EDITING : 2022.10.31 월 21:10
The Gachon Herald
An Ordinary Story but Special DramaA story of the underprivileged in Noh Hee-Kyung's work
Choi Seh-min  |  cchloe1006@gmail.com
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Updated : 2022.09.28  14:41:55
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 Within drama, there are stories about people. Our life is the combination of various stories of individuals, our ordinary daily lives and gathered pieces of everyday life being like a one drama. However, it is difficult to find the lives of ordinary citizens in dramas. Modern drama usually has similar storylines like a poor miserable person meets a powerful professional with a tremendous amount of money and lives a totally different life or a revenge story about a person who got caught up in a violent crime becomes the main character which is an unrealistic story. However, Noh Hee-Kyung's dramas are different. As she said in an interview; "This world is made up of of a lot of ordinary people, not one hero" The main characters in her work are just like me, ordinary neighbors, and family around me. Her work always attracts viewers without provocative material and always resonates with us.
 
The cast of ‘Our Blues’ add emotional weight with a wonderfully vivid performance
 The most recent work of Noh Hee-Kyung, ‘Our Blues’, injects a lot of vibes in viewers by casting actual Down syndrome and deaf-mute actresses. This drama is in an omnibus format that contains stories of various characters having their own stories, not just a story centered on one main character. Most of all, the story, ‘Young-ok, Jung Joon, and Young-Hee" depicts well Down syndrome and the suffering of their families realistically. Also, the ‘So byul and Ki Joon' story delivers the story of deaf muteness.
 Young-ok and Jung Joon belong together. Jung-Joon wants a serious relationship like lovers developing into marriage, but Young-ok is afraid of this relationship. Twin sister Young-hee is the reason. Young-ok is trying to hide the fact that her twin sister has Down Syndrome and she worries about introducing Young-hee to her new friends. This is why she is obsessed with money and harvesting abalone, and Young-hee is the one who keeps calling Young-ok. Young-hee visits Jeju Island to stay with Young-ok, and Jung-Joon meets her without knowing her existence. Jung-Joon, who does not know about Young-hee's existence is doubly surprised to see young-hee with Down syndrome. He is not able to hide the puzzled expression on his face. Not only Jung Joon but also the shellfish divers working with Young-ok and the villagers are surprised by Young-hee’s appearance. But soon, everyone likes her and happily incorporates her into their daily lives. From the story of Young-hee and Yeong-ok, I would like to introduce the most impressive two scenes.
-‘Young-hee’ who remembers everything
The villagers and Young-hee spend a wonderful time hanging out together. She spends a week drinking beer and dancing, and Jung Joon especially takes care of Young-hee, because of the older sister of the woman he loves. However, Young-ok is uncomfortable with Jung Joon's manner. Young-ok says; "My ex-boyfriends took good care of Young-hee at first, but they didn’t take responsibility to the end" adding, "Jun Joon's attitude will only hurt Young-hee’s feeling." She tells Jung Joon, “You might think she won’t remember everything clearly, but she does, she is more sensitive to pain and sadness and even remembers bad memories. Therefore, Young-ok tells him to treat Young-hee ‘abstractedly’. Young-ok nagged Young-hee because she keeps taking pictures. Young-hee doesn’t stop because she needs these photos to draw. As their conflict becomes more intense, Young-hee shouts, “You abandoned me on the subway, You brat?”, referring to their past. Young-hee vividly remembers this memory. Most people think that emotions are not delicate and slow because it is more difficult to express emotions than non-disabled people when it comes to autism spectrum disorders as well as a heartwarming syndrome. But they may remember each moment more clearly. They have feelings and can express them just like us.
-‘Young-ok’, who is carrying the world on her shoulders.
 Their parents died in a car accident when Young-ok and Young-hee sisters were young. Young-ok despised her situation as a guardian of her older sister Young-hee. Young-ok says to herself, "Should I have abandon her on the subway, back then?" Young-ok, who taps and gets angry in front of Young-hee, thinks about Young-hee more than anyone. This drama shows well the reality of disabled people's families. Special needs schools are often located far from cities so young Young-ok was not able to take her there, she took her to a regular curriculum school. Young-ok tried her best to take Young-hee beside her but she has to send Young-hee to special needs school eventually. This shows that this situation is an inevitable reality. Also, this drama shows disabled people's families are going through hardships even though they live together. Young-hee, Young-ok, and Jung-Joon go to eat together at a restaurant. However, a child keeps staring and teasing Young-hee, causing them to almost have a fight. After returning home, Park Jung-Joon suggests that the three of them go on a trip but Young-ok gets frustrated, “Do you think you can take care of her forever?”.  The reason why Young-ok is trying not to let Jung-Joon get close with her twin sister is because of the hardships Jung-Joon will face if he breaks up with them in the future. This is because she thinks people might blame Jung Joon for abandoning a woman with a disabled sister even if it is not true. Through the story of ‘Our Blues’, and the Young-hee and Yeong-ok episode, viewers can vividly feel not only the perspective of Down syndrome but also the hardships their families face. Most dramas talk about hardships that disabled people face like Down syndrome or autism spectrum disorder. I think this drama is special because this work contains the stories of people suffering from disabilities, their families, and the people around them. The reason why Young-ok avoids a deep relationship with Jung Joon is because of Young-hee; "I have to support Young-hee until she dies.” This line shows Young-ok’s big responsibility towards Young-hee.
   
 
 
Gender discrimination in the labor market, the drama ‘Live’
 Han Jung-oh, one of the main characters in the drama, is a jobseeker. She tries hard to get a job despite difficult situations, but it is not easy. She could not find a job and realizes that being a woman is a problem in the workplace. The reason that she felt is when she is interviewed, the male interviewer keeps asking discriminative questions such as, “Are you going to take care of a personal matter such as babysitting if you are asked?” and, “Are you going to keep working after getting married?” The writer Noh Hee-Kyung said in an interview that she really wants to talk about gender-related issues. That's why people call her a feminist writer, and sometimes she is accused of aggravating gender discrimination. Currently, I think men and women have become much more equal in South Korea. Nevertheless, women’s authority is still undermined, so gender-related issues still often happen towards women. As such, I think feminists are the ones who are united to improve this problem. Gender discrimination is a social problem, and it is necessary to improve this problem. However, in recent years, I think the meaning of feminists has changed and brought sexual hatred. The reason why ‘feminism’ appeared is for gender equality between men and women. Feminists who misunderstand the signification of feminism bring misandry, and on the contrary, some men react negatively towards feminists. As there are many opinions and issues on gender discrimination and feminists, writers find it difficult to handle these topics. Nevertheless, writer Noh Hee-Kyung emphasizes women’s common experiences in Korean society, so it can lead male viewers to think about the problems faced by women and hopes to lessen this problem.
   
 
 
‘Dear My Friends’ is about coexisting with disabled people
 The drama was dogged by controversy because of the allegation that it was demeaning of disabled people. However, if you watched the ending, you will notice that Noh Hee-Kyung is trying to deliver the message: coexisting with disabled people. Park Wan and Yeon Ha were a couple who were engaged. The day when Yeon Ha is planning to propose, he gets into a car accident. He is paralyzed from the waist down. Park Wan's mother, Jang nan hee, always has told her daughter, "It's okay to meet any man in the world, but don’t you dare marry a disabled or married man.” To account for the barrier of the society and influence of her mother, she breaks up with Yeon Ha and returns to Korea leaving her boyfriend in Slovenia alone. However, in the end, Park Wan promises eternal love with Yeon Ha.
 This has become the most controversial issue because of its disparaging remarks about people with disabilities; "It's okay to meet any man in the world, but don’t you dare marry a disabled or married man.” Like the above lines, there have been controversial remarks about the disabled, but in a way, these are lines that well represent the prejudice of society against disabled people. As the episodes go by, we can notice that the characters change their prejudice against the disabled, the drama shows how we can abolish society's prejudices against people with disabilities. Park Wan and Yeon Ha promised eternal love but she abandons him right away since he has developed a disability. However, after realizing disability is just a small part, Park Wan loves him just the way he is, and this character shows overcoming prejudice and discrimination toward disabilities. There is another disabled person in the drama. Jang In-bong, the younger brother of Jang Nan-hee, is a character who eliminates prejudice against the disabled. Jang In-bong wants to get married to a woman from abroad. His family opposes this marriage. He cries out to his family; "Can't disable people love?" This line shows the prejudice society has against the disabled. Of course, putting disability and affairs in the same place is wrong. However, if you watch the whole episode of this drama, ‘Dear My Friends, the message that the writer wants to say is how to embrace them and mingle with them.
   
 
 
 People with disabilities can be portrayed without reality, and their symptoms are considered lightly in some dramas. Their symptoms were sometimes used as humor material. Since their appearance may be conveyed differently from the writer’s intention, so there are only a few literary works dealing with disabled people. However, the writer Noh Hee-Kyung, who always writes stories of disabilities and delivers important messages, shows her concern for disabilities and the messages she wants to deliver about them. Also, there are many stories about socially disadvantaged and minorities in her writing, and from this, you will notice how deadly she wants to change social perception. I’m looking forward to watching more heartwarming dramas and stories that appear around various members of society. 
   
 
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