Two sides of the same coin.

This made me laugh this morning.

KUALA LUMPUR ― Despite cultural and language differences, Korean dramas are gaining popularity in Asia and recognition in Europe and the Americas because of their strength in storytelling and marketing, said Markus Helbling, managing director of global TV entertainment festival Rose d’Or.

“I think you really know how to tell story. You do (dramas) with very attractive people and good marketing,” Helbling told The Korea Herald. He was in Kuala Lumpur to host the Rose d’Or Nominee’s Night, the festival’s first official event in Asia.

The full interview can be read here, but it seems a bit strange that Mr. Helbling is denying that you can’t polish a turd? (The sub-editor at the KH should also get a slap for the first sentence of the quoted text).

Soap operas, by their very nature (from whatever country) are generally an escape from reality for the viewers. I have no problem with their existence, nor do I care if people watch them or not. Having not watched any dramas in years, I can still guarantee that the formula has not changed one iota.

However, if this is what you think people around the globe will take as ‘culture’  or ‘entertainment’ from South Korea and pass it off as some kind of revelation, then you’re sadly mistaken. Helbling, I’m sure had a microphone thrust under his nose and he wasn’t going to say anything negative about Korean dramas (or the business). But if he really believes that what passes for drama in this country is the essence of good story telling then he is a “aff his heid”, to use the Scottish vernacular.

It’s empty, vacuous, cliche-ridden, surgically enhanced, mass-manufactured, eye-gougingly awful attempts to hoodwink you into believing that this is GOOD for you and you should keep wanting more! Oh please…

In one of the local magazines (10 – in this case) there’ a Television review section (albeit it only a few sycophantic paragraphs) and the title read: Formula Defying Drama Finds Inspiration in Chinese History. It certainly didn’t want to make me watch it (how could I resist the raging stereotype of “an intellectual chemist who lures men with her beauty and extensive knowledge about modern art, classical music, and wine), but I did check out the trailer.

What’s even more far out is the synopsis. Crivvens…

The good old Korea Herald is never too far away with a witty riposte to what they call ‘anti-hallyu sentiment’. Taiwan orders TV station to reduce S. Korean programs, but it seems to me that the other countries should get their fingers out of their arses and start mass-producing their own mindless fodder for the people?

There is a lot of good drama (certainly all in films) out there, but I’m just tired of being fed all this BS about how much Hallyu dramas are the best thing since sliced bread.

On the other hand, it was nice to see Shin Joong-hyun being recognized for his contribution of Korean popular music.  “Godfather of Korean rock” as he’s known in South Korea, and it was his song Mi-in (미인) that we performed on last years “Top Band” show. Shin’s story is one worthy of being told, but I highly doubt the marketing men will see any potential in it.

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Author: From a Late Night Train

Teacher. Musician. Ponderer. Had lived in Seoul, South Korea since 2000. Moved back to Glasgow, Scotland in May 2017.

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