He may be 19 now, but I will always remember him best as that boy who looked so much like the first actor to own my heart. In fact, for years I only knew him by his nickname.
Was it ten years ago? As one child actor was making waves internationally for his role in the runaway hit, The Way Home, another wave had crashed ashore on my small screen. I was just minding my own business that day in 2002, but a monster called Hallyu grabbed me by the neck and threw me inside a dungeon where I was fed a stream of chaste dramas with stars whose names sounded like Bae Yong-joon, Choi Ji-woo and Lee Byung-hun. Two years later, Hallyu smacked me hard with a force called So Ji-sub. Life would never be the same again.
Is Ja Myung Go any good? How about What Star Did You Come From? What do you mean, why am I asking? I’m doing research for a paper, if you must know. Astronomy in ancient Korea, yup, that be my research topic. Look, is it any of your business that I’m researching Jung Ryeo-won and not Kim Myung-min? What do you mean, I’m a bad Kim Myung-min fan? Just be grateful I’m not using Google Scholar to dig up dirt on Choi Si-won’s mysterious here-today-gone-tomorrow bump in cheek. No, I didn’t say it was an implant; someone else did! What do you mean, Jung Ryeo-won has had plastic surgery too? Take that back, take all your evil words back! The last time I was this gaga over an actress was five long years ago and you have to spoil it for me now? No, I’m not referring to Shin Mina in Mawang; she and I go way back, before 2007. No, it’s not Lee Ji-ah in Legend either! Look, just answer my first two questions, will you? Yes, they are pressing questions!
I don’t get the pop culture references (Sechs Kies who?), I’m perplexed by the screaming (people in love whisper sweet nothings to each other, not yell their lungs out, eyes blazing), I like but am not enamored of the lead couple. (What?! Did you just say that? Are you feverish? How you crazy?) I also don’t remember behaving this puerile when I was eighteen. By that age I had already experienced the loss of a father and the wrath of a customer whose pristine white skirt I had just made un-pristine with a generous serving of Coke. Of the latter… okay, I have butter fingers but hey, it was my first job and no one told me that placing a tall glass at the edge of a tray was a bad idea.