Written By Chia Poh Fang, Singapore
What are your favorite forms of entertainment? Mine are reading and sports. My perfect day of rest is spent exercising for a few hours in the gym or cycling on the park connectors, before curling up with a good book.
Recently, I just finished a three-part Chinese novel, Nirvana in Fire, and am now in the process of reading through Gospel-Centered Youth Ministry: A Practical Guide. My reading list is quite varied. I read fiction and non-fiction; Christian and secular; fantasy, crime, history, and the list goes on.
I enjoy the arts as well. Every year, I set aside a budget to indulge in these activities. Watching a theater performance or catching a concert—whether classical or pop—brings me great delight. In fact, I’ve bought tickets to watch the Berlin Philharmonic during my upcoming holiday in Germany. Oh yes, I watch K-dramas for entertainment too! On average, I watch about one hour of K-drama a day to unwind before I go to bed.
If you, like me, are a proponent of enjoying what life has to offer, here are two verses from the book of Ecclesiastes that you would wholeheartedly agree with:
“However many years anyone may live, let them enjoy them all.” —8:8
“You who are young, be happy while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see.” —8:9
Essentially, the Bible is telling us to enjoy life to the fullest. So if your favorite forms of entertainment help you do so, by all means, continue in them, especially when you still have the youthful vigor to do so! I know of a friend who regrets not reading more in his younger days because now his eyesight is failing and he cannot read for a sustained period of time without getting a headache in the process.
When it comes to K-drama, don’t believe those who tell you that it kills your brain cells and your brain will turn to mush. At the end of the day, it’s not about the form of entertainment, but about what content you’re consuming (same with books, music, etc), the amount of time you spent on it, and whether your mind is engaged.
For the record, some K-dramas do inspire me. I recently watched one called Marriage Contract that tells the story of Ji-hoon, scion of a very wealthy family, and widowed single mother Hye Soo, who wind up in a contract marriage. Although it didn’t have a groundbreaking plot, the astute and thoughtful directing, combined with its sensitive writing, made everything about these characters natural and organic. I particularly love the character Hye Soo, portrayed by K-pop singer Uee. One blogger’s description of her perfectly captured why her character is so appealing: “I think it’s a combination of Hye-soo’s gentle spirit, her core of steel, and her love . . . She’s like this gentle sun, warming and altering those around her for the better, but never changing herself. She’s such a constant—she’s not perfect, but she’s already the best version of herself she can be.” I remember thinking to myself, “Hey! I want to be that kind of person!”
In terms of books, many have served to impart valuable life lessons, like my recent read, Nirvana in Fire. In it, the protagonist, triad leader Mei Chang Su, wanted to redress a great wrong that was done to him and his family, but that would involve the most powerful man—the arrogant Emperor—to acknowledge his own mistakes, and be remembered in history as a king who caused a grievous crime. Mei Chang Su’s approach was nothing short of inspiring. He refused to let revenge get to his head, and sought to achieve the right end with the right means at the right time. The storytelling was captivating and the historical background well researched; it was a story that transported me back in time, giving me a glimpse of a bygone era. But what I enjoyed most about the novel was its insightful take on human nature, and its celebration of great themes such as friendship and loyalty.
So good entertainment can really help us lead meaningful lives, if it reminds us about certain virtues, inspires us towards goodness, or simply gives our body much needed rest. But as we engage in our various entertainment forms, we need to bear in mind this caveat: In all that we do, we must remember to live responsibly before God (Ecclesiastes 8:9). That is, don’t choose sinning to be happy; and don’t choose happiness apart from God. Instead, choose to find joy in the things that make God happy too. In fact, this is the only way to not turn life’s legitimate pleasures and good gifts into self-indulgence, and the only way to find true and lasting joy in our entertainment.
In short, this is what the Bible teaches: enjoy life to the fullest under the fear of God.