I almost grimaced upon hearing a friend announcing to everyone how she hated going to the museum. Not that I dislike her. Nor disapprove any of her personal opinion. I just, unexpectedly, found it offensive at that time.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not some museum enthusiasts nor history geek of some kind. In fact, up until now I despise memorizing dates and names of dead people. I once firmly believed that these kinds of things should remain where they exactly belong: in the past.
The same way I hated watching historical biopic films back then – if not for Heneral Luna and Goyo that would remain true until today. I haven’t watched a single episode of “Jewel in the Palace” or “Jumong” even when everyone was already sold out to it. It wasn’t just my cup of tea at that time.
I don’t know if it comes with age. Or some external factors that affect our personal taste. But lately, I have noticed a gradual interest in traditional drama. My old self would be so proud of how I have patiently waited for “Mr. Sunshine” to reach episode 19 before it got interesting or how I persisted to finish watching “Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo” and hopelessly fell in love with it despite its political savagery.
And when everyone is stuck with Netflix, gushing over with “The King: Eternal Monarch”, “The Platform”, “Money Heist” and “Itaewon Class”, here I am musing with historical movies such of “The Map against the World”, “Seondal: The Man who sells the river”, “The Royal Tailor”, and “Ode to my Father”.
When this covid-19 pandemic made itself known around January, the first thing I’ve asked my world history aficionado workmate was: how did most epidemics ended? According to him, there could be two possible answers to that. One, a vaccine was successfully developed. Two, immunity – people eventually developed antibodies that could fight the threat.
Isn’t it amazing how a short look back on history could actually help us see further how this world crisis could possibly end? What actually made all those historical movies and series that I’ve watched interesting is not the cinematography, the depiction of characters, nor the plots and twists. If you look at them in a macroscopic point of view, all of them portrayed how the values and dispositions of people remained the same throughout time – greed, power, revenge. All repeating in an infinite cycle.
It’s totally out of context to talk about museums and history in these daunting times. Of traditional drama and biopics. But when my mind becomes a battlefield of existential pandemic anxiety, I always try to look further and deviate. I try to imagine how the future would look back on this trying time of history – the lockdowns, community quarantine, social distancing, and frontliners. I know were no longer the same people after this. We’ll be better. In time.