Lifestyle Blogger. Promdi. Filipina.

Friday, April 17, 2020

My Reintroduction to Ju Ji Hoon

One of the things that I have been doing to distract myself from the gravity of the whole quarantine/COVID 19 situation has been watching K-Dramas. One of the shows that I watched on Viu was an old favorite, Princess Hours (also known as Goong). Here's a trailer of the Tagalog-dubbed version:


Princess Hours is one of the first K-Dramas that I watched and is one of my favorites, mostly because I loved the chemistry between the leads Ju Ji Hoon and Yoon Eun Hye. Both were still newcomers at the time and as kilig as it was to see them together, it was fairly easy to tell that Ju Ji Hoon was still a bit stiff and that there was still (a lot of) room for improvement. It was a good thing his role called for a character that did not show emotion that easily so his obvious lack of acting experience was excusable. Watching the show many years later made me realize how problematic this whole love story was. The fact that Ju Ji Hoon's character had the tendency to shout at and just grab Yoon Eun Hye's character in several scenes is a big no no in real life. I guess when I was younger I overlooked these things in the name of kilig but now that I am older and (probably) wiser, I was disappointed that I liked Ji Hoon's character when I first watched it. I have heard of the Netflix show Kingdom when people were going crazy over it during its first season. I never watched it because historical-themed K-Dramas are not my thing. Now that season 2 is here, I finally forced myself to watch the trailer and was surprised to find out that Ju Ji Hoon is one of the lead actors of this show. I hardly recognized him but when I did, I was really impressed!


The last time I heard about Ji Hoon was when he was involved in some drug-related scandal. Not sure about the details, but I remember being sad and thinking that the scandal was the end of his career. I'm happy to find out that it wasn't the case and that he has bounced back in a spectacular way by being in a show that is popular all over the world. Now that Ji Hoon has bounced back from his scandal, I would love to see Eun Hye do the same. She had her own share of issues with a show she did in China (again, I don't know all the details) and she hasn't gotten back on track with her career in a while. I would LOVE to see her do a reunion project with Ji Hoon one day. They did a rom-com with Princess Hours, maybe this time around they can do a drama since they are both older. After seeing Eun Hye in Missing You, I know that she can pull off heavy drama as well. However, with the success of Kingdom, I don't know if that is possible. I know season 3 hasn't been announced yet but considering the feedback on season 2, another season seems likely. Ji Hoon looks so good now that he is older. His face has matured and has changed, his Princess Hours days make him look like a baby compared to how he looks today. It was such a surprise, but it was a very pleasant one!


Just on the knowledge of his involvement in this show alone, I will definitely be catching up on the Kingdom train. I've also learned that he has another show, Hyena, on Netflix as well. My niece was also telling me about these movies called Along with the Gods that are also on Netflix which -- surprise! -- also star Ju Ji Hoon. What rock have I been hiding under that I wasn't aware of all this? I guess now anyone can guess what I will be doing during my free time in this quarantine.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Quarantine Thoughts: Highs and Lows

The lockdowns happening all over the world has resulted in a number of highs and lows. It's not surprising that people feel a surge of contradicting emotions from everything that has been happening everywhere. I have been working from home, but it's hard to completely focus when you see so many things on TV and read about so much depressing news online.

The lows, of course, are obvious: the number of deaths, the number of people infected, the fact that health care systems all over the world are not ready for something of this magnitude, the shutdown of economies is all so depressing and scary.

It is so easy to get into a black hole of internet conspiracy theories and terrify yourself with all the bleak facts and figures regarding the COVID 19 virus. It is far easier to get angry with how things are happening than it is to try to be positive with all the news that we get daily.  

I'm not saying that we shouldn't be angry. We have every right to feel upset over what is happening. This is something that we are all unprepared for. None of us expected things to implode the way that it has.

There are way too many toxic exchanges online with regard to the way that governments all over the globe are handling the situation. I think that while people can and should point out when things are not working, I don't think that negativity is the answer to what is happening. None of us are experts at what is going on. We are all (hopefully) doing the best we can given the circumstances (with the exception of those people who are still not following the lockdowns and are harassing the families of COVID-positive patients, obviously). 

Governments should do what they can. We the public should point out when things don't work so they can do things better. If other governments are doing better, maybe suggesting to and/or applying similar practices are better than arguing against it just because that person is from a different political party. Now is not the time for politics and grandstanding. There is so much work to be done. People need to work together if we are all going to survive this pandemic. We need to follow the quarantine guidelines. We need to follow social distancing. We need to take the necessary precautions whenever possible not just for ourselves but for the people we love.

The uncertainty of it all brings out so many fears not just about health but also about how we are all going to survive this pandemic and the lockdowns if we cannot work. It's hard not to wonder and probably believe that things will never go back to normal after all of this is over.

Nevertheless, there are still many things that can help to lift ourselves up from these depressing and scary times. The stories of people who go out of their way to prepare food for the healthcare professionals at the hospitals are inspiring. Seeing how ordinary people who, even with so little, do what they can to help their neighbors during these interesting times warms my heart. Businesses that made the shift to making personal protective equipment and disinfectants to help doctors and nurses while they save people from COVID 19 give you hope that things are going to be OK.

The donations that are pouring in from private individuals are overwhelming and gives you hope that we are all going to get through this together. The way so many people are giving so much of themselves online to help lighten the load of people -- from celebrities going online live to interact with their fans to musicians who give free performances and the artists and other creatives sharing free online lessons -- you can feel that there is a sense of community in the midst of this isolation that we are all holding onto. The fact that we have that in these trying times tells me that we can all count on each other when they matter the most.

Here in our neighborhood, it has been all about sharing and community. Sometimes a neighbor would be at our gate to hand over vegetables or fruits from their garden. Other times it would be a meal or a snack that they had more than enough of (something that we also do as well). I think as long as we all have each other's backs, we can all make it out of this in one piece. 

The church being online and accessible to the public has also been a blessing. I may not be much of a practicing Catholic these days, but the fact that the church has become so accessible during these trying times has meant a lot to me. Watching Pope Francis doing the Urbi et Orbi blessing alone at the Vatican was so moving and comforting. It made me feel that it's not just us against this virus but that God is also here with us. 

Another high that I think has come out of this quarantine is the time that has been given to us. I don't think I'm the only person who has commented that I would do this and that if only I had the time. Well now I do, and it's time I got around to it. I'm sure that it's been the same for a lot of people too. 

I'm grateful that this time has, in spite of the reason that it has happened, given me an opportunity to be around my family more. It has also given me time to reflect and get to know myself better. To know what is important to me an what I should be giving priority too. 

Apart from knowing ourselves better, this situation has also enlightened us on the people around us. I remember there's a quote about how circumstances do not make a person, but rather they reveal it. How someone reacts to the present situation certainly gives me an idea of the kind of person that someone is. It's an eye opener not just about that person, but also about how I should interact with that person moving forward. 

Sadly, we are not all going to have the best intentions at heart. There will always be people with different ideas in mind. This pandemic has made me see that no matter how you want to see the good in everyone and want to do the right thing, not everyone is going to be the same. However, being aware of that and being less naive about it is balanced out by the people who, on the other hand, have impressed me with their action in these times. Let's just hope the latter type of people will eventually outnumber the former.

I look forward to the day when the threat of COVID 19 ends. When it will it end? I have no idea. I feel that even if the lockdowns are over, the threat will still be there until the vaccines and cures are developed. Until then, I will continue to hope, pray and be inspired by the good things that happen in spite of the bad.

I hope we will be OK soon.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Quarantine Thoughts: Survivor's Guilt

Quarantines have been happening all over the world due to the spread of the virus COVID 19. So many lives have been lost, with so many families unexpectedly losing people that they love without getting the chance to say goodbye. There are so many doctors and nurses worldwide bravely fighting to their deaths just to save the lives of others. So much sad news on TV. It's terrifying and heartbreaking at the same time. Sometimes it feels like all you can do now is pray that it all ends soon.

Watching the news and hearing about how the world outside has been throughout all this breaks my heart. Hospitals are full, and you would be hard-pressed to find one that can take you in right away if you are sick, COVID 19 or not. I have read countless stories of people who were sick with non-COVID diseases who have had to go to multiple hospitals just to seek treatment. Some were not even lucky to make it to one alive and, COVID or not, families are advised to cremate their loved one right away just to be sure. While I cannot blame hospitals for taking that precaution, it is still a devastating thing to deal with for the families.

Due to the high risk of infecting others, COVID-positive patients are isolated. In a way the disease is not just a physical issue but also a mental one. As one survivor put it, you have to fight against the fear brought on by the isolation and not give up if you want to survive. 

I don't know if it's the same in other countries but here in the Philippines, if those patients die they are cremated right away. Their families see them alive one moment and in a container of ashes the next. It is a difficult thing to process, especially when there are cases where the surviving family is being treated unfairly by others due to the fear that they may have the virus themselves.

With the news that a vaccine may only be available as early as 18 months from now, things are certainly all up in the air in the meantime. Even if the lockdowns were to end, without a definite cure, without a vaccine, we are not safe. I know I say this often, but this has never rang true as much as it has these days: tomorrow is never promised. At this point, it seems all we can live for is today. 

One person shared online that during a peaceful and quiet moment, he felt this terror. He shared how his brain is trying to process all these mixed feelings from the uncertainty of the situation that he started to cry. It was comforting to know that there is someone out there who feels the same way.

I have been having mixed feelings about what is happening in the world right now. I feel this gratitude that my family is home and that we are safe. I am grateful that we are all healthy and together. I feel thankful that in spite of being one of those people with existing medical conditions that puts me at risk for the disease, I am still OK. But in spite of all that, there is also this fear over how my family will survive this quarantine if it stretches out longer than what we expect. I've already had conversations with people at work and there is a possibility that they will no longer be able to pay us if this goes on longer. Without any savings left, I can't help but wonder how my family can have enough to sail through this lockdown if I no longer have money from work to depend on.

When I watch the news, all my worries turn into massive guilt. In a way I suppose I'm feeling some form of survivor's guilt about the whole situation. I find myself wondering how I can complain about money when there are so many people out there who have lost someone they love to this? How can I worry when I am still so much better off compared to other people whose income stopped completely when the lockdowns started? What are my concerns compared to those people in the healthcare/medical profession who have to see death on a regular basis, risking their lives even when it feels that everything is hopeless? I am healthy. I am safe. Shouldn't that be enough?

My mother, who is a devout Catholic, has been leading us in daily prayers to save the world from COVID 19. We pray the rosary daily, and the "Oratio Imperata" at least three times a day. During these prayers, I find my thoughts drifting to those people who have been directly affected by this disease. I find myself thanking God for those people who carry on in spite of the circumstances. I thank the Lord for the inspiring people who have stepped up to help in whatever way they can. Again, that survivor's guilt creeps in when I have these thoughts.

During those prayers, I find myself apologizing that I haven't done anything to help except to stay home. I feel guilty that there has been nothing else that I have done to contribute except being at home and praying. I wish I could do more, not that there is anything else for me to do given the current state of my resources. While understandable, I still feel guilty all the same. 

As I've mentioned earlier, it's a mix of emotions. I feel so much gratitude since I have existing medical conditions that put me at risk for the virus and yet I am fine. I am happy about that but I feel guilty at the same time. Processing my feelings about the whole thing is a challenge, but as a friend of mine said, it's OK to just feel whatever I feel. None of us have been through anything like this before in our lifetimes. Whatever/however we feel is valid and should be acknowledged. Some of us compartmentalize, and that is fine. If that is how we can get through this, that's OK too. It's what we do or how we act on those feelings, be it now or later on, that needs a lot of thought.

Everything feels so uncertain. I have started to question the things that were important to me because so many things have suddenly felt trivial compared to the gravity of the situation we are all in. I feel that the world will never be the same after this. 

Whatever lesson God wants us to learn from all this, I hope that we take it to heart. I hope that it makes us all better people. I hope that we can ultimately end up a better world for it. I hope that one day we can look back and remember that it took something like this to turn the world around for the better.

Hope. Faith. Prayers. Family. Health. Safety. That's all I have right now. Thankfully, right now, that is enough.
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