I know very well that Park Shin Hye was in Manila for a fan meeting last weekend (March 16 to be precise), and as much as I really wanted to go, I couldn’t afford it. Yes, I know some of you are going to say “BUT YOU BOUGHT AN PHP 11K TICKET FOR GIRLS GENERATION WHO ONLY PERFORMED SIX SONGS” but I was being trying to be fiscally responsible (damn, the terms I get from my job) hence a Php 5k ticket for a chance to meet her and get an autograph seemed impractical. I wanted to buy the silver ticket which was half the price but still, by then I was low on funds and I need all the money I could squeeze out of my poor poor bank account.
Oh yeah, those six songs were worth every damn peso.
Now why did I want to see Park Shin Hye? Because she was my first Korean love.
Since I wasn’t able to see Shin Hye, I dedicate this blog post to the memory of my crush on Park Shin Hye, Stairway to Heaven, and how I drowned in the Hallyu Wave.
AYO STOP. LET’S BRING IT BACK TO 2004 (heh I Got A Boy reference)
The country was still reeling from the Tsinovela invasion from the likes of Meteor Garden and F4, and the Hallyu wave was starting to pick up (heck I didn’t even believe during that time that Koreanovelas would be THIS popular). But hey, at least they put a halt to the dominance of the latin telenovelas that dominated the air before. If I remember correctly, Endless Love: Autumn in My Heart and Endless Love II: Winter Sonata just finished airing and GMA 7 was about to air a new drama starring Choi Ji Woo, probably to capitalize on her popularity from Winter Sonata.
I was a High School freshman near the bottom of the social ladder. My grades weren’t bad, but they weren’t stellar either. I was among the teenagers who watched Meteor Garden (out of curiosity at first but then grew to love it; never did get to finish Meteor Garden II because of the damn storyline) and also got to watch the nightly dramas because my mom and our maid watched in the living room, and since they controlled that television, I had no choice but to watch them too. So I got to watch Winter Sonata alongside the Filipino dramas of the time, and eventually, Stairway to Heaven. When I saw the first few episodes, I was immediately floored, not only by the storyline, but with the young actress playing young Jodi/Jung-suh. I was so floored that during that time, I took a video using my Nokia 6600 of the TV screen during the scene where Jung-suh was piggybacked all the way to the hospital just so I could watch it over and over again on the computer because she was so damn cute. I remember saying that she was the girl of my dreams (sorry Tiffany). Naturally, I did a little research about her and found out her name was Park Shin Hye, born February 18, 1990 (YAY 5 MONTHS APART), Blood Type A, and an up-and-coming young actress. I printed out a picture of her that I found from Google and placed it in my clear book along with my Learning Competencies and other Activity Sheets so that in the desolation that is my grades, there would be a beautiful sight. Some of my classmates found out and made fun of it, but I didn’t care. Some even lampooned me for watching a KDrama because it was something that boys didn’t do (until now, people even criticize me for liking KPop because as a guy, I shouldn’t be a huge fan, or so they say). It was something that I grew to like and expanded my knowledge, my cultural sensitivity, and my imagination due to the richness of the stories.
Because of my crush on Shin Hye, I wanted to finish Stairway to Heaven at my own pace, so we decided to get a 22 disc VCD copy of the series (I remember finishing the rest of the drama in 6 hours, from 10 pm to 4 am on a school day). From there, I started watching Full House, then Jewel in the Palace, and the rest is history. The Hallyu wave drowned me because I chased upon my puppy love, and I wouldn’t be the person that I am now if it wasn’t for her.
To quote a song from the musical Wicked: Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.
Kamsahamnida, Shin Hye-ssi.