Monday, November 30, 2009

Wounded by the worded sword

picture from here
In keeping with my increased infatuation with my Asian film heart throbs, I went in search of found one Korea's many soaps "Full House" (2004). Starring megastar Rain and the talented Song Hye Kyo in the male and female leads, the romantic comedy follows the lives of two people forced to cohabitate due to unforseen circumstances.

Ten minutes into the show, I was hooked and I quickly settled down to enjoy what is to be a 16 episode instalment. As an aspiring filmmaker, I noted in addition to the engaging and thoroughly executed plot, techniques that maximised the fact that it was shot on digital video and not on 35mm like the shows in the West. I could not help comparing to the offerings produced in my own country and it was very clear that ours fell short. There was something, however that stuck out like a sore thumb, rearing its head, every couple minutes or so to prevent me from really falling in love with the story.

Lee Yeung Jae, played by Rain who can curently be seen flexing his insane body on the theatre screens in the just-released Ninja Assasin--review to come later--marries Han Jye Yon (Song Hye Kyo) in a contract of convenience with the end result being that she would be able to get the house she was duped out of by two bumpling fools she called best friends, who then went on to sell the house to him. In keeping with the basic tradition of boy-meets-girl-boy-does-not-like-girl-they-fight-live-together-and-fall-in-love, the two are at each other's throats like cats and dogs; more like cat and mouse as the female lead, is sweet, optimistic, friendly and open while the male lead, in trying to be reserved and aloof comes across as highly disrespectful.

My particular bone of contention is the way he constantly berates and insults her intelligence. He is never polite and is so rude that even when he does something nice, you the audience has still not forgiven him for the verbal assault he launched on her all but two minutes prior. What is more amazing to me is that in ninety percent of the online reviews for this drama series, this is not even noted or mentioned which causes me to think that this kind of emotional and verbal abuse is acceptable in Korean society as well as others.
I am sure people will say, "Look at her, she lives in a lovely home, married to a rich guy" but what no one sees is the denigration and the put downs. What is even so hurtful is that each time, she dusts herself off and moves on sweetly, making you wish you could reach through the screen and wring his pretty little neck.
I know my words and I know when to use them. If every time you say something, it is an insult, you should keep your mouth short. And for those spouses, male and female who can see no good in their partners, words are the most damaging assualt weapons you can use. They are so strong as to kill the one upon who they are afflicted before they are physically touched and it is my understanding that in most situations where there is physical abuse, the verbal abuse started way before that.
Clearly the writers of the show believed it was okay for the character to sound that way and judging by the revenues realised, syndication contracts and fan response, it seems so did many other people. And that makes me very, very sad.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday evening...

There is only so much you can say when you cannot do all you wish you can. As long as the bulk of your actions are contingent upon the decisions another person makes, you are stuck living your life as a passenger, rather than as the driver of your own destiny.

Everyday, it is a constant battle for me to erase resentment from my heart. It is selfish to think of all things from my point of comfort as situations could be so much worse otherwise; or would they? Still, I am very much aware that certain individuals and experiences would be avoided if I was where I want to be instead of where I have to be right now.

It is still an an enviable life for some. So many would trade places at the drop of a heart; oblivious they are to the realities of the situation. Or maybe, the realities are their ideals whereas for me, they are a constant inconvenience.

I remain grateful. I remain happy. I remain confident that my time is now and continously. I

Thursday, November 12, 2009

In the papers...

Found this in my daily paper
Wei Zheng was a cabinet-level official during the imperial reign of China’s Tang Dynasty. One day, when he was about to take a nap, two low-level officials held a discussion outside his window. One official commented, “Our promotions depend on this old felloe [Wei Zheng].”
The other disagreed and said: “It is not so. The heavens decide such things.”
After over hearing this conversation, Wei Zheng decided to write a letter to the Office of Personnel Management. He asked the man who had called him an “old fellow” to deliver this letter. The man had no idea that the letter which stated “promote this individual”, was about him.
Upon leaving his administrative office building to deliver this letter, the man experienced stomach pain. Therefore, he asked his colleague, to whom he had spoken outside Wei’s window, to help deliver the letter instead.
The next day, the Office of Personnel Management made a public announcement that the man who believed in the will of the heavens would be promoted. Upon hearing this, Wei became confused and asked both men what had happened. Once he learned that the letter had been delivered by the wrong person, he sighed deeply and said “it appears to be true—even one’s career is determined by the heavens!”

When I read this on the metro today, it struck a chord in me. Like everything else I read, I applied it to scenarios that I am familiar with—thus, putting it in a Nigerian setting—and I saw so many parallels. There are so many people who feel that things that are their due are not happening to them. They expect things to fall into their laps without much effoft on their part. The average Nigerian has the consciousness where someone else is responsible for their happiness and advancement and that all they have to do is pray and all will work out or even worse, they try to cheat the system and then pray that it works out.I don't understand it. In this story, I not only see that the gain was dependent on the heavens but that the heavens rewarded the service. The second soldier performed the task and got the promotion.

The arguement can be made that the first man had no choice when he fell ill and you may be right. But his attitude was never that he would be rewarded for his work but that possibly, he had to cosy up to the old man for his promotion...that's how I saw it, anyway.

How about you?

Monday, November 09, 2009

Something I heard this morning

Today on the radio, I heard a story on the Kane Show that just amazed me: A guy met this girl through an online dating service for Jewish singles and they met for a date. At the end of the date, the girl offered to pay for her own part of the meal to which the guy declined offering instead the option that he pay for the first date and she pay for the second. Date is over, they part and two weeks later, the girl has not called (even though, it is not that clear who said they would call whom) and what does the guy do? He threatens to sue the girl and go over her head to her boss and garnish her wages for her to return the $50.00!!!!!! that he spent on her meal. He has involed American express and the diner where they ate and left messages on her phone and in her email inbox.

Now, she responds to the initial email saying that she had intended to call but had been out of town and that now that he had turned this into something ugly, she wanted no more correspondence with him. The woman struck me from all her responses (written) to be calm, self assured and in control of her life and not someone to be easily bullied by an irate baby unable to deal with rejection.

My issues:
1. Is he not aware that amount of money that it will cost him to fight this in court--where he will most likely loose and end up an even bigger shmuck than he is--will me much, much, much more than $50.00?

2. Like a caller into the show asked, if he so badly wanted to go on the second date, why did he not call her and ask her out?

3. Is rejection now too much to handle? What about those who could not even get a first date? This is not the first time I am seeing something like this. Granted the first time was on a TV show but it got me thinking, do some people think that people they ask out are obligated to like you or want to spend time with you?

4. Is $50.00 too much to spend on a girl? or a boy?

5. What is the protocol for naija dating?

Tell me what you think and what you heard...