Studying Korean and My Irresistible Urge


I’ve been so as busy as bees these past few weeks that I’ve not been able to post any of my book reviews. I’ve not even been able to keep up with the books on my list. The culprit? My new interest in studying the Korean language.

It’s ridiculous of me that only this year did I realize that speaking Korean is fun given the fact that I have been teaching Koreans for nine years. In those years, the only principle I held against was that I should only talk to my students in English since their primary reason for going to the Philippines is to learn English.I was so staunch in my belief that my ears would not catch any Korean words, or the words would just go in one ear and out the other. Instead, I would always encourage my students to strike up a conversation with me  in English. However, it’s a crying shame that this illusory belief shattered when I met a teacher who is able to communicate with the students around because he can speak Korean. With that skill, I found out that  a teacher can establish more rapport with his/ her students, especially if a student is a beginner. Besides, the fact that when-you’re-in-Rome-do-what-the-Romans-do effect turns out to be efficient given that the community I am into is merely small. Students would adore you when  you know their mother tongue. Finally, the heart of the matter is that I’ve wanted to read Korean novels and other reads alike.

So far, I have been plowing through the  new characters I have not been used to yet. I can read like a kindergarten trying to get the hang of them. I can somehow speak with my students and catch some words whenever I eavesdrop on my students’ conversation s or within earshot of them. I just have to widen my Korean vocabulary  and study Korean grammar at the same time without cease. As a matter of fact, I’ve been all wound up because the examination day  for TOPIK is a few weeks off. So, I’ve been exerting a lot of effort to study my butt off despite that I usually busily spend time preparing lesson plans.

However, no matter how much resistance I do, I can’t take off my mind the irresistible urge to read novels or non-fictions. Whenever I pass by my favorite stomping ground, I will hold myself from entering it. But…recently, in the long run, I did.I couldn’t help it. I looked around, and was so excited to thumb through the spines of the books stacked on the shelves. As usual, I stayed around for  few hours or so ,determined to not leave the place. In the end, I lucked out and  found two  cheap books included in my 1001-books-you-must-read-before-you-die list.Then, I left  right away  because I saw some more as soon as I paid. Otherwise, I could have bought another sack of books to drag home. Gee whiz!

I’m no longer finicky if the books are  tatty . 🙂

The books are Captain Corelli’s Mandolin , a historical, romance , and war novel written by  Louis de Bernières, and Vox , an erotic novel by Nicholson Baker. Don’t get me wrong. Baker’s books are said to be kind of Anaïs Nin’s styles.  In fact, I’m now giving it a shot. 🙂


The Super Pig Okja

Image result for okja

Back in my first days in university when I had been weaned on the idea of  vegetarianism, skipping any meat in my diet, the only foods I would stuff myself with were vegetables and fish and eggs with which I made do for protein. I could not stand imagining myself eating another entangled flesh resembling the one covering my whole body. I would even revolt at its smell , acerbic to my nose, causing me to throw up as though I was close to the mental condition of Yeong-hye, a character in The Vegetarian written by Han Kang, who turned into a withered form after a long period of skipping meat. So, my mother would even tell me off for this silly idea.

When I watched Okja, the only thing that occurred to me was that why some  people are  not so satisfied with the natural taste of pork . Rather, scientists with capitalistic attitude develop newly genetically modified organisms given that the word GMO itself is primarily conducted to save lives  because plants or animals  are made less likely to get diseases or safer. As a result, using your common sense without supporting my argument with literary studies, more and more lower forms of life are subject to any forms of cruelties. And Okja, along with the other animals  alike behind the laboratory door, becomes miserable, especially the deep, passionate relationship  established between him and his master falls into ruin. However, it occurred to me at the end of the movie that the blame lies with us people who consume meat  and opportunistic capitalists. We should always consider the fact that we can be healthy enough by eating organic meat. We can just raise animals naturally.

Okja is a movie which concept is that a creature beyond human commonality  becomes the royal center of the universe. The world will be bothered ,and draw  different suspicions and theories  that the creature might pose danger to humanity. Ridiculously laughable! Correspondingly, the creature is persecuted to death. Par for the course, the master of that creature looks heart-breaking because only he or she ,along with his/ her family ,  unconditionally understands the situation. I guess you’re familiar with this scene. You can name some.

Nevertheless, what is new about this movie is that the creature is something we have never seen in other movies. It is a cute super pig!It may look like a threat to you ,but its sheepish face can surely catch your attention. In fact, I even mistook it for a hippopotamus when I watched its movie trailer.I could not even take off my mind this idea that it could also be a mutated elephant.   In other words, since the movie is a hit and bizarre, I bet my boots that Okja is now a character everyone is  and will be familiar with even after the next generations, and one of these days, it will be one of those figurines or dolls to be collected by movie lovers.

Another thing that makes the movie impressive is its  the co-existence of the two ambiance: the rural life and the city life.The scenery of the Korean mountains is breath-taking and  greenish in my eyes.It was relaxing to the audience like me because sometimes I’m sick and tired of scenes held in cities. I wish most of the scenes had been taken in the mountains. On the other hand, the movie portrays the fact that in this complicated world, life is a matter of survival  of the fittest. In fact, I won’t forget the last dreary and gloomy scene when all the pigs about to be slaughtered roar all at once while Mija and Okja, along with the piglet  hidden inside her elongated mouth, leave the Auschwitz slaughterhouse. I likened it to a holocaust. Gee!

I’m not sure if  the movie Okja could drive  off people’s epicurean habit to eat meat. Obviously, Okja does not look like a pig. Instead, it  looks like  something else more than a hippo  people have never seen. One thing is for sure, people will have this fleeting and passing realization that animals are like us: we have feelings. Me? I will still eat meat, but moderately if the need arises. I’m still a veggie. 🙂

P.S I hope this movie will be novelized. 🙂

Rating: 3/ 5 stars ( I liked it.)