If a writer’s work can save a life, should we be finicky about the medium the finished product officially appears in? Quite a number of us must be wishing we could turn back time and dissuade someone from taking his or her own life, however devastating circumstances might have been. Planned for slightly more than half a decade since the year a colleague committed suicide, screenwriter Kim Eun-sook’s hit drama Goblin (available on Dramafever) tells the tale of a Korean mythical being known as dokkaebi, often loosely translated as “goblin,” who longs to end his 939 years of immortal existence only to change his mind when he develops feelings for the human bride sent by God to fulfill this wish. Viewership soared to record-breaking numbers for Korean cable television history as the couple and their offbeat friends confronted the implications of life, death, suffering and co-existence with the miraculous, alongside heartbreaking dilemmas of living for their love versus dying for others. Adding more pathos to the series is the common tragic sin the formidable-looking army of amnesiac grim reaper bureaucrats in their universe are revealed to be undergoing rehabilitation for.
Kim Eun-sook’s love for language is palpable not only in her lyrical sentences, including those used in scene descriptions found only on the script, and humorous wordplay, but also in her well-thought-out choices of poetry for mood creation purposes. Selected from the anthology Maybe The Stars Will Take Away Your Sorrow, Kim In-yook’s entrancing lines in “The Physics of Love” mark the goblin’s awakening to love and perhaps the allure of life, while Hortense Vlou’s short but unforgettable French poem “Desert” brings out the bleakness of isolated existence. On February 10, 2017, sponsoring publisher Wisdom House shared that other books featured in this 2016-7 production include:
- One Word From God – Japanese author Hiroshi Ogiwara’s salaryman novel touching on work-related suicides
- The Lives of Real Men – collection of meditative letters from Joseon scholars
- Let’s Meet! There’s No More Time for Love – collection of healing essays by Korean multidisciplinary arts practitioner Shin Hyun-rim
- This Unfinished Life [Chinese title] / Why I Live Today [Korean title] – deceased Chinese professor Yu Juan’s answer to The Last Lecture
- The Time of One Spoon – Korean writer Ku Byung-mo’s fantasy novel in which a key character lives on bravely despite setbacks
There is no such thing as a free lunch, but it sure is hard to lament too much during the times the television industry pays for its costly diet of (God/goblin/reaper/ghost-inflicted) vehicle wreckage by offering nutrition for the soul.
Here is the announcement you have been scrolling down for: Suicide is not a risk emerging only on World Suicide Prevention Day. All year round, we need reminders about the sacredness of life and about the importance of being patient for things to work out, be this through self-growth, perspective changes, or arrival of unanticipated help. So, RECOMMEND a book, play or screen production that would curb suicidal ideation and give all of us a strong reason to live on. The work need not be Asian or fiction, but should preferably contain no evangelical content.
If you have a social media account, post a description of the work and attach the tag “APC Friends Against Suicide” (for Twitter users, that would have to be #APCFriendsAgainstSuicide) so that we can see each other’s recommendation. To save time, you can also choose to type a simple reply with the title of the work in the comment section below or tweet the name to APC. Selected responses will be shared on Dinner Talk With The A-Philosopher’s Chair, the Tumblr extension of The Asian Drama Philosopher (A-Philosopher)’s Chair, if time permits.
Help a reader choose endurance over death and help APC drum up much-needed support for its existing articles on inter/intra-group biases and cognitive illusions. Let everybody keep an open mind to the possibilities of life!