Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Review: Our Second Master by Twentine



I had mix feelings about this short story. At first I really hated it. I hated how disgustingly shallow the male lead was. I hated how he discriminated people (read ugly women) based on their physical appearance and put them under not worthy to be noticed and remembered category whenever he had the misfortune to encounter them.

I hated that he didn’t consider ugly women as a human being who would feel pain and sport bruises if slapped and kicked. I hated that he didn’t consider them as a weaker species that needed to be protected and cherished but instead only equal to a dog or an animal/object that could be kicked in passing.

To add insult to the injury he would not forget that he had a dog in his house, yet he didn’t even remember the ugly girl who served as his punching bag for years. Yang Yi Qi the Second Master was so despicable that I felt nothing but hatred towards him.

However, once my anger reduced a little bit I started to see things more objectively (through a cracked mirror, because only a twisted mind that won’t be able to see another human being as an equal).

Yes, the second master was shallow and despicable. But there was nothing wrong in him loving the beautiful women and showing his preference for them. He bended his knees in front of these beauties because he was nothing but a weak man. Possessing a stunning physical appearance was equal to having a powerful weapon and he was powerless against them.

We might not want to admit it but human beings are wired to appreciate beautiful people. We put high value on beautiful appearances. We instinctively lean towards beautiful things. If I insist on hating the male lead because he fell under the spell of beauty than I should hate the female lead even more.

Like Yang Yi Qi who loved all those women for pure physical reason, our female lead the Little Monkey also falls for the Second Master because of his looks. She falls for this disgusting man just because he is exceptionally beautiful.

She ignores the rotten man inside, forgives and forgets his abuses all because of his physical appearances. On Yang Yi Qi’s defend, at least all those women he loved were equally beautiful inside out. They only fought with each other for his affections. None of them was physically abusive towards those weaker than themselves.

It is not easy for me to love either the male or female lead in this story considering how shallow they both are since their affections are captured by nothing but skin deep appearances. While the only thing that makes me fall in love with any lead in a story or drama is their extraordinary characters.

Fortunately, despite her weakness for beauty, I don’t hate the female lead. I like how although everyone thinks that she is ugly – Yang Yi Qi even calls her monkey, the Little Monkey disagrees, she knows she isn’t beautiful, but she knows for sure she isn’t ugly.

I love that. It’s a very good sign that signifies although she appears to be shallow she actually is not. A shallow and weak person would be defined by how other people see them and not by how they see themselves. And although she seems to be influenced and blinded by beauty the Little Monkey is actually very clear headed.

I love how despite very conscious of her lowly status she knows the value of herself. I love how despite falling under the Second Master’s charms she is never completely blinded by his beauty. Although she loves him, she is aware of his vices, she knows his weaknesses and she knows he isn’t perfect.

But what I love the most about the Little Monkey is her pride. I love how she decides not to show her love to the Second Master and not to lower herself to accept things that she doesn’t like about him just so that she could be with him.

Now, back to the Second Master. The best part about this story is the character building of the Second Master. I love how this story turns my hate for the Second Master into love.

How I hated the Second Master but a person isn’t and shouldn’t be defined by his past. The past has lost its significance once it’s passed. It’s the present and the future that matter.

I love how the Second Master learns from his misfortune. I love how he feels no bitterness about his losses. I love how he reflects and takes them as his due punishment. I love how he starts to see what are the things that really matter.

I love how he finds new purpose in life and rises to the top with his own strength. I love how he becomes a better person. A whole new person although physically he is actually half person now.

And I love how he loves. I think the best scene for me is when the Little Monkey tells him that she is leaving. I love how he nods his head and with a smile lets her go.

Our Second Master by Twentine is a marvel. In its shortness and simplicity it presents all that we might want from a story. I hope that it might somehow find its way into a kdrama where I could love this story for a lot longer.

ps.
You could read Our Second Master at http://onesecondspring.blogspot.sg/2015/08/our-second-master-by-twentine-he-5.html
I almost forget, lots of love and many thanks to Decembi for translating this wonderful story
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