Pinocchio (2014 Korean drama)

We live in a world inundated with half-truths and outright lies. The thirst for honesty should surely be as deep as a stranded desert trekker’s yearning for water.

The heroine of drama Pinocchio is encumbered with a curious, magical disorder afflicting one in 43 people that sends her into hiccups whenever she lies. These hiccups persist until she divulges the truth. To her exasperation, she can barely find a line of work she can survive in without lying. Whether it is lawyering, politics, book authoring or acting, hardly any profession tolerates people who cannot lie. So she takes up reporting—a job which mission is (supposedly) to reveal truths.

Obligatory lies, however, are not the reserve of the sphere of business relations or dramaland. A husband may find it hard not to answer in the negative when his wife of 25 years asks if she has not aged, however physically impossible that is. A potential employee, on the other hand, may feel obliged to answer in the affirmative when queried on his passion for the job, never mind that he needs it solely because it is his only viable source of income. People with stigmatized sexual orientations are sometimes forced to disguise their true natures even in front of peers and relatives to avoid social repercussions. Those with mental disorders face a moral dilemma whenever they reach the questionnaire section of insurance or college application forms. The pressure to lie, it seems, lurks in every corner of society.

Yet gems of beauty lie in many of those concealed truths. A man may be loving a woman even as time leaves its mark on her—his is a timeless love that transcends physical attraction. The pursuit of money may come across as shallow in contrast, but money can support a family and giving up one’s true dreams for his family is surely an act of nobility, which in turn suggests a spirit of selflessness certainly of value in the workplace. Similarly salutary are college-bound young adults who struggle against their inner demons to stake out a future for themselves instead of holing up in their homes and waiting for welfare payouts. A dedicated gay lover, meanwhile, may fight tooth and nail for the man he loves whereas a heterosexual philanderer leaves one woman after another in tears. Society, unfortunately, does not always have the patience to understand such meaningful complexities and nuances of human life. To cope with a way of life that thrives on instincts, stereotypes and simplistic conclusions, which warp the meaning of the truths, these gems of beauty are buried by their possessors under the slime of lies.

Until more of us take time to appreciate those truths for what they are, and until holders of the truths speak out for their value instead of debasing them through disgraceful acts of deception, we may have to content ourselves with a made-up world in wait of the proliferation of a made-up disorder to set things straight.

Lies, Lies and Lies                  The Drama                    Philosophy Resources                    Drama Resources

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