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To make the wait a little more bearable for those obsessed with this lakorn as I am, I’ve created a reference guide to Once Upon a Time in My Heart. You know how literary fiction has a cliff note? We’ll consider this as our go-to reference guide, complete with the cast of characters, character analysis and any in depth discussion we will have about this lakorn. I will continue to add to this guide, as we’ve only begun what is a journey into this crack land we call Daniel and Fahsai’s world. But we all know that there is one character in particular that has fueled the fangirling, and his name is Daniel (Mick). So FINE, he blows OUR minds.

I feel that his character solidifies the fan fervor for me. The directing, writing and acting works cohesively together, so you can feel rest assured that the whole journey is enjoyable not only because of Mick. Because let’s be real, we can fangirl over an actor until the cow comes home, but if the story is shitty (for the lack of a better word), and the writing is lackluster, then it’s really hard to continue, even if you’re taking one for the team. To me, a lakorn has to have the whole package. Call me fickle. And this show has it in spades.

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ABOUT:

  • Title: กาลครั้งหนึ่งในหัวใจ (Karn La Krang Neung Nai Hua Jai); English- Once Upon a Time in My Heart
  • Based on a book with the same name, penned by Chayapim aka Toffee
  • Channel 7/Mongkol Kan Lakorn Production/Tawan Jarunjinda (noteworthy mention: this is the first lakorn for this actor turned producer!)
  • OST- Karn La Krang Neung Nai Hua Jai by Stamp ft. Palmy. See Eng Sub MV here.
  • Raw videos can be found here.
  • Recaps are available on this blog Wednesday-Thursday. Eng Subs by Neko Here.
  • Aired on July 28, 2016. 12 episodes total.
  • Genre: Action, drama, romance

CHARACTER HIGHLIGHT:

DANIEL WONG (Mick Tongraya) – Hero. Leader of Mungkorn Thong (Golden Dragon) gang based in Hong Kong with Thai/Chinese descent. Prefers to lead his flock by legal and ethical standards, much to the chagrin of his pops. But he’s a principled man and takes those who betray his trust seriously, as we’ve seen in the first episode where he shot Botan, who was his first love. She dies, but whether she died by his hands remain to be seen. Daniel is a handsome devil, he attracts girls like bees to honey, but he’s a one woman kind of man and doesn’t get swayed. He also has an amazing and loyal team who would and could do anything for him, but that is because he leads by example. Cool and calm as water, but exceptionally strong as steel. Can’t find a better hero in the lakorn world.

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FAHSAI (Pimmy Pimrapa) – Heroine. Errand girl and aspired writer for Lola Magazine. She leads a small life with her parents who run a restaurant out of their home. But one day she gets dumped by her 10 year boyfriend and embarks to Japan where her life changes forever. They say you have a twin somewhere in a different part of this world, and her lookalike is the late Botan. Fahsai saves a foreigner whom she calls Mr.Giant because he refuses to tell her his name. But she spends a few nights with the stranger and must part ways, though the experience and kiss remains with her. So much so, she is inspired to write a story about how a HK mafia falls in love with a Thai girl, but in the end, even if they don’t end up together, they are happy that once upon a time they were in love. Let’s hope that’s not an indicator of their fate. Fahsai is softhearted but very strong, that is one aspect that Daniel finds attractive about her. She falls in love with Daniel on the basis of his merit but also his beautiful heart.. body.. mind.. and his FACE.

BOTAN (also plays by Pimmy Pimrapa) – Grew up with both Daniel and Chernming, and was the middle man in their disputes. She ends up with Daniel but due to some unbeknownst betrayal, dies. Not much is known about her, but she caused many pains to Daniel and Chernming.

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CHERNMING (Boom Piyapan) – Hero’s rival and former bestie. Also leader of Suer Khao (White Tiger) gang due to dire straits. An artist at heart but must take on the reign of fearless leader because his father was murdered and his older bro was rendered mental – he blames his fate on Daniel and swears to exact revenge. Chernming wears his heart on his sleeves, emotional, and at times irrational. If Daniel is the water, this man is the fire, trying to incinerate anyone he thinks would cause him harm. He also holds a grudge with Daniel because of his unrequited love with Botan, and now, Daniel has become another rival to his new (perhaps another unrequited love) in Botan lookalike, Fahsai.

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PUI FAI (Namwan Ranapon) – Fahsai’s advocate, big sister-like and the best friend a girl can ask for. She’s a firecracker but loyal to a fault. This woman knows what she wants and goes after it, whether it is work or love. She is also Fahsai’s coworker and mentor. She bonds with Chern Piu through similar childhood traumas – both have lost their family – and is the person that will change him.

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CHERN PIU (Mek Juti) – Right hand man to Daniel. He’s a former member of Suer Khao but was taken under Daniel’s (Mungkorn Thong) wing after his own gang murdered his family in order to dethrone his father (the then leader of Suer Khao). The people who murdered his family is his very own uncle and cousin, Chernming’s dad and big bro, but Chernming doesn’t know this. Chern Piu wanted to die but Daniel gives him a new purpose in life and he devotes himself to the boss. Although very much alive, Chern Piu doesn’t know how to live, until he meets Pui Fai who says it is ok to smile and laugh and live like a normal person. Chern Piu is a hot headed and stubborn man, but also loyal to a fault. He cares so much about his boss that he does recon work on the backend, and protects his boss from any painful information. If he could take that pain away, he would.

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DR. EIT (Nontapan) – Fahsai’s ex-boyfriend. He cheated on her with Dr.Kwan, whom he thinks has a greener grass. He’s cowardly and doesn’t have the guts to confront people.

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DR. KWAN (Anisa) – Dr. Eit’s fiancé, and Fahsai’s mortal enemy apparently. She is competitive and has a complex – always fearing that she’s not #1. She thinks due to her family status, professional status and beauty, she could have any man she sets her sight on. After stealing Dr.Eit, she sets her caps on Daniel instead because he showed interest in Fahsai. And that simply won’t do.

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TIANG KONG (Supagon Gitsuwan) – Chernming’s right hand man, and the man that has been there from the get go. Because he has also served the late leader, his motives to me are still untrustworthy – like I don’t know if I could trust him, he just seems kinda shifty. What is clear though is that he’s trusted by Chernming and probably the reason why the manchild has hated Daniel till this day.

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CHUAN CHOM (Duang Dao) – Fahsai’s mom. She’s the light that guides Fahsai into problem solving, critical thinking and seeking out the truth for herself. Shipper of Cherming-Fahsai at the moment since she suspects Daniel is some sort of powerful mafia. As always, she’s spot on.

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KAWIN (Montree) – Fahsai’s dad. He’s a flirt but loves his wife dearly. Shipper of Daniel-Fahsai at the moment. Scolds Dr.Eit, and an all-around adorable father.

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CHERN SIEOW HAY YA (Nantasai Phitsalyabut) – Chernming’s big bro who lost his mind. Through flashbacks we have seen that he is cruel and merciless. He had been the one who killed Chern Piu’s mom point blank and burnt his father alive. Right now he is afraid of his own shadow and is under his little bro’s care.

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WONG FOIE (Lek Aisoon) – Daniel’s dad, and likes to control situations in the background. If he finds that his son isn’t doing his best to protect the best interest of the gang, he’d take matters into his own hands. Gang over son. He admits – and probably the reason why his son will go through a meltdown – that he killed and will kill anyone who stands in the way of Mungkorn Thong’s prosperity. Daniel doesn’t inherit dad’s ruthlessness, but he does inherit the good looks and stubbornness, as he’s not afraid to give Daddy-o a piece of his mind.

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PARIMA (Anyasana) – Daniel’s mom, she seems like a doting, kind mother. Daniel must have inherited her generosity and protector of the weak mentality.

DR. APIWAT (Paiboon) – Owner of the hospital where Dr.Eit and Dr.Kwan works at. He lets his daughter crush dreams and break hearts at her will.

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RAMAYT (Komsan Nantajit) – Editor in Chief of Lola Magazine. He’s responsible and a source of strength for his employees. But every now and then, he could bully a writer for the best interest of the firm. Right now, his firm is saved by Daniel – and although he doesn’t know why – he’s pretty sure that the big dragon is attracted to the little fish, aka Fahsai. Ramayt is astute and will find ways to ensure that his firm stands on.. firm grounds?

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NU TRA (Sopitsuda) – Assistant to the Chief and friends to Fahsai and Puifai. These are the Lola gang or powerpuff girls. She crushes on Officer Thep, but is not confident nor as lucky as her two friends. She wants to step out of the light of being an assistant, but too afraid to do anything about it. She’s the comedic side kick who, through her expression, is really us in this show.

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OLIVER (Ratatamanoon) – Hong Kong cop who courts Daniel for the black book. But when Daniel says he’s not ready to hand it over, Oliver pouts and decides to play for the other team.

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OFFICER THEP (Tapanat) – BKK’s inspector who’s after the foreign gangs that are currently frolicking in Thailand and wreaking havoc. He has a crush on Fahsai, and it doesn’t help that Daniel (his suspect) happens to be chummy with his crush.

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NU DEE (Pratamapon) – Marketing Lead. She’s one of the top gossip mongers and Fahsai’s antifan. Deep down she’s just jealous. She also spies for Dr. Kwan.

JANE (Ratawan) – Marketing lead’s assistant. She partners with Nu Dee to bully Fahsai at work.

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PARACHAI (Chat Mongkon) – Suer Khao’s hired hand in BKK. He likes to go off tangent from orders though, since he’s BKK’s ruthless gangster and prefers to do REAL jobs, like killing and pillaging, etc, not playing games for some love-induced little boss.

CHERN HAO (Tanongsak) – Chernming’s dad. He’s dead. But when alive, he was pretty scary.

CHERN JONG (Surasak) – Chern Piu’s dad. Also dead, but a nice leader to Suer Khao when alive.


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THE GIST OF THE STORY

We have two opposing gangs, Mungkorn Thong and Suer Khao of Hong Kong, who are being pitted against each other from an unknown third party. Long ago they seem to get along just fine, in fact, the sons of each of the leaders were best friends. In the world of gang leaders though, when one falls, there’s always another one waiting in line. Good versus bad lines are blurred, and what matters is who’s going to come out on top. Currently, the big dog in town is Mungkorn Thong, led by Daniel Wang. He tries to make peace with Suer Khao, since Chernming is his former best friend, but he’s still a business man at heart and in exchange of the “black book” which details all of Suer Khao’s dealings and proprietary gang information, Daniel wants to usurp all of Suer Khao’s business.

Chernming says thanks but NO THANKS. He finds his own means to capture that black book back, and that’s in Fahsai. After saving her dad, he bargains for her help in obtaining the black book from Daniel. Fahsai could not think of another way out of the debt so she concedes, against her better judgement, because she does care for Daniel, but she loves her father more. She’s torn between the two boys, in that she wants them to forgive each other and hold hands again, but she would kiss Daniel over Chernming any day. A part of her decide to help Chernming because he said that if he could find that black book, he might be able to wash his hands of this gang once and for all. Her attempt would be futile because there’s a larger power at play here, since every time Chernming gets closer to thinking that maybe Daniel isn’t a bad person, he gets his heart handed to him.

Daniel on the other hand strives to take his gang to the next level, by sheer legal and ethical standards. But when you have a deeply rooted gang that gets to where they’re at by doing illegal and unethical activities, it’s going to be hard put to set them straight. The main conflict is between Daniel-Chernming, Daniel-Daddy’o, Daniel-Suer Khao minions, and Daniel-Fahsai. The aforementioned conflict will test his most deepest desires, because if you don’t have that intricate support in your heart, can you really go on living and striving and thriving all alone? Is there anything else to live for? There are so many lonely people in this Show, I just want them to hold hands and sing kumbaya.


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THE ROMANCE AND RELATIONSHIPS

I am shipping Daniel and Fahsai hard. Not because they look good together, even though they do, but because their feelings are mutual and they let it be known even from the onset of this show. I like that the attraction and mutual feelings are established early so that we can see how their love plays out and whether they’ll become stronger over time or are driven apart. I love how Daniel attempts to stay away, thinking that her life would be less chaotic, not to mention less dangerous, if she just lead her normal life. I feel like normalcy is something Daniel strives for and would not take it away from someone. So for him to decide that he’s going to Thailand, to rescue Fahsai (and by default Lola Magazine), then to throw all caution to the wind and openly court her, he has made up his mind to choose love. Right now he thinks that he could have his cake and eat it too, because HE SHOULD (and don’t you prove me wrong Show!) so it’s going to be interesting to see how his dogged determination plays out.

The love triangle is going to be the death of me. With Botan, I think Daniel feels justified to date her because Chernming never had the guts to admit his feelings for the girl. But now that Chernming openly declares war of the hearts with Daniel over Fahsai, Daniel’s going to have his work cut out for him. So many things are against Fahsai and Daniel’s happily ever after that I’m wondering IF we will get one (we better!) There’s the age ole rich man poor girl, gangster love, Dad’s prohibition, and the fact that Fahsai is deceiving our guy. Is she going to turn out like Botan in more ways than one? There’s still a lot of mystery behind Botan’s death, maybe she was framed? Was it Suer Khao’s doing or was it Daddy’o’s doing? I don’t know but I am sitting on pins and needles about how Daniel and Fahsai’s relationship is going to manifest itself. The romance between these two- their faith in each other, their cute talks, and adorable chemistry – makes even the other characters in this show swoon and go green with envy.

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I also really like the balance of humor and romance doling out by our second leads, Pui Fai and Chern Pui. What makes their relationship poignant is that they have their own relationship arc, Pui Fai is the one showing Chern Pui that he does have the right to laugh and smile. She’s slowly cracking that shell that Chern Pui works so hard to keep together. He needs someone as generous and persistent as Pui Fai to fill some of the losses and hole in his heart. Not to mention, these two have some great chemistry together!

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I find that Nu Tra is our commentator in the show. Her reaction is priceless and she asks great questions. I don’t know how she and Officer Thep will go together, but they make me laugh.

In terms of the two doctors: since Dr. Kwan is head over heels for Daniel, Dr.Eit is going to get a taste of his own medicine. I’m not sure if I’m celebrating though, because I’d rather Dr. Eit continue dating Dr. Kwan and leave Daniel alone. But that’s wishful thinking because Dr. Kwan is the overly confident opponent who will pull out all of the stops to acquire Daniel. It’s a good thing Daniel is a MAN (unlike Dr. Eit) and knows how to be a gentleman but remain firm in his responses.

Another great pair that is already a pair is Fahsai’s mom and dad. I hope they both survive and continue to be sickening adorable with each other.

Lastly, the bromance! Ah, it’s about time lakorns realized that the love between brothers from another mother is almost as important as romantic love. Friendship truly fills the soul and it makes us love and understand why our characters become the way they are by the people around them. It’s sad to see the relationship fallout between Chernming and Daniel, because the flashback just shows how much they care about each other. I feel like Chernming NEEDS Daniel and without him in his life, this man is just destructive. Chen Pui and Daniel are also so adorable, I love the looks Daniel throws Pui’s way (the warning kind) and Chen Pui would look away sheepishly, he just hates disappointing Daniel.

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Expanding on the good looking gangsters of Mungkorn Thong:

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Left to right: Daniel (Mick), left hand man A-Jo (Ben Santi), right hand man Chern Piu (Mek Juti), A-Jiu (Fergie Fergal)mungkornthong7 mungkornthongdaniel

Shall I go on? Off tangent a bit.. but it seems part of the reason why they are so great onscreen together is because of the behind the scenes bromance:

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The relationship can change at any given time, seeing that we are just touching the tip of the iceberg, and I wait with crazy anticipation as Show throws our characters into upheaval- and we stare at our monitors with high anxiety as to who will come out changed for the better, who will come out changed for the worse, and who will remain steadfast in their convictions.

I just hope Daniel and Fahsai will overcome their obstacles and live to tell their kids the crazy story of how they met, found love, and are still, madly, deeply in love. Really Show, that’s all I ask. Kill anybody, but not my Faniel.

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