Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Have We Really Loved? - Kang Jaeho

Tonight I want to be serious. By now most people already know that I am a very very serious person. So serious that sometimes I consider myself boring. But to be honest with you, I am not serious enough and I wish to be more serious. To me everything should have a purpose and everything has to have a meaning. So why am I here behaving like a silly goose and blogging about a Korean actor who has no connection with my daily life? Why have I said I am not JUST a BYJ fan, even, I LOVE him? There are so many reasons. And here is just one - because he freely chose to perform in the drama "Have We Really Loved?" and even paid hefty price for pursuing it. This alone holds value to me, and if you learned the reasons he chose this drama, it holds even more value to me, such that BYJ tugged a tender part of my heart and remained there deeply, till today.

If you want to know more about HWRL, there are so much to read. But I would start from this one, of course, our bb has it. I love this posting of hers so much that I almost want to re-write it down here word by word. But since I am a lazy person, how about I just do the "copy and paste" business.

who loves jaeho? hands up please! ( h: Me! Mee!)

yea... thought so there'll be so many of you... ( h: I know you too, and you will!)

for me personally, HWRL ranks pretty high up there in terms of faves. but it's also one of those i don't rewatch that often. it's just too painful. personally,


The role Yong Joon played in HWRL was Kang Jaeho, a young man who’s from the lower rungs of the society. He had to sell crabs at the seafood wholesale market in order to pay for his and his sister’s tuition fees. He had lost his father since young, and was abandoned by his mother too. Therefore, he had this thinking that money’s everything. In order to get somewhere, in order to turn from rags to riches, he courted Hyun Soo who’s from a rich family. But he found himself drawn to the young professor Lee Shin Hyung. When he finally realized the true love in his life and was prepared to face life squarely in the face, worse blows came…


another thing... HWRL is not just a love story between jaeho and the female lead. there're a lot of other love stories in this drama too. love between jaeho and his aunt, between jaeho and his sister, between jaeho and his best friend, between jaeho and his mother... there're also other love threads depicted in the drama, like the female lead's parents, jaeho's sister and her boyfriend, the old granny and her daughter...

some people feel that all of the other characters are redundant and their stories boring and they fast-forward and watch only the yong joon scenes.... but think about it this way... this drama is about the real life of the people in korea. and this is as real as it gets. i've yet to come across another drama that reflects so much of korean culture and the korean way of life. in this context, this drama really explores and challenges the various values or set standards in the korean society. like how the female lead defys her family in pursuit of real love, like how could a man choose between real love and to support his family, like how there's a social stigma against orphans and men who do not serve the army, like how love between an older woman and a younger man tends to be frowned upon, like how money seems to make the world go round...

in fact, i've found that i like the drama (and all the other characters) more and more as i watch it again and yet again. they sort of grow on you, esp the old granny (i used to think she's just way too noisy...)!

yes, HWRL is a heavy drama. but to me, it's also the very essence of korean culture, of real life.

( h: to me, HWRL ranks No. 1 among all his works. Why? Because it is a heavy drama, because it is so serious. Don't you remember that I am a serious person? I love everything that is serious. I watched HWRL for more than 5 times, and the more I watch it, the more I enjoy it. The first 2 times I did the what-you-know the skipping thingie, only want to watch Kang Jaeho part. It was such a long drama, you know? 44 episodes! Then the next few times, I enjoyed watching more and more of every charater's performance and every character's dialogue. I even realized that I "enjoyed" more and more the painful moments in the drame, and even, "enjoyed" crying with the charaters, particularly, with Shin-hyung, not because I was insane, but because I cherished the realization that out of my callus heart that deep tender part of my heart is found and touched - I can still cry! Isn't that amazing? Isn't that treasuable? Now I want to stay in that state for a little longer, so I enjoyed it.)

of all the roles wuri yong joon has played, this one seems the most real. as real as though kang jaeho is not just some guy in some drama. really. when i was watching HWRL, the sadness, the pain, the anguish i'd experienced was as though someone really dear to me was dying. it was that bad. in most of yong joon's works, no matter how brilliant he was, i was still very conscious of the fact it's not real, it's just a drama or a movie. and that yong joon is an actor. but when it comes to HWRL, somehow, yong joon disappears and jaeho comes to life. so real, so real it's painful


i've had many fans asked me if they should watch HWRL, and i've shared my views both on soompi and will just say it once again here... no one can promise you that HWRL will be a good or bad drama. actually, i've always thought that this is one of those dramas that you either love it or you hate it, no two ways about it. if you hate it, then you will think it's terribly boring and you can't bring yourself to even carry on and finish it. but if you love it, then it will become your fave byj drama.

i belong to the latter group myself. of all the characters yong joon has played, this one (jaeho) is the dearest to me.

why? coz jaeho felt so real. most of the other characters yong joon has played seemed to border upon perfection. too handsome, too rich, too cool, too... whatever.... but jaeho is as as human as it gets. and coz he's a flawed person, coz he felt pain and got hurt, we feel even more for him. really...

(h : talking about this role of yong joon's being so real, that the actor disappeared and Jaeho comes to life, I want to re-post an article here that I felt dear to and saved from KOB, written by "yesbut", posted by "water" and translated into Chinese by "happiebb". I can tell bb loves HWRL and Gang Jaeho very much!)

Gang JaeHo. Gang JaeHo.

Written by yesbut KOB 2005.07.06
translator: water

How strange it was.
that while I watched (HRWL)
I couldnt see Bae YongJoon there.

When we see a drama and try to explain it to somebody,
we usually call the talent of the drama his or her real name
instead of the name in that drama, right?

After we watched , we did chitchat like:
Bae YongJoon bla bla . ,
or Choi JiWoo bla bla.
(I am afraid whether this may apply only to ME ??? -_-;; )

But when I watched ,
I couldnt call him Bae YongJoon but Gang JaeHo.

Well, to me it was the first and quite weird experience
that the actor looked like the same person as the character in the drama,

Around the end of last year I watched ,
I finished watching all 44 episodes of it only for 3 days.
(Well, frankly speaking, I was a bit crazy at that time.)

Alas, how much was I moved, touched..
(can you see my tear dropping down my cheeks??)
After completely watching them,
I had felt stuffy in my heart for a while.
(The after-effect affected my life slightly, oh, no, considerably -_-;;;. )

Gang JaeHo Gang JaeHo..
I can tell you without hesitation
he was a character of the most powerful impression
that I ve been ever faced with.

How is it possible (that I cant see Bae YongJoon in this drama)???
Wheres Bae YongJoon gone???
You know what the feeling is like?
It is as if I fell in love with a creature
that didnt exist in reality.
An inexplicable feeling, the confusion.

Of course, needless to say, its partly
because of the power of script of the writer, Ms. Nor HeeKyung.

It is said that while writing, Nor HeeKyung attached the character's
photos on the wall, then made a conversation with them
from time to time, any time,
and lived with them together, intimately.
She said that in her own dream Gang JaeHo frequently showed up.

Because of the writers infinite affection on him,
the character of Gang JaeHo could be so vital and alive, I suppose.

Then, all of a sudden,
I got a question:
If another talent (or actor) played Gang JaeHo,
could I still absorb myself in Gang JaeHo so deeply like this? '
If Bae YongJoon didnt play him,
could the life and love of Gang JaeHo have still appealed to me like this,?

What if Jan DongGeun, Jeong WooSung, or Cho InSeung played Gang JaeHo???

Well,. It might be a bit embarrassing. mightnt it ?? -_-;;
No matter how hard I think through it,
I cant find any one that can replace Bae YongJoon as role of Gang JaeHo.
And I think its not only because of his performance.

(Of course I cant deny that he did acting very well,
I dare say that his acting in this drama
is the best among all his works.
But, frankly speaking, there are a lot of other actors
who can be named the best in acting.)

And then, where does this UNREPLACEMENT come from???
Hm I think it is not necessary to analyze it,
But if I should put it into a few words:

His decisive, provoked ,or depressed expression
might come from Bae YongJoon in his real person
who always has lived , trying his very best,
without compromising smoothly with the world.

Why does JaeHo that tries every trick for gaining an actual profit
seem still not to be snobbish???
It seems to be because Bae YongJoons nave and honest attitude to life
seeps into the role of JaeHo, right? '

JaeHo who looks cold, harsh would sacrifice himself
for his family, and in that aspect JaeHo is not much
different from the real Bae YongJoon
who always becomes humble and weak to his fans,
and shows too much love to them..

Gang JaeHo , no matter how dirty he behaves,
raises an infinitely warm feeling in me, allowing me
to ask no question about his meaness,
and then leads me to embrace him,
comforting him: yes, youve got through a lot of hardships.
I can tell that Gang JaeHo is sort of realization of
typical Bae YongJoon with delicate, tender emotion
and basically a good nature.
(He succeeds in bringing about the maternal instinct
from even my callus heart -_-;; )

And then,
JaeHo's wide, strong back on which he carries a box of crabs....,
his big, soilid hands which speaks for nobleness of labor
and his wide chest on which he hold SinHyung tight.
Without Bae YongJoons physique,
could it be possible to incorporate them?
(I am a bit being excited~~~)

(Now, I have to calm down ;;;;)
I personally like very much
that JaeHo works at the-break-of-dawn-fish market.
It was the first time for me to find an actor
who could show his laborious acting so naturally.
He really embodied an original MANLY BEAUTY.
(Above all, man is a symbol of power, isnt it !!!!)

while actor Bae YongJoon is very well matched with an intellectual, and luxurious
image, he is also very well suitable for the blue-collar image who struggles
in the midst of the cruel, bitter life.

He has both sides of the affluent and the deficient,
How can it be explained; that strange two faces...,
It also could be one of his charms that entrances lots of women.

If it were not for Bae YongJoons Gang JaeHo,
I might have been cynical at SinHyungs absolute love
and unconditional dediction to JaeHo,
and I might have hastily defined an extreme and selfish love
of HyunSoo as attachment or a desire for possession.

Just because Bae YongJoon played Gang JaeHo,
the two womens love to him could look
so plausible and touching, I suppose.

After SinHyung goes through all hardships,
then obtained her parents consent for her marrige to him,
then JaeHo leaves SinHyung as cruelly as possible
At that scene, SinHyung talks to GilJin, crying:
Hyung, I tried to hate him, but I cant, because I can understand him so well.

(water: in the past (from 1970s to 90s), female students in colleage
used to call male seniors Hyung
whose literal meaning is elder brother but originally
the word is used only by males like unni (elder sister) is used by women.
Thus that women call male senior Hyung
meant sort of destruction of gender, womans liberation movement.
And here we also can peep into the SinHyungs relationship with GilJin.
She thinks GilJin as a senior rather than a man.)

It is not only SinHyungs view but also my view.
I also can understand him,
not because of continual misfortune, and my compassion for it
but because of Gang JaeHo with Bae YongJoons body and soul.
No matter how unforgivable behavior he does,
I can't hate him.
(Oh, okay, you could blame me
for my biased, unobjective affection on him,
anyhow, what shall I do? I am his fan.~~~~)

Today I missed him so much.
As SinHyung desired,
I wish that the world where he wakes up again,
would be not so harsh one. '

I ain't finished yet, but I got to stop it here for tonight. I NEED to talk more about wuri yong joon's HWRL later. Just to conclude tonight's serious thoughts, to find the meaning and purpose of loving him, I got to say that I want more people to know about wuri yong joon and the drama "Have We Really Loved?", for it is such a nice drama with such a nice title - a really essential question - Have We Really Loved? Hopefully through him and through this drama, we all learn to love in our lives in a better way. I’ve never been a fan of anyone, but BYJ is an exception, mostly because he had the eyes and heart to pick this drama out of so many potentially popular dramas that may have higher commercial values. He IS different!


ginnie said...


Please do share more about this ok?


This name is still ringing in my ears. I think it is Shin Yeung's voice but I can't be sure.

I feel that he was alive. This person seem so real to me. I feel that I can relate to him in many ways but yet we are so different.


mrs a said...

Okay, I am ordering it this weekend. I can't wait to meet Jaeho. And I truly loved all the info you and bb put on here. Sounds like a fascinating drama.

Mr. Postman hurry and bring my package to me!

Thanks h!

jaime said...

Dear "serious" h,

I guess you REALLY mean business when you said you LOVE HWRL!

You're right, HWRL is a very powerful drama and the character Jaeho leaves the viewers a deep impression. Personally, it's too painful for me because I can't believe there are so many one after another unfortunate events happened on one person. He really never had a single breathing moment of happiness!

Aside from that, Yong Joon's acting is so believable that it draws the deepest emotions out from us. When he was in pain, we are in pain too.

h, do you surf SOOMPI? There's a lot of discussions on HWRL recently among ginnie, liezle, frances and other sisters. There's a post in particular (#7269) on an article from WJS forum discussing the title HWRL, I quote "if we love our life, don't give up on it, regardless of how difficult or hard our life might be".

Thanks for posting this, I always enjoy your insight into things.

bb said...

yea, i do love jaeho so much.

it was so difficult to watch him when he was sick, getting more frail by the day... and i remember that particular part where shin hyung had trouble accepting his sickness and would stay away, and when he found out she didn't go for that tuition session and how he sat her down to talk to her at home... i think i couldn't have been sadder. it was like my heart was in my throat and i felt so pained to see him like that.

and another scene... at the hospital when he was holding his sister's baby.... that smile on his face was truly beautiful.

think i've never loved a character so much. hats off to the scriptwriter.

and H, thanks for sharing your thoughts, and thanks for sharing my ramblings too :)

HeippieH said...

Hi ginnie, nice to see you here! You like HWRL? Shake hands! How about a hug. :-) Yes, thanks for your encouragement, I am going to go on rambling about HWRL, there is a lot to say and hopefully I can manage to get it out as nice as some other fans, but if I can't, I'll just refer to theirs, there are so many discussions about HWRL on the bae-net. I love them all, and I don't think I have read enough, but I feel I need to speak my own feelings as well, and this is the best place to do it. Do come and check for my progress, maybe in 3-4 days interval or by week. I am slow.

When I think about HWRL, I hear "Jaeho yah" in my heart, it is Shin-Hyung's voice, so soft and gentle. I love Shin-Hyung. I want to blog about her.

HeippieH said...

Hi Mrs.A., it won't be an easy ride watching it. Prepare tissue papers. It will be painful watching it. But while the main theme is heavy, the scriptwriter skillfully mixed in with humor through other charaters. So sometimes you'll find yourself burst into laughs while you were just crying for a sad scence. I found I "appreciate" the drama more than "enjoy" it, so to speak.

HeippieH said...

Hey Jaime, long time no talk. I have tried a few times getting on Soompi, and after going through some searching found the BYJ thread, but there seems to be no easy way to sigh in directly to this thread? Or there is one but I am not aware of? And when I got in, I don't see discussions, only see logs of listings of VODs and songs and links. I wasn't sure if that was a discussion board or just information board. Thanks for letting me know the discussion about HWRL there. I'll go check.

jaime said...

Dear h,

yeah you're right, there is no direct access to BYJ thread (or is there liezle/frances?). In the K-dramas forum, I have to search for BYJ thread, usually it's on the first 2 pages cause liezle and frances always keep it updated. Personally, I prefer an alphabetical system, at least I know which page to go to. Once I find the BYJ thread, I usually go to the last page for the news. The first 2 pages are links and list compiled by liezle and frances to all the great vods, readings and news. They are great intro to BYJ! I am guilty that I haven't read anything between page 3 to page 300 yet, I'm sure there're tons of good fun readings too.

liezle told me that last 2 days of data has been lost in SOOMPI, so I don't know if the HWRL discussions were still around.

Can't wait for your next instalment of HWRL. In the meantime, don't cry too much, k?
(eventhough you said you "enjoyed" it, we don't want h to have red puffy eyes!)

HeippieH said...

Dear bb, when I read your comments, my eyes welled up with tears again. I am very touched by those two sections as well, as long as many other scences. When Shin-Hyung tried to avoid Jaeho as she was trying to avoid the fact that she knows he is leaving her and the world, Jaeho said to her "let's treasure everyday this very day, at least we can still hear each other, touch each other, and love each other". And when new life came into the world, Jaeho's sisters son, he hold him in his arms, yes, his smile was so moving and beautiful. That was my favorite scence too. Another one I had deep impression was, when Jaeho was going to marry Shin-Hyung, one night at home, he hold her in his arms and said, "I love you. If I knew "love" is such a treasuarable word, I would not have said it so many times before. Now I look back, I had used this work so lightly before. Thank you."

ginnie said...


I will wait for the HWRL installments. ha! I know that the best things come with patience. So, don't worry about time..just let me know k...either in our "mother pad" bb's blog or at soompi..I'll come by to check once in a while too.

Hmm..I have sort of kept HWRL away for now. I don't know why I was saddened by his death and then I needed to keep his story away. But, I thought about Jaeho once in a while. What symptom is this huh? he is not even real. Sigh..what's with me now? Perhaps by reading about Jaeho can help me collect my thoughts about him. Piece by piece...

I truly enjoyed learning about Koreans in this series. Although I do not want to generalize all Koreans to one single series but the show did provide a good glimpse into their lifestyle and values. Although Yong Joon says all Asians share very similar roots (which is true) but to some extent we are different in many ways too. I was quite taken by some actions, some cultural connotations in the series that sometimes amazed me, or puzzled me.

Love. Have we really loved? To love like Jae ho is too painful. To love like shinhyung is just as painful. Must we walk down to the end of this path to find out about love in such painful way? I hope that nobody in this world loves this deeply and painfully. However, would you want to love this deeply once in your lifetime, however long or short it may be? Will you be contented and say that I lived and I loved? The end?

Jaeho's stuggle in life was so burdensome for me to watch. In fact, the scenes towards the end when he was dying was "easier" (just somewhat) to watch relative to when he was healthy and struggling with unfairness in life. How many times does he need to be taken down and then stand up again in the face of these life challenges? I couldn't watch was much too disturbing that one has to be be this strong just to survive. And just when he survived it all, he took all of the blows in..he was bruised and tired , then life gives him another blow and this time a fatal one.

HeippieH said...

Dear Jaime,

I made another attempt to get on soompi and search for BYJ thread and failed. I don't know how to proceed. To write the next installment as you gals called, I watched the HWRL a bit here and there again, and inevitably, cried again. Don't worry about the puffy eyes, my eyes are already torn for countless sleepless nights. A bit of crying here or there won't do more damage. But thank you for your caring heart, and thank you for making me laugh again, you are so talented at making people happy. I wish I saved all your old writings so that I can enjoy it from time to time. Especially after reading, writing, watching, crying for Jaeho and Shin-Yeung.

HeippieH said...


A nice long comment. Enjoy reading it. It deserves a dedicated piece of blogging. I'll have to chat with you later, for what you have said here is too hard to discuss with a few simple words. Who said HWRL is an easy topic. Above all, I am with you.