“If the wind changed while I was making a face, it’d stick like that.”


“My grandfather told me that if the wind changed while I was making a face, it’d stick like that.”


The teller would hear this saying from their paternal grandfather (opa) when they were around eight to ten years old. The teller grew up in Singapore, and they would hear this saying from their grandfather in English. The grandfather grew up in Indonesia, though the teller is unsure if their grandfather learned the saying from there specifically. 


This particular quote is a variant of a common saying used by parents to warn children from making funny or extreme faces, leveraging a child’s fear of ugliness and perhaps permanence to prevent them from embarrassing either themselves or their parents when in public. The threat of the saying collected here is notably based on the random chance of the wind changing rather than any choice that the child has control over, perhaps in order to instill more fear of and consistency in the threat itself. There is also perhaps a real fear of paralysis that forms some foundation for the saying; I’ve certainly heard from friends in the past that they were afraid of getting a stroke while making a funny face and having their faces paralyzed like that. While a hypothetical and rather extreme scenario, it certainly lines up with the fear of random chance and permanence presented in this saying.