I recently got hooked on a particular Korean drama, Faith 신의 (aka The Great Doctor). The drama revolves around the budding romance of a soldier of the Goryeo era, General Choi Young (played by Lee Min-ho) and a present day plastic surgeon, Yoo Eun-soo (played by Kim Hee-sun). The story takes place in Korea hundreds of years ago and has aspects of time travel and history. After watching the whole drama, even though it has a very satisfying ending, I still craved to see more of Choi Young and Eun-soo’s relationship.
This is the first Asian drama I’ve watched; to be honest I was never interested in them before, I mostly stuck to American and British TV series which is rather understandable seeing as I spent all my teenage years in the UK. Compared to the countless shows I’ve seen: Game of Thrones, Friends, 90210, Gossip Girl, just to name a few, Faith is very different in how they portray love and relationship. Those Western shows depict love and relationship by using very obvious and much more visual/graphic sexual gestures compared to their Asian counterparts.
It’s true that Faith is set in ancient times and people were much more reserved about those things back then than they are now. But even then, it’s filmed in 2012, which is hardly ancient! In the whole 24 episodes, you only see one very brief kissing scene. This is practically negligible compared to those Western shows that seem to flaunt sex scenes whenever possible. So no, it’s not so much as generation gap as it is culture gap. The Asian way of portraying love and relationship is very much different to the Western manner.
Despite this, I enjoyed the romance much more in Faith than in any other Western shows I’ve seen. The lack of those explicit contents has in fact rendered the whole relationship process into a tender and sweet romantic escapade that really melts my heart. I find myself yearning for more of the touching dialogues and tear-stained looks of pure love between Choi Young and Eun-soo. Instead of meaningless sex scenes (meaningless because they throw them around so much throughout those Western shows), Lee Min-ho and Kim Hee-sun’s performances to show their characters’ love growing stronger as the drama progresses were all done by passionate words exchanged and intense facial expressions that really moved me. Add that to the goose bump-rising soundtracks and they’ve really done something that brought me to tears.
After watching this drama, I think I finally understand why my parents think a kiss is such a big deal. For me, a kiss is just a kiss, but after watching Faith, I can somewhat understand the significance and consequence of a single kiss. That one kissing scene I mentioned before? It was in order to break off Eun-soo’s marriage to the antagonist of the drama. If one kiss can disdain a girl and render her un-marriable then I can kind of comprehend why a kiss should only be reserved for your future husband. So even if I’m still quite unable to hold the same view as them, I know better now about what a kiss means for them. I hope now that I’m no longer in the UK, I will be exposed to a much-needed dose of Asian culture that can take me back to my roots.