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Monotonous Viet-Dubbed K-Dramas Were the Soundtrack of My Childhood

When I was growing up, my family owned a broken TV whose screen would unexpectedly go black while the audio continued to play. Turning it off and on again a couple of times would fix the problem, but it was such a hassle that sometimes we just let it be. It was stationed in our dining room, and my parents loved putting on Korean dramas when we were eating. So whenever I reminisce about my childhood, the sound of dubbed K-dramas always plays the background.

During the mid-2000s amig the Hallyu wave in Vietnam, K-dramas were widely broadcast. Always dubbed in Vietnamese, these early series relied on voiceover, typically a northern woman's voice, for all the dialogue. In the 2010s, more professional voice acting work started gaining popularity, allowing each character in the series to have a unique voice.

The voiceover lines back then were quite monotonous, so I wasn’t as fond of them as my parents were, preferring Japanese and American cartoons. However, I did continue to encounter K-dramas, albeit in a different way. My parents placed an old TV in my room at some point, so in addition to watching my favorite shows on it, I developed a habit of playing dubbed K-dramas to fill the silence while doing homework or other activities. The familiar voices of these family drama characters going about their mundane lives and having routine conversations put me at ease. 

My Lovely Sam Soon (2005) and Winter Sonata (2002), two highly rated K-drama hits of the 2000s. 

The habit stopped once I got a laptop that allows me to watch whatever I want. If I need background sound in my room, I can just go to YouTube and play lofi hip hop radio - beats to relax/study to. It's more convenient in general, but those old dubbed  K-dramas are hard to find online. 

Every once in a while, I would visit an older relative’s house and hear those recognizable dubbed voices again. Such occassions take me back to my family dinners and my teen-era bedroom, when the biggest worries in my life were finishing homework and preparing for tests.

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