Inspired by Abim



Are those words that came from an eighteen year old young man?

Dongryong, the wise one, the sage that his friends go to for counsel and advice.
Be it advice for cheering up one’s parents, teaching dance moves for talent show, or even dancing in the talent show itself, he was always there to help or lend a listening ear.


So how did it happen that the fifth son, the maknae, gained such wisdom? Part of it could be, being the youngest boy in his family, he had to learn how to observe his older hyungs, as well as his own parents, in order to ‘survive’. To know how to tell what other people are thinking or feeling, in order to read situations correctly. His hyungs also seemed to have a large age-gap with him, and have already moved out of the family home, so Dongryong was very attached to his Ssangmun-dong buddies.

Being the oldest out of the OT5, Dongryong took special care of Taek. If Deoksun babied him like a “mum”, then Dongryong treated him like a grouchy “dad”. Only Deoksun and Dongryong were shown to notice him struggling with his food and always helped him out. Ever patient with Taek, Dongryong kept track of his competitions, helped him pack his luggage, and even showed him how to work his walkman. He got Taek out of his funk after he was upset for days about making a mistake and losing a match. Knowing how fiercely competitive Taek is, he also goaded his fighting spirit that allowed Taek to overcome his slump to win an exceptional tournament by winning 5 players in a row.

Despite not actually ever dating a girl, Dongryong is like any typical hot-blooded youth who has liked his fair share of pretty girls. From girls from the study hall, to actresses and singers, this guy seemed to have studied and developed an understanding of how the female mind worked as well. Seeing how Deoksun changed her crab-leg dance to a lasso dance once Taek entered the room, who’s to say Dongryong hadn’t had things figured out?


As Deoksun said, Dongryong came from “a comfortable family” since both his parents were working in managerial positions – his dad was the school dean and his mum was the Queen of Daehan Insurance for seven years running. He had always been generous with his friends, but never flaunted his wealth. Perhaps he remembered Taek’s wish to watch a movie after winning so he was willing to queue to buy movie tickets so that they could all go together. When he had cutlet vouchers, he went with his friends. He even offered both parfaits to Deoksun, because he saw how excited she was about the desserts. And he bought concert tickets so everyone got to go have fun after their exams.

Dongryong was usually being left with alot of pocket money at home, but he did not take it all to spend. He wore a local brand of shoes instead of Nike, which was why the bullies told him to keep his when Junghwan and he got mugged.


Dongryong always had fun on his mind. He got his friends to join dance-offs. Brought them to adult-theaters to try to get in to watch rated movies. He knew that he wasn’t going to do well in his studies, but that did not stop him from enjoying his youth.


Always seen to be cheerful and filled with a mischievous energy, there is however a darker side to Dongryong. He was unhappy about the way things were at home. Despite not seeing his parents in the morning when he went off to school, he chose not to go home at nights. He would rather sleep on the floor of the study center than go home to sleep in his own warm bed in order to avoid seeing his strict father.

Even though he seemed wiser than his other young friends, part of him was still a child who just wanted love and attention from his parents. But seeing his father in school all the time, pressured him into a desire of escaping from his sight as much as possible. The one parent he craved attention from was his mum, who was too busy to have time for him. The disappointment of too many broken promises made Dongryong decide to run away from home. However, ironically his parents were not worried, because they were not even aware of what he did.


After running away failed to garner any attention he desired, Dongryong decided to embrace the exhilaration of riding bikes with Michael. After once too many escapades, his luck ran out and he was brought to the Police Station after Michael and him fell down after getting caught for riding without helmets. Ironically, instead of getting his mother’s wrath, he got the one thing he was craving for, the seaweed beef soup he had been craving for years. And his mother’s attention to sit with him while he ate and happily chattered to her about the going-ons in the neighbourhood.


Even though Dongryong knew almost everything that went on in other people’s lives, thanks in part to his super hearing, he kept certain matters to himself. His friends knew his family situation, but he chose to put on a brave face before them. He did not even let them know he was going to run away from home, until he ran out of money so he phoned Junghwan for help.

He also kept the uncomfortable issue of his IBS ( Irritable Bowel Syndrome) to himself, even though he freely broke wind in front of his buddies. It developed over months into an unfortunate case of hemorrhoids that he tried to remedy by himself.


At long last, Dongryong managed to make up with his mum. He was able to communicate with her and made his feelings known. By doing so, he accepted that his mum was different from his friends’ mums, and he could appreciate and be proud of her.


Dongryong was so much more than just comic relief in this story. He had a huge part to play, by his various interactions with so many people. He touched and made a big difference in the lives of others.

With his keen mind, and eye on the future, Dongryong thought of out of the box and stayed ahead of trends. He eventually found success in life, despite not graduating from college.

He will always be the MVP of Reply 1988!

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