Angel Beside Me
(Thai Drama 2020)
As I mentioned in my Great Men Academy post, I watched another series that starred Jaylerr entitled Angel Beside Me.
It’s about this angel named Mikael Lansaladon Aekisna Ares (Jaylerr) who is going to inherit the title, “Lord of Angels,” but he accidentally ends up on Earth after trying to prevent a poor and unlucky girl named Lin (Jane Ramida Jiranorraphat) from committing suicide. Mikael ends up being her guardian angel as he helps her pay off her debt as a fashion model in exchange for a place to stay for the time being. He ends up learning what it means to be “human” and that justice doesn’t necessarily mean that you follow a rule book.
Despite how cheesy this drama is, it was quite entertaining; mostly because of Jaylerr’s character, Mikael, who ends up being called Somchai by Lin due to having a complicated name. Mikael/Somchai acts with indifference as an angel, but when he lands on Earth, he ends up acting like a child because he experiences new things that he didn’t know existed. He tried pork skewers for the first time, went to an amusement park and got sick from a sliding ride, and ends up seeing rain for the first time. His expressions when experiencing these things are so priceless because Jaylerr fully embraces the innocence within Mikael and as a viewer, I easily swooned over him.
Aside from my admiration for Mikael’s adorableness, Mikael learns about human compassion and emotions like love through his experiences and human interactions. While in heaven, Mikael observed humans from a monitor as opposed to actually interacting with them on Earth, but when he accidentally lands on Earth, he learns that humans are more complex than he thought they would be; the line between right and wrong is blurry. One of the issues he had to overcome is that being righteous by following the rule book doesn’t guarantee you good fortune or a ticket to heaven. Sometimes, rules need to be broken in order for justice to be served or in the case for Lin, survival.
One major theme I came across from this show is poverty; Lin is a relatable character because she faces daily struggles that many college students experience: hunger, paying tuition and living expenses, and balancing school and work life. However, her estranged relationship with her biological mother adds more stress and anxiety in her life. I couldn’t help but recall the saying, “No one ever chooses to be poor,” while watching this series. One cause as to why people are poor is due to the poor life choices they made, but this is a narrow-minded perspective to take since there are other factors as to why a person is poor. In regards to Lin, she never made poor life choices; she just had unfortunate luck. She was born to an unloving mother who wanted to abandon her and now, her mother is stealing her money despite already being remarried to someone else and is living a lavish lifestyle. Lin never asked to have this life: it was just a life that was given to her by the gods or maybe if you believe in past lives, she may have had bad karma from a past life and is now paying for it in this current life (but this is just speculation). In order to pay off her debt, Lin resorts to stealing and prostitution with the help of her friend, Luke (Mek Jirakit Thawornwong). Her “friend,” Luke argues that sometimes wrongdoing is necessary for survival; he justifies the act of sin. People who are poor didn’t choose to be poor but rather, they were oppressed by those who are wealthy and powerful. There is truth to what Luke said about the powerful and wealthy oppressors oppressing the oppressed because that’s our current society right now; people are struggling in debt due to the cost of living being too high and income wages are unrealistic: the poor get poorer and the rich get richer.
Eventually, Lin changes her ways as Somchai teaches her that she should still do good even though life is unfair because eventually, good karma will come your way. The underlying message of this series is that we can’t define what is “just” and “morally acceptable” in a rule book, but rather, we, as people, are the ones that have the power and knowledge to decipher what is right and wrong based on intuition. Also, I think this drama also wants its viewers to acknowledge the issues of poverty that are pressing our modern-day life.
Though it’s a bit cheesy, I really enjoyed this drama and I’d recommend it to people who are interested in Thai dramas but don’t know where to start. It’s a story about poverty and faith, in which we should trust the universe that things will work out in the end despite our current suffering.
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