Okay, here’s a fun fact: do you know that Singapore is one of the few countries in the world that has just one person in all its banknotes? Now that you know, do you know that having a female in a country’s banknote is not common? In the US, the first woman on its banknote will only be released in 2020.
However, in Korea, the first woman that appeared in its banknote occurred in 2009. The honour goes to Shin Saimdang, a Korean artist, writer calligraphist, and poet in the 16th century.
Well, it’s understandable that you’ve not heard of her, since most of the Koreans we know are Song Joong Ki, Gong Yoo or Yoo Jae Suk. But here’s the thing: the story of Shin Saimdang is so fascinating, it has been adapted into a blockbuster drama.
Aptly titled Saimdang: Soulmates Across Time, it’s the most expensive K-drama ever made, at a staggering USD$13 million (about SGD$18.49). In comparison, the highly successful Descendants of the Sun took about USD$10.8 (about SGD$15.36).
So, What Exactly is this Saimdang: Soulmates Across Time?
Let’s face it: the most popular K-dramas in recent months are Descendants of the Sun and Goblin, and both are obviously fictional. Saimdang: Soulmates Across Time, set to be the next insanely popular drama, is adapted from the life of Shin Saimdang.
The plot starts in present time. Seo Ji-Yoon, a history lecturer, is looking to obtain her PhD, and her career lies in the hands of her professor, Prof Min Jung Hak. Ji-Yoon isn’t the kind of woman you’ll want to be: her struggle to juggle her career and family isn’t exactly working out (much like most of us, isn’t it?).
Soon, both her career and her family fall apart (which thank God isn’t like most of us): her husband skipped town and Prof Min betrayed her, with her also losing her job.
In a somehow ironic twist, a painting brings her back to the past to re-live the life of Shin Saimdang. Known to many as the Wise Mother, she has been a model for being able to juggle her responsibilities as a mother, wife and daughter, while also gaining respect for her artistic works.
Now, here’s the thing: in the 16th century, it wasn’t common for a female to get an education, not to mention dabbling into arts. Simply put, it seems like a complete opposite of Ji-Yoon’s present-day life.
The drama isn’t all history and no fun—the plot also focused on Saimdang’s love story with another artist, Lee Gyeom. This character is created solely for the drama, and sets the premise for a romance that, well, shows “Soulmates Across Time”…because that mysterious drawing is by Lee Gyeom (get it?).
I won’t want to spoil the story for you, but you get the idea: beautiful people set in a beautiful setting with beautiful art pieces, it’s a beautiful drama to behold.
Why Saimdang: Soulmates Across Time?
If Goblin is all about Gong Yoo (yeah, #TeamGongYoo!), then this will be all about Lee Young-ae. I won’t blame you if you go, “Lee—what?” because you might be too young to have watched the insanely popular K-drama, Jewel in the Palace (大长今). If you have, then you’ll know why this is a must-watch, because it’s Lee Young-ae’s comeback drama after 14 years. And if you haven’t, trust me: the hype was so crazy in 2003, it could be the reason why you’re seeing Korean stalls even in foodcourts.
Other than the fact that it’s the most expensive K-drama, here’s another interesting fact: the drama took about one year to film. Most Korea dramas (except Descendants of the Sun) are not filmed in its entirety before airing, but in order to capture all seasons of the year, filming of Saimdang: Soulmates Across Time started in August 2015 and ended in June 2016. Yeah, that’s even before Goblin met his bride.
But let’s all be honest: we all need to watch this because it’s going to be one heck of a love story. I mean, the love stories in K-dramas have been known to make even the most macho commando cry, and given how beautiful it is, you, whoever you are, just need to experience it.
And oh, it’s not that I’ve run out of adjectives to describe the show—it’s just that…isn’t it just beautiful and nothing else?
Where to Watch It
Saimdang: Soulmates Across Time has started airing since 26 January 2017 in Oh!K channel every Wednesday and Thursday at 9:00 p.m., which is the same time as Korea (simulcast). Singapore viewers can watch it on StarHub TV Channel 816 and Singtel Channels 525 (Mandarin) & 611 (Malay).
Check out its trailer here:
But wait, there’s more, because love is in the air—or I should say, we all hope to have Soulmates Across Time.
Win a Staycation Because Soulmates Across Time
In conjunction with the theme “Soulmates Across Time”, Oh!K TV is organizing a giveaway that is so hard to resist, a few of us (exclude me, because #shy) from Goody Feed have joined.
It’s simple; just upload an image of you and your soulmate (not necessarily your bae, you know; it can be your parents or BFF!) in this website and share your story. After that, ask your friends to vote for you. The best entries with the most votes will win prizes like a 2-day-1-night staycation, The History of Whoo Hamper or a Dinner for two.
If that’s still not simple enough, here’s a video tutorial, because we all #YouTubeGeneration:
Contest is from 14 Feb 2017 to 13 March 2017, so fast hand fast leg now!
This article was first published on goodyfeed.com and is written in collaboration with Oh!K TV Channel.