We, as a society, tend to not like people we consider weaker than us, and Daily Dose of Sunshine does a good job of showing us the mirror for it. It has been said enough times that looking down on someone won’t make you better than you currently are. Then what is the point of unkindness? It is extremely interesting to see the language in which we talk about the people we deem to not be ‘up to the mark.’ The general excuse for the poor treatment is that nobody has the time to wait for them to catch up in this fast-paced world. This excuse is used with many versions of unkindness, but the reason it strikes us as being hollow is because there seems to be a certain sense of joy in finding people left behind.
In the case of Byeong Hui, her teacher and class president were trying to tell her to opt for an easier course. Maybe they didn’t care to be more empathetic, but what about her other classmates? What prompted them to jump into the fray and start calling Byeong Hui stupid? What pleasure were they getting out of telling Byeong Hui that she would never be able to achieve her dreams?
The thing to remember is that these kids had their own challenges to face. They were also going through the pressures of studying, and just because they had a better IQ than Byeong Hui, there was still no guarantee that they would get everything they desired in life. Their future was just as uncertain as that of Byeong Hui. Instead of using that as a way to establish solidarity and make friends, they decided to use it to feel better about themselves. Tomorrow, if they failed in life, they would at least be able to think that they weren’t as terribly off as Byeong Hui. The pity would help them feel good about themselves in the future, just like the bullying made them feel good now.
Frankly speaking, Byeong Hui was not the only person to have an audacious dream. How many people with a regular IQ dream of being in NASA, getting into top universities, or turning into future billionaires? How many people with a phone in hand fancy themselves the next big influencer and social media sensation? Exactly how many people aim higher than what they can reach? Literally, everyone dreams like that. It is a different matter because very few truly commit themselves to it, and even few work towards it diligently. Compared to them, all Byeong Hui wanted was to be a pilot. It may have been beyond her reach, but she did not deserve to be ridiculed for it. That is probably why she became so defensive. None of her classmates were probably scolded or discouraged from having audacious goals, despite the rate of success being so slim. But Byeong Hui was told that she couldn’t do any better. That had to have an effect on her.
As a hyper-competitive society, we are trained to think in verticals. There are people’ above us’ who we will admire, and then there are people’ below us’ whom we will ignore and bully for our pleasure. With a clear lack of empathy, they just became a means for us to feel better about ourselves, and Byeong Hui refused to be that person.
One of the many reasons that Byeong Hyi felt so alienated from others could also be her mother. We saw how her mother was not free from prejudices towards people with mental health conditions. She needed to be dealt a reality check by the head nurse to reconsider her stance on Da Eun. The mother may have been kind to her own daughter, but we are positive that Byeong Hui picked up on her mother’s actual opinions through these signs. In Byeong Hui’s mother’s mind, there was a distinction between her daughter and others with low IQs or mental health issues. But Byeong Hui may feel differently because she must have related to the people her mother used to distance her from.
Additionally, we need to remember that Byeong Hui could herself carry some of these prejudices. We cannot ignore the tone that she took with Da Eun when the latter was simply trying to help her. It is notable that only those with untreated wounds are the most defensive people, because they are scared of getting hurt even more. Byeong Hui had to have carried the hurt of her mother, wanting her to score lower grades so that she could be admitted into a school for children with special needs. How did Byeong Hui feel about her mother trying to do that for her, despite her needs being something else?
The fact is that Byeong Hui was in a position where people meant well, but nobody really understood her. To add insult to injury, she did not understand herself that well either. This is the reason she tried to self-harm. It wasn’t because she wanted to take her life but because the searing pain provided a distraction from the frustration and the helplessness.
At the end of Daily Dose of Sunshine, Byeng Hui seemed to find a ‘balance’ between what she wanted and what she could achieve. But we don’t believe that it is the end of her journey. Byeong Hui needs to find more people like her so that she is around people who will understand her and show her the way to what she can do in life. Byeong Hui refuses to accept any limitations in life, and these are usually the kind of people who get what they want, no matter what the odds. She has a long journey ahead of her. We don’t believe that she will ever give up on her dream of becoming a pilot. If, by some chance, she does, then she will not settle for less in life. Byeong Hui is a determined individual, and she will keep seeking out what she can do to make something of herself. Her mental health will be a constant battle that she will have to fight on the side, but a greater sense of self might help that going forward. If there is Daily Dose of Sunshine season 2, we may see her get there.