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[Drama 2017] Saimdang, Light's Diary 사임당, 빛의 일기

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What's the name of the screen that’s behind the King’s throne featuring mountains, maybe the moon (on the left) and the sun (on the right)?

I first noticed this screen in “The Moon That Embraces The Sun,” and I thought that the screen was made only for that drama. But then to my surprise, I saw the screen in Ep. 9 of “A Jewel in the Palace.” Since then, I’ve seen this screen in numerous historical dramas.



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Notes on GMA7’s broadcast of “Saimdang, Soulmates Across Time” Tuesday, August 22:

1. Episode begins with deposed Queen Min receiving the flower rice cakes from Saimdang. Next scene shows King Jungjong telling Lee Gyeom to investigate MCH and the other ministers.

2. Episode ends with head of Jungbu School trying to get Lee Gyeom to teach there.

3. Some deleted scenes:

- MCH visiting Biikdang with a peacock as a gift for Lee Gyeom, and Lee Gyeom giving his painting of peony flowers (translated as “magnolia”)

- Saimdang watching MCH from a distance as he leaves his house

- Min-seok (renamed as Henry) nearly getting caught inside the gallery; Director Sun asking her secretary to find out who lives in the address listed in the small piece of paper

- Jillian meeting Min-seok’s friend and business partner

- Saimdang’s kids stealing persimmons at the market (the scene cuts directly to the store owner telling Saimdang about what her children did)

- Saimdang, Lee Won-su, and their kids going up to the mountain (“barren place”) where she gives them hope for a better future

4. Great that GMA7 did not delete these scenes:

- Saimdang trying but could not burn the last copy of King Jungjong’s poem.

- Woo climbing up Biikdang’s stairs, with Lee Gyeom and Hu coming up from behind him

5. Actual drama ran for around 36 minutes, with 24 minutes consumed by commercials.


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@plainenglish Thank you for sharing last night's episode. Incidentally, Jungjong's deposed queen is Queen Shin, not Queen Min.

Am surprised that Gyeom's gift of peony flower painting was cut out. Wonder how MCH figuring out that the owner of the peony hand ribbon would be explained then.

adore the scene when Gyeom and Hoo met little Wu at the stairs of Biikdang for the first time, so it's great that it was not removed. The novel itself does not have this scene, so it was an excellent addition on the part of the drama.

I am afraid to ask... how are the ratings and viewer feedback, with so many commercials and massive edits?

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"Episode begins with deposed Queen Min receiving the flower rice cakes from Saimdang. Next scene shows King Jungjong telling Lee Gyeom to investigate MCH and the other ministers."

It is Deposed Queen Shin (폐비 신씨,廢妃慎氏) not Queen Min (history there is no recorded Deposed Queen Min, although Queen Inhyeon of Min clan, Queen Consort of Sukjong was deposed briefly in 1688 but was reinstated in 1694)

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@liddi @gerrytan8063

1. Thanks for the correction on Queen Shin.

2. Although GMA7 deleted the scene where MCH visited LG at Biikdang and gave him a peacock, it kept the scene beginning at 54:35 mark up to 5:42 (international version) where MCH looks at the painting and compares it with the ribbon.

3. I probably made a mistake saying that GMA 7 deleted that scene where Saimdang took Lee Won-su and their kids to the mountain (“barren place”) and gave them hope for a better future.

In Ep. 7 SBS version, that scene takes place right after Saimdang whips her children. But after reviewing Ep. 8 of the international version, I found out that this scene takes place after the Head Teacher of Jungbu School talks to Ji-gyoon and later to Lee Gyeom.

So, GMA7 might show that scene at the beginning of tonight’s episode (August 23). Maybe.

4. I can’t find the ratings for "Saimdang" as of yet, but GMA7 uses Nielsen, while its main rival network ABS-CBN uses Kantar Media. These networks always come up with contrasting ratings, one claiming to be better than the other.

But advertisers are hard-nosed, pragmatic people; they probably have their own means of knowing what shows are clicking with the viewers. They wouldn’t place their money on a show that’s rating poorly. The heavy commercial load (average of 24 minutes per episode) most probably means that “Saimdang” has high ratings.

I suppose also that TV networks, after all these years, already know the limits of the viewers’ patience with commercials.

5. Based on the Twitter comments, I think there are three kinds of “Saimdang” viewers on GMA7.

First kind of viewers: those who have already watched the English-subbed videos of “Saimdang” on the Internet. (Their probable reason for watching GMA7 broadcast is to hear the SLD characters speaking in Filipino.)

Second kind of viewers: those who are currently watching the English-subbed videos of “Saimdang” on the Internet.

Third kind of viewer: those who are watching “Saimdang” for the first time through GMA7.

The third kind of viewers probably make up the majority of watchers for "Saimdang" on GMA7.

6. Eun-soo, son of Ji-yoon (Jillian), has been renamed as Jason.

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In the 5,000 won featuring Yi I (Yulgok), there are two paintings on the reverse side. Are these paintings by Saimdang?

(The painting on the left looks familiar; is it "Watermelons, Pinks, and Butterflies"? I'm not sure about the painting on the right.)



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"In the 5,000 won featuring Yi I (Yulgok), there are two paintings on the reverse side. Are these paintings by Saimdang?"

Yes, there are Saimdang paintings

The painting on the left looks familiar; is it "Watermelons, Pinks, and Butterflies"? I'm not sure about the painting on the right."

You have identify the "Watermelon" from Saimdang series of Insect & plants (Chochungdo,초충도, 草蟲圖) , the painting on the right is Cockscomb Flower (맨드라미,鷄冠花)




Cockscombs Flower


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@gerrytan8063 @liddi

Notes on GMA7 (Philippines) broadcast of “Saimdang, Soulmates Across Time” Wednesday, August 23

1. Episode begins with Lee Won-su and his children playing in the river.

2. Episode ends with Hwieumdang getting, through bribery, a copy of the question for the competition.

3. Some scenes deleted by GMA7:

- Saimdang takes Lee Won-su and her children to the mountain (“barren place”) and gives them hope for a better future.

- Lee Won-su goes to the temple to begin studying for the civil service exams.

- Jang Tae-ryong and his mother (Lady Gong or Lady Jang?) arrive in Hanyang and begin feasting in the market.

- Saimdang and Hyun-ryong looking at some paper in the market.

4. The word “palanquin” was transliterated in Filipino as “palangke.”

6. When Hwieumdang informs Tae-ryong’s mother that he has to pass the competition, the mother says in the GMA7 translation: “Kapag hindi nakapasok ang aking anak sa paaralan, tiyak na magagalit ang kanyang lola at masusumbong siya sa Mahal na Hari.”

The phrase “masusumbong siya sa Mahal na Hari” in English means “he will be reported to the King.”

The English subs from Dramacool says: “The family elders will get furious if he can’t even get into the school. Good grief. What do we do?”

There’s nothing in the English subs that says Tae-ryong (or somebody  else?) will be reported to the King if he fails the competition.

From the Korean dialogues or Chinese translation, is there a basis for GMA7’s translation ?

7. Hyun-ryong's poem (Hwaseokjeong)  that Saimdang found is translated in the following ways:

Dramacool website subs:

Autumn deepens at the gazebo in the woods.
but the poet finds no solace in its beauty.
River faraway is the color of the sky it touches.
Red leaves under the frost are burning red.

iflix subs

Autumn deepens in the pavilion up in the mountain.
There is no way of availing the thoughts of a poet.
The yonder river is blue as it meets the horizon.
The leaves with autumnal colors are redder as the frost creeps in.

GMA7's Filipino translation is closer to the iflix version. But of the English subs, which is closer to the Korean original - Dramacool or iflix?

For example, Dramacool's line "but the poet finds no solace in its beauty" sounds better than iflix's "There is no way of availing the thoughts of a poet."

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@plainenglish I cannot see anywhere in the C-subs that indicate Tae Ryong would be reported to the king if he failed to enter the school.

如果在入學之前被淘汰而回到故鄉 家裡的大人肯定會氣得跳腳
If he is disqualified and has to go home even before entering the school, the elders of the family will be jumping up and down in fury.
cr. iflix C-subs

還沒有踏進學堂就被淘汰回鄉的話 家裡的那些長輩們一定會蜂擁而至啊
If he is disqualified and has to go home even before entering the school, the elders of the family will surely rise up like a swarm of bees
cr. GTV

The title of the poem Hyun Ryong wrote is 花石亭 Flower and Stone Pavilion. Despite sounding better, Dramacool's translation of the second line is inaccurate. The following is a translation of the complete poem:

林亭秋已晩, It is already late autumn at the forest pavilion,
騷客意無窮. But there is no end to the poet's thoughts.
遠水連天碧, Distant waters merge into the heavens' blue,
霜楓向日紅. Frosty maples, face the sun's red.
山吐孤月輪, The mountain coughs up a lonely moon-wheel;
江含萬里風. The river holds the wind of ten-thousand li.
寒鴻何處去, To what place are the cold geese going,
聲斷暮雲中? Their sounds disappearing among the evening clouds?

cr. Sanchon Hunjang

@gerrytan8063 wrote more about the poem and the Hwaseokjeong Pavilion in his post on p30:


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@liddi @plainenglish

A question, to what source does GMA7 base their translation on since we are "policing" the translations accuracy....the Korean or English transcript or none of the above

It look like they are not too overly concern with the accuracy of the original content since they have already "butchered" the original content


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23 hours ago, gerrytan8063 said:

A question, to what source does GMA7 base their translation on since we are "policing" the translations accuracy....the Korean or English transcript or none of the above

I don’t know how GMA7 officially does its translations, but it seems that it’s using both the English subs of the international version and the Korean dialogues.

In the Dramacool website, the term used for the mothers of the students in Jungbu School is “Mothers’ Club” while the iflix subs use “association of mothers” if I’m not mistaken. In last night’s episode, GMA7 did not translate “Mothers’ Club” or “association of mothers” into Filipino; instead, the GMA7 dialogues used “Jangwe” or "Jamowe" (not sure about the spelling).

From the Korean dialogues in both the SBS and international versions, I can hear the word “Jangwe” (or “Jang-hwe” or "Jamowe"). With GMA7 using this Korean term instead of translating “Mothers’ Club” or “association of mothers” this makes me think that GMA7 is also using the Korean dialogues for its translations.

Perhaps, GMA7 has resource persons conversant with the Korean language to help them with translations. GMA7 has been airing K-dramas since 2001 or 2003.

BTW, there are more than 500,000 Koreans studying or living in the Philippines; most of these Koreans are studying English.

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"BTW, there are more than 500,000 Koreans studying or living in the Philippines; most of these Koreans are studying English."

From my experience working & transacting with Koreans in Korea, they are not the best person to translate their language to another language even by those who suppose to have had overseas education. This is one of the reason that I have to take up Korean, just to have better communication with them

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As we have come to expect, Chapter 23 continues to diverge in more ways than one from the drama, the changes of which have me especially excited to see how this version of the story will be wrapped up in the end. Here, JMS' fate is orchestrated murder on Chairman Heo's part, rather than the accident that we saw, while news of his death see the adults in his family abandoning their responsibilities in the face of their grief, leaving Eun Soo to fend for himself while coping with his own loss, making it doubly heartbreaking and frustrating to read.  SJY continues to have visions of Saimdang in her dreams, and it is here that we see them coming face to face, with SJY giving a bracelet she did not yet own to Saimdang, only to receive it from Eun Soo when she awoke. In the novel, SJY's responses to Saimdang are instinctive, rather than logical, supernatural rather than analytic, stemming her knowledge of something that she could not have known, which makes me think that she would only understand what she had set in motion in her dreamlike state, after reading the rest of the memoirs. And it seems implied that the ancient Dianthus Chinensis seeds are a key to the link between the two women. 

Another surprising turn of events is how RADE apparently continues to be a non-intrusive entity in their lonely fight, not making any contact, not even with Eun Soo. What is now evident is that the letter to Prof. Min came from HSH, not RADE, which makes me wonder if we would ever see the intrepid organisation play any role in Prof. Min and Chairman Heo's downfall down the road. 

With all the changes in the novel, I now do not even know what to expect - whether we will see JMS back from the dead, or the mysterious RADE founder whose resemblance to Gyeom is so uncanny, or for that matter, the introduction of Rubens' Man in Korean Costume? Either way, I can't wait to find out.


Novel Vol 2: Part 5 Fallen
Chapter 23

1. The chapter opens with the standoff between Prof. Min and SJY, threatening them with the forged Mt. Geumgang painting in hand. Four days prior, just before she could hand over the real painting to Director Sun, he had orchestrated an intense pursuit and successfully hijacked the painting. The only way the fake painting could continue to be passed off as genuine was if the real one disappeared, and his statement finally sealed the backing of Chairman Heo. The standoff culminated in the burning of the painting, and the eviction of SJY and HSH from the premises.
"You have totally embarrassed our family, go home! Stop being an embarrassment in public," Chairman Heo mocked his wife who trembled in acute humiliation. Casting baleful looks at him, she got up and left.
"Today was quite something. Prof Min, you should start making preparations to be chancellor!" he continued, patting Prof. Min on the shoulder before leaving the office. Prof. Min bowed respectfully in his direction, hiding a knowing smile. The best is yet to come!
In actuality, the painting he burnt was simply a forgery which he had secretly commissioned based on the genuine article, down to the partial burning of the painting. It should have been sufficient just to frighten the ignorant chairman who could not care less about the authenticity of the painting. However, seeing how even Director Sun, SJY and HSH all fell for his trick, unable to distinguish between a forgery and the genuine article despite being so close to the painting, gave him an exhilarating rush.
All this while, he had suffered the indignity of being made a fool of by all these amateurs. Finally, this outcome meant he could use the fake Mt. Geumgang painting as a stepping stone to the post of chancellor, then with the real painting, turn around to become the Minister of Culture, his newest goal. Prof. Min was gleeful, sure that the ultimate victor was already determined. Life was such that the strong would always destroy the weak, and he was firmly in the victor's camp.


2. Chairman Heo had been using Sun Gallery all this while as a front for money laundering, and his appointment of his wife as director was simply the means to facilitate his shady activities. Now, he was plagued by the matter of his wife's dual bookkeeping records. Frustrated, he ordered his secretary to report back all activities at Sun Gallery, get rid of JMS and recover the bookkeeping records.


3. JMS uncovered dual-bookkeeping records of Sunjin Group's money laundering activities as well as evidence of their manipulation of R Tech's stock price at the building site of Sun Gallery's second gallery. During this time, he had been living off the streets among the vagabonds and building cleaners, always keeping a lookout in the vicinity of Sun Gallery and Sunjin Group. Despite going through the data he obtained from Director Sun's laptop multiple times, there was no trace of any incriminating information. What he did notice was that Director Sun's secretary made multiple trips to the second building site. Construction halted a few months back after the fake Mt. Geumgang controversy led to investment issues, so all that remained there were reinforced concrete pillars, similar to a horror movie set, eerie and creepy. As such, why would Director Sun's secretary visit such a place? The only conclusion was that it provided the perfect hiding place. Tailing the secretary, he successfully snuck into the construction area and got his hands on the incriminating evidence. However, what he never imagined was that Sunjin Group's Chairman Heo was keeping tabs on his every move.
JMS contacted the detective in Seoul and gave him a brief description of the evidence he had going through so much to obtain, to which the detective immediately agreed to meet. When he suggested that they met at the Seoul police agency, the detective offered to come to JMS instead and asked for his location. After a moment's hesitation, JMS revealed his hideout, which was a motel near Sun Gallery's second building site.
As darkness fell, he stood at the road in front of the motel, anxiously awaiting the detective's arrival. From afar, he saw a car turn on its signal lights and slowly approach him. Subconsciously, JMS waved. Two men alighted once the car came to a halt in front of him. By the time he sensed something was wrong, it was too late, and he had been tied up then trussed into the car. As he struggled desperately, a black handkerchief soaked in chloroform covered his face, and before long, he lost consciousness.
He came to at a strange, piercing sound. Opening his eyes, he found himself at the driver's wheel of the car that was rolling off a steep cliff.
At the same time, Chairman Heo, having been informed, gave the order to his secretary to recover all the incriminating evidence in JMS' hands and destroy them.


4. Based on the fingerprints on the steering wheel and the personal effects found in the car, the detective in charge deduced that he must have died in the crash although despite their efforts, they could not find his body. SJY could not bring herself to accept her husband's death while her mother-in-law, in total denial, declared that there would be no funeral as long as the body was not found. The older woman then packed and left home as SJY watched dejectedly and helplessly, not even able to muster the strength to stop her.
In the days that followed, SJY did not take a step out of the house. She spent her days falling in lethargic sleep like the dead, and wandering around aimlessly in her room like a ghost at night, neither eating nor drinking. Despite GHJ and HSH's constant visits and incessant nagging, keeping her updated on the progress of the Sujinbang Diary restoration, she absorbed nothing, treating them like the buzzing of flies in her ears. Every morning, Eun Soo would wake up on his own and leave for school, heating up the meals GHJ prepared when he was hungry, never forgetting to prepare his mother's meals at the same time.
"Mother, it's time to eat. Did you skip breakfast and lunch again?"
Whenever Eun Soo shook his mother to wake her from her lethargic slumber, he would end up in tears, terrified that she would die just as his father did, leaving him behind for a place where he could no longer reach her.
"Eun.... Eun Soo ah! Mother is really tired, please let me sleep a while more, okay?" Hearing her son's weeping, SJY opened her eyes with great effort and murmured weakly, before closing her eyes and sinking into sleep once more.


5. Each time she closed her eyes, she would have dreams related to Saimdang. She was sitting in an open field covered with blooming peonies, smiling as she drew; then she was standing in front of a raging bonfire, tears falling as she burnt painting after painting. The scenes flashed by one after another, like fragmented remnants of memories. However, the most shocking was the fact that she felt every emotion that Saimdang experienced like it were her own. 
Why keep showing up in my dreams? The Mt. Geumgang painting has been destroyed, my husband is dead, my mother-in-law has left home abandoning her only grandson, and I am totally exhausted. Saimdang, what kind of connection lies between us that you would keep appearing in my dreams? She wanted so much to ask Saimdang directly, but she had no way of doing as she had no physical body in her dreams, merely line of sight.
On this day. the sunlight was kept at bay outside the windows by blackout curtains while SJY slept on the sofa. This time, her dream was different from before, and in it, she finally managed to lock eyes with Saimdang. White mist surrounded them, with no end in sight and SJY and Saimdang floated in midair, staring at each other.
"Who exactly are you?"
"I am from the future."
Distressed and haggard, Saimdang stared at SJY in bewilderment and it was as if SJY was seeing a mirror image of herself. Although she had a hundred and one questions for the woman in front of her, SJY's mind suddenly went blank, and the words blurted out of her mouth without hesitation.
"You can save him. You must save him."
As to who she was supposed to save, SJY herself had no clue but the moment Saimdang heard those words, her eyes flashed perceptibly. SJY proceeded to put a bracelet strung with Dianthus Chinensis flowers on Saimdang's slender wrist, after which she woke up, brought back to a lonely, hopeless reality. She gazed despondently into the darkness. What day was it? What time? Was it not time for Eun Soo to come home? Chaotic thoughts filled her mind. Just then, following a beeping sound, Eun Soo pushed the door open and entered the house.
"I am home..." Eun Soo murmured dispiritedly as he walked into the living room, thinking that his mother was probably still asleep.
"Eun Soo..." SJY called out to him, her voice hoarse.
"Mother!" His face lit up and immediately he rushed into his mother's embrace.
"Mother, have you eaten? Do you feel better? Today in school, I..." Sitting on his mother's lap, Eun Soo prattled on. Yet, in spite of the endless chatter, the meaning behind the words that came from the child were all the same - Mother, I am so lonely, so afraid. SJY enveloped her son in her arms and hugged him tight, so apologetic and filled with pity for her child that it seemed her heart would melt.
"Mother, take a look at this!" Eun Soo suddenly reached into his pocket and took out a gift box the size of his palm.
"Oh! What is this?"
"Open it and see! Today, the school brought us to see the exhibition at the Embroidery Museum and I bought it there. It is your favourite flower."
In the box laid a bracelet completely embroidered with Dianthus Chinensis flowers, the exact same bracelet she personally wore for Saimdang in her dream. Was she still dreaming, or was this real? Suddenly struck with fear that the child in her arms would also disappear in the dream, she hugged him tightly once more.


6. "The Mt. Geumgang painting displayed in Sun Gallery is a fake! The genuine Mt. Geumgang painting was originally in our hands, but hijacked and destroyed by Prof. Min Jung Hak. Prof. Min and Sun Gallery's plot to have the fake painting designated as a national treasure has progressed to the final audit phase. As of today, the only existing genuine An Gyeon work in the world is 'Dream Journey to Peach Blossom Land'. The identification of Mt. Geumgang painting as An Gyeon's genuine work is of great significance, on an academic as well as the cultural level. However, they are plotting to have the fake 'Mt. Geumgang' painting designated as national treasure through unscrupulous means. No matter what, they must be stopped. Please help us."
Having finished typing those lines, HSH moved his mouse while re-reading and amending the text. This should be fine, it is highly persuasive. Opening his email account, he proceeded to send it to RADE's email address. This would be his 23rd attempt. HSH always considered himself a forthright person, be it in love or asking for help, not hesitating to give up if no response was received after the first or second time. This time, any email return receipt appeared to be lost in the sea of emails, much less an actual reply, yet there he was, resending 23 emails without a hint of discouragement, which was so out of character for him.
"Please! You must read the email this time, RADE!" HSH muttered under his breath, almost like reciting a prayer. Just then, GHJ walked in through the doors of the club with coffee and buns in hand.
"Has the email been sent out? Just keep sending until he gives us a reply. Continue trying." GHJ said as she passed the coffee and buns to him.
"Is Jiyoon sunbae feeling better? Did you just come from visiting her?" HSH asked as he unwrapped the packaging of the bun.
"She is still like a zombie, but at least I watched her eat a few spoons of porridge. Prof. Min's appointment as chancellor is all over the news. Have you seen it?"
"It is totally outrageous! What has this country come to, that someone like him could be chancellor? This is unacceptable. We must hold a press conference and reveal the restored portions of Saimdang's memoirs to them!"
"That is easier said than done! We still need to have it authenticated by paper experts, calligraphists, literature experts, 16th century works experts. What is more, they still need to obtain the certification of authenticity by the Korean Art Association!" GHJ explained, sighing heavily and shaking her head.
"In that case, let's go to the Korean Art Association to get it certified. If we really want to go up against the fake Mt. Geumgang painting, there is no other way. Let's go tomorrow."
"How can we make it tomorrow? The restorations are not even completed!"
"Try harder then! I will try and persuade the teaching assistants, as long as there is some conscience left in them..."
"Don't waste your time on those rascals. If they had a conscience, they won't be working for someone like that."
"However, we can't just do nothing! Sunbae, you had better restore Saimdang's memoirs as soon as possible!"
HSH gulped down the coffee and left immediately. Although they had no way of saving the Mt. Geumgang painting, at least they still had a chance to prevent Prof. Min from becoming chancellor. Since the teaching assistants were well aware of Prof. Min's evil deeds, there was still a fighting chance if they would agree to testify against him. With this in mind, HSH left the club for Korea University in search of them.


7. "What? Testify?"
The thirty-odd year old Asst. Moon looked as if he would yank HSH's collar as he pressed his face towards his. The high and mighty HSH, forever spouting justice and equality, causing mental distress everywhere, always acted as if he would be hounded by bad luck just by looking at him. They first met when HSH was studying for his master's degree. He was always posing baffling questions, raising disputes during lectures, affecting the class schedule, causing embarrassment to the lecturers and teaching assistants, a crazy troublemaker whom Asst. Moon could not stand. Yet his fellow students saw HSH differently. Highly intellectual, filled with a sense of justice and enthusiasm, handsome and clean-cut; it seemed that no female student was immune to HSH's charms.
Asst. Moon was the total opposite. Living alone in a small rented apartment, he could not stop himself from venting into his pillow. He believed that as long as HSH disappeared from the university, everyone, be it the female students or lecturers, would all appreciate him, so he was overjoyed the day HSH was dismissed. With HSH out of the picture, Prof. Min turned around and treated him with especial courtesy, to the extent of expressedly promising that he would have a platform on the university podium in the near future.
Asst. Moon trusted these promises implicitly, and thus he obeyed every single instruction given by Prof. Min from that day up to now. All the criminal acts he committed - tailing SJY, sneaking into her home, breaking down the door, launching an attack on her car, seizing the Mt. Geumgang painting - were not for Prof. Min, but for the future that was promised to him. Now that future appeared to be within his grasp, all he needed to do was wait for Prof. Min to become chancellor, and he would surely be promoted to lecturer.
"Prof. Min is the kind of person who could even burn the real Mt. Geumgang painting! Weren't you also there? Didn't you also see him burn the painting? Why are you still feigning ignorance? Is Prof. Min really that frightening?" HSH attempted to open his eyes to the truth. 
"That's right! He is extremely frightening. I am so afraid that I wish I could kill him. However, you are in no position to make guarantees for my life, so just shut up."
"Actually, apart from following Prof. Min's orders, you have not done anything wrong. Things like tailing, harassment, seizing a cultural artefact of national treasure significance... did you do this willingly? Surely you did not do your postgraduate studies in order to do this? Both of you are also Prof. Min's victims! As long as he could be brought to justice, he would have no way of retaliating against you!"
"Do you still not understand how this circle works? No professor would accept someone who has stabbed his own supervisor in the back. Now that you understand, get lost!"
Asst. Moon stormed off quickly, striding across the lawn to the postgraduate building and disappeared from sight. Was this world really so corrupted that people would turn their backs on their conscience? HSH sighed heavily. At that moment, Asst. Nam who had been standing at the sidelines slowly walked up next to HSH.
"Please go home first... HSH!" Asst. Nam patted HSH on the back, then weakly went down the same path as Asst. Moon.
HSH's gaze followed Asst. Nam as he left. He did not know why but Asst. Nam's retreating figure reminded him of Sisyphus who was forced to endlessly roll a boulder up a steep hill, heavy-hearted and weary.
"That's true, the teaching assistants could not have done so willingly..." HSH tried to make plausible excuses for them, to help him feel better.


8. "Chancellor Min Jung Hak! That's right, I have done it!"
Prof. Min could not contain his glee as he sat on the leather seat, which was markedly superior in quality and texture to the one in his research lab. He spun around in the chair, feeling that its softness and comfort was made just for him. This seat was meant to be mine from the start. He broke into a wide, satisfied smile, and began going through the files on the table one by one. Most were congratulatory messages on his inauguration, but one of them caught his eye, a brown kraft envelope with the address written in English. Perhaps it was from one of the professors that he met in Italy?
The conclusive evidence that the Mt. Geumgang painting is a fake is in Korea. I will give you some time to clear the matter up yourself. If not, I will reveal the whole truth when the time is right.  RADE
Prof. Min's face turned as white as a sheet.
"Conclusive evidence? I have already set fire to that conclusive evidence myself. What nonsense is this!" However, contrary to his bravado, his heart was uneasy and depression sunk in. Just then he received a phone call from the president of the Korean Art Association. Certain that this was another congratulatory call, Prof. Min forcibly modulated his voice and warmly answered it.
"Korea University chancellor Min Jung Hak speaking. I have just recently heard news that the association president has been selected. If you had not called first, I was already planning to pay you a visit!"
"Chancellor, you are the one who deserve the well wishes! It's probably nothing, but not long ago, a young man named HSH and a older woman GHJ brought an old book to be appraised."
"An old book?" Prof. Min straightened and brought the phone close to his ears.
"Yes, I just faxed the details over to you. It would be clear once you look at the fax. However, a section of the document mentions An Gyeon's Mt. Geumgang painting, clearly stating that there is a poem on the real Mt. Geumgang painting. Yet, from what I know, the Mt. Geumgang painting that has been submitted for designation of national treasure does not have any poetry on it. Isn't that right? The way I see it, the contents of this old book are pretty intriguing."
"I understand. I will authenticate the contents of the document, and make time soon to pay you a visit." With that, Prof. Min nervously ended the call.
"HSH, GHJ, SJY, RADE, how is it that you still do not get the situation?" In the midst of his fury, a beeping sound cut through his thoughts and the red light of the fax machine lit up, spitting out paper upon paper. Without even taking a second glance at the faxes, he shoved them all into the paper shredder. Any obstacle that stood in his path would be similarly destroyed! With a push of the button, the paper shredder began to hum and the paper was shredded into strips.


9.At that very moment, SJY was at the balcony, watering the withered potted plants which were the Dianthus Chinensis seeds that she brought back from Italy. The purple flowers that bloomed in abundance not too long ago, were now all wilted. At first she considered throwing them all out, but then she remembered Saimdang's face from her dreams. Could these wilted, dying Dianthus Chinensis flowers be somehow connected to Saimdang's spirit? Is she pleading with me not to abandon her, to forget her? These thoughts kept running through SJY's mind.
If that were true, was her dead husband's spirit also out there, connected to some unidentified flower? If she could go and visit him with Eun Soo, would the flower too bloom radiantly as his smile to them? Struggling with mixed feelings, at last she decided not to throw out the plants, choosing instead to water them once more. "Live on! Draw strength and resilience from the soil, unyielding vitality!" SJY quietly prayed. Shaking her hands dry, she went back into the living room. Just then, the door bell rang, and she opened the door to reveal GHJ and HSH, their hands full of shopping bags, standing there.
"Where is Eun Soo? Is he not back from school yet? Have you eaten today?" GHJ asked as she opened the fridge and arranged the things they bought inside.
"Jiyoon sunbae, will you be carried away by the wind the next time I see you? Have you gone on too drastic a diet?" SJY laughed involuntarily to hear HSH's attempts at humour. 
"Oh! She finally laughed! Hyejung sunbae, come quickly and take a look at your friend's extremely rare laughing face!"
At his words, GHJ immediately rushed to her side.
"What are you both doing? Hurry up and take a seat! Running around all over the place." SJY awkwardly smoothed her hair with her hands, and finally all three of them broke into smiles.
"Incidentally, I went to Prof. Min's inaugeration ceremony earlier," HSH mentioned, sitting down on the sofa.
"Please tell me you did not cause a ruckus there?" GHJ asked, peeling a fruit as she spoke.
"No I didn't, but I did do something to give him a scare." He went on to describe how he grabbed the opportunity to sneak into the chancellor's office during the inauguration ceremony and placed a letter among the files before leaving. When asked what it was, he told GHJ that it was a warning letter supposedly from RADE.
"What? Why did you do that? What good would it do to pretend that you were RADE?" GHJ asked, jumping to her feet.
"Even if RADE is unwilling to do anything, it is high time we made a move. After all it boils down to the same thing, which is to expose this fraud and restore justice to the art world!"
"No matter what, that was a forged document!"
"I will just have to take the risk. In our case, apart from RADE, there is nothing else we can do."
"How is the restoration of Saimdang's memoirs going?" SJY who had been silent all this while, directed her gaze towards GHJ and spoke up.
"You have finally roused your spirits. I knew you would ask, so I brought everything that we had completed so far!"
GHJ placed a stack of photocopied documents in SJY's hands, including reference material that HSH had interpreted and compiled. Then, with inexplicable anticipation, SJY began reading the next part of Saimdang's memoirs.



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Notes and critique of GMA7 “Saimdang” August 24 (Thursday) broadcast:

1. Episode begins with Hwieumdang drilling Tae-ryong with the correct answer to the leaked competition question; the next scene shows Lee Gyeom finding out about the leakage.

2. Episode ends with Saimdang leaving the poetry and painting contest in terror, despite Hyun-ryong’s pleadings for her to stay.

3. The whole episode ran for around 32 minutes with 28 minutes consumed by commercials. (This episode probably has the most minutes devoted to commercials.)

4. Scenes deleted by GMA7:

- Saimdang and Hyun-ryong on the eve of the competition

- Hyun-ryong and Tae-ryong telling each other their reasons for wanting to enter Jungbu School, with Lee Gyeom overhearing everything

- Saimdang’s first meeting with Man-deuk, the paper artisan, and setting up the paper mill

- Saimdang, Hyang, and Man-deuk making their first batch of paper

- Saimdang tracing with her fingers an image on the first batch of paper she made

-  Saimdang and her children’s visit with deposed Queen Min after they received her gift of dried persimmons

- Lee Won-su at the temple thinking about his children and later being punished by the head monk

- Hyun-ryong’s first day in school, meeting Tae-ryong and starting to get bullied

- Lee Gyeom painting in Bikdang while remembering his confrontation with Saimdang at Jungbu School

- Lee Gyeom asking his nephew about what Saimdang’s words and actions mean

- Lee Gyeom’s nephew Hu in the woods looking for and trying to find out what Saimdang is doing; Hu later telling Lee Gyeom about the paper artisan’s reputation for being a drunk

- Lee Gyeom encouraging his students to climb up the tree with him

- Hweumdang ordering the paper merchants to keep their mouths shut

- the ministers complaining to the King about what’s happening in Biikdang

- Lee Gyeom and his staff preparing Biikdang for the poetry and painting contest

- Hwieumdang and the Prime Minister’s wife talking before the competition

- Lee Gyeom ordering his nephew to buy aprons for Saimdang and the other mothers

- Jason’s fight with another child at the museum, and his grandmother finding out about it

- Jillian’s mother-in-law visiting Prof. Min at the university

- Prof. Min receiving the letter from RADE

- Jillian (Ji-yoon) telling Jessica (Hye-jung) about her problems at home

5. “Silk dress” was translated into Filipino as “maayos na damit” (in English “maayos” means “neat” or “presentable”)’ GMA 7 did not use the Filipino words for “silk” either “seda” or “sutla.”

6. “Mulberry” was translated as “horas” or “moras” (I couldn’t hear clearly the word used); I checked the Malay subs, and they used “mulberi.” The word “horas” or (“moras”) is an unfamiliar Filipino word.


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@plainenglish The long list of omissions is appalling, and I am hard-pressed to see how an uninitiated viewer would be able to make the connection between one scene to the next. Is the actual viewing experience as jarring as it sounds? Truly hope that is does not aversely affect the ratings...

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Good reading...Thank you


"-  Saimdang and her children’s visit with deposed Queen Min after they received her gift of dried persimmons"

It is Deposed Queen Shin & in history she is known as Queen Dangyeong

"6. “Mulberry” was translated as “horas” or “moras” (I couldn’t hear clearly the word used); I checked the Malay subs, and they used “mulberi.” The word “horas” or (“moras”) is an unfamiliar Filipino word."

This is the tagalog explanation for Paper Mulberry


"5. “Silk dress” was translated into Filipino as “maayos na damit” (in English “maayos” means “neat” or “presentable”)’ GMA 7 did not use the Filipino words for “silk” “seda” or “sutla."

Just playing with translator....."maayos na damit" I came out with proper attire or elaborate clothes

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@liddi @gerrytan8063

Posted below are some ratings for SLD on GMA7. But please take note of the following:

1. GMA7 uses AGB Nielsen, while its main rival TV network ABS-CBN uses Kantar Media. As you can see below, SLD’s ratings depend on who's providing the figures.

In the 10-11 PM time slot, GMA7 has SLD, while ABS-CBN has the K-drama “Weightlifting Fairy”. Kantar Media (ABS-CBN) reports “Weightlifting Fairy” miles ahead of SLD. But AGB Nielsen (GMA7) reports that SLD is neck-to-neck with “Weightlifting Fairy.”

2. GMA7 and ABS-CBN are bitter corporate rivals, having filed charges against each other in the past, with some cases still pending in the courts.

3. The most-desired market of advertisers is Metro Manila (National Capital Region) with a population of 8 to 10 million people. If I remember correctly, GMA7 has always reported being number one with its shows in Metro Manila.

4. There are only a few TV networks on the Philippines. The main networks are GMA7 and ABS-CBN, The minor networks are TV 5, PTV 4 (government network), UNTV, and Channel 11(religious network).

Figures from ABS-CBN (Kantar Media)

NATIONAL TV RATINGS (AUGUST 14, 2017 – MONDAY) at http://abscbnpr.com/national-tv-ratings-august-14-2017-monday/

Weightlifting Fairy (7.5%) vs. Saimdang Soulmates Across Time (4.3%) vs. Aksyon Tonite (1.4%)

Kantar Media: Nationwide TV Ratings – August 17, 2017 at http://www.lionheartv.net/2017/08/nationwide-tv-ratings-august-17-2017/

Weightlifting Fairy (9.7%) / Tonight With Boy Abunda (5.2%) vs. Saimdang Soulmates Across Time (4.6%) vs. Aksyon Tonite (1.5%) Reaksyon (0.7%)
Kantar Media: Nationwide TV Ratings – August 19-21, 2017


Weightlifting Fairy (9.1%) vs. Saimdang Soulmates Across Time (3.8%) vs. Aksyon Tonite (1.8%)

Figures from GMA7 (AGB Nielsen)

AGB Nielsen: NUTAM People TV Ratings – August 14 & 15, 2017 at http://www.lionheartv.net/2017/08/agb-nielsen-nutam-people-tv-ratings-august-14-15-2017/

August 14
Saimdang Soulmates Across Time 3.2% vs Weightlifting Fairy 3.6%;

August 15
Soulmates Across Time 3.1% vs Weightlifting Fairy 3.8%

AGB Nielsen: NUTAM People TV Ratings – August 16 – 18, 2017 at http://www.lionheartv.net/2017/08/agb-nielsen-nutam-people-tv-ratings-august-16-18-2017/

August 16 (Wednesday)
Saimdang Soulmates Across Time 3.8% vs Weightlifting Fairy 3.8%

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@plainenglish For the drama's sake, I hope that AGB Nielsen is more accurate :blink:, though I am afraid that the butchering of the drama might really have contributed to Kantar ratings :( 

Is it usual for dramas to be butchered in such an extensive manner and having almost half the time taken up by commercials, or is this peculiar to Saimdang because of the amount they had to pay for the drama?

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Chapter 24 brings us back to Joseon, opening with Gyeom's return to Joseon and closing with the frantic search for the missing princess. We have an unexpectedly different perspective to Saimdang's viewpoint of her husband's infidelity, one that is just as, or perhaps even more clouded by self-guilt of her own emotional unfaithfulness to her husband, thus accepting his betrayal as a form of punishment for her own sins. Is this one of her reasons for asking that he does not divorce her later down the road - feeling that she and only she alone should endure this suffering, without her children and family paying for what she felt she brought about? We shall see.

I love how the relationship between the Crown Prince and Gyeom is so much more fleshed out, and we see their progression, borne of the younger man's burning vision to create a government free of corruption, one which brings prosperity and security to its people. His idea of open trade coincides with Gyeom's suggestion and it is interesting to see how this comes to pass in their discourse. Meanwhile, Gyeom's reunion with Saimdang at the marketplace is so much more poignant, reminding us yet again how their lives are fated to be torn apart even though their hearts were one.

@gerrytan8063 There are some points that I am uncertain about in this chapter, which I hope you would be able to shed some light to. 

1. Gyeom spoke to the Crown Prince about how Silla and Goryeo dynasties traded with other countries. He goes on to name Guilin 桂林 and Byeokrando 碧瀾渡 as the hub for Arab traders. I know that Byeokrando was a thriving port during the Goryeo dynasty, but I could not find any indication of 桂林 being associated with the Silla dynasty (I thought it was in China). Do you have any idea if there is any potential place called 桂林? I did manage to find Gyerim 鷄林, which was the old Silla kingdom palace site, but the name is not exactly the same, nor did I read anything about it being a center of commerce.

2. The food served to the beggars were rice soup, kimchi and 賣飯. What is 賣飯 supposed to be, or is this yet another typo?

ADDENDUM: Changed Guilin to Gyerim, and added millet to the list of food served - thank you @gerrytan8063!


Novel Vol 2: Part 5 Fallen
Chapter 24

1. 1540 (The thirty-fifth year of Jungjong's reign)
A dark future loomed over Joseon. Corrupt officials continued their lawlessness, while pirates' aggression resulted in torment, with more and more people abandoning their hometowns, while reports of unmarried young girls being kidnapped in the middle of the night multiplied, and endless streams of cases of burnings and killings emerged. It was three years since MCH was exiled, yet the ministers who were left continued on their evil ways, caring only for their profits.
After the Goryeo paper competition, Gyeom followed So Seyang to Ming, and from there, traced the naval expedition route of Admiral Zheng He (commander of the fleet who opened up sea routes to Africa etc under the decree of Ming emperor Yongle), by catching a large ship across to Southeast Asia, traveling directly to India, the Middle East, Africa and other places, before returning home three years later. The Ming imperial messenger's ancestor was one of the members of Zheng He's original expedition.
When he reached Joseon, he sighed regretfully, "Nothing has changed in Joseon from the past!"
Having changed into proper attire, Gyeom entered the palace to greet Jungjong.
"How has Your Majesty been during this time?"
Jungjong appeared even weaker than before. Dark circles surrounded his cloudy eyes, while scattered wisps of white hair and increased wrinkles on his face bore evidence to the ravages of time.
"As my health fails, I often think of the past, especially missing my relatives. On the other hand, you are looking well, Prince Euisung. Where have you been these past three years? What have you been doing?" Jungjong's expression as he gazed at Gyeom was filled with sorrow and loneliness.
"I went to Ming, then Khmer (current day Cambodia), Tianzhu (current day India), before coming home."
"You are still as free-spirited as ever, traveling the world so freely whenever the urge strikes you.... only such is the life of a true man!"
"You speak too highly of me, Your Majesty." An unbearable silence lapsed between Gyeom and the king.
"I am thinking of abdicating." At Jungjong's unexpected statement, Gyeom was stunned.
"Why are you saying this, Your Majesty?"
"The Crown Prince is already 29 years old... I should have done so sooner."
"However, Your Majesty is still in good health. Moreover, a wise king should accumulate more experience and education before his predecessor abdicates."
"Next year would be the 40th year since I ascended the throne, 4 cycles of decade-long changes in the kingdom. So much has happened during that time, and now I wish to live a carefree, quiet life."
Has time been a healer, or a toxic poison to Jungjong, Gyeom wondered. The deafening silence is like a rapid quicksand, widening the rift between Jungjong and Gyeom.


2. "I have made enquiries and learnt that Yangryu Paper Mill's Lady Shin Saimdang is a genius painter, so I am planning to hire her as my private tutor."
"Lady Shin Saimdang?" Jungjong threw a subtle glance at Gyeom.
At Saimdang's name, Gyeom was slightly taken aback, and likewise glanced at Jungjong. Saimdang, a name he could never forget.
Gyeom had learnt from his nephew Hoo that Saimdang's fame grew far and wide, and Yangryu Paper Mill too was thriving, becoming the best paper mill in Joseon. Each time he heard rumours and news of her, he desperately wanted to rush across mountains and seas to her side. However, there was no way his wish to see her even just once could come true. It seemed that Saimdang's name was known to all, always doing her best to help those in difficulty, those who were starving. which in turn won her the respect and love of an increasing number of people. It was for this reason that Gyeom was extremely concerned that any breath of scandal would put her in an extremely awkward situation.


3. On the seventh day of his return to Joseon, Gyeom was sitting in the lit study in Biikdang. The mournful tune of the geomungo that floated in from the courtyard only seemed to add to his melancholy.
Seeing the lit study room, Hoo pushed the door open and entered, asking worriedly, "Are you still not sleeping?" Gyeom mutely continued his drawing, graceful lotus flowers blooming at the touch of his brush.
"You're so quiet these days. It feels like you've become a different person, one who is difficult to be around."
"Is that so?"
"Lady Shin... do you wish to see her?"
Gyeom did not reply. In the painting, the lotus flowers were awash with elegant colours, while a pair of mandarin ducks played leisurely nearby. The tip of Gyeom's brush breathed life to the leaves and stems with each stroke. After that, his brush dipped with thick ink, he added a verse in fine print at a corner of the painting.
      香遠益清 The further the distance, the purer the fragrance

* This is a verse from Sung Dynasty poem 愛蓮說 On the Love of Lotus

"香遠益清?" Having not seen his uncle draw for so long, Hoo was captivated by the verse in the painting.
"The further the fragrance is scattered, the clearer it is..." Gyeom's expression was obscure and abstruse.
The sounds of the geomungo finally died out and the lights in the courtyard dimmed. Only the clear fragrance of the lotus flowers in the painting remained, gradually growing stronger just like Gyeom's longing.


4. To miss was to be impulsive, to be obsessed, to have intense compassion, and to endure pain that eroded the soul. Saimdang looked at the mattress, the neatly placed blankets and two pillows, then laid down unmovingly. At this moment, of whom was she thinking to the point of being unable to sleep? Was it Yi Gyeom who had just returned after wandering in distant lands not too long ago, or was it her husband who was holding another woman in his arms at the tavern?
She only discovered her husband's infidelity recently. On the way home after finishing work at Yangryu Paper Mill, she had stopped by the market to buy some groceries, only to see her husband walking past in the distance. She had not intended to follow him, and it was only coincidental that she was walking behind him. Just then, she saw him walk into a tavern and disappear, and thus she decided to follow suit.
As she was about to take a step forward, she heard a woman's voice say, "My darling, why were you so late?" Saimdang's legs froze to the spot, unable to move. At last, able to breathe normally once more, she walked to the front of the door where the two pairs of shoes were arranged. She could hear sounds of intimacy coming from behind closed doors, but what shocked her was the fact that in that very moment, it was Gyeom who appeared in her thoughts.
Why would she think of him when she caught her husband cheating on her? Wasn't this a form of betrayal towards her husband? Although her husband had betrayed her with his lust, wasn't she herself the one who was first unfaithful to their marriage in her heart? This was her sin. Saimdang's face turned pale at the realisation and stumbled blindly out of the tavern.
Saimdang stared at the cold mattress, then took out her painting tools and paper. Thank goodness she still had her art. Her heart which she could never express, found its voice through her drawings. Her longing was rendered through the ink into yearning; her heartache found expression of pain in the outlines of her paint...
A rooster crowed in the distance, and Saimdang who had not slept in order to complete her painting, massaged her stiff shoulders and put down her brush. She gazed at her finished work. A single lotus flower in the murky mud, a lotus flower untouched by the dirt, blooming radiantly, elegantly on its own. This was the flower that blossomed out of the complex emotions and chaos that raged in her heart.


5. Jungjong's determination to abdicate was driven by the hope that he could consolidate the Crown Prince's authority and power while he was still alive. On top of that, he intended to test his subjects' loyalty to him. Meanwhile, the ministers, seeing through his ploy, used every means at their disposal begging him to revoke his decision to abdicate, even weeping. Jungjong had a satisfied smile as he resolutely stuck to his strategy.
Jungjong's oldest son, the current Crown Prince was slender, with a fair, rounded face. Despite being already 29 years old, he still had an aura of child-like simplicity, with elegant yet naive scholarly habits. He loved to read and was outstanding in his studies. Unfortunately, his birth mother passed away when he was only seven days old, and he lived under Queen Munjeong's thumb throughout his growing up years, becoming weak physically and mentally as a result. In addition, his innate character was mild-mannered and generous, never resentful nor willing to inflict hurt, a little overly prim and proper. In a palace rife with deadly schemes, he had no friends, living a lonely, isolated existence.
In accordance with his father's wishes, he took over as regent and before long he found himself helpless in the face of state affairs that reeked of corruption. Yet whom could he unburden his distress to? Just then, the Crown Prince thought of Gyeom. As night fell, he left the palace incognito for Biikdang.


6. "Your Highness, what brings you to this place?" Gyeom who was looking through the paintings of the artists, was shocked at his presence. 
"I sent word asking to see you, but you never came. As such, I could only come here myself." The Crown Prince laughed good-naturedly as he replied.
"I hear you have been very busy handling state affairs as the King's regent. I did not go to the Palace because I was afraid I might disturb you. Please forgive me, Your Highness." Gyeom said as he ushered the Crown Prince into the study.
"Of course not. How could I not know that it was due to your scruples towards my father. You must have been very grieved all this while." The Crown Prince's gaze was transparent.
He was well aware that Gyeom's grudge and dispute with MCH over the Goryeo paper issue, had resulted in numerous conflicts with the king leading to friction.
"I am worried about His Majesty's health." Gyeom's expression was complex and he merely stared at the Crown Prince, deftly changing the topic.
"He is in good health." After hesitating momentarily, the Crown Prince let out a deep sigh.
"I'm nothing but a puppet. My father still has the final say on every matter. I only deliver his thoughts to the subjects for him."
"One day, you will break free from his shadow." Gyeom responded in a low voice as he poured tea into the Crown Prince's cup.
The Crown Prince lifted the cup, drank it all in one gulp then put it down. "It is my hope that my father enjoys good health and a long life. When the time comes, I will definitely remove the disease in the court." His unexpected declaration took Gyeom aback, seemingly delivering a stunning blow to the back of his head.
This time, Gyeom lifted his eyes as if trying to see into Joseon's future, and gazed at the Crown Prince with sincerity.
"My father is indebted to the ministers of the Hungu faction, but I don't feel that way. I will follow a different path from my father's." Yet despite his resolute words, Gyeom still could not fathom his intent, and so continued to look at him.
"I mean it, Uncle. Since I am already managing state affairs, I will definitely walk a different path." His expression was focused, clear and bright, along with unmarred innocence. At last Gyeom's concerns melted away, his heart immeasurably moved in its place.
"I hear you have traveled far beyond our borders. As such, I believe you must have a lot of advice for a young ruler. Please feel free to advise me."
"Open trade. Open trade would make a country prosperous. From Silla a thousand years ago, to Goryeo 500 years back, every dynasty and country established commerce and trade. Gyerim 桂林 and Byeokrando 碧瀾渡 were the hub of Dashi (current day Arab) traders, and the centre of cultural exchange. Trade not only gives us access to the products of different countries, but also an understanding of the situation in those countries. How about Joseon? We are still dependent on Ming to this day, and our understanding of the world comes from Ming. That is a narrow view of the world, and we are no better than frogs in a well."
"Wakoku (current day Japan) has also proposed that they send more foreign missions to open up cultural exchange, but my father is resolute in his stance, and firmly objects to it."
"And what is your opinion?" Gyeom had a burning curiosity about the Crown Prince - his dreams, his vision of the future, his heart towards the people. His way of thinking would determine Joseon's future, and change everything completely.
"I hope to use the pirate attacks as an excuse to grant autonomy and open up our ports."
"Your Highness is wise. This is exactly what Ming is doing today. Wakoku is going through civil war throughout the country, with blood spilt everywhere, which in turn sees defeated soldiers escaping to coastal regions and becoming pirates, spending their days looting the coasts along Ming and Joseon. Through trade, one would be able to learn of the situation in enemy countries."
"I see. Your suggestions are definitely of great help to me."
"You flatter me." Gyeom responded sincerely.
"As for Father... please do not resent him too much." There was warmth in the Crown Prince's words.
"He is only a lonely man." At the Crown Prince's words, Gyeom's eyes reddened with tears.
The loneliness and exhaustion that stemmed from a certain person brought the two of them together in an unspoken trust, and now the stirrings of warmth enveloped their hearts, reinforcing their faith in the person standing before them.


7. As summer drew to a close, Gyeom's friendship with the Crown Prince grew increasingly firm, always finding opportunities to discuss the state of the world. The Crown Prince admired Gyeom's bold, upright nature, while Gyeom appreciated his straightforward character, well-formed political ethics and ambition for a new government. Naturally, the powers which harboured ill intentions towards them grew. Rumours began to spread like wildfire that Gyeom was plotting to use this to become crown prince, and meddle in government affairs, and that their supporters from among the new ministers were petitioning the Crown Prince to ascend to the throne as soon as possible.


8. Although Gyeom and the Crown Prince were walking incognito in the marketplace, shabbily dressed and covered with dirt, their disguise could not hide their handsome demeanor. Married women buying fish, young women there to purchase coloured thread for their embroidery, old grannies cooking jeon and children sucking yakgwa all were invariably drawn to the two elegant gentlemen.
"Hasn't the old Lady of Heowon Manor been nagging you to take a bride? Is this still unresolved?" The Crown Prince asked without thinking, to which Gyeom could not help laughing.
"It must be aunt's fondest wish to see me marry!"
"It isn't that difficult. Just get married."
"While that's true enough, what may be an easy task for others is extremely difficult for me!" Gyeom lifted his head and gazed at the faraway mountain, their exchange of unintentional words piercing deeply into his heart, causing a gaping wound. At the thought of it, Gyeom laughed in self-mockery.
"The market place is really vibrant, full of life..." This was the Crown Prince's first experience of the lives of the people since he left the palace, and everything seemed magical and refreshing, the different languages that carried to his ears were fascinating.
"Have you never been to lanes like these?" Gyeom asked.
"During the journey to Seolleung for prayer rites, I was always seated in a palanquin surrounded by royal guards. It is very different from being at such close quarters with the people."
"There is definitely a great difference between a passing glance and personal, proper observation."
The Crown Prince nodded in agreement before his attention was drawn to an exchange at a fish shop between the fishmonger and the customer, haggling over the price of an octopus. The fish monger refused to reduce even a coin, while the customer would not buy without the discount, and so the bargaining continued, almost as if they were going to come to blows.
"To think that only the possession of the coin would appease them," the Crown Prince lamented as he saw the woman walking away with the octopus with a satisfied expression.
"That coin could get them half a piece of cake to appease their hunger, or a drink that comforts them after a long hard day!" Gyeom explained.
"Is a coin worth that much?"
"It is! To the people, a coin holds that much value."
"Hmm..." the Crown Prince nodded thoughtfully. Just then a group of beggar children rushed out from the lane beside them.
"Food is here! It's the food cart!"


9. Their curiosity piqued by the excited running children, Gyeom and the Crown Prince followed in the direction they went. A small stall was set up at the far end of the lane, filled to the brim with rice soup, kimchi and millet 賣飯 etc, like a meal server. A long queue formed in front of a poster behind the stall which read "There are no meals without work in this world." The food was not meant for the normal people but beggars who had worked hard.
Doubt written all over their faces, Gyeom and the Crown Prince noted that among those in the queue were men who had collected the rubbish from the market place, and women with wild vegetables plucked from the mountains. My goodness! These were such humble offerings, yet regardless, they had to put in effort in exchange for a meal. As realisation washed over them, they sighed involuntarily. Whether it was the one providing the food, or the one eating the food, the entire setup was as a matter of course, not without reason.
"Who could have done such charitable acts?" the Crown Prince wondered, eyes open wide.
"I wonder too!" Gyeom exclaimed. Jut then, a thought floated into his mind. Could this be Saimdang's Yangryu Paper Mill? With that, he began observing the people serving the meals. Just then, a group of rogues carrying hoes and axes barged in, shouting and shoving people aside.


10. "Saimdang! This really is Yangryu Paper Mill!" His intuition proven accurate, Gyeom continued to stare at the troublemakers. Just then, Saimdang walked right into the midst of the commotion, prepared to reason with them.
"Who is responsible for this commotion?"
Gyeom's heart beat painfully against his chest, and he was frozen to the spot as he looked at the woman before him. The three years melted away with a whisper at the sight of her who remained unchanged, with no hint of extravagance despite her improved circumstances, looking just as simple, elegant and beautiful as before.


11. The troublemakers were not easily dissuaded, becoming more aggressive in the face of the slight woman in front of them. Just then, a few policemen showed up, demanding that they dismantled the stall. Unable to sit by and watch any longer, Gyeom flipped off his gat and approached them, commanding the attention of everyone present. His shabby clothing and dirt-covered face could not hide his good looks, and all, from the violent troublemakers, to the beggars, as well as the Crown Prince stared at him with eyes open wide.
Gyeom walked towards the the policemen and whispered a few words into their ears. In shock, the police glanced over at the Crown Prince with wide eyes and immediately changed their tune.
"What is wrong with giving cold, hungry people a few bowls of rice soup, cooking which is dry and burnt? Why did you all report such a trivial matter to the police? Do you think we have nothing better to do? Hurry up and leave!"
With that the police chased away the troublemakers and the stall continued on serving food, to Gyeom's relief. Just as he reached down to retrieve the gat he had hurled to the ground, a delicate, white hand picked it up at the same time. Gyeom looked up in surprise. The hand gently swept away the dust from the gat before returning it to him - it was Saimdang.
"You were always like this... disappearing without a word, and appearing again in this way." Saimdang stared at him, bemused.
"I am sorry."
"I heard news of your return." Tears welled in the corner of her eyes.
"I travelled to distant lands... but it is really wonderful to be back."
Because of you, because you are here in the land of Joseon, so it feels wonderful. Gyeom swallowed the words he could not verbalise and gazed wordlessly at her. Although they were soulmates, she could never be his. Yet, despite his resolution never to see her again, to the extent of wandering far and wide for several years, his unrealised feelings never once faded.
He had no idea if Saimdang heard his unspoken sigh but she gently bowed her head, her eyes tumultuous with grief, which slowly gave way to quiet calm. Gyeom maintained a decorous stance as he gazed at her until she gave an almost imperceptible nod in acknowledgment, after which he slowly turned and walked away. Their worlds seemed poles apart, and in that moment, they could each only return to the reality of lives which could never converge nor be connected.


12. News of the Crown Prince sneaking out had reached Jungjong's ears, infuriating him as it was certain the prince had gone to visit Gyeom again. Their close association troubled Jungjong. Was he jealous that his son had taken Gyeom from him, or was he worried that Gyeom harboured disloyalty in his heart? Or could it have stemmed from his resentment that he was being left out? Whatever the reason, the reality of Gyeom's close relationship with the Crown Prince filled Jungjong with disgust.


13. In the novel, the Crown Prince was present when Jungjong learnt of Princess Jeongsun's disappearance after she left for Chungcheong Province, which was beset by pirates. 



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