Series Review: GOBLIN

Descendants Of The Sun. Love In The Moonlight. Goblin.

These are the list of the dramas that took Korea (and beyond) by storm in the past 12 months, and Goblin is the most recent one – about a goblin (duh) who has lived a thousand (ok fine, 939) years and has to meet his bride who’s the only one who can end his torturous immortal life. It’s a star-crossed lovers premise, albeit with different circumstances and stakes — i love you but i have to kill you to end your pain — that could have gone down the route of weepy painful angst. But thankfully, Goblin tried its best to circumvent that troupe, to decent success.

What Goblin pulled off very well was in building its supernatural world filled with ghosts, deities, grim reapers, and goblins, very very believably. It didn’t feel tacky or cringe-worthy, even when Gong Yoo had an invisible sword sticking out of his chest (which was actually not CGI). The rules of the world were crafted with sufficient detail for the audience to be entirely immersed in this separate world. Each episode left you with enough revelations and new rules that made you itching to find out more about this hidden world.

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While Kim Go-eun and Gong Yoo pulled off stellar performance, it was really the side stories that made this show so addictive. The bromance between the Goblin and the Grim Reaper ranks one of the best ever in K-drama history, with the childishness and pettiness of the two boys bringing out the actor’s comedic chops, mixed with their reluctant-but-growing care and concern for each other, which was against the conduct of their “warring races”. The second couple, Grim Reaper & Sunny also enjoyed a more exciting and heart-wrenching love story, with their love ignited in their previous lives, but having no lasting memory of it but still kinda feeling the attraction. It sold the whole idea of love never dies and soulmates forever wonderfully and you can’t help but root for them behind it all. It was actually really beautiful the way the show tied in their past lives with their present, and the constant morsels of flashbacks just kept you wanting moarr.

The plot did get repetitive at points with the damsel-in-distress constantly needing to be saved from danger, and the typical noble idiocy of hiding the truth from you for your own good. But it never failed to recover from it quickly to give us the poignant moments and the sweet relationships developments. It was a complicated world and it felt like one. The stakes were serious and lasting, and the audience realized it. The budget was probably crazily high with the amount of effort put into the props and location shoots, but it elevated the show and the atmosphere that much more.

I really appreciate that this show gave the main cast much of the recognition they deserved, since most of them have met with middling response in most of their recent dramas. When faced with such a out-of-the-world premise, it was really the character immersion that sold the strange strange plot. They were in it, they committed, and they delivered. The casting was spot-on and the chemistry was almost always on fire.

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The Adele/Beyoncé Sismance (?) Lives On

So the Grammy’s happened yesterday, and Adele won Song, Record, and Album of the year, over Beyoncé who was also a nominee in all of those categories. There’s been a lot of shade about Adele’s 25 winning Album Of the Year, since the winner herself felt that Beyoncé was sorely overlooked for that award (black representation and all)

SO SHE BROKE HER TROPHY TO SHARE IT WITH BEYONCE!

“But I can’t possibly accept this award. And I’m very humbled and I’m very grateful and gracious. But my artist of my life is Beyoncé. And this album to me, the “Lemonade” album, is just so monumental. Beyoncé, it’s so monumental. And so well thought out, and so beautiful and soul-baring and we all got to see another side to you that you don’t always let us see. And we appreciate that. And all us artists here adore you. You are our light.

And the way that you make me and my friends feel, the way you make my black friends feel, is empowering. And you make them stand up for themselves. And I love you. I always have and I always will. Grammys, I appreciate it. The academy, I love you. My manager, my husband and my son. You’re the only reason I do it. Thank you so much. Thank you very much to everybody.”

And Beyonce was understandably in a puddle of tears after that.

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#coolestCEOaward

At CNY lunch, CEO of my company was sitting at my table. The topic settled on what people do on long flights…

Person 1: I like to watch Billions, it’s this drama about insider trading

CEO: Oh, I don’t like watching all these finance stuff on flights, I already see so much of it at work.

Me: Then what do you do?

CEO: I watch Korean dramas

Me: *immediately sits upright* YOU WATCH KOREAN DRAMAS?

CEO: Yes, I watch it to destress. The latest one I watched was Doctors, with the –

Me: PARK SHIN-HYE?

CEO: Ah yes yes. My favourite one so far is that alien drama –

Me: YOU FROM ANOTHER STAR?

CEO: Ah yes that one. I really liked it. I really like the male lead actor –

Me: KIM SOO-HYUN?

CEO: Yeah, him. He’s really good at acting, I really like him.

Me: *jaw still hanging loose*

Yes, newest development in my work place, breaking news: My company CEO watches Korean dramas and is a Kim Soo-hyun fan. Hohoho.

Anyway, my department boss was joking later that we all needed to start watching Korean dramas so we could discuss it with our CEO. And I offered to be the subject expert hehehe

Happy Chinese New Year! 

Happy new year to all! It’s the year of the rooster, aka my year, aka the year I turn 24. Sigh. 23 still sounded pretty young to me, but 24…seems to be a new high. 
The colleagues around me at work still think of me as some 20-year old xiaomeimei. Boss invited me to a meeting that day and this is the ensuing conversation that happened:

(I walk into the meeting room) 

Colleague 1: Did we invite the 15-yesr old prodigy? 

Me: 15???

Colleague 2: Oh, are you 17 already? 

Me: Guys, I’m turning 24 this year. 

Colleague 1: So old already? You’ve been with us for so long already? 

Yes indeed, I’ve committed 3.5 years of my youth to my workplace. 

It didn’t even strike me that I was turning 24 this year until I started seeing roosters being plastered everywhere and it struck me that it has come back to me after 2 years round the zodiac. Oh wells, I just have to embrace aging. 

Whole bunch of relatives sat down to watch Train to Busan today, and even if the main highlight of the show is the zombies, one if my aunties (who is a Lit teacher) pinpointed a lot of motifs and symbols littered throughout the show. Which was really fascinating, but also maybe a post for another day. *lightbulb*

Movie Review: Arrival

[Spoiler Alert!]

Caught Arrival a couple of weeks ago, where M, S and I were looking for something to spend our Friday night on. (since they both skipped an IMPT meeting and we all ended up being available and bored).

Arrival is mainly about the arrival of twelve spacecrafts on earth, and Louise (Amy Adams), a linguist expert, is sent to make communication with the heptapods. As she tries to learn their language and attempts to communicate with them, she starts receiving visions of her and her daughter.

In a quite unexpected twist, it’s revealed that these visions are not flashbacks, but flashforwards. The heptapods bring the gift of seeing the future to Earth, and thus Louise was able to get glimpses of her future.

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*drumroll*

The most important flash-forward being that, she would marry Ian (the fellow physicist in the mission), and have a daughter. But, her daughter would die before reaching adulthood. Yet despite knowing the future of her daughter-to-be, she still decides to marry Ian and have a child with him.

It’s a fascinating conundrum, would you choose the same path of misery if you knew misery was going to befall? Is there value in the path itself, or is the end result enough to scare you offi the path entirely? I feel like theoretically, it’s easy to be gung-ho and say, yeah I would totally still choose the path. But when faced with it in reality, I’m not even sure how you would begin to think about it.

I went into the theatre, fairly sleepy and with zero expectations. But wow, let me tell you, the suspense is superbly handled and executed. The music was insanely good, constantly putting me on the edge of my seat. There could be literally nothing happening during a scene, but the music was enough to drive me crazy and keep me super tense for majority of the movie. It reminded me a lot of Maze Runner, which also had a fairly simply plot and set, but was entirely elevated by the great directing cuts and music score.

Rating: 4.8/5

A wife who loses a husband is called a widow. A husband who loses a wife is called a widower. A child who loses his parents is called an orphan. There is no word for a parent who loses a child. That’s how awful the loss is.” ― Jay Neugeboren, An Orphan’s Tale

마지막 한국어 수업 (Last Korean Lesson)

It’s quite sad but yesterday marks my last lesson after learning Korean for 2+ years at Sejong. I took 1 year of Korean during uni days, and decided to continue learning at Sejong since it was right opposite my office. It was part of my weekly schedule, to have one day that I got off work punctually at 6.15 to go for my 6.30 class.

I got really lucky with the classes that I joined because as good as the teacher was, my fellow classmates were the ones who really brightened up the class with their liveliness and jokes. The banter with the teacher was always entertaining, and I truly looked forward to every week. And while my Korean ability has definitely improved (proven by my 2 weeks immersion while roadtripping around Korea), it was really more for the people that I faithfully went every week.

The teacher didn’t know that our class wasn’t continuing til next week, but when he found out, he gave a little speech and got a little teary-eyed 😥 I think his attachment to our class was deeper than most, but he’s off to be a good hubby and dad to his family, so we can’t really blame him for it either. The class is definitely something I’m going to miss, and it seems like I’m gonna need to make some effort on my part so that my ability doesn’t go into ‘auto-delete’ mode, the way my German skills did.

Many people ask me why I bother learning Korean, since it’s a useless language in the sense that only one small country in the world speaks it. For me, learning Korean was never about the usefulness of it, it was just a hobby that collided with my other interests. I love meeting fellow students who have an equally passionate interest in the Korean culture, and it’s encouraging to know that everyone in the class is also there just ’cause. My whole foray into learning Korean was a fairly random decision, a senior year impulse where I just yolo-ed and signed up for Beginner Korean. I’m pretty surprised myself that I’ve persevered at it for so many years already, and maybe, just maybe… God will have a greater use for my interest in this area.

Sigh. Gotta start watching more K-dramas and shows to help maintain my knowledge hoho

OK so things didn’t go as badly as I thought it might have. Through my error, we also discovered another error so we could take the chance to revamp and start anew. Thank God for this outcome.

And my 12-page minutes eventually got done. Spent the whole of yesterday chionging it out, I think 12th January 2017 can enter my list of top 10 most productive days.

Met an old friend who’s studying overseas 2 days ago, and I realize meeting in person is miiiless different from just chatting online, even if the conversation is very fruitful. Meeting in person, you are kinda guaranteed you are that person’s only focus and priority for that time. But chatting online, you just have no clue if the friend has one million other things/programmes running in the background and you’re just one of the many. and knowing that you’re each other’s top priority during the meetup is always a good signal to have, and the energy injected by both parties is just different.

Also went for Korean class on Wednesday night after 1 month of absence (holidays and all), and I realized how much I missed it. I’m not sure how I can fill the gap when I eventually have no more levels to attend. The main goal of attending Korean class is less about the learning, but more about the maintenance of my skills. Because from my experience of learning German, staying off it for months causes a huge drop in skill level to the point that I’m not sure if I can even understand any German now. But Korean is something I really want to pursue and excel at, so I might have to start looking for other ways to keep on practicing.

And hehe my Cebuano resolution has not been going well. I found a manual online to learn from scratch and printed 12 pages of it to study as and when I have time. I guess I just always find something else better to do =( But ok, that’s a reminder to get to it now.