Author Archives: kim952

Animal Dreams of Korea

  1. Original Scrip: If you have a dream and there’s a cute baby animal it means you’re pregnant, and if you have a dream where there’s a snake in your home, it means that something bad is going to happen to your family, like a robbery.
  • She learned this from hearing her mom talk to her friends about their kids having children and just discussing general future telling omens.
  • The context of the performance was when I asked her to explain it to me again. I had remembered seeing a scene portray this on a Korean soap opera and so I asked her to clarify what that had meant.
  • I think, again, it’s interesting how large of a role animals play in Korean culture. In another piece I learned from this performer there was a reference to animals. Furthermore, there’s always an emphasis of innocence and positivity associated with baby animals, therefore it makes sense to me that a baby animal here would represent a happy situation such as pregnancy here. However, I do think it’s really interesting how the snake represents a negativity or bad omen. This primarily reminds me of the story “The Little Prince” in which there is a scene of a snake in grass which eventually was the demise of the main character. I would imagine it has a connection to the Christian concept of temptation being presented in the Garden of Eden by a snake. However, this is interesting because that would imply influence by a more Western religion, not Buddhism or Confucianism.

That’s Ridiculous

  1. Original Script: 지나가던 개가 웃겠다
    1. Phonetic spelling: jee-nah kga-dun kgeh kga oos-kgedth-tha
    2. Transliteration: the passed dog would laugh
    3. Full Translation: the dog that’s passing by would laugh
  • She knows it because it’s something commonly said amongst a group of friends very comfortable with each other.
  • This is something she learned from her fellow college students and the alumni. It plays into the playful nature of Koreans who find a lot of enjoyment and opportunities to bond by making fun of each other.
  • It is usually said after somebody says something absolutely ridiculous, so ridiculous that even the dog passing by who hears a lot of ridiculous things every day would find it to be ridiculous.
  • I think it’s really interesting how there’s a culture built around the idea of banter and jokes in Korea, especially as a product of the aftermath of the Korean war. Older folks from an old Korean church I used to attend would always talk about how citizens today work harder on being happy and positive especially after the terrible event of the Korean War, even if it requires them jokingly insulting each other in order to find that happy mood.

You’re Really Dumb

  1. Original Script: 낫놓고 기역자도 모른다
    1. Phonetic spelling: Naht-noh co kgi-yuck-ja-doe moh-run-dah.
    2. Transliteration: Put down a knife the first letter you won’t know
    3. Full Translation: Even if there was a Korean machete next to you you wouldn’t recognize that letter
  • This is another one of those things that you pick up on because of the nature of “friendly” conversation amongst friends in Korean culture.
  • She learned it from her college friends who loved to show affection by picking on each other
  • What happens is a traditional Korean machete is shaped like the first letter of the Korean alphabet, ㄱ. The point of the joke is that the person this is being said to is so dumb that they wouldn’t recognize the first letter of their alphabet even if it was laid right in front of their eyes.
  • Context of performance: I was just asking if she knew any interesting Korean everyday phrases.
  • I think it’s interesting because in English there’s a similar phrase, I believe which is said to someone who’s saying something slightly dumb. We’d say something along the lines of “You’re so dumb you wouldn’t see it even if it was right in front of your eyes”. I also find this one interesting because it plays along to the playful banter culture of Korean friends where insulting each other is the way to show affection.

The Sorority Ghost

  1. Original Text: “I’m pretty sure there’s a ghost, not pretty sure. We’ve mentioned her a few times on (sorority Facebook page). The door swings open and shut for no reason. It’ll open and close. There’s a Bluetooth speaker that you have to flip a switch on and it makes the noise, and sometimes it’ll make the noise even without it. So sometimes I turn on music for her because I think that she likes music. Like to make her happy. I had a dream that the lights went off and someone whispered “she never left”. She’s here, doesn’t bother anyone. Don’t think she died here, probably died tragically after college but (sorority) was her happiest days so she came back. And she doesn’t want to leave. Nobody else is convinced but I’m convinced. She’s very low maintenance. People have always been talking about it. Maybe talk to other people? Only people who have lived in this room actually believe in her. And people who were friends with people who lived here”
  • She knows it because she lives with this supposed ghost and has tried to interact with her.
  • She didn’t really learn it from anybody because, as she mentioned before, it’s something she’s personally experienced. However, upon further investigation by herself with girls who have also lived with this ghost she’s discovered that a lot of others believe in her as well (they all assume the ghost is a she).
  • Context of performance: we were on the topic of ghost stories one day when we were hanging out.
  • I find it really interesting how those who have had to live with said ghost work to make sure she’s happy and that they’re catering to her needs. It’s also difficult for me, however, to accept ghost stories as such because I personally don’t believe in ghosts and I have yet to experience this ghost’s abilities. At the same time though, I really respect the person from whom I got this piece, so I don’t doubt that she’s actually seen the aforementioned spooky, and the only way to really explain those happenings would be through the idea of a ghostly presence which can be confirmed by other girls in the sorority.

Noodles for your Birthday

  1. “So on our birthdays we eat noodles because we believe that they’ll give us log life. Ya. It’s not like my family thinks if we don’t eat it we’re going to die sooner. It’s just that we’ve been doing it for so long we just keep doing it again.”
  • She knows it because she’s Filipino and it’s part of Filipino culture
  • She learned it from her family who practices this tradition and passed it on to her and her sisters
  • It’s just supposed to mean that eating noodles will give you long life if eaten on a birthday
  • Context of performance: we were just discussing various types of family traditions and culture
  • I think it makes a lot of sense, the idea of noodles representing longevity. Noodles are typically long, smooth, and consistent which would be the ideal type of life to lead as you grow. I just don’t know how I feel about the consumption of those noodles leading to long life, however. I don’t feel as if there would be any specific benefit to eating those noodles however there’s not really another way to connect with a symbol that’s a food besides eating it. I think it’s possible that they hope by consuming that food they are giving themselves the opportunity to be able to reflect the qualities of the noodles which they want to be representative of their lives.