A Hong Kong school is using the heroine of a Korean soap opera set
in the 19th century to teach its pupils life skills, a teacher said
Yau Ma Tei Catholic School has adopted the hit show Jewel in
the Palace as a model for a series of classes in which pupils
recreate real-life situations and work out how the lead character
would tackle them.
"Dae Jang Geum embodies the sort of qualities and values that we
would like our children to have," said Patsy Leung, the school's
head of civic education.
In the period drama, set in Korea's 19th-century Joseon Dynasty,
Dae Jang Geum is a servant girl who rises up to become the only
female doctor in the emperor's court.
The character's determination and indomitable spirit made her an
instant heroine among Asian TV viewers, garnering the show record
audiences last year.
It was a major part of the so-called "Korean Wave" of popular
culture that swept briefly across Asia in recent years and made
stars of Korean actors and pop singers such as Rain.
"Dae Jang Geum is a strong character who never gives up, no
matter how tough the problem," said Leung. "She is also a good role
model to girls, because she fought against the male-dominated
hierarchy and sexism of her time."
In some of the classes, pupils role play situations as the TV
heroine, even dressing in her trademark traditional white Korean
The Korean television channel that made the show granted the
school permission to use five minutes of footage in classes.
"Our pupils play the parts of the characters in problem-solving
situations interspersed with real footage," said Leung.
"It allows us to use it as teaching material and is part of our
movie-making class too. We hope the pupils will also be able to
take it home and pass on the teachings and values of Dae Jang Geum
to their family."
(Agencies via CRI.cn April 18, 2007)