Date of Performance/Collection: 4-22-19
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Korean
The subject is a college freshman, born in South Korea before moving to the United States when they were 12 years old. I wanted to get to know more about any folklore they might have experienced growing up, so I conducted an interview with them to find out. They use this proverb very frequently while in Korea.
Subject: “Ghost who died while eating, looks good. That’s a rough translation.
Interviewer: A ghost?
Subject: “A ghost who died eating, looks good, like has good skin color, looks healthy” actually say looks healthy. So when someone’s debating, ‘should I eat this or not? Like I’ve had so much food today, but I really want this last donut.” Other person, like trying to persuade them into eating, “dude, like even a ghost who died eating looks healthy, you know? Like even a ghost, who’s a dead entity, but even that ghost, looks better, arguably, than other ghosts, and he died while eating, so you should eat!”
Interviewer: Okay, are they — what is the point, why do they look better when they’re eating?
Subject: Because food, food is good for you.
Interviewer: Okay that makes sense. Do you use that often?
Subject: Mostly just old people do.
Interviewer: Old people love proverbs.
Subject: It’s their meme.
Another Korean proverb here, this one again having to do with food. As I said earlier, Asian countries pride themselves on creating a communal dining experience. Korean barbeque restaurants for example make it a point to have the eaters cook their meats together, solidifying it as a group-effort.