Friday, January 9, 2015

Reflecting



2014 seemed to distinguish itself with numerous horrific news around the globe from the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Boko Haram in Nigeria, terrorists’ attack in Pakistan, the slaughter of the Gazan people by the Israelis and the epidemic of Ebola virus in West Africa just to name a few.

Most of them showcase the death of humanity and the power of religion/ideology when it is being used for personal/collective gain in unquenchable quest for power/dominion.

While most people around the globe were happily celebrating the New Year (obviously at places where they don’t have innocent people being killed and slaughtered on a whim or plagued with disease) I didn’t feel the urge to celebrate.

With how 2014 ended I don’t think 2015 has begun with a good start and I just can’t bring myself to feel cheerful about it. The first two weeks of January is filled with mostly bad news. There is a sense of gloom and urgency that I can’t shake off.

A feeling that these calamities are a wake up call, a warning to remind us that we must do something to right whatever wrong we might have done to avoid something even worse.

Being one of those who are afraid of flying (I have a slight case of acrophobia and claustrophobia), I’m really feeling the plane crash accident on December 28, 2014 and mourning the lost of 162 passengers and crews of Air Asia QZ 8501 that died so tragically.

The bright sight is at least this tragedy prompts the government to scrutinize how our air travelling industry being operated.

A preliminary investigation by the Ministry of Transportation indicates a number of discrepancies and raises questions about how closely are the rules and regulation being observed by the carriers.

Unfortunately it was only seven days into 2015 when we heard about another horrific news.

The terrorists’ attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that was committed in broad day light and had taken 12 lives in Paris reminded me of the 9/11. Not on the number of the casualties but on the brazenness showed by the attackers.

The day when I saw those two towers collapsing I was sitting in the kitchen at my dormitory in Brussels reading a book and eating my breakfast. I glanced at our TV without much interest. A new movie about plane crash or terrorists’ attack was being screened, that was what I thought.

It wasn’t until a few minutes later that it finally registered that it wasn’t a movie at all, it was a live coverage of the twin tower attack in the US. It was so outrageous and unbelievable that the predominant emotion I felt was of disbelief. The horror came later.

How on earth something like that could happen in the real world? Where do those men come from that they could take other people’s lives so carelessly, so indiscriminately, so cruelly?

But what’s worst was that 9/11 was just the beginning. The following years show a significant increase of terrorists’ attack and what is called radical Islamists or Jihadists.

Terms that I don’t like and disagree with.

How could Islam and radical be put together as one word? They contradict each other in the strongest way possible. The word Islam means peace. Islam the peaceful religion is supposed to be a blessing for mankind and the universe. Islam is supposed to be a blessing for not only the Muslims but for all God’s creation alike.

However, who would feel blessed by the existence of those whose daily thoughts fill with nothing but how to find ways to spread death and destruction wherever they go?

This is the first reason why they are not entitled to be called Muslim. The reason why Islam should not be associated with them.

Islam advises the Muslims to follow the middle path. That moderation is the best way in everything. What about those people?  They advise radicalism and extremism.

Islam promotes peace, love and forgiveness. They promote hatred, intolerance and vengeance.

Islam disapproves of extremism and radicalism and frown at brutality. Prophet Muhammad (may God’s blessing is always upon him) reminded his followers many times: ‘Treat other people gently. Don’t be harsh with them.’

He didn’t like extremists. He told his followers that they should practice Islam accordingly to their capacity and capability for if they try to do everything (to the extreme) it is almost guaranteed that they will not be able to do it and break down in the middle.

This is the second reason why those people who love to take the extreme measures and find pleasure in brutality are not entitled to be called Muslim.

Looking at how those terrorists love to kill other people who are not Muslims and proudly broadcast their evil deeds to the world and forcing people to convert to Islam but kill them anyway it is not difficult to see they have departed from Islam.

We are told to spread the word of Islam but the God and the Prophet never order us to convert the whole world. The God and the Prophet never order us to kill every single human being who is not Muslim.

We are ordered to say: ‘I shall not worship that which you are worshipping. Nor will you worship that which I worship. To you be your religion and to me my religion.’

Qur’an and Prophet Muhammad guide us to be tolerant towards people of different religions. We are not allowed to mock their religions or to be disrespectful towards those that they revere/worship.

Why some people still go on a rampage and killing spree with a flimsy excuse like the infidels deserve to die is beyond me.

This is the third reason why they are not entitled to be called Muslim. They have a completely different understanding of Qur’an and Prophet Muhammad.

They have a burgeoning desire to kill and destroy whatever they think are against God and the Prophet. Things to be killed and destroyed include other Muslims as well.  The only people who are not against the God and the Prophet are none other than their holly selves.

Frankly speaking, although they announce that they are Muslim I don’t think they are the lovers of Islam. Doing things for the God and the Prophet is just a pretext, a camouflage to hide hatred and greed that fuel their actions.

The Prophet had warned us that the Muslim community will be divided into a number of factions and sects. All of them are straying into the wrong path. Except for one.

The Western World might find it frustrating and mind boggling why the Muslim World seems reluctant to condemn the evil deeds of those terrorists. It will be hard for them to hear a proper explanation, because it takes time to explain. But let me try. So bear with me.

Islam views human lives as sacred.

No human being has any right to take lives that have been given by God. Not even his own life no matter how much he wants to end it. Therefore suicide is one of the biggest sins that a human could commit against their God.

In Islam if you commit suicide you have turned into a disbeliever, you are no longer a Muslim.

Prophet Muhammad warned his followers that none of them should ever wish for death when they were preparing themselves to go to war. Although they were told not to fear death they were not allowed to seek death either.

How about those suicide bombers or people who shout Allahu Akbar whenever they attack whoever they want to kill? I could only say May God have mercy on us and them as well.

Prophet Muhammad gave a very strict warning that we should never ever accuse other Muslims as a disbeliever. On the other hand Qur’an and the Prophet himself explain quite clearly the signs of people who have turned their back on the God and the Prophet.

Although we are forbidden to accuse other Muslims as a disbeliever, it is not that hard to tell who is who. Although the Muslim community will be divided into factions and sects because of personal ambition and greed of some people (namely the leaders of those factions and sects), it is not hard to tell who is on the right path and who is on the wrong path.

Prophet Muhammad told us not to be afraid. The guidance for right and wrong is very clear. We only have to follow Qur’an and his teachings (through Hadith) and never be swayed by the interpretation/guidance of people who have their own self interests in religion.

People who turn religion into a profitable business. People who seek to control others through religion. People who say that they bring goodness (the truth) with them but their actions show otherwise. People who play God and consider everyone who is not wiling to prostrate themselves under their feet expandable, including other Muslims.

Islam has a very strict rule against taking the life of other Muslims. Prophet Muhammad had warned his followers against this atrocious act by saying: ‘Do not renegade (turn into a disbeliever) after my death by striking the necks (cutting the throats) of one another.’

How about those people who shout Allahu Akbar when they gleefully bomb mosques or killing other Muslims? May God have mercy on us and them as well.

Another message from Prophet Muhammad to his followers was for them to treat the women, the children, the sick and the elderly with extra kindness. These groups of people are the weakest among all so they should be protected.

What about those people who abuse women, killing children and show no mercy to the elderly and the sick? May God have mercy on us and them as well.

Prophet Muhammad said: ‘All my followers will enter Paradise except those who refuse.’ When asked ‘Who will refuse?’ he answered ‘whoever disobeys me is the one who refuses.’

That is why it is not easy for Muslims to condemn those terrorists right away. We all know what they are, that they have departed from Islam, but since they proclaim themselves as Muslims we are not allowed to accuse them of something else.

However, since action speaks louder than word although their mouth is saying they are Muslims, through their actions we know that they are not.

I’ve been talking about the rules between Muslims. Now, what about the lives of non Muslims (the Jews and the Christians)?

Qur’an and Prophet Muhammad refer to them as ‘the people of the book’ an admission that those two religions did indeed come from God. An admission that both Jesus and Moses were God’s messengers and not some liars or crazy men.

Islam is very clear and detailed about how to treat people of the book. When they live peacefully with the Muslims they are to be respected and protected. Their lives, their fortunes, their livelihoods are not allowed to be taken. 

The same thing applies to those who do us no harm and do not try to stop us from practicing our religion.

How about France?

Well, compare to other countries, the United States for example (which happens to be hated by most of terrorist organizations, when in fact it gives the Muslims who live there a lot of freedom to practice their religion), France does seem to be a bit hard on the Muslims. It does seem to oppress their freedom to practice their religion. Although not as bad as China that unapologetically forbids the Muslims to fast during Ramadan.

Nevertheless, it is not right for those people who might have felt oppressed or disenfranchised to hurt the people and the country who have accepted them as part of them.

Whatever their situation there France is their country now. The Frenchmen are their countrymen now. French people might not be their brothers in religion but they are now have become their brothers through citizenship.

The leaders of France might not have embraced them as warmly as what had been done by King Negus the Christian King of Abyssinia but still those leaders have let them stay.

Most of the Muslims immigrants during Prophet Muhammad’s time migrated because of religious reason (fearing the persecution), but most of the Muslims who migrate to other countries now do so because of economic reasons. Which in my opinion the more reason that they should not resent the country of their own choosing for treating them unfairly.

Islam teaches us that we should never think about any kindness that we have given to other people but on the other hand we should never forget or belittle any kindness and help that we have received from others.

Prophet Muhammad himself was extremely grateful to King Negus who had let the Muslims immigrants to stay in his country. When King Negus died Prophet Muhammad told his followers: ‘Your brother Ashama (King Negus) died in Abyssinia,’ and he asked them to have a funeral prayer for him.

Dear brothers and sisters who truly love God and Prophet Muhammad, how do you think our Prophet must have felt seeing you slaughtering your own countrymen, people who have accepted you into their homes and share with you what they have.

Don’t you know how those people who migrated with the Prophet to Medina behaved? They showed respect to the people of Medina who mostly consisted of Arab idol worshippers, members of Jewish tribes, and a few others.

None of them tried to kill those people who had welcomed them into their city. None of them tried to destroy the city that had become their home. All of them tried to integrate and contribute to the growth of and peaceful existence in their new place.

I’ve talked too much about why radicalism, extremism and brutality should never be associated with Islam or the Muslims. These terms belong only with the terrorists.

How about Jihadists?

I can’t describe how hard it is for me to see the word jihad being given to people who slaughter other people and create destruction in their quest for power and domination.

Greed, money, power, women or other things that men lust after should never be associated with jihad. It is simply wrong.

Jihad is the best struggle that a Muslim can do (it’s done by pious Muslims who fear nothing but God’s wrath and want nothing but God’s approval) but now it is being exclusively used by men who covet worldly goods and create destruction in order to get what they want.

The Prophet told his followers that the biggest jihad there is, is not going to war fighting to defend what is right (holly war), but the biggest jihad is when man conquers himself and free himself from the wanting of all worldly goods (holly struggle) and strive to gain nothing but God’s love.

How to get God’s love? Clearly not by creating destruction on the face of the earth. And definitely not by taking human lives.

The killing of Charlie Hebdo’s journalists is shocking. But on the other hand it is not that surprising.

Without condoning the terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo I would like to point out one thing: the drawing of Prophet Muhammad is prohibited in Islam. What Charlie Hebdo did with that cartoon was a moot point.

Although the attackers were heard shouting ‘We avenged the Prophet’ and ‘Allahu Akbar’, I felt nothing but horror. Not only for the killings but for the usage of God’s name. God’s names should be pronounced with utter respect. It should bring love and peace to those who listen to it not horror and disgust.

What did the terrorists do with it? Allahu Akbar becomes a word to replace blood thirsty incantation like ‘Kill! Kill!Kill!’ God’s names that are sacred and beautiful have been dragged into blood bath and being used as a shield for evil.

On the matter of freedom of speech and expression: who doesn’t love this idea? Everyone loves freedom. And we should also include freedom of movement while we are at it.

This big world and the whole universe belong to God. Thus a human being has a fundamental right to move from one corner of the earth to the other unrestricted. From one planet to the other if he can. He should be welcomed wherever he chooses to go and settled. He has a right to enjoy God’s bounty wherever that is.

 
But what do we do? We put borders to stop people from outside coming into our countries. We create strict regulations to stop ourselves from accepting and helping refugees. The Israelis even imprison the whole Gaza population.

What happens to freedom?

You might hate to admit it but although everyone loves the idea of absolute freedom, considering that the world is comprised of so many people and not just one person, the concept of total freedom is unreasonable.

You have your freedom as long as it doesn’t infringe on other people’s freedom.

Look at numerous laws made to limit freedom of speech and expression. There are rules about speech supporting bigotry, there are rules about inflammatory speech, there are rules about hate speech, there are rules about racist speech and the list go on and on.

Just because you can doesn’t always mean you should.

Let’s have a look at the issue of Prophet Muhammad cartoon. The drawing has been given as an excuse for the slaughter of those journalists. No doubt to shut the mouths of other Muslims from condemning that brutal attack.

And perhaps drawing sympathy and support from Muslims around the world who are upset and offended by the drawing. Yes, in case some of you still don’t know the drawing did upset the Muslim communities whatever their factions or sects are.

Just imagine how much the terrorists love it. It’s like a Christmas’s gift to them.

Prophet Muhammad was no stranger to being lampooned.  He was no stranger to being ridiculed. He was no stranger to physical attacks. He was used to criticism and hate speeches.

I have no doubt that his followers and companions would want nothing but to strike those journalists if they live in his time for what they have done. But I have a feeling that the Prophet himself wouldn’t find those cartoons dangerous enough to warrant a death penalty for its drawers.

He might order his followers to destroy the pictures because he didn’t want his pictures to be left behind for fear that men might end up worshiping him like what they did to Jesus.

Without blaming the journalists for what have happened, because they don’t deserve to be slaughtered like that, I need to say this: What happens to sensibilities? What happens to common sense?

If some people want to criticize Islam or the Muslim communities they are very welcomed to do it. However, there are so many ways to do it. Intentionally insulting people you want to criticize is not a good way to deliver your message.

The main purpose of critics is to promote change. Insults never deliver a good result. It usually gives the opposite outcome than the one desired.

I find the increase number of terrorists and terrorists’ organizations that sell Islam as their brand name extremely alarming. Islam is being systematically destroyed by people who claim to fight for it.

It hurts me seeing how the Islamic teachings and values are being tossed away and replaced with a blood thirsty ideology that promotes nothing but destruction.

But what really breaks my heart is seeing so many men and women who genuinely want nothing but to defend their religion being duped and brain washed into believing that they are actually doing the right thing.

Dear brothers and sisters, if you really love God and our Prophet, please spare sometime and have another look at Qur’an and hadiths. Read, learn and think. Feel with your heart what Islam is really about.

If you truly believe that Allah the Most Merciful wants you to do nothing but delivering death and suffering to other human beings, there is really nothing I can say.

  
May Allah forgive us all.

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Greatest Marriage (최고의 결혼): The Final Review

 
What should I say about the finale?
Does it make me happy? Not really. Does it disappoint me? In a way it does.
Why?

First off, if I’m only using my normal standard in watching dramas, which is all about romance or to be specific, a happy ending between the OTP than I should be happy. Especially since two of the best scenes in the finale are the ‘romantic’ scenes between my favourite couples, which for your information do end up together.

If you are like me and happen to think that the most important question you have for the show is ‘Does it end with a happy ending?’, the simple answer is yes it does. Then why am I still not happy? Why am I still disappointed?

The problem is this show is not about romance. No matter how much I want it to be, it is not.

So, before starting to get serious (talking about heavy stuff e.g. what the show is really about) I want to talk about my favourite scenes (read: romantic scenes or what I consider as romantic in the middle of the romantic drought).

Instead of romantic in its normal sense (which usually involves skinship and cheesy lines) I find the ‘romantic’ scenes between Jo Eun Cha and Cha Ki Young to be funny and smart.

I like how these two approach the issue of marriage and settle things between them with an honest conversation/negotiation. I also like how the proposal is alternated between them.

Cha Ki Young who first proposed to Jo Eun Cha in desperation and didn’t get an immediate answer from him decides to say yes when Jo Eun Cha officially proposes.

I love how she looks when she agrees to marry Jo Eun Cha. Her one gulp yes reminds me of earlier Cha Ki Young, the one who is admired by Jo Eun Cha for her ability to always surprise him.

I guess the cheesiness of that red rose gets on her nerve while the business side of the matter of their marriage that comes before the rose doesn’t.

And I love seeing how that red rose falls from between Jo Eun Cha’s teeth when he hears her answer. He is the first male lead in dramaland to have that expression when his leading lady agrees to marry him.

But then again these two are not our usual couple. Their ways of proposing are not the usual proposals either.

Some dramas veer this way and that way depending on the blowing wind. But, despite having few issues, inconsistency is not one of the Greatest Marriage’s shortcomings.

This drama has my admiration with regard to how the relationship between Jo Eun Cha and Cha Ki Young is being built and showed. There is nothing obvious in their relationship that we could use to mark them as our OTP.

1.  Opposite attract?
Nope, because Jo Eun Cha isn’t like our usual male leads. He is the enemy. Moreover Cha Ki Young and Jo Eun Cha are not that different actually. Both of them are overachievers who don’t mind playing the hard ball.
2.  Accidental first kiss?
Definitely not. They never kiss, hold hands or what have you. She even sleeps with someone else. The fact that he is a world class loser doesn’t immediately eliminate him from nomination because she has his kid.

What makes Jo Eun Cha the front runner is the fact that the other male lead is even much worse than himself. Plus, we could see that despite doing horrible things (not as unforgivable as what Park Tae Yun did) to Cha Ki Young, Jo Eun Cha is also the one who is there for her when she is at her worse with nobody else to count on.

Perhaps that’s why Cha Ki Young feels the way she feels about Jo Eun Cha. She explains it to him once before that despite what have happened between them she feels safe and comfortable with him. She nevertheless trusts him, an admission that Jo Eun Cha never imagines.

The most important thing in marriage is trust. You need to have a complete trust in the one you’re going to spend the rest of your life with. Once that trust is gone, the marriage is finished.

What’s so good about marrying someone you love if you know that person isn’t good for you. What’s the point of marrying the one you love if you never feel secure, always on your toe and never at peace whenever that person does/doesn’t do something.

Jo Eun Cha understands the gravity of Cha Ki Young’s trust.

In Park Tae Yun’s case that trust has been shredded to pieces and burned to ashes. Again and again. He has betrayed Cha Ki Young twice. Once by cheating on her and the second time around by taking what she loves the most in the whole world.

He has shown her that he is not the kind of guy that could be responsible for others. With him, it’s always him first and foremost no matter how much he loves the other person.

Cha Ki Young’s decision to marry Jo Eun Cha is not surprising. She was even considering to reunite with Park Tae Yun when things become too unbearable for her and she finally realized that for Cha Dan’s sake she couldn’t stay single.

She’s been thinking about marriage for quite sometime.

Too bad for Park Tae Yun instead of showing that she could depend on him now, he once again shows her his worst and pushes her to another hell.

I love the calm and the matter of fact way she lets him know that unfortunately it’s too late now. It’s too late because he doesn’t change at all and she has decided to marry Jo Eun Cha.

Now, let’s talk about Jo Eun Cha.

I love how until the finale we could still see glimpses of the craftily wimpy previous Jo Eun Cha. I love that he doesn’t change into a Saint – which is a possible course that could be taken by the writers – to justify their union.

Jo Eun Cha’s charms is his interesting character. Here is a man who has no qualm what so ever into grabbing whatever chance comes his way and turns it into his advantage. Getting rid of other people that stand in his way is just another logical step up the ladder.

At first he looks like someone who is completely without principles. Someone who is willing to sell his soul for anything, which come to think of it isn’t true at all because if he is indeed willing to do anything to get what he wants he wouldn’t ditch Park Sun Nyo like that.

As the only daughter of President Park she is a golden ticket. A fast lane to get what he wants, as admitted by Pedro. The fact that he doesn’t take it reveals something important about his character.

Jo Eun Cha might look sleazy on occasions but he has his own standard and rules on how to get what he wants. His refusal to use smear campaign which is very common during election time doesn’t come out of the blue. It’s part of his character. One that is well hidden and rarely shows its pretty good face.

Underneath all the ugly masks that he has been using, there is a strong willed man with a good understanding of human natures and principles of his own. A man who knows what he wants, the best way to get it and a conviction that he will get it.

The differences between Jo Eun Cha and Cha Ki Young are that Cha Ki Young will never actively thinking about screwing other people up nor thinking about kissing up some asses to get what she wants.

Cha Ki Young the straight laced, Jo Eun Cha the flamboyant.

It might be interesting to see how these two conduct their marriage and how their relationship develops.

I love seeing how understanding Jo Eun Cha is about Cha Ki Young, Cha Dan and Park Tae Yun being together in that loser’s apartment. There is no jealousy like the one displays by Hyun Myung Yi nor flipping out that sure will happen with Park Tae Yun if their role is being reversed.

I love how he stops Hyun Myung Yi from barging in into that apartment and drags her to his place instead.

It’s easy to see that he’ll welcome Park Tae Yun into their family with open arms because that is what is best for Cha Dan. Cha Dan needs to have his real father in his life and for them to be on a good term with each other to feel secure.

On Cha Ki Young’s side, since she is not a spiteful person nor an emotional one, she’ll gladly welcome Park Tae Yun as an important part of their family. She loves Cha Dan too much to alienate Park Tae Yun.

And perhaps that’s Park Tae Yun’s punishment. To see the happiness of the three Chas with his very own eyes for the rest of his life. To be warmly included into their family but never to get what he really wants.

I’m not surprised with this ending because after all is said and done he is still Cha Dan’s father. There is no way the writer could write him off of the picture no matter how worthless he is.

What I find surprising though is how generous the show is towards Hyun Myung Yi. Not that I hope she is going to die or something, because nobody deserves to get a bad ending more than Park Tae Yun. If he gets a happy ending, understandably everyone does.

But, Park Tae Yun is saved by his son.

Hyun Myung Yi is saved by the writers' desire to make everybody happy.

And that’s what I find very disappointing with this show. After all those craziness thrown at us without mercy, the show is ending with being very merciful towards everyone.

And what about the issue of the Greatest Marriage itself? Every married couple in this show couldn’t be considered as an example of having a good marriage let alone a great one.

The Park senior and his wife are staying together not because the husband doesn’t have a fling or two outside, but because the wife doesn’t see a problem with that. Their marriage works because the wife makes it so.

Na Yoen Hee divorces her husband because he is having an affair for years without her knowing. But she then decides to have an affair with him because her boyfriend is also having an affair.

She clearly finds adultery an issue but she chooses to have a relationship with an adulterer. How is that going to work? To make matter worse her daughter ends up considering her former lover as her father.

Is the greatest marriage that this show tries to promote as a good model are the ones that happen between my favourite couples? Cha Ki Young and Jo Eun Cha and Park Sun Nyo and Pedro?

I admit that I do like their kind of marriage.

They all make it very clear from the beginning what makes them want to marry the other person. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t love or like the one they are going to marry, it’s just that they value the other person so much more than just how they personally feel about them.

In Cha Ki Young’s case she needs a good marriage to bring back happiness into her life. She needs a good environment to make sure that Cha Dan will get everything he needs to ensure his happiness.

She knows Jo Eun Cha quite well by now and quite sure that he can provide everything she needs to make them happy. She knows why Jo Eun Cha wants to marry her. She knows what he wants from her and is willing to align her goals with his. She can picture their lives together and loving it.

The extra bonus is she also knows for sure that Jo Eun Cha will never ever cheat on her.

In Park Sun Nyo’s case, she knows that Pedro will be good to her because he is basically a very good guy. But she is more than sure that he’ll be good to her because he admits that the main reason why he wants to marry her is her money and family background.

The greatest marriage in my humble opinion is a marriage where each person can still be him/herself. A marriage that doesn’t diminish their individual happiness but increases it by folds.  

The greatest marriage could happen when all concerned parties know exactly what is expected from them. A marriage that is made with the same mission and vision.

Jo Eun Cha who is probably soon aiming at the Blue House will want a worthy partner at his side. Cha Ki Young who experiences how unfair their society towards a single mother will see her chance to improve things and promote change.

Besides, she can work to her heart content. Jo Eun Cha will never try to change her into something else because he loves her just the way she is. He would also never become jealous of her relationship with Park Tae Yun. He would be the one to force Park Tae Yun into taking more interest in his son’s life.

What could be greater than that?

It would be much better if the show refrains from being so mean to its viewers in the previous weeks. It would be much better if the previous episodes have some of what its two last episodes have.

As it is, everything feels like it’s been rushed and cramped into one short episode.

ps:
I don’t think I waste my time for nothing. There are many things that we could learn from the Greatest Marriage whether we agree or disagree with it. Knowing the ending will help to reduce the pains of watching for those who haven’t seen it and plan to marathon this one.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Greatest Marriage (최고의 결혼) Review: Episode 14 and 15


I purposely didn't write a review for episode 14 because I wasn't happy with how things were. And truth be told I've already said everything that needs to be said about this drama before.

The only new thing about episode 14 that worth mentioning was the few seconds during the mediation session at the court house. I love seeing the reaction from the female court officials when they hear about Park Tae Yun's behaviour.

I'm glad that there's at least people in this drama that represent our loathing for this loser and our disgust at how unfair the whole situation is for Cha Ki Young.

These view seconds turn out to be a glimpse of what is coming in the next episode.

Yes, episode 15 still has plenty scenes of the loathsome Park family and the spitefully narrow minded demonstrators. And no, there isn’t much change in our heroine’s situation. It still has Cha Ki Young in the worse situation imaginable. Correction, it’s actually worst than worse.

But, I really love episode 15.

It reminds me once again why I love this drama in the first place. It brings back my hope that it won’t go to the garbage dump after all. And that I don’t just spend 16 precious hours of my time for nothing.

How to justify my love?

First of all, most dramas are good or even great in their first half before going down the lane into the never to be remembered dramasphere. Some are consistently good until their very finale which then earn them the wrath of the biggest chunk of world population who has faithfully and lovingly watched them.

The Greatest Marriage first part although not to everyone liking is arresting, interesting and different enough to capture my attention. And despite the fact that its latter episodes make my blood boil and have me cursing left and right strangely enough I’m still watching.

What make me loose hope with this drama is the constant barrage of pain that I have to endure watching all the wrath worthy scenes on my screen.

Scenes that make me question the sanity of the writer for presenting us with these very unpleasant characters and the hard to swallow plights of our heroine, plus my own sanity for keep on watching.

But, after episode 15 I’m happy to note that the writers, the director and whoever involves in the production of this drama are not that crazy. They still know the importance of a good ending (which in my book means a happy ending).

For no matter how good a drama in the beginning and the middle is, a crappy ending will ruin it. But no matter how painfully boring or ridiculous the journey towards the end is, most of the audience will be very forgiving and understanding once they are given their reward in the form of a good ending.

Like it or not the ending plays the most important role in a drama. It could save or destroy it.

We still have 1 episode to go before the final judgement could be made. However, seeing how things are now I guess it’s safe to say that our ship is not going to sink after all.

Let’s have a look at what I love the most in this episode: Jo Eun Cha!

I’ve mentioned before that I fall in love with Jo Eun Cha and Bae Soo Bin the actor. This episode brings back all that love to the front. It reminds me once again what a great actor Bae Soo Bin is.

His role as Jo Eun Cha is extremely difficult. It’s hard for me to imagine other actor pulling it off with the kind of effortlessness he does. He is so perfect as Jo Eun Cha.


How to portray an asshole without alienating him from the audience? How to be a complete jerk but still get the love from female audience? How to make them root for you to end up with the female lead when you aren’t even romantically involved with her?

The answer is Jo Eun Cha.

The wrong answer is Park Tae Yun.

I have a feeling that episode 15 tries to make us more sympathetic towards this SOB.

It tries to make us more understanding towards Park Tae Yun although not necessarily to accept him with open arms. And certainly not to pair him with Cha Ki Young because that ship has long gone with the typhoon.

Unfortunately, it reveals nothing new about him. Him loving Cha Kin Young? No surprise at all. It’s been pretty clear that he loves her from the very beginning.

He accepted the offer from the TV station because he wanted to officially meet her after getting tired of being just a secret admire/stalker. He chose to live at her apartment building because that’s where she lived.

From episode one we know that he loves her and she loves him not. She likes him enough to have a casual relationship with him. But that’s it. He’s the one who tried to look cool by saying wanting nothing but sex from her and then went all crazy on her when she refused to share more than her body and what little time and consideration she gave him.

I think I would be more forgiving and understanding if Park Tae Yun doesn’t love Cha Ki Young. The fact that he does just make the whole thing worse.

If even love couldn’t stop him from ruining the life of the woman he loves, his own flesh and blood, and his own wife, he doesn’t deserve to get a forgiveness. Nor an understanding.

His love is so toxic. So poisonous and completely disastrous that women kind should thank their fortune that they are not loved by Park Tae Yun. Seeing the kind of things that he could do to the one he loves, it gives me chill to think what kind of hell he’ll bestow on the one he doesn’t.

Not only he has the worst kind of love to offer, as a human being he is also the worst kind of man to spend the rest of your life with. He’ll never put your needs and your feelings into consideration. With him it’s always how he feels and what he needs first. Whenever things are not to his liking he’ll lash out.

Hyun Myung Yi states in her testimony that Cha Ki Young destroys Park Tae Yun. News flash: Park Tae Yun destroys Park Tae Yun and everybody else who is unfortunate enough to be in his vicinity.

He’ll blow his chances with Cha Ki Young sooner or later. Her being pregnant just speeds things along. With his personality it’s hard for me to imagine that Cha Ki Young could finally fall in love with him.

And it’s easy for me to imagine that he could impregnate a number of girls while he is still in a relationship with Cha Ki Young. One girl every time she upsets him.

If I may offer some advice to many young girls out there who are looking for romance/love this is what I have to say: ‘Don’t you ever accept a man who professes/thinks that he loves you but does everything that scorns that very sacred and beautiful word.’  

Don’t you ever aspire to change a screwed up man or dream of fixing him up, you shouldn’t waste your life and risk your happiness like that. Not when there are many more dependable, responsible and trustworthy guys out there. Ones who know the meaning of love and how to treasure it.

Park Tae Yun is a perfect example of what girls/women shouldn’t pick.

I couldn’t even bring myself to feel sorry for his pain. All I want for him now is to at least try to right so many wrongs that he has done.

This is my parting gift to Park Tae Yun : Do something that is good and right for once. Stop always putting yourself first before others and try to put the feelings and needs of those you think you love before you if you really love them.

There. That’s my part of trying to be fair.

Episode 15 makes me happy. It makes me look forward to watching the finale with the eagerness that I feel for its earlier episodes.

My favourite scenes are:
1.  Jo Eun Cha coming clean under the oath and telling all sundry that President Park tries to bribe and bully him.
2.  The sleeping under one roof scene between Jo Eun Cha and Cha Ki Young.
3.  The private conversation between them when Jo Eun Cha asks her why she doesn’t give him a boot despite all that he has done to her.
4.  I also love how she proposes. It’s not the most romantic proposal there is, far from it. What I love about it is her realization that whether she likes it or not marriage is an institution that is still considered as a must in their society. And if she has to marry to make her life and her son’s life better, Jo Eun Cha is the best man for that job. I also love Jo Eun Cha’s response to her proposal. It shows that he understands her enough and cares enough not to immediately say yes.
5.  The sleeping under one blanket scene between Park Sun Nyo and Pedro (love this couple).
6.  The ajumas that come to volunteer for Jo Eun Cha’s campaign! Love them!

My expectation for the finale:
1.  Jo Eun Cha and Cha Ki Young win their battle against the odds.
2.  A wedding or double weddings would end the show nicely and make me extremely happy.

ps:
No elaboration on the Park Family please. I couldn’t careless whether Park Tae Yun divorces Hyun Myung Yi or not. Or whether President Park still does his dirty business of buying people/officials every chance he gets.  

Oh, very well. I’ve tried to be nice to Park Tae Yun, now it’s time to be nice to Hyun Myung Yi. Although I don’t like her I think she’s entitled to get everything that she wants because she has slaved over in that family as their perfect daughter in law for years. And they love her. Plus she loves Park Tae Yun despite not wanting to admit it. Let the crazies stay together in a crazy house. The world would be a better place without them.