Man Crush Mondays are usually reserved for something lighthearted and fun as we gush and fawn over fictional characters we wish existed in the real world. This week, however, I’ve chosen to do something a little different. Something a little more important. Something that touches my heart on a deeper level.
For those who are unfamiliar with the background of “Silenced,” it first started out as a novel based on true events of sexual abuse on hearing impaired children in Kwangju. Gong Yoo received the novel as a gift when he was in the military and, upon reading it, felt it was important to turn the novel into a film in order to shed public light towards the tragic events that took place. After speaking with the novel’s writer, everything slowly clicked into place and “Silenced” was, at last, created.
If the origins of the film didn’t already stir some kind of emotions within you, then maybe this might: “Silenced” was, essentially, a hit, which sparked public outcries of injustice that led to the case being reopened. Although whether or not the re-opened case got its happy ending depends entirely on every individual’s perspective, one positive event certainly came from it – the Dogani Bill was passed in October 2011, which abolishes the statute of limitations for sex crimes against disabled children.
This bring me back to Kang In Ho, our hero in “Silenced.” For everything he endured, for everything Gong Yoo did to make the changes possible, and for everything the real Kang In Ho, whoever he may be, suffered through in order to seek justice for his students, this Man Crush Monday article is dedicated to you.
Here’s five reasons why Kang In Ho, one of the most realistic man in Dramaland, is suitable to join our list. (Spoilers ahead.)
1. Kang In Ho cares about his students.
When his students attempted to avoid him at all costs, he didn’t step back and let them be. He continuously tried to reach out to them, to show them that he’s trustworthy, and to show that he cares. Kang In Ho persists in trying to break through their barriers and what happens when he does is a beautiful yet tragic story that warms hearts while putting tears in your eyes.
2. Regardless of consequences, he interferes when needed.
Seeing his students getting beat or forcibly shoved face first into water, Kang In Ho steps in and puts a stop to it no matter what, even if it means stepping on other people’s toes. When his job and, with it, his financial stability as a single father is threatened, Kang In Ho still refuses to back down and, instead, finds alternative ways to resolve a situation he thinks doesn’t seem quite… normal.
3. Kang In Ho is intelligently observant.
Honestly, even if someone were to realize that something was wrong with the school and teachers, it takes someone with greater brain skills to actually do something about it, especially since it seems like the whole town is in on the secret and is doing their best to cover it up. Kang In Ho managed to fight for his students despite all of the difficulties and obstacles he faced. He also gets bonus points for seeking out human activist, Seo Yoo Jin, to help him and his students. The only unfortunate circumstance here was that no matter how intelligent someone is, it was impossible to foretell how quickly a case can turn in the opposite direction.
4. Kang In Ho is fluent in sign language.
Yes, yes. It wouldn’t make much sense for a teacher to work at a hearing impaired school if he didn’t know, at least, the basics of sign language, but there’s something just incredibly heartwarming about how Kang In Ho interacts with the children using gentle hand motions and even gentler words of hope, love, and encouragement.
5. He doesn’t forget.
If Kang In Ho’s actions weren’t enough to portray his warm personality and kind heart, then the fact that he never forgot the children he tried to save should. The guilt he carried was heavy and his burden was even worse, but while I felt for him to the point where I cried, at the same time, I admired him. He could have just tried to move on from the ordeal. After all, it was done. Finished. There was nothing else he could do. But instead, Kang In Ho refused to let those children fade into nothing but memories, so he kept them close in his heart and, in his own way, kept them alive in that sense.
Because this topic touches me so deeply and I was so affected by the beautifully produced film with its great intentions, I think it’s a film anyone who can stomach the gruesome details should watch. In the end, despite the disgust I felt towards the villains, my heart was also warmed at the same time because “Silenced” is a wonderful reminder that no matter what kind of evil and negativity is out there in the real world, there is always kindness and positivity to counterattack them. Even when all hope seems lost, there will always be someone, perhaps even someone you had never expected, who can help shine a light onto your darkened path.
Ultimately, that’s why Kang In Ho joins our ever growing list of Man Crush Mondays.
Soompiers, do you agree with my decision? Have you seen “Silenced”? I’d love to know your thoughts, so please be sure to leave your comments below! Nominations are also still open for next month’s Mystery Reveal. See you next week!
For a complete list of our Man Crush Mondays, please click here.