Liebster Award!



So I just got through designating my own set of arbitrary awards for “Must See” KDrama  when I got this lovely message from Maybee at dramababble telling me that she had nominated me for a Liebster Award. Please check out her fantastic blog and read her own Liebster Award entry!

First, let me just say – “Oh, what an honor! I would like to thank my agent, my manager, my personal assistant, my amazing cast and crew…” uh wait… wrong dream. Umm… THANK YOU, MAYBEE! [PS – and then I just received another nomination from Betsy — it’s a daisy chain! ‘Cause I have nominated them tooo! – Thank you, Betsy!]

As Maybee explains it, the Liebster Award “is a sort of getting-to-know-you kind of thing passed around among bloggers who have recently started with this blogging adventure.” So far, so good. I can’t vouch for anything other than my newness to the blogosphere and to KDrama so I hope that in responding to the Liebster call, I can do these nominations some justice.

The rules for receiving this award:

  • List 11 random facts about yourself.
  • Answer the questions designated by the blogger(s) who nominated you.
  • Place your nominations for the Liebster Award! Nominate five (or more) other bloggers that have less than 200 followers. Make sure to notify them via comment/email, etc.
  • Make up a set of questions for those nominated bloggers to answer.
  • Display the Liebster award badge on your blog!

So I’ll take my cue from Maybee’s visual wit and start off my list with a self portrait:



11 Random Facts About Me

  • I love reading — poetry in particular, but not everything; I love epic poetry and lyric poetry and bucolic poetry. Don’t care for anything after the second half of the twentieth century.
  • In prose I also love the fiction of José Saramago and not much else really.
  • Well, I also love, love, love the well written essay. Hence the rambling…;-)
  • Okay, so I also love folk stories and pretty much any well told tale.
  • I like wearing scarves and I have them for every season – Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall. I wear them over my shoulders, around my neck, on my head…
  • I love swimming – although I have to admit that I’ve been a tad lazy about it.
  • I love playing the piano, although I’ve been a tad lazy about that too.
  • My favorite person in the world is my little niece.
  • My other favorite person is my sister (yep, the advent of her baby scooted her over on the favorite person list).
  • I am in awe of brilliant artists who work incredibly hard at their craft and then when they execute (whether in performance, composition) do so without breaking a sweat.
  • I am thrilled to be alive in a world so full of beauty, both natural and man made!

Maybee’s Questions

  1. Name your favouriteeeest  Kdrama heroine and why. You can list more than one but must specify reasons.
    • Lady Soseono from Jumong – brilliant, independent, bad-ass and possessed of an enormous heart.
    • I have to say Deokman and Dong Yi are pretty awsome too in their analytical and strategic brilliance… ahhh!
    • Shin Yun Bok from Painter of the Wind – the part about her being a girl is probably fictional, but what a fantastic artist  (and I love everything Moon Geun Young does!).
    • Hwang Jin Yi from Hwang Jin Yi – she lived for her art.
    • Puku / Ja Myung from Ja Myung Go – she lived for her principles (and I love everything Jung Ryeo Won does 🙂 )
  2. Which Kdrama character/s do you identify with the most and why?
    • Well, curiously, probably with some combination of the characters Moon Geun Young portrays in the dramas I’ve seen (namely: The Painter of the Wind, Cheongdamdong Alice, Mary Stayed Out All NightLove Me Not and even Autumn in my Heart). She tends to portray girls or women who occupy largely undefined, marginal roles in society and who are most at home in the social no-man’s lands dramatized in their stories rather than in the mainstream.
  3. What Kdrama trope gets you rolling your eyes and gives you hives? (Clearly, a hyperbole, but indulge me, please.)
    • ummm… I have not gotten to a point where any particular trope really gets me rolling my eyes, let alone gives me hives ;-). I’m generally game if a cliché serves the story or the storytelling. Now if it’s done badly, that’s another issue.
  4. What do you look for in a fellow Kdrama blogger? (hahahah. Sounds like a dating site question? Indulge me.)
    • I enjoy learning new things so anyone who teaches me something new gets a thumbs up. I am a huge fan of good humor and curiosity in a blogger, so…
  5. What’s the best thing about blogging?
    • Ummm, in truth, getting to externalize the inner monologue transpiring in the labyrinthine area between my ears and occasionally getting to engage in cool dialogue with fellow bloggers about a shared pass-time.
  6. What’s the worst thing about blogging?
    • Typos. I cannot seem to NOT make them. Ughhh! [Lord, I hope their aren’y any in this posy!]
  7. What would you be reborn as? And why? (Yes, “why” is my favourite question. Why? Why? Why?)
    • I should like to come back as a Humpback Whale. I love swimming and I love taking my time and I love singing and I love traveling… I may be mistaken, but these all seem like basic parts of the Humpback Whale’s life…

Betsy’s Questions

  1. If you could have one mutant power, what power would it be?
    • Hmm – I think running really really fast. Not ‘The Flash’ fast — I’m not really in a hurry to get anywhere and I actually want to see and enjoy the scenery as I move. Maybe the cheetah fast. I like the feel of the wind on my face plus the sustained high you get from long distance running but I’d like to enjoy both without ever getting tired or sore. See, I love running, but I get slower every year as it gets more laborious…
  2. Breakfast, lunch or dinner?
    • Breakfast – every cheetah has got to start the day right. Plus, when it’s brunch with friends we get to make crepes and omelets and tea… and then just hang around goofing off…
  3. Why a blog and why the k-drama?
    • You know how when you ‘discover’ something beautiful you just want to tell all your friends about it because you want them to experience your exhilaration and pretty soon you are telling strangers about it and even if no one gets why you think this ‘discovery’ is so awesome you cannot stop going on and on and on – kinda like Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah’s sofa? Well on the interwebs you get to jump as much as you wish on as many sofas as you want and if your friends and the occasional stranger wants to join in, they are welcome and free to do so and they don’t have to be either perplexed or tolerant because you are not making them listen to you wax on and on and on. Well, KDrama is that beautiful thing that I ‘discovered’.
  4. If you could be in a k-drama, what drama would you choose? And would you be an established character, yourself, yourself with mutant powers, fill-in-blank?
    • Oh, no question: Deep Rooted Tree. I would be one of the palace maids working with So-Yi, King Sejong and company to prepare the Hunmin Jeongeum (훈민정음).
  5. If you created a second blog about something completely different from what you’re blogging about now, what would it be about?
    • Funny you should ask… I actually keep a blog about Music, specifically piano music and the repertoire I’m developing. Right now I am working on Bach and will be spending much of the summer on his French Suites. Since KDrama sort of took over SPQ&R, that other blog has become a catch-all for my other loves like Poetry, Learning Korean, Art … but mostly Piano Music and the Classical repertoire. I have not been terribly faithful to either, but I hope to do better…
  • Okay. All done!

My Nominees

Okay – so this is a bit of a daisy chain – a ‘what goes around comes around’ set of nominations, but these happen to be the bloggers from whom I have discovered and learned the most, and with whom I have engaged the most in my little corner of the interwebs. I guarantee that you will enjoy visiting each one and may even stay for tea if you like what you see…

  • Mihansa from Mihansa – as in Miguk-Hanguk-Sageuk – where I get my “let me think about this for a moment” fix from a bonafide KDrama blogger. There is a lot of no-nonsense and plenty of good humor and laughter to be had here.
  • Maybee from DRAMABABBLE – I always get a kick out of Maybee’s cogitations and wry visual wit.
  • Betsy from Creating Volumes – another bonafide KDrama blogger. Maybee is right, Betsy is both good-natured and optimistic and offers plenty of insight into KDrama.
  • Archana from 반짝반짝 – although this is more a language blog than a  drama blog, I love visiting occasionally because I identify with Archana’s story.

My Questions
Since my questions are a bit involved, I will ask only a few 😉

  1. If you were organizing an award ceremony for KDramas and you got to decide the most meaningful storytelling categories to be judged, what would they be? Name as many as you like and briefly tell us what you are looking for in the winner(s).
  2. If you had to compare your experience with KDrama with literature, which literary titles come to mind and what is the analogy you would draw with KDrama? Here you can be as general or as specific as you like.
  3. Suppose you were given the green light and full budget to produce your own KDrama series, what story would you tell? Tell us about the genre (melo, rom-com, sageuk), the source (original, remake, history, mythology)…
  4. Now for the gimme: Have you ever tried to stuff your mouth with food the way they do in KDrama (especially in  contemporary comedies)? If so, how did that turn out? [Full disclosure: I’m reeeally impressionable so I tried it once and… well.., Oh, wait, I’m the one asking questions now, so have at it!]

Have fun! I can’t wait to discover what you have to say. In case any of my nominees are unfamiliar to you, please visit their blogs – you’ll be glad you did! Peace 🙂

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32 Responses to Liebster Award!

  1. Maybee says:

    Finally! 🙂

    Curio, I’m so out of my depth here. hah! I don’t know the difference between epic, lyric and bucolic poetry. *ducks*

    “Don’t care for anything after the second half of the twentieth century.” Oh my. 😀

    Will it look bad if I say this is the first I’ve heard of José Saramago? *earnest eyes*

    “Typos. I cannot seem to NOT make them. Ughhh! [Lord, I hope their aren’y any in this posy!]” hahhah.

    Aww at the Humpback whale. 🙂

    And your questions are so tough. Feels like homework. 😛 So the answers might take a while. Like days? Or months. Or ever. But I’ll try, when and if I understand what you mean.


    • Hey Maybee – I’m actually kinda thrilled that my answers took you to new territory — yea for new things, yeah(?) I’ve gotta say, though, I did not expect that they’d giving you such a workout – what with the ducking and the fleeing … 😀 !

      Anyway, I hope you won’t feel uncomfortable about the poetry hair-splitting or even uneasy if José Saramago is unfamiliar to you. In fact, I’m ready to break out a parade here ’cause this means that I may have just introduced yet another soul to easily the greatest novelist of the 20th century (yes, I am biased. 🙂 )

      A word of caution, however; while studying in Portugal a few years ago when my love for Saramago was in its early stages and blooming wildly, I discovered that he is, for all intents and purposes, unknown even to his countrymen. Sure they celebrate him for winning a Nobel Prize in Literature (1998) but nobody there reads his books ’cause they find him, and I quote, “impenetrável e incompreensível.”

      Now, there is a lot I don’t get. Getting Saramago’s world weary, yet refreshingly dry wit made me wonder whether my bag of chips is necessarily the impenetrable and incomprehensible. I don’t think so. There is a lot that I like that is laid out on the table buffet-style from which I get much pleasure, satisfaction and nourishment. This much I do know: some of us have a sweet tooth, some of us like it savory. For those who consider their body as their temple, only organic raw foods will do but I think there are also those for whom the body is a temple for spirits, as in anything that is at least 80-proof!

      Okay, enough nonsense. I hope you have fun with the questions. No grades, I promise. Just curiosity 🙂

      PS The Wikipedia page on Saramago is rather nicely done, in case your curiosity is piqued.

  2. Maybee says:

    “… made me wonder whether my bag of chips is necessarily the impenetrable and incomprehensible. I don’t think so.”


    Okay, Project José Saramago filed for some rainy day. Or days. Or rainy months.

    And yes, the ducking and fleeing gave me a neck cramp. *adjusts neck collar*

    But in all seriousness, I might drop by this page every now and then to answer your questions — when the answers pop up in my head.

    Let’s start with the easiest:
    Nope, never tried to stuff my face with food like our hard working and pissed off K-drama heroines. I always find it fascinating though. How they keep on shoving in spoonful after spoonful and don’t even swallow. And then they stare out angrily. And then they start talking and rice sort of flies out. Hopefully not into the face of someone opposite.
    Now I’m curious what bind your food curiosity got you into. hehhe.

    • Tee-hee… well… I’m about to get my ramble on…

      Have you ever found yourself laughing just after taking a sip of something – water, juice, milk…? Usually something will happen that is not supposed to, leading to much coughing and wheezing and futile nose blowing and eye-watering etc. And since the larynx-trachea airway is right in front of the esophagus, it is kind of amazing that this sort of thing does not happen every time we drink something or chow down. Indeed, how do drink and food know to not go down the airway?

      swe-dol-2Why the epiglottis of course, which stands like a hinged shield directing traffic accordingly. The mechanism of the epiglottis is so subtle and finely tuned that it assures that only air enters the larynx on the way to the trachea while non gaseous material, like drink and solid foods go down the esophagus. But the mechanism’s function is only activated by the act of swallowing: you swallow, the larynx is elevated up under the epiglottis which folds downward on its hinge and thus covers the entrance to the airway leaving the drink or food passing through the pharynx nowhere to go but on into the esophagus and down the hatch.

      It is a beautifully designed system which is essentially failsafe. And this is the story of a major fail set in motion by mindlessly glutting on rice just to emulate our angry or emotionally distressed kdrama heros and heroines.

      Things go haywire when you inhale (not swallow) a liquid or a solid, and by doing so fail to cover the opening to the larynx with the epiglottis and thus leave it open to infiltration by non gaseous matter; or when, while in the process of properly swallowing (out of necessity because your mouth is stuffed with rice and it has to go somewhere), your sister makes you laugh and the explosion of air from your lungs sent up by your suddenly contracting diaphragm forces the solid matter (in this case, rice) that was in the pharynx en route to the esophagus up into the superior airway and into your nasal cavity and, if you are lucky, out your nose immediately. If you are not lucky, you’re blowing your nose for hours and days, trying to dislodge the rice grains and fragments that got rocket launched into a tight (and eggtremely uncomfortable) niche in your besieged nasal cavity.

      Boy, does it feel good to get that off my chest!

      What I learned from the experience: there is great virtue and wisdom in taking small ladylike sips and bites; in eating rice very, very, carefully (in silence); and in never letting your outrageously hilarious sister near you while you eat.

  3. Betsy Hp says:

    Breakfast sounds absolutely delicious! And fun. 🙂 But I’ve just realized that if you come back as a humpback whale and I come back as a giant squid… won’t we be mortal enemies? *sadface* Oh well — maybe we’d breach the divide and bring peace to the oceans… or something. 😀

    Your answer for “why blog” is such a perfect description of the overwhelming love that has me babbling on like crazy within the blog-o-sphere. I actually hesitate to talk about k-dramas outside of the blog because I’m afraid I might resort to couch-jumping. And that’s just not the way to win friends and influence people.

    Also, rock on with Bach and his French Suites! That is so, so cool!

    I’m really looking forward to tackling your questions — I’ll give you a heads up when they’re done. Though it’ll probably be later on this week I’d imagine. 🙂

  4. This is a cleaned up, typo-free [*I hope*] copy of part of a conversation with Maybee based on her responses to my Liebster queries.
    Thank you for the flowers, Maybee, the picture is beautiful!

    It’s all good, tears and laughter and all. You know, there’s no accounting for reader reception… your write something, you put it out there and everyone who comes across it has a different take. Some readers remain indifferent while some others — who are ever so easily moved — may, at the end of an especially fantastic day when all is well, come across what you wrote and so it takes a very little bit more laughter to send their sense of well-being overflowing and manifesting as that universal sign of the heart that is full and eager to overflow: tears. Or something like that… In any case, perhaps an explanation is in order, especially since you ask:

    Should I be worried my post made you think of Narcissus?

    The answer is “No” – and emphatically so. I really meant what I said about realizing “a new and different appreciation for the myth of Narcissus.” In other words, I found myself inventing and developing a different version of the story – a version that inspired more compassion and empathy than the story we all heard growing up. So I will try to explain my train of thought a little bit more explicitly and I beg your indulgence as this may run a bit long:

    First, the context:
    As I read your post, it kept striking me how meaningful it is for human beings to connect, or to feel connected, and how that sense of connection often gets ignited by a moment of recognition. [This, I think is the greatest gift The Poetic Arts have to offer (whatever form they take — be it poetry, narrative, painting, sculpture, cinema, music… you name it): the sense that we are connected to something greater than ourselves because the poetic work before us speaks of, and for, our seemingly unique experience. A good example of this is how certain songs seem more profound to us depending on what we are going through when we hear them; or how certain books we read resonate truth to us because they seem to give expression to feelings and experiences we don’t otherwise know how to verbalize].

    So that sense of recognition is crucial to our sense of belonging to something greater than ourselves: It may be our recognition of someone else — observing their experience and comprehending it because we have had a similar experience. It may also be the realization that someone else — a stranger, even — recognizes us and our experience. I consider this second one more powerful because it can be deeply gratifying, evoking in us a sense of being connected to at least one other fellow human being, whether the experience in question is positive or negative. And I think that when the recognition comes of a negative, unhappy experience, it is often surprising and all the more consoling because I think all living creatures feel most alone (lonely) when they are unhappy or unwell. Realizing that someone else recognizes where we are in the midst of our despair — essentially is there with us — can have an incredibly transformative and salubrious effect on an ailing soul.

    Now the development:
    As I mentioned, I was taught that the myth of Narcissus was a cautionary tale against vanity: the boy was supposed to be so taken with his own beauty that he rejected the love offered by Echo and other suitors and just stared at his own reflection until he died of insatiable yearning and was metamorphosed into a flower. And of course we have much of Western literature and especially the 19th Century — psychologists in particular — to thank for fixing our reading and interpretation of the Narcissus myth in an unmitigated negative light.

    So as I read of your appreciation for slice of life storytelling “because it reflects life. Because I recognize it. Because it seems familiar”; for fantasy “where the human in us gets highlighted and underlined because of the bizarre”; and for that incomparable high school age — i.e. adolescence — where no other age “can feel with as much intensity. If it’s not black, then it’s white. If you’re not a friend, then you’re a foe. And at no point in life are we as idealistic,” an age of profound “intensity and emerging sense of self” — as these passages resonated in my mind, it occurred to me that perhaps one of the most iconic figures in mythology who answers to each of these categories may actually be see as a grossly misunderstood youth if his story were looked at from a slightly different perspective than the one tradition conditioned us to assume.

    What if Narcissus were seen as just a shy, introspective youth, overwhelmed by the advances of Echo and everyone else who just wants him for his looks. Given his physical beauty, people around him mistake his reticence and tendency to flee pursuit as arrogance and vanity. And since all Echo herself does is repeat whatever he says, he never feels any connection with her because all she offers is a parody of a connection; her repeating everything he says is not reciprocally communicative — it is nothing but an empty echo, as it were. She might just as well be a blank wall merely bouncing his own words back at him. And then one day, be it by chance or by the design of the gods, this sad and lonely boy catches a fleeting glimpse of someone in the pool of water below him. Although he initially makes nothing of it, a gesture by the other catches his eye and he turns back, his eyes widening, seeing the other’s eyes widen in the same unguarded instant. Narcissus thinks, believes, that the other has recognized him. As he looks into the other’s eyes, he sees and recognizes the same perplexity, annoyance, eagerness, curiosity that he is feeling. Unlike Echo, who spoke only after he himself had spoken, this other seems always just about to say something when he, Narcissus, is also about to say something. So the boy stops to listen just as the other stops to listen to him. Frustrated, Narcissus finally turns as if to leave, at the very same moment the other does the same. But Narcissus sees this and fears that were he to in fact break that ever so tenuous almost-connection, he may never discover it again, never find this seeming kindred spirit again. Perhaps if he is patient, the other will reach out to him, be first to acknowledge that he, too, recognizes a kindred spirit in Narcissus. And so all this feeling, inclination, impulse to connect becomes fused by the alchemy of Hope. So Narcissus waits. This mild, quite, introspective boy — who for so long has been pursued, nay hunted, by others and who has for so long felt besieged by the needs and desires of his pursuers, never feeling like he really belonged anywhere — this boy is now tethered to the Hope of discovering that there is in fact someone else who recognizes him, who knows what his experience is, who can help him become part of something greater than himself. So he waits, ever hoping…

    The traditional myth ends with the gods taking pity on Narcissus and metamorphosing him into a flower that forever gazes down toward the water… or striking him down for his self-absorbed, arrogant vanity and turning him into a plant to teach him a lesson… Whatever version of the myth you take, I confess that what I have just described as going through my mind moved me to compassion for Narcissus: it moved me because for the first time, I thought that however misguided the things human beings will do for recognition, this young boy, at the edge of the pool during the most intensely idealistic moment in his life, was trapped by his circumstances; unable to understand what it is he wanted, or needed, unable to make it understood to others that he just sought what everybody else seeks. The impulse to connect, to feel like we belong some place, with someone, or with some many who see and hear and understand us — that impulse is powerful indeed and that is what I saw in the version of Narcissus’s story that formed in my mind as I read about your appreciation for reflection and recognition and idealistic adolescence.

    And finally, the conclusion:
    So perhaps the reason tears welled up in my eyes even as I was enjoying your responses was because I pitied Narcissus, the boy, and I pitied every other human being who has yearned to connect with that kindred spirit they hoped to discover.

    And with that I will sign off.

    – Curio Serand

  5. Joao Da Costa says:

    Bravo! Aconselho a voce a traduzir teus textos para que possa ser lidos por leitores de todo o mundo.

  6. SophiaSophia says:

    I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Perfectly written and very funny! 🙂 !

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