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Beethoven is a Blanket

Poster of Jung Cha-sik (Ji Soo) in 2016 Korean drama special Page Turner

“It was like spraying water onto a blanket-clad child.

Fretting that she might have a hard time, I stinted on water for myself and sprinkled it on her.
But the cotton blanket absorbed the water and weighed her down.
How painful it must have been for her tiny shoulders to bear such weight!
Yet I did not even know this and kept spraying.

The blanket loved for its dryness and softness became an abominable object.
The mother suffered because of her thirst.
The child suffered because of her heavy shoulders.

I will give you the piano for free. Do not touch your fund. And do not tie your life to your child’s. The burden will snuff out his life.
A mother should not turn a child’s dream into a nightmare.”

Page Turner

Colorful piano in star writer Park Hye-ryun's 2016 Korean drama special Page Turner

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Simoleon Physiology

 

1.

“Metaphors are powerful. No matter how subtle and sophisticated we would like to believe we are in our thinking, basic visual or tactile images create the very foundations of our thought. Compared to clockwork images of economies, the metaphor of ‘the economy as a beating heart’ seems to be particularly apt. The heart has a particular physical structure (valves and chambers) and regularity of functioning. Imagining the economy as a heart recognizes that it also has structures (institutions) and regularities, which is not different from imagining it as a machine. But because the heart is a living, vital organ, additional highly relevant insights flow from this metaphor.

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Devotion

Xue Shao (Winston Chao) and Princess Taiping (Zhou Xun) in 2000 Chinese historical drama Da Ming Gong Ci / Daming Gong Ci

The Poets’ Camp

Prince Consort Xue Shao:
[Y]our mother (Empress Wu below) killed her to fulfill the romantic fantasy you conjured on a whim! Which was the same as killing me! […] [T]he day you and I married became my wife’s death anniversary. I once thought of giving you the cold shoulder to punish you for the wrong you did to the idea of love, tormenting your feelings to pay homage to her spirit. But I was wrong. You’re not the cold and selfish princess I imagined. On the contrary, you’re not willful, unreasonable or arrogant. Scarier still, you’re loyal. All these years, I kept fearing that I would grow irrevocably in love with you. Now, my fear has come true—Princess, I…I have fallen for you. I tried mustering all my willpower to resist it, but there was nothing I could do! The hatred in my heart was no defense against your purity and loyalty! Yet how can I develop romantic affection for you? […] What does that make of my vow to my wife? […]

Princess Taiping (shaken and learning the truth only now):
Please pardon my…my mother’s sins, on account of the fact that you now return my love…

Prince Consort Xue Shao (before thrusting a sword into his heart):
No, one can encounter happiness numerous times over the course of his life, but he can commit himself to only one thread of happiness among them.

 

The Pragmatists’ Camp

Empress Wu:
A person who has suffered misfortune usually has two choices: Live, so that he can rewrite a happy destiny and let others share his joy; die, such that his fate becomes more wretched and others are forcibly buried along with him. If a man tortures one woman for the sake of keeping another woman in loving memory, he cannot hold a candle to even the meanest womenfolk on earth, let alone be considered an honest individual.

 

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The Scent of a Mature Woman

Cheng You Qing (Ariel Lin)'s clock scene in the first episode of 2011 Taiwanese drama In Time With You

The First Early Sign of Aging: The more recent events are, the more readily they are forgotten. Conversely, the more distant memories are, the higher the likelihood they are retained.

What every girl once wished would let her run faster so that she could grow enough to own her first pair of high heels, but makes the now 29-year-old me suddenly miss my 17-year-old self—that pair of white canvas shoes.

The First Standard of a Mature Woman: Finally knowing how to throw a beautiful punch in the face of evil, the way we stride with poise in our high heels.  Continue reading

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Sugar-Coated Haws and Hibiscus Cake

Ma'ertai Ruoxi (Cecilia Liu / Liu Shishi) in 2011 Chinese Drama Scarlet Heart / Startling by Each Step / Bubu Jingxin

Ruoxi: I loved to eat sugar-coated haws when I was young, finding them crisp, sweet and tangy. It was a refreshing experience to taste them once in a while. Later on, my father thought them unhygienic and refused to buy them for me, but that only made their taste even more unforgettable in my mind. I always thought that they were the most delectable food under the sun. Although I also liked the hibiscus cake I usually had, I felt that sugar-coated haws were superior. One day, I finally got to eat sugar-coated haws again. What do you think I felt, Your Highness?

Yin’e (a prince forced to marry another woman instead of Ruoxi years ago): You must be over the moon.

Ruoxi: Wrong, I felt disappointed, greatly disappointed. At that instant, I wondered, this snack is not unpalatable, but it definitely cannot hold a candle to hibiscus cakes, so why did I think that it is more delicious than hibiscus cakes? I then tried not eating hibiscus cakes for three months and found myself missing them terribly. Only then did I realize that what I loved most was the hibiscus cake. Your Highness, I am the sugar-coated haws, and Her Highness is the hibiscus cake. The hibiscus cake is always within reach, so you do not find it special as time passes. Sugar-coated haws, in contrast, have become tastier in your memory because you cannot have them. If, however, you were to lose your hibiscus cake one day, you would discover that it is what you love most dearly.

Season of Waiting                         The Drama

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Smoke and Mirrors

My Daughter Seo-Young (2012 Korean Drama)

“How much can a person understand another person?

To what extent does the shop owner I see now and then know me? People cannot possibly see through one another simply because they are in each other’s sight every day. Even blood relatives and married couples have trouble reading each other’s minds.

The human mind is so vast and deep, with layers of thoughts intertwining endlessly within it. Yet people often only look at others through the mirrors they hold in their hands.

How possible is it to understand someone’s heart with the aid of nothing more than one’s own experiences and knowledge?

In life, there are bound to be moments when an individual has to make certain choices against his or her better wishes.”

– The elderly protagonist’s conversation with his son-in-law in My Daughter Seo-Young

My Daughter Seo-Young (2012 Korean Drama)

Fathers in the Modern Age                                  The Drama

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Badukisms

Misaeng Episode 3 Dream - Baduk Masters

  1. “The game goes on even after you lose a stone.”
  2. “When you lose the whole game during a make-or-break situation, you wonder what you’ve made so many moves for. Even if you have won a life-and-death battle or a tough multi-opponent fight, if you lose at the end of the journey, you will feel that those small wins have been meaningless. If, however, you win the game during a make-or-break situation, you can see a different world. You will be very grateful to the stone that sealed your victory in the situation and appreciate the value of all the moves you’ve made. The honest efforts you put in at every moment make your triumph in this kind of situation possible. Missing the moments means losing the whole and consequently, failure.”
  3. “There is no meaningless stone on the baduk board [Note: Baduk refers to the game of Go]. There is no meaningless product in a company’s portfolio. The reason a stone gets isolated or lost is because the player has failed to strategize well. The reason a product flounders is because the company has failed to see ahead or plan well. Let a trapped stone die but also use the failure to plot for gains. A failed product will fail in the end, but use it as a basis to plan for better products.”
  4. “A move is determined to a great extent by the preceding move. To understand why your opponent is making the current move, you must look at the previous move. To understand why the other party is agitated, you must check where a problem has occurred with his/her gameplay so far.”
  5. “Should I tell you why your game will not improve? You are too preoccupied with rules and previous examples. Of course, you should research and master techniques, but could a game have been passed down till now without any innovation? Break the norms. Go down an unconventional path.”
  6. “Resisting the strong temptation to jump into a risky situation and walking your own path silently is also a type of courage. It’s unwise to react immediately at the emergence of a counter-current. Going about your usual way in the face of disruption can be a form of counter-current to your opponent. Hence, keeping your cool is actually the best defense and a means of attack.”
  7. “Everyone has his/her own baduk game[, with its unique set of motivations and circumstances].”

 

The Philosophy of Baduk                  The Drama

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Upwards

My Love From Another Star - Chun Song-yi (Jun Ji-hyun / Gianna Jun) on red carpet

“The human mind seems to work exactly this way:

Whenever one sees a person at a seemingly better position than himself, he does not think, ‘Ah, I too must go there.’

Instead, he contemplates, ‘Come down to this abyss. Come down and join me.’

Sorry, but I won’t go to the abyss you dwell in.

Lowering myself to live in a hell of jealousy and hatred—I won’t do that.

So stop gesturing for me to go down.”

Cheon Song-yi in My Love from the Star

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Fairy Tale: Bread and Butter Version

Oh Dong-Hoon and Webtoon Editor in the Finale of Korean Drama Flower Boys Next Door

“A woman who sleeps only four hours a day is so burned out that she goes through dramatic mood swings. A man who has to take on part-time jobs every night is so pragmatic that even his ideal type is someone who meets his practical needs. In this world full of tribulations and perils, these two people have a firm and solid relationship in which they can co-sign each other’s debts. They are very clear that love is not the kind of fantasy where a paramour plucks an unreachable star from the sky to gift to the object of his or her admiration. The love story of this young couple is precisely the authentic romance found in real life.”

Flower Boys Next Door

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Somewhere

Somewhere

Alice/Joo-won: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?

Cheshire Cat/Ra-im: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.

Alice/Joo-won: I don’t much care where –

Cheshire Cat/Ra-im: Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.

Alice/Joo-won: – so long as I get somewhere.

Cheshire Cat/Ra-im: Oh, you’re sure to do that, if you only walk long enough.

 

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