Blue Swallow (2005)

mp’s rating: 4/5

I hate it when Korean movies captured my eyes and forced me to watch more sad stories. But it was that good. (note: spoiler alert ahead)

Blue Swallow (2005) is a true story of a Korean female pilot, Park Kyung-Won, who dreamed of flying since she was eleven years old. South Korea was under the regime of Japan at that time, and she went to Japan to pursue her dreams. She worked hard, being a taxi driver, repairing cars, just to get the fund for her flying school. She met a guy, Han Ji-Hyuk, by being his taxi driver one night, who in the end became her lover, yet it ended in a tragic way.

Commenting on the general view of the movie, for me it doesn’t look like a Korean one. Most Korean movies that I watch are chick-flicks, the ones like My Sassy Girl, Seducing Mr. Perfect, or even old Korean dramas that have lots of humours and boy-girl relationships. This one looks like a Chinese movie that tells the story of honour, love, and endurance.

Actresses and actors are great – outstanding acting, and good-looking ones as well. Cinematography was impeccable, it is way much more than I expected. A combination of black and white footage that commemorated the history, with slow-motion pictures that is well-played to emphasis the drama. In one word, it’s that good.

In terms of the plot, I feel like watching the movie Amelia (2009), which tells the story of the first female pilot ever, Amelia Earhart, but in the Asian version. Nonetheless, this is way much better than the movie Amelia, just because it provides more context and drama. I’d say, good job indeed.

However, this movie has brought a lot of controversies, as some critics say that it’s bending the true story of Park Kyung-Won. I have no idea about the history, nor that I am really interested in knowing the real truth (because no matter how hard you try, there will always be someone protesting against it). But based on a true story or not, it’s definitely a heart-breaking one.

After going to Japan to pursue her dream, Park Kyung-Won dreamed of flying long-distance – to fly back to Korea, her hometown. Yet, her lover, Han Ji-Hyuk, was accused of being a Korean agent in Japan, and both of them were separated, and then beaten by the Japanese army. Knowing that the only way for Kyung-Won to be released was to confess, Ji-Hyuk said that he was indeed a Korean agent, despite the truth that he was not. Ji-Hyeuk got executed, and in desperation, Kyung-Won flew long-distance to Korea carrying Ji-Hyuk’s ashes, and met her fate.

Over two hours, I laughed, cried, got angry, and felt the pain of Park Kyung-Won. Telling the story of love, friendship, dreams, politics, enemies, death, and life – Blue Swallow is definitely one of my top list of Asian drama movies which I will watch again and again in the future.

Before his death, Han Ji-Hyuk wrote one last letter to his lover.

“How much time do i have left? By every means I tried my best to transcend everything. But I couldn’t help being afraid from time to time. I guess there won’t be many people to remember a carefree guy like me, even if I die here, right? That’s why I must’ve loved you since you’ve cherished every second. Because you have something which I don’t have in my life. Now you’ll cross the East sea, then the Pacific, then the Atlantic. Then you’ll fly to the end of the world. No matter what, you’ll be remembered by many people forever. And I also will be so proud of you. Although I won’t be able to see you fly high across Korea, i hope  you can carry my ashes to Korea with your very hands. Because I want to be with you. I hope nothing turns out empty. and I will pray for you until the very last moment.
I love you Park Kyung-Won.”

A heart-breaking story of reaching your dreams despite all odds, with not quite a fairy-tale ending.

“It rained all night. And I prayed for the rain to please stop, and to let me fly to my home in the morning. I fell asleep at dawn. I dreamed of being alone in the dessert. Segi, Jung-hee, Ji-hyuk. Where has everyone gone? I miss everyone so much. But I guess I finally have to leave alone like this. To the world that I saw for the first time, when I was eleven.”

“The happiest and sweetest moment is flying in the skies.”
Park Kyung-Won (1901 – 1933)

Life updated: a bittersweet life

Earlier this week, I received a heartbreaking news from my sister. A new medical graduate from University of Indonesia, who has just finished his degree and underwent his graduation on Saturday morning, was found dead on Saturday night. He was 23 years old.

The news (read: Young doctor found dead at C. Jakarta apartment tower, or if you are an Indonesian and wants to read a more dramatic version, read: Kisah Dramatis Dokter Muda yang Genius) said that he fell from the 24th floor, and whether it was a pure accident, a murder, or a suicide (which is highly unlikely) was still a big question mark.

I cannot imagine what his family felt. Freshly graduated, a new doctor with a brilliant future, was found dead right after the graduation ceremony. How ironic is that?

Yet in the same time it reminded me of how fragile our lives are – when it’s time, then it’s time. Generally we want to live until we are 70-80 years old, but what if that’s not the case? What if we are called home beforehand? Will we be prepared?

That said, looking from a journalist perspective, I know one thing for sure: people are dying to find out what has happened and exploiting the story. In other news reporting this story, it’s told that the young doctor had very few friends and may have developed antisocial behaviour – but how true is that? Although not clearly said in the news, I’m pretty sure people are thinking that the young doctor did suicide because of the pressure. We may never know, and we do not need to know – it’s not our business anyway, but the way the media works is just… like that. Exploiting stories. Making things more dramatic. Engaging more readers. Drawing their emotions.

And why does media do that? Because we like the stories. People feed from these kinds of stories, just like they want to know what’s happening in the celebrities’ lives, without necessarily knowing them anyway. People want to know the lives of their friends, who’s in a relationship with who, and sometimes, comparing their lives with our own. That’s why there is Facebook.

I have said this countless times, and I am about to repeat myself again: in a sense, I’ll not be able to be a true media student. I’m not be able to be a journalist. My writings will always be on the entertainment sector (events, profiles, reviews, travel) or reflective pieces (opinions, personal naratives).

And here is another news about death:

Notice the difference? While one is making the story more dramatic, this one, somehow, making the story looks humorous (or is it just my opinion?) I wonder how their family felt when they read this kind of news. Someone has just lost a brother, a son, a father, and yet the media exploited their sadness and turning it into a story. But what can I say? Even I read these stories, trying to dig in other people’s business. Like I said in my previous post on the mind, I guess in the end it all goes back on which perspective are you taking while dealing with life.

Well, enough about news and media and blah, time for some sweets. I’ve been watching some very good movies (reviews coming up soon, stay tuned), and I haven’t done any single thing related to my studies, except from downloading all lectopias and lecture notes and re-arrange them into folders. I’ve read One Day, well, half of it, and intending to finish the book before the holiday ends. This holiday, my life is totally spent on sofa, bed, kitchen, and sofa. Not a very good lifestyle, but I quite enjoy it.

I went to Tulip Farm last Saturday. Because the photographer hasn’t given me the photos, I can’t make a review, but will do as soon as I’ve got my equipments ready. I have free tickets of the movie The Eye of The Storm starring Geoffrey Rush, so I might drag my lazy self out of the sofa to the cinema later this week.

Been eyeing a Psychology book titled What Do I Say? by Linda N. Edelstein and Charles A. Woehler, but it was quite expensive in retail ($40) so I am thinking of buying online, even though I never (okay, maybe only once) buy online.

In the past week, two stories have been published (yeay). Read Students fund children’s charity through Project O: Reboot and The definition of success. The latter is a personal narrative of mine.

Daddy’s little girl

Most of us grow up with bedtime stories. I am one among the majority, of course, yet my stories are not Disney fairy tales or the legend folk tales. Mine is my dad’s life.

He climbs up to his position now, right from the bottom. When I was born, life was already easier, he said. Yet it was not the case when my parents first got married.

They didn’t have a house, didn’t have money in the bank, nor any possession. My dad opened up a paper factory, yet sold it around three years later. He then worked with a relative as the man who ‘freed the land’, as he used to tell me. He still does.

He traveled places: Bali, Lombok, Serang, Cibubur, and many other places in Indonesia. Yet when we used to go to these places and aim for the beach, he goes there and aims for the local people’s places.

His job was gravely dangerous. He was the one who went to the local people and bargained with them to buy their land, while his company had a new shopping mall or townhouses to build in mind. He needed to blend in. He ate stuffs, he didn’t have access to a decent toilet, and he almost died – someone had cursed him, put a knife, and even put a gun in front of him. Yet with courage in hand, he survived.

And my dad, was what you called, a bad boy. He was quite a ‘lady-killer’, but he stopped after he met my mom. He used to go racing, and had accidents. He fell down a cliff once, and he had other near death experiences. Yet he survived.

He used to say that it is miracle that my dad is the person he is now. Now I remember him as the most patient person in the world. He almost never says ‘no’ to me, and he loves his family dearly. He is the one who accompanies me play bowling, billiard, badminton, table tennis, and taught me how to do well in those sports.

Not only that, he is the one who pushes my Mom to go shopping, even when my Mom says that it’s enough. Guys, if you are reading this, be a man like my Dad, who accompanies my mother to shopping malls, goes inside ZARA and gives her a comment on how good the dress is, and buys a well-known branded bag every year for her (she loves bags). He puts his family first, ahead from his jobs and friends, and always wants to make his children happy.

Most of all, my Dad supports me for whatever I want to do, either it’d be a writer, a cafe owner, a psychologist, or maybe a businesswoman. “You can be whoever you want to be,” he says. And I believe in those words.

My Daddy is not perfect, but he is the best one for me. And I will always, always be, my daddy’s little girl.

Tuesday’s Tale: The Places We Should Have Gone

Once, someone wise has said to me, “When you are in a relationship, treat your partner with marriage in mind. But if it doesn’t work out, don’t be afraid to break up.” Common sense, but deep.

This video tells a story of a boy, and a girl, who fell in love, yet the guy does not fight for her enough. He has his chance, but failed to seize it. Yet the sad part is, when suddenly the guy wants to make things straight, sometimes, it may be too late.

DIRECTOR’S COMMENTARY by WongFu Production

“The feeling of regret or wishing for another chance is common when a couple separates. Whoever is at fault usually searches for sympathy as they have realized in hindsight their mistakes. In “Places” Becky has returned from a 6 month internship and runs into her exboyfriend. Based on the flashbacks we see that prior to her leaving, she made many efforts to keep him close, but he was not so receptive for whatever reason. While his rejection of her ideas to take trips may not have directly been the reason for their breakup, it’s enough to show his attitude toward the relationship and how much he had come to value it and her. Fast forward to her return from the job, we can see that she is not totally over it. And to her surprise, the ex-boyfriend has come to realize how he mistreated her. Whether or not she gives him another chance is left open, but the ending line is what I wanted to emphasize… When people break up, they usually handle it in one of two ways. They either push themselves to forget about it and move on, or they wallow in depression, holding on. In my opinion, I don’t think it’s good to do either. Trying to forget means getting rid of all the experiences and lessons. Dwelling means not accepting and growing from the same experiences/lessons. When Becky says “I will do neither”, she’s saying, I can move on, while still remembering why.”

What I learn about relationship from here is that there is the term regret. One day, when we look back, will we say, “Oh, I should have done that… I should have taken her places, I should have loved her more, I should have spent more time with the kids, I should have acknowledged him more.” Where right now, when we have the chance, we just let it passes by?

You can’t change the past, and you have not yet arrived in the future. You can only do something now.

“You would’ve liked it. I should have taken you. But now, I can’t give you these things.”

Ps. If you like this video, check my all-time favourite videos: Strangers, Again and When Five Fell.

the power of mind

The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.
Winston Churchill

Why the title of this post feels like it’s taken straight from the book “The Secret”? Well, it’s not. But let’s dig down further of what I mean by the power of mind.

Please take a moment and read this short fable:

The Frog Story

A group of frogs were hopping contentedly through the woods, going about their froggy business, when two of them fell into a deep pit. All of the other frogs gathered around the pit to see what could be done to help their companions. When they saw how deep the pit was, they agreed that it was hopeless and told the two frogs in the pit that they should prepare themselves for their fate, because they were as good as dead.

Unwilling to accept this terrible fate, the two frogs began to jump with all of their might. Some of the frogs shouted into the pit that it was hopeless, and that the two frogs wouldn’t be in that situation if they had been more careful, more obedient to the froggy rules, and more responsible. The other frogs continued sorrowfully shouting that they should save their energy and give up, since they were already as good as dead.

The two frogs continued jumping with all their might, and after several hours of this, were quite weary. Finally, one of the frogs took heed to the calls of his fellow frogs. Exhausted, he quietly resolved himself to his fate, lay down at the bottom of the pit, and died.

The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could, although his body was wracked with pain and he was quite exhausted. Once again, his companions began yelling for him to accept his fate, stop the pain and just die. The weary frog jumped harder and harder and, wonder of wonders, finally leaped so high that he sprang from the pit.

Amazed, the other frogs celebrated his freedom and then gathering around him asked, “Why did you continue jumping when we told you it was impossible?”

The astonished frog explained to them that he was deaf, and as he saw their gestures and shouting, he thought they were cheering him on. What he had perceived as encouragement inspired him to try harder and to succeed against all odds.”

So the morale of the story coincides with the book of Proverbs, which says, “There is death and life in the power of the tongue“. Our words can contain live, yet it can also contain death. It can heal wounds to those who need it, but it can be a knife that stabs someone from behind.

But I believe, yes, the words matter, and the tongue matters, but what’s more important is the mind.

Human’s brain is the most complex matter that exists in the universe. It has at least 10 billions neurons and each neuron has connections with 10k others. It can trigger you to think positive, or it can force you to think negative. The question is, is your mind taking control of you, or are you the one taking control of your mind?

Looking back at the frog fable, it is apparent that the first frog chose to feed his mind with negativity that his friends gave. While the second frog, (although it was a slightly different case because he’s deaf), chose to believe that his friends are supporting him. We cannot control what others will say, what others will think of us, or what others will do, but we can control our minds, and choose to look at life in a different perspective.

I’d say, the mind is treacherous. Why? It is so hard to focus even for a couple of minutes in doing something, and when suddenly something distracts us, in a blink we go daydreaming – we are thinking of something else. It’s when we sit in a lecture but our minds are drifting towards what to eat for lunch. It’s when we listen to a sermon in church but we are thinking on where to go after church. It’s when we pray, and suddenly we think of our assignments, dishes, TV programs, and much more. Sometimes, I feel like the brain has a mind of its own.

So looking from a psychologist point of view, why do people develop depression? Why does eating disorders, bipolar personality, or suicidal thoughts exist? These people are not necessarily the ‘poorest’ people on earth or the ‘unluckiest’ ones. But I guess, they choose to feed their minds with negativity, thinking that their situation is much more than they can handle, that their body is so fat and they can’t handle the pressure – they choose to be negative instead of living with hope and purpose. Many other people go through the same or even worse situation and choose to succeed, and they do succeed. Well, all goes back to the mind.

Physically, we have to eat healthy food (fruits, veggies, meat etc ) to survive, and sometimes we also eat junk food for pleasure (hamburgers, fast food, chips, etc) which does not necessarily unhealthy, but it will distract us from eating more healthy food. And there’s also the toxic food (drugs, smoke, overdosis alcohol, baygon). The same principle goes for our mental health. We have to feed our minds mentally with healthy food (the Bible, positivity, inspiring stories, studies), less junk food (magazines, gossips, etc), and hopefully, no toxic food (suicidal thoughts, depression, pornography, etc).

Will you let your mind control you, or are you the one holding the steering wheel?

Saturday’s story: a Doctor’s story

a Doctor’s story
by unknown

It was a busy morning, approximately 8:30 am, when an elderly gentleman in his 80’s, arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb. He stated that he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:00 am.

I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would be able to see him. I saw him looking at his watch and decided, since I was not busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound.

On examination, it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his sutures and redress his wound. While taking care of his wound, we began to engage in conversation. I asked him if he had a doctor’s appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry. The gentleman told me, that he needed to go to the nursing home to have breakfast with his wife.

I then inquired as to her health. He told me that she had been there for a while and that she was a victim of Alzheimer’s disease. As we talked, and I finished dressing his wound, I asked if she would be worried if he was a bit late. He replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him in last five years now.

I was surprised and asked him, “And you still go every morning, even though she doesn’t know who you are?”
He smiled as he patted my hand and said, “She does not know me, but I still know who she is.”
I had to hold back tears as he left, I had goose flesh on my arm, and thought, “That is the kind of love; one should have in his life.”

True love is neither physical, nor romantic. True  love is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will be, and will not be. With all the jokes and fun that are in e-mails, sometimes there are some that come along that  have an important message, and this is one of  those kinds.

“The happiest of  people don’t necessarily have the best of  everything; they just make the best of everything  that comes along their way.”