“Secret Love Affair” & Choi Soon Sil: a coincidence or a genius real-life storytelling? Yoo Ah In silently denouncing the current political corruption

Protesters wearing masks of South Korean President Park Geun-hye (front) and her confidante Choi Soon-sil (back) perform before a candle-lit rally Credit: AFP/Getty Images

 

In recent days, you may have heard about a scandal involving President of South Korea Park Geun Hye, which has provoked public outcry, bigger than any other government scandals. The reputation of President Park Geun Hye lay in tatters this week after she was plunged into a murky political scandal involving shadowy advisers, nepotism claims and even whispers of a sinister religious sect.

At the center of the outcry is Choi Soon Sil, a mysterious female friend of the president who has been unmasked as her secret confidante. The 60-year-old is said to have influenced Ms Park in private on everything from her wardrobe to her strategy on tackling the North Korean regime. She is also accused of forming an exclusive clique of unofficial advisers called “the eight fairies”, which has enjoyed extensive access to the president.

Her father, Choi Tae Min, was well known in South Korea as the head of a cult-like religious group until his death in 1994. He referred to himself as the “Future Buddha” and established a sect called the Eternal Life Church. The elder Choi reportedly enjoyed considerable influence over Ms Park as a young politician, prompting diplomats to refer to him in private as “Korea’s Rasputin”.

Ask A Korean gives thorough breakdown and explanation on the scandal.

For better or worse, Korean people have come to expect corruption from their presidents. So why is this one by Park Geun-hye causing such a strong reaction? It is not because Korean people discovered that Park was corrupt; it is because they discovered Park was irrationally corrupt. Koreans are not being dismayed at the scale of the corruption; they are shocked to see what the scale of the corruption signifies.

Rational people can expect that a corrupt politician may steal money for himself. They can even expect that he may steal for his family. But no one can expect that a corrupt politician would steal money for a daughter of a fucking psychic who claimed to speak with her dead mother.

Read thorough explanation on Ask A Korean

So from what seemed to be a small academic corruption by a rich family, turned to the biggest and worse nightmare issue: a president who lost her marbles. It’s absolutely horrifying how someone, essentially a nobody, can have so much control over the head of state of a country with growing economy and key policial location, and over nothing. What they said about the Tyson zone is true too, now we can’t stop thinking about how many more horrifying things this relationship might have caused and how many more in the future.

 

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Now, what’s the connection between a drama “Secret Love Affair” (stars Kim Hee Ae & Yoo Ah In, director Ahn Pan Seok, writer Jung Sung Joo) and this Choi Sun Sil’s complete shit show of shittery? There are some similar points which send shivers down the spine.

In 2015 Choi Soon Sil, the confidant, rigged the college admission process so that her daughter, Jung Yoo Ra, not known to be sharpest tool in the shed, would be admitted into the prestigious Ewha Womans University, based on her “achievement in sport”. That last bit turned out to be the first step toward the president’s ruin, as Ewha students’ protest over that preferential treatment developed into the larger investigation about the relationship between Park and her confidant, Choi Soon Sil.

[Earlier in October 2013, two officials in charge of sports at the Culture Ministry were reportedly demoted for submitting a report detailing Choi Soon Sil’s influence peddling in the Korea Equestrian Federation. Choi’s daughter Jung Yoo Ra is a rider.]

The major breakthrough occurred on October 24, 2016, when a cable TV network jTBC discovered a Galaxy Tab belonging to Choi Soon Sil in the office that she abandoned. The tablet was the Pandora’s Box–it had the presidential speeches with Choi’s markups, presidential briefs for cabinet meetings, appointment information for presidential aides, chat messages with presidential aides, the president’s vacation schedule, draft designs for commemorative stamps featuring the president, and much, much more.

President Park Geun Hye’s brief apology Tuesday afternoon, October 25, that lasted all of one and a half minutes was the final blow for those who had been holding out hope that what they had seen in the news was not true. Watching Park on television admit to seeking Choi Soon Sil’s assistance made stomachs churn. She said that she consulted with Choi, who had helped her during difficult times, so as to be “thorough” and out of “pureness of heart.”

Choi Sun Sil and her daughter flown off to their farm in Germany.

Right after the first point (of Jung Yoo Ra) revealed, all Korean media suddenly recalled on Yoo Ah In’s drama “Secret Love Affair”, which coincidentally was aired in jTBC in 2014, two years before the scandal was exposed. There are a lot of news reporting similar goosebumps-inducing coincidence, when this Choi Sun Sil scandal juxtaposed with “Secret Love Affair”. Take one from Seoul Shinbun:

Title: Did You Know About Choi Soon Sil, Choi Taemin, and Jung Yoora of “Secret Love Affair”? Revisiting the Goosebumps-inducing Script.

Not only has jTBC’s program exposed the president’s confidante, Choi Soon Sil, the content of its 2014 drama, “Secret Love Affair”, has been revisited.

Recently, SNS communities have been buzzing about a drama that aired two years ago, “Secret Love Affair”, as it has characters are very reminiscent of Choi Soon Sil and her daughter Jung Yoo Ra. In “Secret Love Affair”, a mother exercises her influence to get her daughter enrolled at an ivy league college, piano major. The character, who only plays a supporting role within the drama, is named “Jung Yoo Ra” (same name as Choi Soon Sil’s daughter). Thanks to her mother’s close relationship with the foundation’s chairwoman, Yoo Ra gets admitted easily into this college, despite her failing grades at school.

The reality is not much different from the drama. The real Jung Yoo Ra got admitted easily into Ehwa University by means of her horse-riding skills (enrollment laws have been modified for Yoo Ra’s sake), and she was given school credits despite her poor attendance records, and her shortage of homework papers. Moreover, a professor, who raised suspicions about Yoo Ra’s admission to the college faculty, has been subsequently replaced.

There are other strikingly similar incidents in the drama. Particularly in episode 3, and prior to a practical examination, a teaching assistant was doing an attendance roll call. The names he called were:
number 124 Lee Sunjae (played by Yoo Ah In)
number 125 Jung Yoo Ra
number 126 Choi Taemin (Choi Taemin is the name of Choi Soon Sil’s father, and Yoo Ra’s maternal grandfather, the cult leader)

Watch “Secret Love Affair” episode 3: the attendance roll call scene~

 

In addition to that, Go Young Tae, a gigolo/host bar boy turned into a fashion designer by his sugar mama Choi Soon Sil, is described having similarities with one of the characters in “Secret Love Affair” as well.

Those who watched “Secret Love Affair” would know that Jung Yoo Ra’s mother in this drama is also a “shaman/psychic” who helps rich madams gaining fortune in their shady business. Both mother and daughter in this drama fly off abroad too when the prosecutor starts the investigation.

All comments in the articles said things like, “Whoa… goosebumps!”, “is this really a coincidence or the writer already knew this before?”, “the writer is a psychic, they knew it before it happened”, and the likes. Indeed we got goosebumps for this super amazing coincidence, which almost unbelievable to be called a mere coincidence.

 

“Secret Love Affair” writer Jung Sung Joo said on her statement that, “the names Jung Yoo Ra, Choi Taemin and the character Go Young Tae are truly a coincidence.” The writer also told Sport Chosun, “the similarities are merely a coincidence”, and that the story is a figment of her imagination. It’s also mentioned that the writer is an Ehwa University graduate.

Pure coincidence or not, this just goes to show that the writer thoughts were ahead of her time. “Secret Love Affair” is like a prophecy of what would happen in Korea two years from 2014. A coincidence or a genius real-life storytelling? Only the writer knows it.

Now, besides being the lead character in “Secret Love Affair”, what could relate this to our boy Yoo Ah In? Read on.

Choi’s involvement in the establishment of the Mir Foundation and K-Sports Foundation is now being investigated, as are her close associates, including Cha Eun Taek, a well-known music video and commercial film producer (directed PSY’s “Hangover”, many T-ARA MVs, and Pyeongchang Olympics Winter Games video), whose phenomenal rise to power in the cultural sector has been credited to his relationship with Choi Soon Sil.

News reports surmise that a web of Cha Eun Taek’s close acquaintances “took over” the Culture Ministry, based on accounts from former officials.

Cha Eun Taek held numerous appointments in cultural-related government organizations, including the Presidential Committee for Cultural Enrichment and the Creative Economy Initiative. All indications are that it was Choi herself, or his ties with Choi, that landed Cha the positions. He had a hand in appointing his acquaintances to powerful positions. E.g: Former Culture Minister Yoo Jin Ryong was fired in August 2014 and six high-ranking Culture Ministry officials were asked to resign en masse. Yoo was succeeded by Kim Jong Deok, director Cha’s professor at Hongik University and a former business associate.

It is under Kim’s administration that a “blacklist” of nearly 10,000 cultural figures “classified” as being critical of the government has surfaced, despite Culture Minister Cho Yoon Sun’s disavowal of the existence of such a list. It is also under Kim’s administration that the Busan International Film Festival, has faced its greatest crisis yet. The festival went ahead with the screening of a controversial documentary on the Sewol ferry disaster in 2014, despite the Busan mayor’s very public wish to have it removed from the film roster. An audit and investigation into BIFF soon followed and prominent directors have boycotted the festival since, urging greater autonomy for the festival.

Song Sung Gak, director of Korea Creative Contents Agency (KOCCA) –a state-run agency that organizes major K-pop events, such as Korean Popular Culture And Arts Awards, among others– is another close acquaintance of director Cha Eun Taek. He was appointed to the post in December 2014. KOCCA’s budget was increased to 300 billion won this year, up 39.4 percent from the previous year’s 216 billion won.

The Culture Ministry on Saturday, Oct 29, refuted allegations that Choi Soon Sil had masterminded some of the ministry’s major projects, denied being “taken over” by Cha and Choi.

Now, being a political buff that he is, there’s no way Yoo Ah In didn’t realize how bad the political situation has been, and there’s no way he didn’t know about KOCCA’s issue. Not only because thousands of people has been asking for Park Geun Hye to resign since the third week of October, but also the country’s politics taking the whole mess to another level.

He didn’t post any sharp-tongued messages yet, which we believe it’s due to his upcoming military service, he has mellowed down on expressing political views and posted Korean flag twice in his instagram before the scandal was blown up.

On October 27, Yoo Ah In was supposed to attend the 2016 Korean Popular Culture and Arts Awards, an event organized by the Ministry of Culture, Sports & Tourism and KOCCA. He was honored the Prime Minister’s Commendation/Award at this event. However, in what seems to be the “last-minute” decision, Yoo Ah In canceled his attendance with an excuse: “due to personal reason”.

It only makes sense for Yoo Ah In, who is not only well-read when it comes to politics, history and social issues, but also was the lead in frekking “Secret Love Affair”, to “boycott” the Korean Popular Culture and Arts Awards.

Yoo Ah In’s Korean fansclub, Ainese, which always gets the first-hand information about his attendance in any award ceremonies, already announced the seats booked for all lucky Korean fans in the Korean Pop Culture and Art Awards, two days before the ceremony took place. A day before the event took place, Ainese tweeted, “see you tomorrow at the award ceremony”. These tweets indicated that Ainese got the information from Yoo Ah In’s agency UAA, that he “confirmed” attending the ceremony.

Fans got some clues too, that Studio Concrete has finished shooting all the five episodes of CCRT AEROSPACE movie since Oct 26, through Studio Concrete’s staff.

Yoo Ah In and Studio Concrete filming CCRT AEROSPACE from Oct 22 to Oct 26 in Namyangju and Gimpo International Airport~

 

Yoo Ah In in Fifty Fifty Gallery, Seoul, Oct 26 after wrapping up the shooting~

 

Everything seemed all set, he had his free time, and therefore he would attend the KPCAA ceremony night.

However, right on the D-day, Oct 27th, few hours before the event began, Ainese deleted the tweets. This goes to show, that Yoo Ah In decided to pull back from the award ceremony, probably a day before the event, and his agency told Ainese in last minutes. Not one fan complained online about him not attending.

On the same day, around afternoon, famous Korean artist Gwon Oh Sang posted his photo together with Yoo Ah In in Anyang, with caption: “Actor Yoo Ah In visited my workshop”.

Gwon Oh Sang, known as Osang Gwon, has held various international exhibitions in many countries, and his collections have been shown around the world. Yoo Ah In preferred meeting an inspiring genius artist Kwon Oh Sang to nourish his soul, which much more fitting.

Is Yoo Ah In silently denouncing the current political corruption by not attending the Prime Minister’s Award/Korean Popular Culture And Arts Awards? We say he is. Because it means he exercises his belief and conviction. For a person –who urged his followers to go and vote in the general election, who openly talked about politics, criticized politicians, government and social issues in his SNS– not coming to receive a government award is the easiest thing to do and not at all mouth-gaping.

If this person were not Yoo Ah In that we know, his absence would have meant nothing. But Yoo Ah In has done what conscience Yoo Ah In was supposed to do. And we’re proud of him.

A funny tweet by a Korean fan:

 

Rough Translation: “If (Lee) Bang Won was living right now in this generation, with our country being rotten to the core like this, he will turn the country upside down and then just repeat that all over again infinitely (laugh)”

 

Photos: instagram, getty image

Comments
11 Responses to ““Secret Love Affair” & Choi Soon Sil: a coincidence or a genius real-life storytelling? Yoo Ah In silently denouncing the current political corruption”
  1. yosics says:

    Wow those scary coincedences made me shook!! Now I know how f*ed SK government is and why people are saying he refuses to attend the award. We need to give a round of applause to Master Sik 👏👏 and Ainese for being such a mature fandom 😊👏

    To add the coincedences, you maybe remember Seo Young Woo (Chairman’s daughter) had an affair with a bar host who she keeps by her side by pampering him with money. At early episodes, she and the boy meet Oh Hye Won to talk about her boutique–and the boy was the designer. *Cmiiw*

    • Furbabe says:

      True🙂 Already written above too😀

      In addition to that, Go Young Tae, a gigolo/host bar boy turned into a fashion designer by his sugar mama Choi Soon Sil, is described having similarities with one of the characters in “Secret Love Affair” as well.

      Yes, let’s give around applause to YAI and his fans ^^

  2. Laura says:

    Holy shit this made me goosebumps!! How did the writer get such perfect hunch and how could this be a very very big coincidence? But YAI not attending the Prime Minister’s award because of this totally makes sense 👍👍👍

  3. Sofie says:

    By not attending the Korean Pop Culture Awards whatsoever, Yoo Ah In refused to bow down to the corrupted power and took side on the people. I wonder whether those stars who came to receive the awards that night ever thought about it. Maybe all they thought was getting a recognition. So proud of YAI.

  4. shamrockmom3 says:

    Thank you for this very important piece you have written today. It really makes you wonder how much writer-nim Jung really knows. I think she knows a whole lot more than she’s letting on, but keeps it in the realm of ‘fiction’ and explains the name choices as ‘coincidence’ for her own safety and well being. No wonder we haven’t heard of a new drama from her this past year–and why she skewers fortune tellers in every drama as the corrupt charlatans that they are. She’s laying low…these people are completely out of their minds! Stay safe writer-nim Jung!
    Now I wonder about YAI and his imminent military service. It’s got to be unnerving to serve in the military with your country’s leader under the influence of a cult. Good for him making a stand and not attending the award ceremony.

    • Furbabe says:

      Agree. I think the writer knows more than what she showed in the script, but she’s trying to keep it safe by saying it’s all pure coincidence. And I can’t blame her because she’s dealing with trashy corrupted individuals. It must be scared for herself too:/ And I hope YAI will be safe too during his service.

  5. Mari says:

    This is creepy as fvck!! Bows too Yoo Ah In for showing his firmed stand & belief 🙇 and good to UAA for letting him choose not to come to this corrupted fvcked government awards 👏👏

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Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] Second is about what he thinks of “Secret Love Affair” getting connected with the current politic situation (read the background here) […]

  2. […] Saturday’s protest came as Park’s approval ratings plunged with prosecutors planning to interview her, making her the first sitting South Korean president to be questioned in a criminal case. The scandal centers on Park’s shadowy confidante Choi Soon Sil, who is accused of using her ties with the president to coerce local firms to donate millions of dollars to non-profit foundations that Choi then used for personal gain. [Read the correlation between Choi Soon Sil Gate and Secret Love Affair here] […]

  3. […] article about Yoo Ah In, in the midst of South Korea’s political turbulence, and a day before he was absent from the Korean Culture And Arts Awards wherein he was honored the Prime Minister’s […]



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