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Jakarta, Indonesia
a sucker for city lights.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


If you've known me for a long time, since I was young I always have the tendency to go "West", and by "West" I mean I tend to gravitate towards Western pop culture rather than Asian pop culture. To be more specific, I lean towards American and Hollywood pop culture rather than British pop culture for example. I've always been more into American TV series rather than anime, J-Dorama or K-Drama, American music over local and Japanese/Korean music. I like translated novels from American writers rather than our local writer. I don't really know why but I guess I've always had that tendency. 

I don't have prejudice against local or Asian pop culture, I think it's because I kinda "get trapped" in the cycle of liking American pop culture. Starting from liking the series, then I read the novels they based the series on. When I start to like the actress/actors, I'll listen to the their song (if they happen to be singer as well, like, uhm, I used to have Hannah Montana's song in my MP3 player), then I follow their life via internet or magazine. I remember there were times that I check PerezHilton.com and JustJared.com on daily basis to check on celebrity's latest gossip (I must've had a lot of free time back then, lol). I was obsessed with Meg Cabot's writings, starting from The Princess Diaries to other series. In 8th and 9th grade I started watching American TV series like The O.C and Gossip Girl ( Dira would remember this, because I kinda started watching them because of her :P ). Now when I think about it, those series are absolutely inappropriate for kids my age lol due to the adult content in them *ceritanya udah gede jadi sensitif sama konten yang tidak baik untuk anak-anak dibawah umur*

I think that's how it began. I never really thought that's a problem (well, now I don't think it's a problem or anything, but back then it was kinda a big deal) until when I started preparing to go on my exchange student program. I was ashamed that I'm more into American culture than my own culture. I don't speak any native language other than Bahasa Indonesia, my knowledge on Indonesian culture is very basic too. I told my host Mom about this, but then she reassured me that it's okay to like other culture, it's not like I betrayed my country or anything, which actually gave me a huge relief that it is okay.

So as I progressed to high school, I found out that Korean pop culture is actually getting really huge in Indonesia. I've never paid much attention to them though, back then and until quite recently ( one or two years ago) I always thought that all male Korean star are rather pretty than handsome, and I'm not attracted to "pretty boy". In addition, I have zero knowledge of the language so I'm not attracted at all to the whole Korean wave. I also have this kind of fear, seeing that so many of friends got sucked into the Korean wave (or Hallyu) and they all went all out, like, spending so much money watching concert, obsessively loving a certain drama, buying pre-order albums and merchandises, sleeping in the concert venue a day before. I'm scared that I'll turn "crazy" like them, so that just add to my list of "why I never even try to like Korean pop culture"

Then one day, still during high school, I kinda gave in and asked Dira if I could watch the Korean version of Meteor Garden (which is the Taiwanese version of Hana Yori Dango) titled Boys Over Flowers, simply because I already know the storyline. It's a long one, 24 episodes of 1 hour each, very cheesy story too - a rich, son of chaebol, pretty boy got tamed by a energetic and optimistic poor girl)...and I fell head over heels in love with the series. Darn it! It's just so good; it makes me laugh, makes me cry (never happens with Western drama) makes me feel. It was my ultimate guilty pleasure. My prejudice of all Korean boy being "just pretty boy" starting to change; but by just a tiny little bit. I refused to watch other series after this, because I'm scared that I'll be addicted to Korean Drama. 

In college, since I am a big fan of Lee Min Ho (the main lead in Boys Over Flowers, God look at his long legs *drools*) about a year and a half ago, I started looking into his other works such as Personal Taste, City Hunter, and The Heirs. And again, I fell in love. Not only for him, but for K-Drama as a whole.

ini lho si abang lagi ngopi

And from there, I started watching other KDrama, starting from the more popular one. It's Okay, That's Love hands down is one of the greatest I've watched so far. So good, so many feelings. Prepare a towel or tons of tissues if you're planning to watch this. Damn! Healer is a good one too, satisfying story line and casts. Marriage, Not Dating is such a cliche story, almost FTV-like kinda, but well executed and managed to dig deeper than just the gimmicky dynamics between the main lead. It's also really funny. Let's Eat! 1 and 2 amazed me. I mean, how, just how do you make food the center of a drama? But they did and they did it well, simple story with lots of great shoots of food. Just recently I started watching the Reply franchise, they are Reply 1997, Reply 1994, and Reply 1988. And I kid you not. One of the greatest, ever, drama I've ever ever watched. They are franchise but have different casts and stories for each series. These series are just amazing. I can go on and on about how great they are but you need to watch it to understand. If you're a sucker for a coming-of-age type of stories like I do, you need to watch them. I guarantee you'll laugh and cry and your faith in humanity will be restored.

there's TONS of great lines; very quotable!

I'm trying to make sense of what makes KDrama so good and so addictive, and it comes down to these :

1. Most of them (well at least the kind that I watch) are only 16 to 23 episodes long.
It's great because you get to move on after you watch one (or, heartbroken because it's ended) but the stories are complete. Unlike Western drama that keep running for more seasons in which the quality is not always up to the standard it used to be and then they canceled the show. What a bummer. No need to worry about that with KDrama, most of the time you are guaranteed a closure.

2. Well written (and well executed) storyline
Maybe because it has already been decided on the number of episodes. But most of the series I've watched have amazing storyline that it stunned me like how did humanity get to this point that we're able to produce such good show? I also love how they always pay attention to simple details that later will be revealed that it actually symbolizes something. KDrama makes such a good material for a discourse analysis. Like in Let's Eat 2, who would've thought that the Roomba we've seen over and over can be turned into something so symbolic and meaningful.

3. The music
Yassss the music. They know how to incorporate good music in the drama. Let me tell you, there's a lot of flashback scenes with mellow music in KDrama. Like in almost every single series I watch ed have that kind of scenes. Sounds...cheesy right? Trust me, cheesy will be the last thing you'll think of when you actually get to watch them in the series because you will be busy wiping your own tears. Even when you don't understand what the song is about (99% of the time I have no idea) you just get it. And when you understand what the song is about you'll cry harder.

4. The proximity
I'm not sure if it's true, but being Asian, I think we do have a lot in common with Koreans. In series that feature "normal" life (like Reply series) I find that a lot of things could be easily found here in our daily life. The dynamic relation between parents and sons/daughters, the friendship style, the daily struggles , are something that I think most people here have experienced as well.

5. The cast
Korean actors and actresses in general are always good looking. The fashion are not bad too! Also, I noticed that somehow they make the actors and actresses prettier by each episodes, that by the end of the finale you'll ask yourself why did it take you so long to realize how amazingly good looking they are. You're probably going to fall in love with them too.

Still not buying how great KDramas are?

Try to watch the latest' KDrama obsession : Descendants of the Sun. It's so good that the Chinese gov actually released a warning of its "dangers".

Well, I have to admit that I'm a convert  to Korean wave. I gave in and I have no regrets.

did I mention that they have such a great sense of humor?

1 comment:

Andira Putri Chairuni said...

Hahahahahaha Nad! Turned out that it's Marriage Not Dating that we forgot yesterday :o
I think all of us who watched Korean dramas could relate to your post eventhough our stories are not exactly the same. Anyway, another reason why K-Drama is interesting it looks real if you compare with Indonesian one (that's what most of my thesis respondents said).

PS: Can't believe you know a word chaebol now hahaha