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[만화] The Five Review

WARNING: May contain spoilers! But I will try to minimize, if not avoid, them.

The Five is a Daum webtoon written and drawn by 정연식. It won the 2010 Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA) content contest and was uploaded as a paid webtoon the following year via Daum Comics. It was later on printed into a 5-volume comicbook. And will be adapted into a movie soon.

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I haven’t read a complete 만화 or webtoon. I do read a couple of webtoons once in a while if I have some free time. But I usually just scan through them and look at the pictures. I read all the text, yes, but I never bother checking the words that I do not know (unless I am really really curious). But ever since it was announced that my dear Kim Sun Ah will star in the movie adaptation of the famous The Five webtoon, I can’t help but be curious about it. So the moment I got my hands on this webtoon, I started reading it right away.

Wanting to understand it well, I arranged my browser windows this way:

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So whenever I came across a word that I do not know, I look for it on Naver dictionary. And I read it that way for 3 straight dawns (since I have a part-time until midnight I can only read it at dawn, until I can no longer open my eyes at 4am).

It was not as difficult as I thought it’s going to be. Of course reading was not a breeze. But with the help of Naver dictionary, I was able to understand the webtoon. Not 100% of course. There were many words that can’t be found on both the English and the 국어 Naver dictionary. There’s a character who uses 사투리 and I never understand a word he said. There were also some slangs and 욕 here and there. I googled some words/expressions. Or when I really can’t find it and is extremely curious I asked The Crush who, luckily, is very good in explaining. In the end I was able to understand maybe 80~90% of all the text. I understood the story completely but I may have missed a point or two along the way.

Prior to reading the webtoon, I’ve read summaries about it here and there the moment it was announced that it’ll be adapted into a movie. They said it’s a revenge story. Eun Ah (Kim Sun Ah) survived a brutal massacre by a psychotic serial killer. Her beloved husband and daughter died. Half-paralyzed and on a wheelchair, she plotted her revenge. She gathered 4 people to join her and help her with her revenge. In exchange, she’ll give her organs to them.

Of course, as a Kim Sun Ah fan I was excited. Well, I guess even if the news says Kim Sun Ah will star as a tree with no speaking lines in a new movie I’ll get excited XD. But on a serious note, the reason I’m really excited is because Kim Sun Ah mentioned before that she wanted to do a thriller/suspense/horror. So I’m happy that she gets to do what she wants. And of course, me too would like to see her on a dark movie. I don’t think a lot of people outside the Kim Sun Ah fandom knows that her follow-up project after My Name Is Kim Sam Soon is supposed to be a thriller movie Thursday’s Child that, unfortunately, had lots of productions issues. She ended up not finishing the movie (and had to face a lawsuit resulting to her untimely hiatus after a big hit ㅠㅠ). The movie pushed through with a new director, new cast and a new title – Seven Days.

Initially, frankly speaking, aside from the fact of 1) Seeing Kim Sun Ah again on the big screen and 2.) Seeing Kim Sun Ah on a thriller I don’t have much expectations about the movie. A revenge thriller? I’ve seen this on a hundred American thrillers (and the corresponding Filipino copycats). There’s one serial killer. The main character’s goal is to catch the killer. It will not be easy. But no matter how difficult it is he/she gets to kill the serial killer at the end. Congratulations! The end! Of course there are twists here and there, but basically that will be about it.

But The Five is different. I’m not saying it doesn’t come with the usual thriller cliches here and there, but the thing is there’s more to The Five than what a usual thriller has to offer.

The thriller part is really good in itself. The way it was executed was simply awesome. Whenever I watch a horror movie or thriller, I don’t go to the extent of covering my eyes no matter how scary the movie is. But I had to cover my eyes once or twice as I read the webtoon. The good thing is I can intentionally stop scrolling down when I can’t handle it anymore (unlike in a movie when I can’t). The cliffhangers were awesome too that’s why I stayed up until 4am because I can’t stop reading it. I wanted to finish reading it as soon as possible because I got really curios on how this will all going to end. However the nearer I am to the ending, the slower I want to read it for two reasons. 1.) I was so scared to find out what’s going to happen to the end and 2.) I’ve grown to love the characters, especially Eun Ah that I don’t want to “part” with her. Yeah, tell me about withdrawal syndromes on a webtoon!

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Eun Ah and the rest of the characters were all well-written. Most of them started as heartless characters but as you get to know each one of them, you can’t help but feel for them (except for the serial killer of course). And one more thing I like is that it’s all about Eun Ah (the way My Name Is Kim Sam Soon is all about Sam Soon). I actually dislike stories with so many characters overlapping each other especially when the story is really just all about one.

Eun Ah is a really cool heroine! We can see her transform from a really feminine mother and wife to someone who’s trying to be strong, yet still scared and hurting, for the sake of revenge. And the transformation is not something that is too abrupt. You can see her pain all throughout the story and one can’t help but sympathize and empathize with her.

There were also a few funny parts. It worked on the webtoon and I hope it’ll also work on the movie.

And I’m most happy with the ending. I believe that endings can make or break a good plot. The ending was not something I was expecting and it was indeed very touching. <<< SPOILER ALERT >>> I know right from the start that Eun Ah is meant to die. Once the revenge is successful she needs to donate her kidney, an eye, her liver AND her heart. I was able to witness how the recipients worked so hard and even put their lives on the line for Eun Ah not just so they can get the promised organs for themselves/loved ones, but they also started caring for her. It would just be heartbreaking if they can’t get the organs they’ve worked hard for. Especially when they did nothing wrong. But the entire webtoon let us get to know Eun Ah and made us love her. Of course I don’t want her to die. BUT I think that was a selfish wish of mine. For how can Eun Ah continue living after everything she had to go through. Her only family was murdered and she practically had no one. No friends. No other family. And not only that, a lot of people also suffered because of her along the way. How can someone like her continue living. So at the end of the day, I don’t really want her to live anymore. I wish she’ll just go on a 좋은 데 and just be at peace. BUT I don’t have the heart to see and accept the fact that she’ll die. So yeah, that kind of dilemma was ironed really well.

I felt so many emotions while reading the webtoons. Not only did I cover my eyes on scary parts. I had goosebumps every now and then. I started rooting not just for Eun Ah but for everyone. I’ve cried a lot too. Serious crying. I am easily moved by movies or dramas and I easily get teary-eyed. But the only time I brawl as much and as long as I did after reading this webtoon was while watching My Name Is Kim Sam Soon and Rooftop Prince. After the final chapter, there is an epilogue which is not really an epilogue but a music video – a photo show of all the important points of the webtoon played along the official webtoon OST. So while watching that “epilogue” I was brawling. And even after the music ended, I can’t stop my tears.

And just for the record, this is not just about Kim Sun Ah. Of course it makes a difference knowing Kim Sun Ah will be the main character. And I admit I imagine her as Eun Ah from the start. But I can honestly say that if even if it’s not Kim Sun Ah. Even if this drama is not going to be adapted into a movie. I would still love it as much.

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Reading the webtoon actually feels like watching a movie already. And it’s just not me. I’ve read comments of other readers and they felt the same way. The more I can’t wait for the movie now. And usually I’m worried about adaptations. But since the writer and creator of the webtoon will be the movie director too, I have nothing to fear. I just can’t help but be a tiny bit worried because it’s his first time directing a movie – which could actually be a good thing to in the first place, right? I just wish that there will be no problems at all during the entire production. From the first filming day until the day it will be exhibited on theaters.

And speaking of exhibition… I would love to see The Five ON CINEMA! I’m already agitated as early as now. We have to wait a few more months before it will be shown on theaters. And I have to wait some more months on top of that before it gets released on DVD! And watching it on DVD is no fun!!! A movie like this one must be seen on theater! ON THEATER! Unfortunately Korean movies are not exhibited in our local theaters. There were selected exhibitions during Korean Film Festivals but 1) there’s no guarantee that this movie will be selected and 2.) most of them were played from a video copy projected on screen – not on a film roll! I’ve always wanted to watch a Korean movie on a theater IN Korea. It’s not a bad idea to have The Five  as my first movie in Korea. When I told my mom I definitely must see this movie on cinema – IN Korea, she told me I’ve gone nuts! 😄

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I strongly recommend this webtoon! If you have a chance to buy the online webtoon or the comic book, do so. You won’t regret it. The online webtoon’s price is not that expensive but I know it’s difficult for us foreigners living outside Korea to buy a copy. 😦

My Current Book Haul from KCC Library

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I met a friend today and was able to visit KKC Library! Result – 2 books for the week! Yey!

The first one is 중급 한국어 2. I’ve finished the first chapter on my way home. I’m loving it because I think it’s just right for my level. It’s not too easy and the grammar patterns are those that I either don’t know yet or I know but I’m not very comfortable using. The book is entirely in Korean but not so difficult.

The second one is a travel book but meant for locals and not for foreigners, thus entirely in Korean. The title is 두근두근 서울산책! The moment I first saw this book late last year, I immediately fell in love with it (I just can’t borrow it that time). So I’m really glad I have this book on my hand now! I love Seoul. And I love walking! So this book is ♥. I also love it because it is not the usual travel guide books for foreigners. It’s a bit difficult for me to read but the book is full of pictures and drawings (but still there are a lot of texts!). I’ve only managed to finish reading the Author’s note and I already love her! 🙂

I have one week to finish these books! I’m not sure if I can finish both but it’ll be my goal for the week. 🙂

 

I’m on Android (and wireless), finally!

And paperless!

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I’ve wanted to get an ipad and kept bothering an 오빠 to sell me his old one since he hated it, only to be discouraged to get an ipad. I just want one but I don’t think it’s necessary. Especially when I still have a netbook that’s working just fine.

Then my netbook’s battery died on me! So I had to carry my adaptors along with my not-so-light netbook all the time and had to look for outlets before I can use it outside. And I can’t fly off when leaving a place because I have to go through all the process of shutting down/hibernating before I can unplug it.

Anyway, I’ve had enough of it and decided to get a replacement battery only to find out that a battery costs as much as a brand new tablet (those on the cheap side). So after some internet research, I decided to get this new baby – a 7 inch MSI Windpad. It’s one of the cheap tablets without the fancy 3G sim capabilities (I have no intention of using this tablet as a phone!) and bad cameras (I also have no intentions of using this tablet as a camera!) and very small storage (I can always get a bigger SD card or mount a USB – though it looks weird with a dangling USB all the time) but it’s pretty, light and it does what I’m expecting it to do so I’m really happy with it.

Why did I decide to get a tablet just now??!!! *hits self* For a techie person like me, I just realized that there were lots of things I was missing without one (aka without Android and Android apps). And lots of the things I usually do were 10x more convenient in this tablet than on my netbook. I love ebook reader apps that can bookmark my ebooks where I left off so I’m reading more these days before going to bed (without having the lights on! ♥). Same goes for the 3 webtoons I’m following. I also love the free Korean novel applications (though I’m stopping myself from downloading all of them). And since I can just lug it just about anywhere, I am spending less time inside my room and breathing some fresh air outside. And I’m finally on Kakaotalk – the best way to keep in touch with my friends, especially Korean friends. Keeping in touch with Korean friends = more Korean practice! I also don’t see the need of printing my pdf lessons and TOPIK papers. And I can easily watch my Korean dramas now while lying on my bed (urgh! laziness!)

And I now also understand and appreciate “syncing”!

And as a bonus, I can also play Fruit Ninja (and Temple Run and Rainy Days) while doing my part-time job! ㅋㅋㅋ Less stress on the job = more working hours = more money! ♥

EDIT 1: Darn! I should’ve chosen a tablet that is a 3G sim card capable. I just learned that there’s a prepaid SK sim card in Korea now for 3G devices and it allows access to SK wiFis. It’s 10,000 won more expensive than my regular route of getting a free prepaid phone (because you have to pay 10,000 won for the sim card itself on top of the initial 10,000 phone credits, wherein, aside from the initial 10,000 phone credits, you don’t have to pay for anything when getting a free prepaid phone – unless you’ll also get a charger for 3,000won) but it looks like it’s easy to have it reloaded (I always had a hard time looking for shops that can reload an LG prepaid number).

EDIT 2: Ah, never mind. I guess it’s difficult to keep my main number on my tablet because the battery drains quite fast. And if I’m gonna keep a prepaid phone on top of the SK prepaid sim card, the extra 20,000won I’ll end up spending ( if all I’m after is wiFi access in Korea) could get me to lots of places if I just use it to top-up my T-money. I’m quite confident I can leech some wiFi signals here and there (Check the TIPS from Seoulistic) (last summer iptime still worked fine with my friend’s ipod touch) and will just make sure I prepare all things/information I need before going out. And there will always be a coffee shop to run into for emergency wiFi needs. Or, if it’s really an emergency I can always get an Ohlleh wiFi prepaid ID from a convenient store.

By the way, I love Zarina’s Budget Travel Guide South Korea blog when it comes to tips and info on… yeah… budget traveling in Korea. 🙂 Do check her blog out! 🙂

– This is a scheduled post –

KCC Library

Looking for Korean books in the Philippines is still a big challenge despite the popularity of Hallyu and the growing number of Filipinos wanting to learn Koreans. Aside from the almost-useless phrase books and romanized dictionaries, legit Korean books can only be found in university libraries.

I usually get my books from school (our university library / from our professors), from Korea or as gifts received from friends. Well, if one have a credit card, it’ll be easy to simply order online. And I think there are some online K-pop stores that can also accommodate book orders. But I have yet to find a decent Korean book in a bookstore.

But if you are in the metropolitan area, The Korean Cultural Center in the Philippines, located in Taguig, actually have an awesome library. It was in existence since KCC opened its doors to the public 2 years ago. But all the collections were for room use only since they haven’t cataloged it then. Last February 2012 though, the library opened its borrowing services.

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I didn’t register for membership right away because the library is very far. But since I’m doing volunteer work now in KCC, I get to go there more often. So late last year I became a member!

Their collection is awesome. I’ve never seen as that many Korean language textbooks all at the same time. They have all the series you can think of (Korean Grammar in Use series, Ganada series, Yonsei series, Ehwa series, TOPIK review series, 재미있는 한국어 series, Sogang series, Sejong series, 한국어 series by NIKL etc etc! I even found the second part of my 살아있는 한국어 관용어). They have novels after novels after novels! They have Korean linguistics books and Grammar dictionaries. They also have Korean Travel books (and Philippine travel books in Korean!), they even have manhwas. They have books about Korean food, Korean culture, Korean Wave, Korean traditions, Korean traditional music, Kpop, Kdramas, Hallyu. They have Korean historical books, books about politics and childrens’ books. They have magazines, newspapers, Kpop Albums, Korean movies AND KOREAN DRAMAS!!! You name it, they have it! And most of them are available for borrowing! AND their collection keeps growing and growing (I saw it with my own eyes)!

I can’t wait to get my hands on their books and DVDs! That’s why I want to finish my second batch of borrowed books so I don’t have to renew them and borrow new ones instead. The only downside is that you would have to return them. I guess it’s quite alright for Korean textbooks… but I want to keep 두근두근 서울 산책 for myself. ㅠㅠ

Check out their HOMEPAGE for more info and for membership and borrowing guidelines! If you are looking for a particular book, you can check out their online catalog HERE.

Oh! And did I say they have awesome library staff too?

[Book] You Shouldn’t Have To Say Goodbye – Finding an old paperback novel

I’ve been a library geek since I started elementary school, thanks to our school librarian who encouraged me to keep reading.

Our grade school librarian is someone who many kids fear (and make fun of when she’s not around). She is your ‘typical’ strict-looking librarian. But that didn’t stop me from frequenting our school library since I moved to my new school in first grade. I just can’t contain my happiness with the big collection of pretty books with colorful illustrations. I vowed to read everything there is on the shelves! So from the day I learned how to borrow books, I kept borrowing children books one after the other.

Maybe our librarian was amused with the 7-year old me who frequents her library that is almost always empty (I guess I was the only one with a used borrower’s card (and I even need to have a second and third card in some years), not just among the first graders but probably among the elementary school kids). So she, without batting an eyelid, told me to stop borrowing the colorfully illustrated children books and lead me to the dusty young adult fiction section. She told me I’m ‘too old’ and ‘too good’ to be reading kiddie stuff.

I was scared with the books at first. They look scary. They were full of small text, have hundred pages, and the only illustrations were the cover (and I’m lucky if I come across books with one or two illustrations inside). But the gullible me followed our librarian’s ‘order’ and before I knew it I’ve become more addicted to reading books. I also owe my English skills to our librarian! I don’t think I’ll ever be fluent in English if not for her.

Anyway, amidst the Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Sweet Valleys and the numerous Apple Paperbacks that I’ve laid my hands on, there’s one special paperback I’ve fallen in love with. I remember crying so hard while and after reading it. And I remember I borrowed it over and over and over. I have thought of having it copied before graduation (because I will be transferring to another school in High School), but as expected of me, I failed to do so. I remember remembering the title of the book, but as I grow older I eventually forgot it. But I didn’t forget that there’s this special book and still hoping that maybe one day I’ll get to find it again.

The only thing I remember about it now is that the mother of the main character died of cancer and that it was an Apple paperback and the cover has a sad picture of the mother and the main character sitting. And the color of the paperback is purplish pink. That’s all I can remember. So I actually don’t have that much hope anymore in finding it. Ever.

But while doing my part time job tonight, the book just crossed my mind and I tried my luck and google ‘young adult novel mother died cancer’ and low and behold I found THIS link. And I was surprise someone else also have the same quest of finding the book and, yes, I now remember the main character with her friend eat sandwiches her mom made on the roof. And luckily someone has answered her query too! YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE TO SAY GOODBYE! Yes! Yes! YES! That’s the title! That’s the book! By Patricia Hermes. Yes! That’s right! That’s the name of the author (I now remember I did a book review of this for one of my English classes then, that’s why even the name of the author rings a bell now!)!

And here’s the original cover (awww!)

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(I later learned after googling some more that it was reprinted and re-issued last 2008 with a different and newer cover).

The internet is truly amazing! It only took me less than 5 minutes to find something that I’ve been wondering about for almost two decades now!

Next goal, to get hold of this book once again. I want to read it again (will I still cry as much as I did when I was 10?) and want my young friends to get to read this too. 🙂

On Electric Ground

I stumbled upon a K-drama/movie blog called Electric Ground (thanks to koreanstudentblog 🙂 ) written and maintained by two fellow soompiers (gah! I miss soompi so much!). And I fell in love with their blog right away!

What sets it apart from tons of other K-drama/movie blog is their K-language and culture series wherein they discuss Korean language and culture through dramas – the best thing for a Korean learner and K-drama addict like me!

I’ve enjoyed reading their Analyzing Korean drama and film titles Series (Parts 1 & 2) and is currently reading and learning from their post on Honorifics.

For me, it’s still Korean dramas that makes learning Korean so much fun!

Their last post was September though. I wish they were just resting or something and will still continue their blog.

EDIT: Well, I just spent an entire afternoon reading their blog! And glad to see one of the writers leaving a recent comment – which means they have not abandoned the blog. So I’ll be waiting for their next posts! 🙂

Goodbye ET-house

I woke up this morning seeing this notice when I click on my favorite online dictionary ET-house.

I used to use Naver, but after discovering ET-house, I switched to it. First, it loads way faster than Naver (at least on my end then… looks like Naver is loading quite fast for me now) and second, I love their infinite load of sample sentences per query. Actually ET-house is not really a dictionary (though I’m using it as such). I don’t know how to call it, but its function is more of looking how a word / phrase is said in English. Most of the time I’m using it the other way around of course. But I also find the site helpful when I’m translating to English. There are words / phrases that, although I understand, are either too difficult to translate or I’ve been so used to that I can no longer translate it properly. Whenever I encounter such things, I often run to ET-house.

Yesterday, whenever I go to their site, I keep getting redirected to a registration page. I tried registering but I stopped when I was asked for my Alien Registration Number (which is always, most of the time at least, the case for Korean websites). But after a few minutes the site was back. So I thought it was just a glitz or something. But I can sense that something is up. I didn’t expect that they will cut the service – and this soon.

ET-house, I’m gonna miss you. I’m truly grateful for the many years you’ve stayed by my side. I was able to write a lot and understand a lot of things because of you. Thanks!

Now, I’ll be coming back to good ol’ Naver 영어사전. Looks like it’ll take a lot of getting used to since I haven’t used Naver Dictionary for a long time because I’ve been so comfortable with ET-house.

One thing that made me happy though is that the first time I read it, I can understand the notice 97%. I just have to look for 2 words in the dictionary and I was able to understand everything completely. I think it was the first time this has happened. Am I really improving then? Or this notice is just written in the simplest possible way? Both? ^_-