ghosts and Jo-goo, who falls in love with her, has to rise above his fears to save the two of them.

Jeon Woo Chi

The film “Jeon Woo Chi” tells the story of the eponymous playful apprentice who gets imprisoned in a scroll, having been wrongfully accused for murder. He gets freed 500 years later as a last resort to bring back the order into the world.

Bunt” deals with the mentally-challenged Dong-ku who suddenly finds himself without ‘use’ upon the arrival of water purifiers. In an attempt to use his only capabilty, Dong-ku finds himself joining the baseball team.

The sports drama “A Barefoot Dream” is a story of a former soccer prospect who heads to his dreams, the International Youth Soccer Championship, albeit with numerous almost-failures of detours.

Also in the list is the drama “Late Blossom“, a heartwarming film on the lives of the two couples living not far apart from each other. It follows the two couples’ respective struggles on life and love.

Arahan

Arahan” follows the story of the honest yet clumsy rookie policeman Sang-hwan and the martial arts specialist Eui Jin. Together they fight the evil Heuk-woon whose greed wreaks havoc to mankind.

The musical-comedy “Highway Star” tells the story of Dal-Ho and his dream. Dal-Ho wants to become a famous rock singer, but was forced to play trot to make ends meet. He later gets the chance to release an album but belatedly realized that he has to sing trot instead of rock n’ roll. His shame drives him to hide his face but his voice and his mysteriousness catapult him to unprecedented success.

Admission was free to every movie and was on a first-come, first-served basis. And you know what they say about the opportunities that aren’t grabbed, so my friends and I watched three out of the seven (Four for my guy friend) at the first leg of the film fest, one on the 21st, A Barefoot Dream, and two on the 22nd, Late Blossom and Arahan.

A Barefoot Dream

I can confidently say that all that we saw are worth watching. A Barefoot Dream showing had the most fun audience I’ve ever belonged with. It was like watching a live Manny Pacquiao bout where people react and cheer enthusiastically to the players in the film. The crowd might only be making fun of it, but it was really enjoyable that my friends and I finally joined a little while later. And the story is so much inspiring.

If the first film made us laugh big time, Late Blossom, though it also gave us the right dose of humor, is very touching and was worth more than the every tissue I pulled out of my pack. Aside from the screening itself, I found myself crying when we were going back to some scenes we loved after watching it, when I told the story to my sister the next day, and when I remembered my favorite movie parts while I was on my way to work. That was how much it affected me, in fact, it was the only film that was able to squeeze so much tears out of my dry eyes. Seriously. This film deserves more than five stars!

Then there was Arahan, which isn’t really my cup of tea. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s also a good one as far as effects, humor, and plot go, but sometimes, there are things that aren’t for our tastes, and in my case, it’s this. And I guess it isn’t one of my friends’, too. There was this moment I found funny in the cinema when all of us, the viewers, were laughing at a scene and I noticed through my peripheral vision that this friend wasn’t showing any sign that she was with us, so I looked at her and saw that she was actually sleeping. haha. So there, the proof that it isn’t the type of film she’ll be into, too.

I shall be writing separate reviews of these three Korean films in this blog in the next days.

We were supposed to see Spellbound, too, but luck wasn’t on our side by that time anymore. After eating our scrumptious dinner at Pizza Hut, we went straight to the cinema at 8pm only to be greeted by so many people also vying to see the movie on the big screen for free.

That much people lined up for the Sep. 22, 8:30pm screening of Spellbound at SM Megamall.

We didn’t give up easily at the sight of the mass, mind you. We hoped and tried to fall in line, and yeah, we even dared and asked other people, who seemed to already have sure spots inside, if we could cut in, but to no avail. Hehe So much for trying to cheat our way to the cinema. But we were that eager to see it!

I have two theories on why all of a sudden there were too many who wanted to see Spellbound: One, people, mostly Korean entertainment fans, have read its synopsis on the Internet, and, just like us, found it decent and so the reason for the line. Two, hey, it was Saturday night, the official start of the day-off for those who work six times a week, so why not begin relaxing by watching something on the big screen for free? That’s just a line, let’s fall in line! Aja!

At the end, we weren’t able to get in, but despite that, at least we had so much fun by taking a lot of photos as the line advanced. Then since the night was still young, we headed to Seattle’s Best Coffee, sat on the chairs, and no, we didn’t order anything (Good thing the crew didn’t reprimand us or anything). Just made ourselves comfortable there, talked about the past and wondered about our other batchmates, and other stuff that signal that we are truly getting older.

Ahh… The joy of being with long-time friends.

Cam-whoring with friends as the loooooonnnnngggg line to the Spellbound Sep. 22, 8:30pm screening at SM Megamall’s Cinema 9 progressed. At the end, we weren’t able to get in, but these photos… At least there are these photos. 🙂 (Photos grabbed from Yuko Konishi-Legaspi ; Edited by yours truly)

Wait! The Korean Film Fest isn’t over! Are you in Cebu? Well, you are most welcomed to watch the seven Korean films from October 3 – 7 at SM City Cebu. Check out the schedule below:

SM City Cebu schedule from http://www.koreanculture.ph

Be amazed and inspired, laugh, cry a river, and please don’t forget to bring a lot of tissue when you watch Late Blossom.

Enjoy! 😉