Residence: Los Angeles
Date of Performance/Collection: April 9, 2013
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Korean
“A certain candy called yeot (엿) is often eaten or gifted before big tests in South Korea. This traditional candy is very sticky, kind of like a harder caramel. Therefore, eating such a sticky candy should help the answers stick in your mind before the test.”
My informant, Grace, said that this is a more recent tradition that developed amongst students, as pressures to do well in studies grew and expectations for test scores became higher. For her, it’s kind of a sad tradition because it shows the desperation of the students in South Korea to which succeeding in school is extremely important and causes large amounts of stress.
This tradition seems cute, eating a sticky candy to make answer stick. However, I do agree that it shows the changes in Korean society, as schooling turns more and more rigorous. I assume that students gifted these candies are under much pressure to perform well, if their parents present things such as this, it could serve as encouragement but may also add pressure as it shows the expectations of the parents for good scores.