Catharsis through K-dramas | Inquirer Opinion
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Catharsis through K-dramas

I have been an avid fan of Korean dramas since sixth grade. I must have watched more than a hundred for 16 years now, but there are two recent dramas that really captured my heart and served as my catharsis when I hit rock bottom. These K-dramas saved me.

Last November, I watched “Hotel del Luna.” Lee Ji-eun, aka IU, played Jang Man-wol, the cursed owner of the hotel that has been catering to ghosts for 1,300 years. Man-wol and the hotel staff’s mission is to appease the ghosts so these souls would only bring positive energy as they go to the afterlife.


I realized that Miss Jang and I are similar. We held a grudge for so long, that’s why we were both stranded. Man-wol could not let go of her anger toward the person who betrayed her 1,300 years ago, so she was cursed to be the owner of Hotel del Luna. I, on the other hand, had yet to move on from a friend’s betrayal three years ago. His betrayal really shattered me to pieces, and I was never my old, happy self again. There were times when I wanted to thrust a sword into him, just like what Man-wol did to Chung-myung in the drama. I wallowed in so much anger and wished that he was dead. I wanted to avenge myself, but I instead bottled the pain and hatred. I became cynical and distrustful of the people around me.

In the end, Man-wol was able to free herself from the moon tree and the hotel when she finally found the courage to face Chung-myung’s soul and let go of her anger. She found freedom and peace when she forgave him. As for me, I am doing my best to let go of the hatred and the bad memories. The negative emotions I harbored have become my moon tree and guest house of the moon for three years now. My hatred and refusal to forgive affected my decisions, my career, and my entire life.


“Hotel del Luna” reminded me that I must learn to let go of the past and free myself from regrets and grudges, so that I won’t end up stranded for so long just like the guests, the staff, and the owner of the hotel were. I am fervently praying that in God’s time, I will be able to forgive so I can free myself, too.

Another Korean drama that gave me the catharsis I needed was “Crash Landing on You” (CLOY), with Son Ye-jin and Hyun Bin. It’s about a South Korean heiress, Yoon Se-ri, who landed in North Korea after a paragliding accident and fell in love with an army officer, Ri Jeong-hyeok, from that country.

It was in the second episode’s epilogue where I saw myself in Se-ri, who was depressed and wanted to be euthanized in Switzerland. I have also suffered from depression despite my achievements in life—from being a consistent honor student from pre-school to college and a national placer in the board exam seven years ago. I felt Se-ri’s pain, especially during the past three years when I experienced several betrayals, rejections, and failures. I never attempted to kill myself, but there were times I wished I were dead because everything felt so heavy.

The fifth episode is my favorite because of the heartwarming dialogue between Se-ri and Captain Ri about their lives and the choices they’ve made. Jeong-hyeok didn’t want to think of the future anymore, because whenever things didn’t go as planned, he just felt disappointed. Lately, I have adopted the same mentality. After failing to achieve my dream career, I decided not to think much about the future and just welcome whatever fate has in store for me.

In the same episode, Se-ri was brave enough to admit that she felt like she was always on the wrong train, and there were times that she wanted to give up by jumping off the train or by not going anywhere. It really made me cry, as if Se-ri was speaking on my behalf. I have considered myself an achiever who got on the wrong train. I let go of many great opportunities in life just because I lacked the confidence and the courage.

Se-ri quoted an Indian proverb: “Sometimes, the wrong train takes you to the right station.” It gave Jeong-hyeok — and me — the consolation we needed. CLOY reminded me that I should still dream of the future even if things do not work out as planned because as long as I keep my faith, God will still take me to the right destination no matter which train I take.

The last three years have been a tough battle. But I am glad that “Hotel del Luna” and CLOY have taught me to let go of past grudges and regrets so I can reach the right destination marked by peace and genuine happiness. Little by little, I am rising.


* * *

Therese Mary Anntoinette B. de los Santos, 27, ranked eighth in the September 2013 national licensure examination for teachers.

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TAGS: K-dramas, Therese Mary Anntoinette B. de los Santos, Young Blood
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