Today was all about relaxing indoors and taking my own sweet time to go through my holiday’s to-do.
I didn’t want to exert myself at all as it’s finally time for my body to slow down after a mammoth term – it’s finally holidays.
But I don’t think it’ll hit me until Monday as I usually spend my weekends like this since lockdown began lol.
What I did spend hours and hours on today was binging Squid Game. I was smart to not begin it last night as I knew it would be hard to stop after I start.
There’s only 9 episodes and it’s such a scary sight to watch. * beware of spoilers *
Being an avid fan of Korean dramas since high school, I’ve learnt a lot about their language, culture, societal values and beliefs, in addition to their history. It was handy when I went to South Korea last year as I got to put my knowledge to the test and surprised many locals with my conversational Korean.
Anyways, I know that the gap between rich and poor is quite large as the latter is extreme poverty. It’s a hard life for everyone as jobs are hard to qualify for.
In this poster is one of the first games they had to play – red light, green light. It seems eerie with the huge doll staring at you and that’s because it is. If you get caught, you die. That’s how the elimination works in this arena as they have to try to survive against the 456 players and win the games they used to play when they’re a child.
It’s strategic and seeing so many deaths is not fun. It is thrilling but it kinds of upsets me that death is so prominent in this show. And perhaps that’s the whole point.
All these 456 players were not forced to play this life-death by the game makers. It was the situation they found themselves living in their own society that forced them to participate. It’s a harsh reality of what living in a capitalist society does to those who are disadvantaged by its values.
But the fact that they use children’s games to determine who the winners and losers are is quite ironic. Children connotes innocence and purity, yet in this series, its games are symbolic of the greed that is motivating these players.
The fact that it’s set in our contemporary society scares me because this could be happening at this very moment. We don’t know. Not until we’re pushed into a breaking point where we have to resort to risking our lives in this type of situation.
The 456 players are also everyday humans that we may have passed along by the street. Majority of the players’ characteristics will definitely seem familiar. The main character (pictured middle) is a divorced father who lives with his mother. He is desperate to find whatever money he can to just take his mother to the hospital. Not only that, he has loans to pay back but is unable to do so as he has no means. We also have an elderly man, a young girl, a gangstar, even a successful businessman. They’re all different types of people but have one thing in common: greed to win money.
As I watch through each episodes, I wonder how these everyday humans feel knowing that the prize money they would “perhaps” receive (if they survive each game), was earned by sacrificing other humans? Will they even be able to sleep soundly at night?
Of course not.
They lie, they cheat and they play dirty. All morals and ethics are thrown out of the window when they signed the consent form to play here. It’ll definitely haunt them and while I sympathise, I hate their decisions. But how am I supposed to judge them when I haven’t even been through their situation? I haven’t experienced their hardships in life and thankfully I don’t wish to.
Perhaps that’s what is needed in our society. Change so that no one will go through this. Which means capitalism needs to go. And I’m all for it. But is everyone? Not the rich, definitely not them as they’re the only ones who are benefiting from this.
But it’s nice to see some sights of humanity. Some kindness. Some unselfishness. Though I do hate the irony of how the game maker thinks he’s promoting equality by making sure no one bends the rules. But those who do, get killed. Who plays with lives so easily like that?
In fact, they’re the ones sponsoring these games. They’re the VIPs who enjoy hiding their true identity behind their elaborate masks, laughing at watching these players risk their lives and bet ridiculous amount of money on who will survive. It’s inhumane.
It’s a dictatorship if you ask me.
Plus, there’s also other plot lines as we do have a police officer who infiltrated inside to secretly find out what happened to his brother. While he was on a search, we realise that this was not the first game and that it’s been happening for years, since the 90s.
Hwang Dong-hyuk is such an intelligent and creative director who is able to critique society and open our eyes to the consequences our society can bring. He was quite well-known with Silenced 도가니, a movie that brought me to tears because it was based on real-life abuse to young deaf students. Maybe that’s how Gong Yoo made a surprise appearance in this show because I didn’t expect to see him at the beginning. While I love Parasite and its message, Squid Game terrifies me on another level.
But I had to take a break from watching it as my eyes were getting tired. While I thought my Korean food would arrive earlier on in the day, it’s scheduled to arrive between 7-8pm, I decided to make dinner using beef mince because it’s close to expiry. I made these mini san choy bow and added sesame seeds to it. It was quick, easy and fulfilling meal.
Plus my dessert arrived from Moashop so was quite excited to munch into that while finishing this show.