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The Jason Hahn Files: Relishing The Simple Pleasures Of Netflix’s The Hungry And The Hairy

The Netflix travelogue starring Rain and Ro Hong-Chul is the best cure for our pent-up wanderlust.

-min read
The Jason Hahn Files: Relishing The Simple Pleasures Of Netflix’s The Hungry And The Hairy

Our friend Karina says her mother is driving her up the wall, hounding her day and night about still being single at the age of 40.

“It’s worse with Chinese New Year coming up,” she told Saffy at lunch. “With just five people allowed, I’ll stand out even more!”

Saffy took a big noisy slurp of her noodles. “They should outlaw Chinese New Year. It’s such a hostile event. If you’re single, they ask you why you’re not married. If you’re married, they ask you why you don’t have kids. And if you have kids, you’re basically bankrupt from all the red packets you have to dole out!” She took another big slurp and looked up to see Karina staring at her.

“What?”

“Why are you making all that noise? You’re not Korean.”

Saffy sucked in her breath, and put down her chopsticks.

“O.M.G. Can we just talk for one second about The Hungry and the Hairy?”

Karina sighed, realising she had unwittingly walked into a fresh new hell.

For years now, Saffy has been addicted to all things Korean. She’s never met a bibimbap she doesn’t adore. Or a Korean man she’s never wanted to immediately sleep with. Give her a K-Pop single and she’ll bust out her best Gangnam moves. Once, she even enrolled in a Korean language course, though that lasted all of two weeks when she realised she was completely tone deaf and the teacher basically begged her not to come to class.

And for the longest time, she’s had the biggest crush on Rain, or Ji-Hoon as she prefers to call him because she says it’s much more intimate.

“He looks like he’s 15!” Amanda once said. “What’s the attraction?”

Saffy held out her phone, open to her Pinterest account — specifically the page with all the shirtless images of Rain. There was a silence as Amanda scrolled through the images. “Okay, fine,” she said finally.

“Hot!” Saffy announced.

And so, when Rain’s show landed on Netflix, Sharyn immediately came over and the two of them settled down for an afternoon of Korean testosterone hotness. Unable to resist, Amanda joined them on the couch. Within the first 10 minutes, there was a montage of Rain’s shirtless body.

“Aiyoh,” Sharyn moaned as she crossed and uncrossed her legs.

“Good Lord,” Saffy sighed.

“He’s hot, but he needs some sun. He looks like a plucked chicken!” Amanda texted me.

“Ay,” Sharyn said at one stage, “I really like his eyes.”

Saffy shoved a handful of popcorn into her mouth. “Tell it. It’s all about men with single eyelids.”

“What’s the show about?” I later asked Amanda who paused as she gave the question some thought.

“See, that’s the weirdest thing,” she said eventually. “At first, you think it’s about Rain and his best friend riding around South Korea on their motorbikes. You get a minute or so of really amazing scenery and you think, ok, this looks stunning, I should visit this place. But then, they spend the rest of the show indoors eating and talking.”

I hesitated. “And why is that interesting?”

Amanda blinked. “Somehow you just get sucked in. The dude is a really good cook even though he’s got this weird thing about eating only every 24 hours.”

I told Amanda she wasn’t really selling the show to me.

“I know. They really do just ride around on their bikes shouting and laughing like silly little boys, and watch the sunrise or sunset. But it’s the loveliest show I’ve seen in ages!”

The other thing that’s come out of the whole thing is that Amanda has developed an unexpected fondness for Korean music. Specifically, Lee Sang Soon ballads. “Oh, he’s absolutely bliss!”

“To look at him, you wouldn’t think he had that kind of music in him,” said Saffy, resident expert on Korean pop culture and gossip. “And he’s married to that hottie, Lee Hyori!”

“And hor, he oh-so got single eyelids!” Sharyn piped in.

Saffy nodded. “Which makes him so attractive.” She sent Karina a music link with the message: “He married late in life, so don’t give up hope!”

Karina fell hard for Lee’s music and when she found out he was also on The Hungry and the Hairy, she went on an instant Netflix binge. And when she finally came to the end of the first season, she announced on Instagram that her new dating pool was Korean men, an announcement which has done her no favours at home.

As her mother, Auntie Celeste told my mother, “She can’t even find a boyfriend in Singapore with all the local men on offer. How will she find a Korean husband, you tell me?”

To her surprise, Mother asked, “Can you blame her? Have you seen that Rain without his shirt on?”

The Hungry and the Hairy is now streaming on Netflix.

Photos: Netflix

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