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How Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha combines the two ways of living that divide young people: Live for yourself vs Live for others?

After every episode of Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha, viewers get more than a romance story.

What do people expect from a romantic drama set in a picturesque seaside village? Perhaps the first encounter of the male and female lead, the relationship that blossoms under the romantic sunset, the misunderstandings that lead to quarrels or the burning kiss with the bitter taste of tears. Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha pushes those fantasies out of the viewers’ mind. In a fun and smart way, the drama uses its charming humor to not only tell a love story, but also give viewers many life lessons.

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Still following the familiar motif of “opposite personalities attract each other”, what makes Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha stand out lies in the way the writer knows which opposite aspects of the two characters should be used in a genre that is gradually becoming more saturated. If dentist Yoon Hye Jin (Shin Min Ah) represents a “modern” lifestyle that focuses on herself, then Hong Du Sik (Kim Seon Ho) is clearly an example of someone who enjoys living for people around him.

The contrast in the ideology of these two characters is the element of surprise, and also the key for the drama to not only focus on romance but also bring stories filled with humanity in the seaside village Gongjin. After each episode of Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha, we get something more than romantic moments – it’s the way to live a happy life.

The fine line between loving yourself and being selfish

As part of Gen Z, I often receive messages that we should live for ourselves. Not wrong, because focusing on investing in yourself is necessary. It is a way for each person to become happy, to unleash their potential. Our body or mind needs to receive attention so as not to be worn down by life. 

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Yoon Hye Jin asserted herself as a girl who values this lifestyle right from the very beginning of Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha. From the way she delicately avoids questions from her neighbors in the elevator, to her refusal to participate in street cleaning activities because she wants to sleep for a while, Hye Jin sticks to her life motto. However, if we easily sympathize with her in the elevator situation, we also feel dissatisfied with Hye Jin in the latter case. Self-indulgence can easily overwhelm and become a selfish habit.

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However, the line between loving yourself and being selfish is really thin. Love yourself but don’t put it above everything else, don’t take that as a privilege to be lazy and careless.

Then what is living for others?

Contrary to Hye Jin, Hong Du Sik grew up in a coastal village in the love and protection of the people here. Du Sik is spontaneity, ease, and kind. He was trusted to hold an important position in the neighborhood, but then he accidentally became a “fulcrum” for too many people to rely on. Du Sik has a hard time getting some rest even on his day off. The phone rang until it burned out, and when it couldn’t be called, people came to the house to ask for help.

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“The best thing parents can do for their children is to take good care of themselves” – Hye Jin’s words suddenly made Du Sik, and the audience, rethink how life works. onion. Sometimes, not doing everything for others is the only way to love.

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Not living for yourself, or living for others, but living to love

For yourself or for others, this is not a binary system where we have to choose one.

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The word “good” resides deep inside each of us. It leads each person in the right direction in life, teaching us to love, help, and share. Live your life for the things that make you happy. Live for yourself and the people you care about. Du Sik loves Mrs. Gam Ri, loves the coastal roads, loves warm memories with people in Gongjin. He found his reason for living, and so is Hye Jin.

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