Author: nguyenrose9999

Korean Romantic Drama and me.


As growing up in Vietnam, one of the country under the effect of Korean Wave or Hallyu Stars, I have been watching a lot of Korean dramas. I still remembered the first time I watched Korean drama: The Winter Sonata in 2004. It first broadcasted in South Korea in 2002 and became regionally famous when crossing Asian borders to reach Japan, China, Vietnam and Thailand. The drama is a romantic melodrama about a guy who has a painful childhood and suffers from amnesia with his first love after ten years of separation. The drama is the first milestone to introduce to Korean Wave to Asian and to the world. In this blog post, I want to specifically talk about Korean dramas, especially romance in Korean dramas.

After reading Ellis et al, I have learned that autoethnography is an analysis and research to provide a thick description or value of a particular culture. I have thought again and again about this and decided to step into the same topic ‘Korea Wave’ but deeper as ‘Korean drama’. In this post, I am going to point out my key findings while watching Korean dramas, along with research and interviews with my friends to strengthen my viewpoint or question the previous stereotype. Then I will finish with a case study of ‘The Descendants of the Sun’ to demonstrate about different points that I have made.

3 (SNSD Girls’ Generation)

Firstly, the first thing I realised about Korean dramas is that all actors and actresses are extremely beautiful. When mentioning about ‘beautiful’ here, I am talking about Asian beauty: white skin, slim, high nose, red heart- shaped lips, etc. In every single drama I have watched so far, there are absolutely no leading characters not possessing these physical appearance. As I grow up, I have known that Korea is the origin of cosmetic surgery. Moreover, Korea is known for having one of the most purchased cosmetics brands.


As you can see from the chart above, Korea’ ranks are really high comparing to other countries in guaranteed quality, choice and price points, promotional offers and attractive packaging. I still remembered my one trip in Seoul, South Korea. I got very surprised at the popularity of cosmetics products in Korea. Wherever I go, there are cosmetics shops everywhere. They offer variety of products along with attractive promotional offers and completely difficult to avoid buying. But while staying in Korea, I have learned a lot of how much value they put on for physical appearance. From my Korean friends, I learn it is unacceptable or sometimes offensive to look at someone when they don’t put make up on. In Wheeler’s weblog (2012), it is claimed that “anyone who has visited Korea or is familiar with its cultural practices will tell you that Korea is obsessed with image”.  For a girl who rarely put make up on like me, Korean cosmetics culture is like a different but attractive candy. Growing up in a family who never make up, I think make- up is like putting on a mask which covers all of the marks on your face and make you no longer a natural beauty. But then, one of the most interesting things about Korean make- up culture is that men have their own make- up brands for themselves. I believe this is quite novel for the global community. It is common knowledge for me to see guy using perfume but while staying in Korea, it was quite a shocking fact for me when I realise that there is a whole section for male make- up products such as washing cream, moisturizers, essences and toners.

5 (Korean guy before and after putting make- up on)

In conclusion, make- up is a part of Korean culture. It can be something new or even weird to some countries but it is a normal part of the culture.

Secondly, while interviewing Jessie David, my DIGC330 teammate and classmate, we both share the same view about Korean drama’s story: couples in dramas always face with extreme bad situation to make them realise that how important they are for each other. I have bear the idea that Korean drama always ends by one of the leading character having cancer or terminally ill. For example, in the drama ‘Winter Sonata’ at the end of the drama the leading male character has a tumour in the brain which makes him either die during operation or lose his eyesight and die after a few months. Moreover, there are a range of Korean dramas with an extreme sad ending such as the glass slipper, autumn in my heart, sorry I love you. Moreover, it is also very typical for me to see Korean couples in dramas have a happy ending after fighting against ‘the whole world’. It is very highlighted or repeatedly for Korean drama couples to face with the objection of their parents, the emergence of the third person in the relationship, the misunderstanding due to ‘too much care and love’ for each other. For instance, in the drama ‘Boys over flower’ in 2009, the couple Jan Di, a very poor girl and Jun Pyo, the chaebol of a rich family, have faced a strong objection from Jun Pyo’s mother, who believes her son deserve a more beautiful, smarter and richer lady. The drama reaches its peak in viewers rating as the beauty of the main casts but also because of their love story. To complete her goals, Jun Pyo’s mother doesn’t mind doing anything. She firstly pays Jan Di an enormous amount of money, then buys her house, makes her whole family not have a place to live, hires people to destroy her small street vendor, and multiple other things. However, Jun Pyo and Jan Di have hold hands so strongly until the end and proved to Jun Pyo’s mother that position and money don’t have anything to do with their love. The drama is a happy ending but as an audience, I have to say that it is so impossible to have such a tragedy in life and can find someone to overcome with.



Here is the link for some top Korean meanest mom in drama.

So, as you can see, the beautiful and concrete love story in Korean drama normally faces with extreme and severe conditions which we rarely have in our life.

Finally, before coming to my case study ‘The Descendants of the Sun’, I have always wondered if there is actually a love story like Korean Drama in real life. From my own point of view, the love story in K- dramas is too beautiful, too artistic that is so impossible to become the truth in real life. Finding that someone who is willing to hold your hands under any circumstances is extremely difficult, not mentioning that he needs to be super handsome, super gentle and always does everything that ladies dream of. I have interviewed my Vietnamese and international friends. They all share the same answer with me although some of them believe that it is flexible and depends a lot on the person. So, what about you guys? Please leave some comments or your thoughts below my post.

Last but not least, I am going to look at the drama ‘The Descendants of the Sun’ to highlight some of my own viewpoints. The drama is made in 2106 and became a big hit in South Korea where it reached 38.8% of audience share and gained a huge popularity across Asia. I have remembered that when the drama first air, all of my Vietnamese/ Asian friends talk about it all day. They complement handsome Yoo Si- jin (Song Joong Ki), beautiful Kang Mo-yeon (Song Hye- kyo), manly Seo Dae- young (Jin Goo) and attractive but not feminist Yoon Myung- ju. There are two couples in this drama Yoo Si-jin with Kang Mo-yeon and Seo Dae- young with Yoon Myung- ju. Their love stories are a huge success across whole South Korea and Asia, brings up the name of the actors and actresses once again receive the love of thousands new fans internationally. The drama received in total of 6 awards by Baeksang, and Daesang awards.


The drama is not just a simple love story between a guy and a lady but a love story between two people sharing their love to their country, to kids and the elder. It is not just a romantic story with a lot of kissing scenes but a love story that makes my heart flutter because of action scene and the underground battle between North and South Korea. It creates once again a popular Korean wave in Asia and the main casts of the drama have become so much more famous than ever. Wherever they go, they get most of concentration about themselves. With a single search on ‘Descendants of the Sun Fan’, I received 6,370,000 results in 0.65 seconds. If you are a fan of the drama, you can use this website to check official fan page: Song Joong- ki and Song Hye- ko after the success of the drama become one of the most powerful K- biz couple and their fans all around the world have hoped that their idols will be a real couple. In early this year, the couple announced that they were dating and going to get married on 31 October 2017. Their information has been updated every single day since then. The official fan page such as Song Jong- ki Asian fanbase updated regularly about their wedding information. Just with a search on twitter ‘the Descendants of the Sun’ there were a lot of wishes and congratulations from fan locally and globally sending to Song- Song couple.

8 (Song- Song couple on their wedding day 31 October 2017)

The drama ‘Descendants of the Sun’ is a typical but new Korean drama: love stories under extreme severe conditions with beautiful girls and handsome men.

In conclusion, Korean dramas have given me a very good angle to learn about Korean culture. As a girl who growing up in Vietnam, a South East Asian country, the Korean Wave, especially Korean dramas has spread and brought up Korean cultures to introduce with Asia and international community.

Here are a few epiphanies that I have found while watching romantic Korean dramas which is pretty interesting as well:

  • The respect towards the elder: in all types of Korean dramas, it is essential and very important to bow down while meeting the older. Unlike English, Korean people use honorifics while talking with the elder and people with higher position to show their respect towards the people. Here is a video giving examples of the situation to use honorifics as well:
  • Kissing scenes in dramas are too impossible to be real. I have found a very good youtube video to express my meaning:
  • It is very funny while I watch some Korean dramas which at the start, the guy is very shy and doesn’t know how to confess his love. But at the end of the drama, the leading male character because of his love for the female character, becomes a very professional and romantic love confessor. While comparing to real life, I found out that guys with the same background like the characters in the dramas would probably do something silly. In Korean dramas, even how bad they are at talking with a girl, they are professional and romantic when it comes to express love.


  1. Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., & Bochner, A.P. 2011, Autoethnography: An Overview, Qualitative Social Research,


  1. Wheeler, C. J 2012, The Korean Wave: Multiculturalism, Foreigners and Cultural Backwash, The Korean Movie & Drama Database, weblog 2 June, viewed on 1 November, <—43367.html#!prettyPhoto>



The Great Challenge – my autoethnography view


As a person who has special interest about Chinese culture and society and is learning Mandarin at the moment, Chinese TV shows are very good at getting my attention. After discussing, my classmate – Jessie Davis, and I decided to choose a completely new Chinese reality show to watch. We have searched and found “The Great Challenge”. According to Top 10 popular China TV shows in the first half of 2016 (Zhang 2016), “The Great Challenge” is the most famous Chinese reality show. Jessie and I have watched the first episode of the show and made a podcast to talk about our impressions. In this blog post, I am going to talk about subtitle in the show, ‘masculinity perspective’, harmony value and hard- working culture that I found out through the show and questioned my knowledge about Chinese society and culture.

First of all, as a Mandarin learner, I find it very interesting as the show is in Mandarin and has Mandarin subtitle. I have thought about the question then decided to use google translate. Through the website, I realise an essential point which explains my question. China is a very big country with various dialects but the common in language is that they share the same writing character. According to google translate, there are only traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese which make so much sense why the show has Mandarin subtitle. To confirm my ideas, I have done a few research online. My idea is supported by David Pan, former USAF officer (quora 2016). In his comment, he claimed that as the written language is the same regardless of Mandarin or Cantonese, subtitles allow all Chinese speaking people around the world can read and understand what they cannot understand through speaking.


Sinaweibo: the Great Challenge

Secondly, the show had 7 members in the past and now 6 members but they are all men. It made me think about the question why the producer only chose men. Is that because women are considered to be weaker than men in nature? I have done a reading written by Shen and D’Ambrosio. In chapter 6 ‘Chinese Cultural Resources for Feminism’, they explained the Chinese perspective of yin and yang which yin is a symbol for man and yang is for women. In this context, they believe that women are weak in nature and became oriented toward social roles such as a duty as a wife rather than ‘big business’ (Shen & D’Ambrosio).

Moreover, very different from other reality show, this show does not invite any guests, just purely the game between members. Sometimes, they split the team in a group of two and individual game, sometimes it is a team game. But, one interesting point is that even when they participated in individual game, they do not have that ‘attack’ spirit. They still work in cooperation and peace. They only try to create laugh through ‘pinching’ each other. One of the reasons can be this is just a show and they do not need to be too competitive when joining. However, I find out that the real reason is their own culture value: harmony and this value is under effect of Confucianism. Confucianism is Chinese dominant belief. It values harmony, benevolence, righteousness, courtesy, wisdom, honesty, loyalty and filial piety (Zhang 2013). Harmony is Chinese most important core value. It has been proved through the history flows: the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence in the 1950s, former Chinese president Jiang Zemin’s speech during the visit to United States, Chinese premier Wen Jiabao’s speech at Harvard University in 2003 (Zhang 2013). To highlight this value inside the Chinese community, in Cultural Barriers to the Success of Foreign Media Content: Western Media in China, India, and Japan (Rohn 2009, p.317-318), it emphasises Chinese core value: harmony by looking at the rating of the reality show ‘Survivor’ (which the contestants become very competitive), it was a huge failure as it goes against the Chinese peoples’ values and does not match with the audiences.

Fourthly, the name of the show “the Great challenge” make me think about something very different, distinctive, but once I started watching I realised how close it is to our daily life. It can be a daily job such as car washing and I thought that it was not difficult. But through the lens of an audience watching celebrities do the job, I become more aware of the requirements of these jobs and appreciate more their hard-working. From this perspective, I learn to appreciate the professional of different jobs as no job is easy and it all requires training and work experience along the time. Moreover, along the show, the members are sometimes talking with the camera, which I believe that create the connection between audiences and the hosts. It makes me feel like they are talking and sharing their own stories with me.

But, why do they make a show about these people? This question follows directly after the conclusion of sharing the stories behind stages of these jobs that we sometimes think easy to do. One of the reason as I have mentioned above is the hidden message to appreciate the profession of all jobs. Moreover, I believe it is a part of Chinese culture: hard- working. It can sound very weird for some of you but as pointed out in  Khlystov’s blog post, who has been living in Beijing for the past ten years, China values hard- working and their normal work hour for office work is from 8am to 6pm, 5 days a week but no more than 44 hours per week and for customer- service industry it can even extend to late night.


In conclusion, I have discussed about a few interesting points that I have found out through watching the show such as Mandarin study, media practice in order to point out Chinese core values shown in the show. Jessie will provide another view about the show relating to production and consumption and internet and communication.


  1. Khlystov, Y. 2016, China’s hard work culture – do you love it?, Laowaicareer, web blog post, viewed on 15 October 2017, <>
  2. Pan, D 2016, Why does most Chinese TV movies have subtitles, Quora, viewed 9 October 2017, <>
  3. Rohn, U 2009, ‘Cultural Barriers to the Success of Foreign Media Content: Western Media in China, India, and Japan’, Peter Lang, pp. 317-320
  4. Shen, L & D’Ambrosio, P, ‘Gender in Chinese Philosophy’, Internet Encylopedia of Philosophy, viewed 10 October 2017, <>
  5. Zhang, L.H 2013, ‘China’s Traditional Cultural Values and National Identity’, Carnegie- Tsinghua Center of Global Policy, viewed 13 October 2017, <>
  6. Zhang, X 2016, Top 10 popular China TV shows in the first half of 2016¸Chinadaily, viewed 9 October 2017, <>

Chinese TV show and my own autoethnographic view.

blog post 7.4

In my previous blog, I have written about Chinese TV show: Happy Camp and my first impressions about the show. Today I am going to step aside and analyse my own experience while watching the show.

Firstly, the most highlighting part in the show is the masculinity – feminist. As I have discussed in the previous part, whenever they play games and need to divide teams, there are hardly a situation that one team has more female members than others. Moreover, while playing games using strength, the male guests often offer to use one hand if possible. It shows the value of gentle towards female but in other hand, it is discrimination to think they can’t do it as they are female. It even becomes more highlighted when a female is stronger or tougher than they are supposed to be and be called ‘Nǚ hànzi’ (女汉子) which means a very tough girl. In one of the researches I found online, hànzi indicates a strong and masculine man, so when a girl is called Nǚ hànzi, it shows that they are a very independent, decisive and strong girl (Dung Ca Xinh 2014). It has a really good meaning but besides that, I found a very strong discrimination as when you use this word, you are assuming that only guys can be tough, independent and strong.

Secondly, every MC remains their roles/ positions while playing games. As I have mentioned in my previous blog, each MCs has their own characters and supposedly remains the same character under all types of situations. For example, Du Haitao, one of the male MCs, always represents of a young, simple- minded man and black hole of a game. But, as I have watched the show for more than 4 years, unlike the ‘simple’ appearance, Haitao is actually a pretty smart, funny and thoughtful guy. He is now considered one of the most popular host in HNTV, the owner of a good restaurant and has casted in quite a number of movies and dramas (Wikipedia, Du Haitao).

Photo for blog 7

Thirdly, the show is mainly to promote the new upcoming movie or drama in Hunan Broadcasting TV. But, they always invite the most popular actors/ actresses of the time to boost up the viewer rate. Here are names of a few.Photo for blog 7.1

Song Joong-ki (South Korean actor: 4th from the left)….0…1.1.64.psy-ab..3.6.1461…0j0i67k1.tJPovtx_QXs#imgrc=-rFLcNJ7NKBWGM:

Photo for blog 7.2

From left to right: Weijia (MC), Nicky Wu (Mainland Chinese legend), William Chan (Chinese dancer, singer, actor), Zhao Li ying (one of 4 new beauties of China), Xie Na (MC)…27124.30952.0.31101.….0…1.1.64.psy-ab..6.10.1950…0j0i24k1j0i67k1j0i8i30k1.QyqNUl0hBGo#imgrc=Ms5ELjoW2niXjM:

Last but not least, as the show has continued for up to 20 years now, the special friendship has been formed between the MCs. And I get the most impression with the friendship between Hejiong and Xiena. They are a very close friend to each other for such a long time. As Hejiong said in one of the show he hosted, he always tries to be a friend who supports Xiena in her ways of growing and glooming. Their friendship has been questioned until 2011 when Xiena announced that she was going to marry her 4- year boyfriend- Jason Zhang. In one of the episode of Happy Camp show, both MCs played a game together to show how much understanding they have towards each other. The answers are once again melt everyone’s heart. One of the questions was what the reason for the first time Hejiong cried in front of Xiena is. And the answer was because she fell and hurt her face. Here is the link of the show but it is completely in Mandarin as there is no English- subtitle version. The example is found in this video (the first 1 and a half minute).

In conclusion, I have analysed my own perspective towards the show ‘Happy Camp’. This blog post is pretty interesting for me as it gives me a chance to deeply think of the reasons why I enjoy the show as well as what my own values, cultures and beliefs are. It is like a first step before I start my group project. Hope that you guys find this enjoyable as much as my interest while writing it.


Dung Ca Xinh 2014, ‘Slow Chinese: 女汉子 (Nǚ hànzi), viewed 15 September 2017, <>

Wikipedia, ‘Du Haitao’, viewed 15 September 2017, <>

Chinese TV show and how I think about it

As growing up in Vietnam, a country was dominated by China about 1000 years, I have a very special interest towards China. I am currently studying Mandarin as my minor at UOW. The reason for me to choose to learn Mandarin as I have been watching tons of Chinese dramas, movies and TV shows for like more than 15 years. So, in this blog post, I am going to talk about my perspective towards my favorite Chinese TV show: Happy camp (快乐大本营).

Happy camp belongs to Hunan broadcasting system. It started in 1997 and has lasted for 20 years. The show is one of Chinese most successful TV show. I started watching Happy camp in 2013. It came to me accidentally while I was watching all the shows that my idols took part in. I fell in love with the show as the humour of the MCs helped me laugh and relax after a long day.

The first thing I realise about it is the MC. Unlike other TV show that I have seen before, Happy Camp has up to 5 MCs working all together in every episode.

Photo for blog 5

Secondly, they always invited guests coming to join the episode, playing games and the most important factor is to promote the new movies/ dramas of Hunan broadcasting system coming up next week/ month.

The third exciting part that I found out about the show is that they have strongly promoted their own culture through the show. It is the clearest through the human- word game. As technologies have become more and more important in our daily life, a lot of Chinese people start forgetting about how to write characters and the game is formed based on this aim. One person from the team will be standing in a very high position and the rest of the team will try to use their body to form the character for the standing person to guess. It is the competition between 2 teams to find out which team gets more correct answer.

Additionally, I find out one of the Chinese value: consider female as the weak side. While playing games with female guests, they always try to be gentle and use less strength in physical games towards female guests. And about the female guests, she normally wears dresses or clothes that shows the best of her shape (if she has one). But from my own perspective, it is a good thing and also a bad thing. It is good as it is always nice to be gentle towards female/ women. But it is not so good because sometimes it can lean towards discrimination/ inequality as I can assume that you will not be able to do it as a girl.

One more thing I find very interesting about Chinese TV show is there is always a person tending to be the weakest of all the hosts, the one to get ‘suffer’ from losing in almost every game. As well as other TV show, Haidao, the young male MC in this show is considered to be unlucky and the black hole for playing games. When I started watching this show, as a simple person, I think that “wow! This guy is so normal! How can he even be the MC of the show?”. But from time to time, with more experience in watching different Chinese shows/ Asian shows, I realise that it is a stereotype that most Chinese/ Asian reality shows will have. This person is sometimes the key to help everyone burst into laugh. And then as I did some research about the guy, he is actually a pretty successful man in real life. It has changed my whole opinion towards the ‘clumsy character’ that I bear in mind at first.

Last but not least, I think one of the main factors for the show to last that long is its flexibility. The show is always catching up with new and famous trends among the Chinese population. For example, they had the voice acting game which ranked top search in weibo (a Chinese platform, same function as Facebook but Mandarin is dominant language). Here is a 1 minute cut video of the game. The 2 Mcs was putting the voice for the movie. It is a Vietsub as I couldn’t find an Engsub.

In conclusion, these factors/ features are the most impressive one that I get while watching this Chinese TV show. I will analyse my own perspective regarding to culture differences and similarities about the show in my future post.

My understanding of “autoethnography”

When I started reading Ellis (et al. 2011)’s Autoethnography: An Overview, I found it quite complicated to understand but as I continued reading, it was very interesting and convincing as the order topic sentence- explain- example was used to provide a deeper understanding of the reading. Every part of the reading is well- organised with the number and label. The authors wrote it with supportive evidence and good explanation. It was divided into 5 parts: history of autoethnography, how to do it, how to write it, why it has been criticised.

Autoethnography is a method that helps to gain a better understanding of others:

‘Doing ethnography means studying a culture’s relational pratices, common values and beliefs, and shared experiences for the purpose of helping insiders and outsiders better understand the culture’ (Ellis et al. 2011)

Doing autoethnography is selectively writing about a crucial moment that have major impact on your life (called epiphanies) belonging to a particular cultural individual or reflecting a part of a culture (Ellis et al., 2011). When I was little, I used to write diary everyday to noted down my own emotions. This January, when I came home, I found it by chance and read again what I have written when I was small. It is really interesting as I can see ‘me’ reflecting through all the notes. It is funny not only in the way I wrote and how I grew my emotions along the events during that time but it is also a diary of my own adventure. So it becomes very unique as all the feelings and the ways I made sense of the world belongs to me myself.


One thing I agree about the reading is that it explained why autoethnography is widely used and sometimes believed but consider unprofessional.  Autoethnography is a method to deeply analyse a reading/ writing in relations to the author’s values (including background and culture). It is widely used as it connects people emotionally, supports different ideas without evidence. However, it weakness makes it target of criticism as it is merely based on biased view of life, too narrow and lack of data. When writing a report or a political analysis, what I normally need is the most supportive and relevant data which autoethnography does not have. So, in my point of view, doing/ writing autoethnography is a good approach but only in case of sharing your stories and being helpful for others.

In conclusion, Ellis (et al.2011)’s Autoethnography: An Overview is a quite analytical reading as it tells about the story and draws on how to write, how to autoethnography efficiently and why it is criticised. It is sure to be a choice for sharing your own stories to understand others’ views better.


Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. 2011 ‘Autoethnography: An Overview‘, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, vol.12, no.1 <;

DIGC330 Week 1: My own perspective about Japanese movie “Godzilla”

Hello everyone. My name is Rose. I am from Vietnam. I am currently doing Bachelor of International Studies, major in International Relations. I choose DIGC330 as part of my minor (Communication and Media). When I looked at the subject outline and found out that I was going to have a three-hour lecture, I was pretty worried as I might not catch up as fast as other students. But today, the lecture was really interesting and very different from other subjects. We watched the black and white Japanese movie ‘Godzilla’. As I do not watch Japanese movie, there are a few points I found very interesting.

My first impression about the movie is that it is unreal. As I do not believe in Godzilla, I found it a little bit fictional. I did a small research on the internet and there are thousands of answers. But most of them seems to believe that it is unreal. However, one interesting point at the end of the movie is when the professor said there might be another Godzilla in the future as there would be more nuclear weapons and testing. I found out that Godzilla is believed to be a figure for nuclear weapons.

The second thing is that everyone seems to be very open-minded. As I watch a lot of Asian movies, there are always bad and good guys in the same movie. But interestingly in this movie, everyone seems to be open to other people’ suggestions and ideas, from the youngest to the oldest.

Thirdly, I think there is one Japanese value I found from the movie. It is “the praying”. After the villagers believe there are some kinds of monsters attacking the ships, they do the “praying ceremony” in order to drive away evil spirits.

Additionally, I found that the way the professor’s daughter cries is so weird. For me, it is not showing any sadness or apologise but simply offense.

In conclusion, it is a quite good experience to watch and perceive the movie in my own way as I can also learn about other people’ opinions/ perspectives of the movie. And this blog is just my own perspective so I hope I do not offense anyone. I hope that we can always have exciting assessments like this blog post in the future.