Saturday, July 3, 2010

In Passing Through…..

Looks like I’ve neglected to update my blog as I haven’t posted anything new since my last one more than two weeks ago. Like so many people all over the world, I’ve been bitten by the World Cup bug, you might say. And also I’ve been quite busy with my Hangeul lessons which I mentioned earlier. Although it’s only held once a week there’s a lot of prep work to be done, the writing and reading exercises I have to do on my own. Most of the people attending the class are in their teens and are still schooling, so they are fast in catching on. So for the handful of us, past our teens, we’ve got to study harder. The teacher is proceeding at a fast pace as she has to finish the syllabus in 12 lessons for the first level. So you can just imagine the pressure we’re going through but it’s fun. Thank goodness I have the on-line Learn Korean sites where I can get more tuition to help me in my writing and reading skills. Also, by watching the K-dramas I’ve picked up a few spoken words here and there and now I’m actually reading them in print. Now I can even read the names of the actors and actresses as they appear on the screen. Although I’m able to read a given text, I still need a translation to know its meaning as my vocabulary is very limited still. Hopefully I should be able to carry on a simple conversation by the end of the course. Hehehe! However, that remains to be seen.

Today I break my silence to write about one of my favorite Korean actor and singer Park Yong Ha. I’m sure most of you must have read in the newspapers or seen the news on TV about his tragic death. His death marks the latest in a recent chain of high-profile suicides in Korea. It was so unexpected and shocking to his loved ones and his fans as well. We’re going to miss him a lot with no more songs and dramas to look forward to from him.

Park Yong Ha

On Wednesday morning I was reading the news on Soompi com when I came across the sad news that Park Yong Ha, had committed suicide. It came as a great shock as he was a popular singer as well as actor and still very young. Many of you may remember him from the drama “Winter Sonata” when he played the part of Choi Ji Woo’s love interest before she met Bae Yong Joon.

Park Yong Ha Funeral 05

Park Yong Ha Funeral 02

 Park Yong Ha Funeral 03

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Park Yong Ha Fans at Funeral

Park’s coffin was taken from Seoul’s St. Mary’s Hospital, where the Wake was held and also where the funeral rites were performed earlier. When Park’s coffin appeared, more than 200 fans, many of them Japanese, were seen crying and calling out his name.

So Ji-sub at Park Yong Ha Funeral

Actor So Ji-sub led the procession, holding Park’s funeral portrait. Bereaved family members and celebrity friends followed the actor, with many of them in tears.

Park Yong Ha Funeral 04 

The pall bearers included actor Park Kwang-hyun and singers Kim Won-jun and Park Hyo-shin, who were very close to the late Park Yong Ha. SS501 member Kim Hyung-jun and actresses Park Si-yeon, Kim Hyun-ju and Kim Gyu-ri followed behind. However, Park’s parents did not attend the funeral as they were still too shocked about his sudden demise.

Let us ponder for a while as to why such a popular and upcoming actor and singer should resort to taking his own life. Apparently it was not what appears to be on the surface. It seems that PYH was a very troubled young man.

Sources close to Park said he recently had been having a very hard time juggling his career, his company, and family problems. The agency is now struggling with financial difficulties, his father battling cancer, and he was suffering from insomnia and had to take sleeping pills to be able to sleep.

After investigations, it’s been revealed that Park Yong Ha has had difficult times because of his ill father. His father has been suffering stomach cancer for a long period of time, and was told recently that it was in a terminal stage. A friend of Park Yong Ha claims, “After learning that his father had cancer, Yong Ha brought his father home and cared for him. He always worried about his father. He also said that he will be focusing on caring for his father for a while.”

Park Yong Ha’s failure in business also seems to be another reason for his suicide. Right before appearing on the “On Air” (drama), he became independent from his ex-agency, and established his own company, YONA Entertainment in 2008, with his father as the company’s president. According to a family acquaintance, running the business was not an easy task for them. A manager in the company made a financial mistake after getting various loans, causing the agency a huge loss. To make matters worse, Park Yong Ha’s father was left with a huge debt after mistakenly co-signing someone else’s loan. It seems that Park Yong Ha had even consulted a used car dealer to sell his car in order to help in the financial difficulty the family was facing.

Park Yong Ha was also revealed to have been suffering from insomnia for 14 years, because of depression. He confessed on his Twitter a while back that he had been relying on sleeping pills for a long time, making his fans worry about his health. The actor also shared on a program that his rising fame as a Hallyu star caused him to undergo depression from a sense of shame.

So now we know how stressful it must have been for him under all that pressure until it reached the point where he found himself at a dead end and where the only way out was by taking his own life. May you rest in peace PARK YONG HA!

PYH started off his career with acting first, before branching out to singing, which was particularly successful in Japan. He won an award at Japan's Golden Disk Award for four years straight starting in 2005, making him the first Korean to win an award at the event and the first to win four times in a row.

His music career in Japan continued to flourish even after his fifth full-length album "STARS" released in June this year reached No. 16 on the prestigious Oricon weekly chart. He had recently kicked off a three-month long 16-city tour on June 19 to promote "STARS."

So Ji-sub 

Still on the subject of Korean actors, So Ji-sub has denied a rumor that he will marry actress Han Ji-min who costarred with him in the KBS soap opera “Cain & Abel,” Rumors were rampant that they would get married in December, even though the two had never admitted to being in a relationship. Maybe what added fuel to the rumor, was that there were pictures showing So and Han wearing the same rings.

Here’s the article sourced from the Korea Herald. During an interview with local news media on June 28, he mentioned his relationship with her “I am sorry for her. She must have suffered more than I because she’s an actress.” He added “since the marriage rumor, I have and could not get in touch with her.”
“Also, for now, I have no plan to get married. I would consider marriage when I’m around my 40s.”
Asked about his ideal type of woman, he said it is different from time to time, but he likes someone who can make him feel comfortable.

Jung Soo-young

It has been reported that comic actress Jung Soo-young (Coffee House) has got married to a stage actor whom she has known for six years and that she is currently two months pregnant; the couple kept their plans under wraps to keep the affair low-key.

She also starred in Fantasy Couple, (in her best known role as Kang-ja,) Queen of Housewives, Boo-mi in City Hall, and Ga-yeon in Hero. Currently, the 28-year-old Jung is acting in SBS’s Coffee House, which means the couple will have to delay their honeymoon until she’s free.

Min Young-won

Here’s another juicy piece of gossip. It seems that actress Min Young-won, 26, is becoming a popular search keyword online after news reports that she was proposed to by an Arab prince.

The reports quoted an unnamed official in the entertainment industry as saying that the man was a crown prince of Dubai.

They said the prince has often flown to Korea by private jet to meet her. The reports added that he fell in love with her beauty and the personality.

But Min’s PI Entertainment agency denied the reports, saying the two are just friends.

Min acted in “Boys over Flowers” and “Shining Inheritance” and is currently acting in a drama “Happiness in the Wind.”

There she was in “Shining Inheritance” when she was envying her best friend for having not only one but two very rich prospective husbands to be. She played the part of our heroine’s housemate, a waitress in this drama. And now she has a real life prince wanting to marry her. It’s like a fairy tale come true. Lucky girl! 

Jang Nara 01

Did you know that singer-actress Jang Nara (Sky and Sea, My Love Patzzi) has been appointed an associate professor in China, at its Beijing Huajia University?

Jang Nara is probably more popular in China than she is in her home country, Korea and has pursued a singing career there as well as acting projects. She’ll be teaching in the acting department, it’s only natural since she’s an actress.

Jang will next act in a Chinese medical drama in the fall. She also has another project lined up, the follow-up to Mischievous Princess, called Mischievous Empress.

Guess that’s about all for now. Thanks for dropping by. 안녕하세요


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Han Youn-jong/Asia Economic Daily