Friday, August 8, 2008

#43 Death

Let's face it, Korean Moms are obsessed with death and dying. Not just any kind of death and dying, but the kind you wish you could witness. Have you ever heard your Korean Mom tell you not to turn on the electric fan in your room with the door closed or you will suffocate? They will say this to you, not in their gentle soothing voice (whatever that sounds like...), but they will scream it at you in their super sonic Korean Mom voice which only wild animals and ghosts can hear. As if you were secretly planning on dying this way, and she found you out. It almost makes you want to try it just to escape the piercing sound. Almost.

Korean Moms are a walking advertisement for 'Do not attempt this at home'. They will hammer amazing ways to die into your head even as a little kid. They have single handidly raised an entire generation of people with secret phobias. I admit that I am currently afraid of whistling at night. My Korean Mom told me that if I do this, thieves will rob me blind...hence, I now only whistle before noon.

Death is the consequence of choice for a Korean Mom. If she wants to teach you a lesson, or keep you away from something, she will tell you that it will kill you. Not that it will give you cavities, or ruin your moral character. No. She will flat out tell you that you will die. Some Moms informatively tell you to look both ways before crossing the street. Korean Moms don't hold back. They tell it like it is. If you do that...you're gonna die beyotch. According to my Korean Mom I should have already died several times over from Fan Death, eating too much Shin Ramyun, picking my nose, and talking back. Once, my Korean Mom told me that if I drink too much Coke-a-Cola, my skin would turn black...the equivalent of death to a Korean Mom.

-Kudos to Anonymous for the idea!

ps- Good to be home! Thanks for all the times I peed a little reading your comments. This is like free group therapy.

87 comments:

AmyB said...

haah! My mom calls everything, "Poison".

Those Little Debbie lunch snacks?

Poison.


Korean moms also love to tell you that none of your friends are "real friends".

Also, leaving price tags on presents. My mom always peels off the clearance sticker and wraps the present with the retail price, so people will "know" she spend so much "waste money" just for them.

Eileen said...

eating toast with any burnt bits on it was a surefire path to death with my Korean mom

Julie said...

How about how Korean moms tell you that it's going to make you handsome or beautiful if you do things you DON'T want to do?

Like eating the crusts on bread. Make you beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Eileen is dead on! don't eat burned pizza crust! You will die instantly!

Anonymous said...

Can we seriously talk about the fan thing? Is that for real? Who are these mythical people who are dying in their sleep because they left a fan on?

My KM also freaks out if I sit on anything cold. She is maddeningly unspecific about exactly HOW this will kill me, but I get the impression that it is something Internal Female Parts-related that she can't bring herself to articulate. She claims to "know" "tons" of people who have become paralyzed and/or killed by sitting on such cold surfaces. When I ask who these people are, I get mumblings and vague plainly-invented "friends of [real person]" explanations, followed by her violently shoving me off the cold surface and an abrupt change of topic.

generika. said...

Or how your mere presence in K-town at night - night constituting anytime after 6pm, even by summer extended daylight standards - will surely leave you the victim of a drive-by shooting.

Anonymous said...

ohhhh..the death threats from my KM!...I hate cleaning the kitchen sink after I wash dishes..my mom always tried to scare me by saying my grandma used to always tell her you need to clean out the sink trap or "something bad will happen to you"- its happened to "many ladies she knows".....like I didn't see through her ploy to get to me throw the shit away!! ohhh...thats just one of the money.

She also says that one day we are going to find her dead in bed with yellow skin because my dad "pan goos" allllll night! LOL..apparently shes going to be poisoned to death!

Anonymous said...

ohhhh..the death threats from my KM!...I hate cleaning the kitchen sink after I wash dishes..my mom always tried to scare me by saying my grandma used to always tell her you need to clean out the sink trap or "something bad will happen to you"- its happened to "many ladies she knows".....like I didn't see through her ploy to get to me throw the shit away!! ohhh...thats just one of the money.

She also says that one day we are going to find her dead in bed with yellow skin because my dad "pan goos" allllll night! LOL..apparently shes going to be poisoned to death!

Anonymous said...

ohhhh..the death threats from my KM!...I hate cleaning the kitchen sink after I wash dishes..my mom always tried to scare me by saying my grandma used to always tell her you need to clean out the sink trap or "something bad will happen to you"- its happened to "many ladies she knows".....like I didn't see through her ploy to get to me throw the shit away!! ohhh...thats just one of the money.

She also says that one day we are going to find her dead in bed with yellow skin because my dad "pan goos" allllll night! LOL..apparently shes going to be poisoned to death!

Sue said...

Eileen said...
eating toast with any burnt bits on it was a surefire path to death with my Korean mom

OMG I totally forgot about this until I read it. That's right - burnt anything (toast, kalbee, pizza) will cause death. But interestingly enough, they can't cram the burnt rice down your throat fast enough.

Also a little off topic but:

Walking outside with wet hair causes bronchitis.

Sitting too close to the TV causes blindness.

A lick from a dog gives you worms.

Kissing gives you cavities.

Cutting your eyelashes or fingernails makes them grow faster.

Julie said...

Ha ha, another dimension to the KM death obsession is how much they talk about their own death; the whole "when I am dead, only then will you appreciate me" thing. Also, when things get hard (either physically or emotionally), they cry out to the heavens for their own death (e.g. "Kill me now please!").

JLee said...

How about KMs making you do things that can or may actually kill you.... like when you risk choking to death because they make you eat everything off a chicken bone including the cartilidge so you "no waste food" or say it's okay to eat fish bones the size of a 3 inch needle as long as you "gok gok shee buh" because they don't have the patience to watch you pick out every piece that protrudes out of the flesh....or when they make you eat rotten fruit because 1/8 of it is still a normal color or it's just "mong dul uh suh"....

Seoul Brother said...

I know OldMom thinks she's gonna live past her death like a Jedi Master, but she forgets one obvious detail ; she's a friggin' Sith Lord!

But seriously, OldMom doesn't like death, OldMom IS death. Before I was born, one of my legions of uncles on my pop's side came over to visit. Or more appropriately came over to drink enough for any random 3 blocks of the St' Paddy's Day Parade. OldMom got fed up with this bullshit, and she went out for a drive to cool off. Pop stumbled out to ask where she was going as he staggered in front of the car. What did OldMom do?

She plowed through him, and he rolled off the front of the car as she sped off. They were married forever, or at least that's what it felt like. It was either love or the fear that she was gonna channel the spirit of Steve McQueen if pops got out of hand.

Top that!

sandra said...

This is hilarious (and so scarily true)! I told my white boyfriend to read it to gain insight into my mom. I've been reading him parts and he's amazed at what my KM has said to me.

My KM told me if I walked around Korea by myself, I would be kidnapped by bad men, they would chop off my legs, and then sell me for prostitution. Yup.

Anyway, here's stuff my KM has done, but I'm not sure all have done so:
- Believes her spit helps you when you have a mosquito bite
- Compare you to every other Korean child and wonder why she didn't have a better child (maybe boys don't have to face this as much as girls...) even though you have done everything she wants of you
- I was an ugly child and actually got better looking as I grew up. My mom reminds of this every single time I see her
- Expect you to buy her stuff. If you don't, she'll tell stories of how so-and-so's daughter bought her a name-brand purse or something
- Complain about said gifts, saying it's too small or the wrong color or whatever, not say thank you, but when you're not around brag about what her child bought her

I'm sure I can think of more. Thanks for such a great blog!

Anonymous said...

generica, forget just K-town. I am in my 30s and my mother still sincerely believes I obey a strict sundown curfew. No point disillusioning her; she'd never sleep a wink again.

kiatortilla said...

Haha! Not eating anything burnt....so true. Because it causes cancer and you will die. Stting on anything cold will cause chi-jeel (hemerroids)!

parksalot said...

i never understood the fan one... thanks for writing about it. i think my mom told me that having a fan on you while sleeping would give me a stroke or something...

please write a post about laughing and crying at the same time... the egg monster... possibly a post about rice and rice cookers, laundry, power usage, and dimly lit rooms. oh and those lame as "funny" books that tell jokes like "how old is a cucumber" ha ha!!! NO!

Amy said...

I have an Italian Mom and she sounds remarkably like a KM. She is also always warning me of impending death- boiling things in microwaves, not letting the TV "rest" enough, and as mentioned, sitting on cold outdoor surfaces. Also the plastic bag and condiment packet obsession. She too loves her "stories"- read soap operas, and she likes WWF wrestling and thinks its real. I could also weigh 220 and she would claim she could snap my clavicle like a chicken bone. Freaky.

Wife and Mommy said...

Thank you for this blog! I'm having a great time reading and laughing over your oh-so-true descriptions. And, my not-Korean husband is learning that my mom isn't so unusual as far as Korean moms go!

I'd like to plug your blog in my mine. Hope you don't mind. Email me if you'd rather I not.

the ender said...

Hold up... you mean, death by fan is not real? You know if you're lying, you're going to die... only after growing horns.

jennifer west said...

I'm so addicted to this site, now. It's only been a couple days since you last posted, but I'm already experiencing withdrawals.

Fencerider said...

My KM happens to be my wife. Your blog is so funny it made me blow miyukgook through my nose while I was reading it. My wife came in when she heard the ruckus and gave me the stankeye when she saw the mess. I quickly clicked 'x'
"what's so funny?" she demanded.
"nothing, dear"
more stank eye...followed by teethsucking and tsking.

Hello Cho said...

Ok, most of your moms stuck to common things that other KMs believe, like burnt toast, whistling, sitting on cold things, at night and fan death. In addition to that stuff, my mom plain old made shit up in order to control us. For example - you will die if you eat seafood and something sweet in the same meal (I think that comes from not wanting to pay for soda at the seafood restaurant). Another good one was that if you are eating somewhere, and you switch seats and continue to eat elsewhere you will get a divorce. A couple years ago, my mom made me switch seats to somewhere else while I was eating - when I asked her about the divorce superstition she asked me "would you rather be happy and divorced or miserable and married?"

Son of Your Mother's Friend said...

Yes, fan death is very real (unfortunately). The issue has been already covered extensively by expat bloggers in Korea. Here is a newspaper article for reference (in Korean):
http://article.joins.com/article/article.asp?total_id=3242070&ctg=1200

Janet said...

oh god this website is brilliant. you've been following my mom around. Here's some other ones. Korean moms have so many:

1) The "HOMEDRESS". Long mu mu type outfits to wear at home watching korean dramas and making their kids practice violin.

2) Asking really personal biological questions about why you don't have kids if you are married for more than 9 months. Maybe "your biology not work".

3) Overfeeding you and your friends at every opportunity.

4) Eating all of the leftovers your toddler slobbered on since so many people were hungry during the korean war.

5) Carry your newborn with the wobbly head around on her back with a thin piece of cloth because that's what halmuni's do.

6) Telling everyone her cooking is better than everyone's including all the best korean restaurants so we never go out to eat ever.

7) Assuming their kids are the ATM and demanding a few hundred dollars here and there because "I NEED!"

8) Saunas, spas, massages, etc.

9) Telling you that you've gained weight, lost weight, look old, look young, got too much sun, not groomed well, and every other korean girl has nicer skin than me.

10) Small feet. Can't understand why my size 7.5's are so huge and unladylike whenever I take shoes off to come into her house.

Anonymous said...

The number 4. Why it's bad. It's the 13 of Asian culture. I cannot buy 4 of anything. One cannot live on the 4th floor, don't have the number 4 in anything if it could be avoided at all costs!!!

Anonymous said...

My KM told me that if I thought about eating fattening food after eating, I would consume twice the number of calories.

Anonymous said...

Hi there,
I'm new to this blog, but I have to say that I find it incredibly amusing and accurate. It also helps me validate all my stories to my white husband, who (I think) secretly thought I was a pathological liar until he looked at this site.

Regarding the fan death- My parents bought us a Korean made electric fan because they said all the American ones are "loud and ineffcient." Well, in the manual there are several warnings, complete with illustrations. One of these happens to be of a person sleeping with the fan on and there are Xs for eyes. That's right everyone, this poor cartoon person didn't listen to their KM and DIED 'cause they left the fan on. The manual warns you not to partake in such risky activities.

It's amazing that this urban legand is still being spread.

Joanna said...

oh my GOD - I love your blog! I did the same thing as Sandra and fwded your blog to my white bf so that he can get some kind of understanding behind my crazy KM.

I forget if you've covered this - but sleeping on the floor in the living room/downstairs during the summer when it's "too hot" in the bedroom on top of their bed.

And driving 200 miles to get lobster if it's $5 cheaper than just around the corner.

I still can't sleep with a fan on for fear of death. And the first thing my KM asks me when I call her is, "What did you eat today" and respond to whatever I said, "oh, too fattening - you'll get fat" or "oh, not good enough - go home and eat some bbap"

And yes - burnt anything will cause death. "YOU WILL DIE!"

dreams2ashes said...

man i can read this stuff over and over and not get tired of it lol i love ur style

free group therapy ahahahahaha!!!

tinsta said...

How about not smiling in photos and telling you that you shouldn't smile because it looks fake? Great site, btw. I laughed so hard I cried...

Anonymous said...

i LOVE this blog!
my korean mother LOVES to jansori. EVERY time i talk to her, i get the same ones: dont cook food in the microwave bc it will kill you. dont eat food from a can, its bad and it will kill you. dont eat lots of fatty foods (i.e. certain cuts of pork or beef, fast food, etc) bc it will kill you AND you'll get fat before you die. meanwhile, she cooks me the exact foods mentioned above cuz i like it. she will also tell me how fat i am while stuffing me with food.

*sigh* i love my mother though. =)

Rhymes said...

Great site, very few blogs actually make me lol. keep up the good work

Anonymous said...

speaking of Korean hokus pokus...
my KM taught me that if my stomach hurt, like really really hurt, and neither hot tea or rubbing will make it stop, I'm supposed to prick my thumb and squeeze the blood out. The blood should look black, and if it does, and you relieve the pressure, your stomach will feel better.
I made my poor college roommate do this to me when I was a freshman in college. I put her on the phone with my KM and she got step by step instructions. AMAZINGLY it worked. She was freaked out, but at the time I was thanking baby Jesus for Korean hokus pokus. Any idea why this works?

(ps: with the whistling at night, my mom didn't say we'd get robbed blind, but she did say whistling at night will make snakes come into my bed while i'm sleeping. Why do KM's hate to hear whistling at night???)

Chanandaler said...

Re: the whistling at night. My grandmother used to yell at me at night for whistling because she said I was inviting the snakes out. ?! I would whistle just to spite her crazy, old jansori and then she'd whap me with a wet rag (heng-ju)

Anonymous said...

anonymous.
it's called accupuncture.

Anonymous said...

Maybe this is a Chinese mom thing, but what about not eating the gray stringy part of the inside of a crab (near the oh-so-valuable eggs and other organs) because it will "make you lose voice forever"?

Oh, and once you've opened an aluminum can, you absolutely cannot store the contents in the fridge in the open can. This will cause said contents to become "poison".

Karen said...

Great blog!! I peed my pants a few times.
Aww, I miss my Korean Mom who even washes and reuses all plastic plates and utensils. Sometimes, aluminum foil too.

Twizzle said...

I guess I'm a crazy Korean mother because I recently told my four year old that if she went into the street, she might get hit by a car and DIE!

About the phobia of sitting on cold surfaces, like metal, marble, or tile... such cold surfaces make women infertile, dontcha know?

Love this blog.

Anonymous said...

yup, my KM says whistling after dark will make snakes come to you.

Also: don't talk about monkeys. Bad luck, or you'll become a whore, or something.

Also: it's best not to laugh in the morning, but if you do, make sure not to laugh TOO hard, because then it's guaranteed something will happen before sundown to make you weep just as hard. Uh-huh.

Anonymous said...

Omg, this is hilarious. My mom insists that I will catch cold if I leave the ceiling fan on or I don't wear socks. So, its not death, but its the same principle!

hwardo said...

My mom's a pathologist (see CSI:Major U.S. City) so she limited her "death threats" and used a tour of the lab she worked in as an example. For instance, when I got caught chewing tobacco in high school, I immediately was whisked away to her hospital lab where she showed me slides of oral maladies that go beyond the finest CGI special effects out there. As far as further displays of power go, watching your mom work the power tools during an autospy is, well, quite convincing of what power she has over the subject of death...

Anonymous said...

what about never take photos of someone sleeping, esp. a baby b/c it will make them die.

if you had a stomach ache as a child did your KMs rub your stomach while singing the song (translation) "down down, go down. mothers hand is medicine hand" ?

speaking of KMs talking about dying, did your KM ever pretend she was actually dead? Mine did!! She and my dad got into a huge fight at our deli (yes, we had a deli and yes, i was worked the register as soon as i could add and subtract). she left and went home. Later when my dad and i got home we opened the front door and she was layed out on the foyer floor with a bottle of jack Daniels in one hand acting as if she had drank herself to death (even though she never drinks). My dad played along--he gave me a wink and said he was going to call 911. she immediatley came back to life.
is this normal KM stuff or is my mom beyond KM?

dreams2ashes said...

lol yeah sleeping with the fan on and sitting on cold surfaces always leads to death with my KM

Heres one:

Not driving people home.... whenever one of my friends needed a ride my mom HATED driving them

but all the white Moms are like "Sure I'll give you a ride!!" KMs just give a BIG sigh and stank eye at you and then regretfully agree. They also ask you "why doesn't she have a ride????"

and if the friend happens to be korean, the KM will give her the 3rd degree that follow this order:
1. What college are you going to?
2. What did you get on your SATs?
3. What are you majoring in?
....
...
10. What's your name?

my heart would sink everytime my friend would ask for a ride... only b/c i hated asking my KM b/c it just pissed her off

Anonymous said...

This blog is awesome!!! My KM told me that my face would get crooked, lopsided, and smushed if I slept with the fan on in my room b/c the air would stretch out my face or something. She actually did not mention the death part, but I guess for her, having a smushed face might as well be death. LMAO--thanks so much for writing this!

ATK said...

LOL my mom said that if I sleep with a fan blowing in my face, I'd get a stroke. And she's Burmese!

Charming Handle said...

Oh yeah. My mom told me I'd die instantly if I got hit in the boobs too hard. I don't know where that came from.

Charming Handle said...

Oh! Also, I'd get sick and die a slow painful death if I ever slept without covering my stomach. Again, not sure where that came from.

Charming Handle said...

Oh! Also, I'd get sick and die a slow painful death if I ever slept without covering my stomach. Again, not sure where that came from.

kokkiri said...

the whistling/snake thing has to do with korean shamanism -- snakes are supposed to house the souls of the dead, or something.

best KM death story ever:

i was told not to wear red nail polish by both my mom and halmoni (hahm) because if i died and my body washed up on the riverbank, the police wouldn't bother looking for my family b/c they would know i was a prostitute. and that i must have deserved it.

NGF said...

fan death = possible

sleeping drops your core body temp...having a fan on all night can lead to a cold...

the elderly, sickly, and very young are more susceptible to developing more serious illnesses, like pneumonia, possibly leading to death...

solution: buy a fan with a sleep timer (i've got one..and it has a remote control!...it's awesome)

Korean Cuisine said...

hahaha. thanks for bringing back memories. i recently proved to someone (old-Korean) that is it NOT true and is in fact an urban legend. =P

Shannon said...

My mom once told me that if I bounce my leg, like you would if you were bored/tense/nervous or perhaps had to go to the bathroom, then all the good luck would run out of my foot. I hate to admit it but to this day when I catch myself doing it I'll try to reason that I have my shoes on so the good luck is there and will get reabsorbed into the body. Just in case, I make sure I either drag my feet where I was bouncing or make sure my heels are flat on the ground...to help the process along.

Anonymous said...

Ha! My Korean dad is always telling me that shaking my leg means I'm shaking money away!

Anonymous said...

My kmil is also one who doesn't necessarily threaten with death, but xyz is bad for you and when it comes to death, SHE is always the one who might die. For example, after both of her sons got married she announced, "now I can die!" When she insists on cleaning the floor on her hands and knees, she just keeps chanting over and over again. I am guessing it is the, "kill me now please" chant.

Oh, and my mil is obsessed with bad things for your joints. If you drink anything cold, it's bad for your joints. If you don't wear socks, it'll will give you sore joints forever. If you use air conditioning, it will give you sore joints forever. If you don't wear long sleeve clothes, it will give your sore joints. What is weird is that, even with all of her joint superstitions that she follows religiously, my kmil has sore joints!!!! I don't think I'll be taking her advice!

mmcc said...

My KMom doesn't want me to go to parks alone because she believes that I will be hit on by gay people if I am alone.

Anonymous said...

my omma told me if i played with fire at night i would wet my pants!

Anonymous said...

How about if you stay in the bath too long you'll get sick and die?

And early gray hair for men means they'll be rich. For women, it just means you're ugly.

Crystal said...

My KM tells me I'll die if I let my dog lick my face. Literally. Die.

Anonymous said...

Oh great, so I guess that I'm ugly, b/c my hair is greying early! Lol! And it has nothing to do with my kmil's doing that my hair turned grey early?!?!? She actually been a pretty big source of stress for me over the past decade.

Anonymous said...

My KM is obsessed with cancer. Burnt stuff-cancer. Being in the same room while using the microwave-cancer. All of my moles-cancer. Cellphone in my pocket-cancer. Some of these are probably true in excess and are not exclusive to KMs.

Mrs. Seoul said...

My mother always said that anything colored blue would cause cancer and thus we could never have blue icing, icing was off limits anyway as it would cause some sort of deadly demise as well.
Get a group of Korean mothers together and they will tell you 500things not to do or eat bc it will cause you to die. This only leaves room to do the one of the following:
1. eat only rice and kimchi
2. pray constantly
3. get a picture of Jesus to hang in your home
4. read the bible over and over again

...this could also be why I am so obsessed with death...hmmm

Randi said...

oh my gosh this is so hilarious and so true! i'm an american teaching english in south korea and i think this will be a useful tool in helping me to understand koreans! lol at least the moms!

monchhichi said...

according to my korean mom, if you eat too much ramyun - you will get cancer for sure.
and whistling at night? will make snakes come out, i don't know what they would do when they came out. but chances are they would eat me alive or something.

Anonymous said...

my halmuni did the same needle pricking thing on all of us and IT ALWAYS WORKED. I just started seeing an acupuncturist who told me that in fact it makes perfect sense...because its a major point for digestion!

that is if the "holang i" didn't come get me because I whistled in the night.

Anonymous said...

lol my KM once said that if i dont finish all my food, Im going to have to eat it ALL when I die! like theres a big plate of leftovers filling up in the afterlife.

also whenever I tell her some part of my body hurts she blows it off by saying "oh! you must be growing" but she will take me to a dermatologist anytime

Anonymous said...

My halmuni used to say that if I poked around in my belly button, the air would start coming out of there, and kill me!
How crazy is that?
Sadly, I still may believe it...
NO one is allowed to go near my button.

Ivy said...

Japanese mother tells me not to whistle at night, because I will attract spirits. I can not face the north when I sleep because only dead people face that way.

Anonymous said...

my mom says all this stuff too! ic ould probably fry my brain cells by lying on a heating blanket. and one time my friend, my brother and me were watching a movie in this basement room and we had the door closed. it was like midnight and we were sleepin in that room and she all of a sudden comes in screaming, "you could sufficate!!" i know its probably true but i had to walk all the way to my room and start over and go to bed again... lol
she also wants me to tell her everything i do. "what you typing?!?! is it to boys?? ehhhh?!?!?"
my friends laugh with me...
"YOU STINKY SARAH, TAKE SHOWER!!!"
or you die... :-)

Zak said...

Wow, I was actually looking for something to help me with my crazy K wife, but obviously she can't be helped, shes not talking to me right now because I made her clean her belly button (which she thinks is now going to make her sick because its still a hole inside of her body). Hopefully shell stop giving me the Korean look and reciprocate my seranghe

the fan thing, I always wondered why she hated the fan at night!!

whistling in Europe use to be what thieves used to communicate maybe that has something to do with the robbed blind one, but the snakes thats far out!

I always burn the kalbi, bulgogi and eat it she HATES that too, cancer and death...

shaking my legs is always a no no, luck "goes out"

EVERY THING IS ABOUT LUCK AND DEATH AND MONEY, she always has to refer to her "fortune teller" before anything big happens.

I'm still amazed that I never noticed her dirty belly button and we've been together for over 3 years, she literally FREAKED when I made her clean it, and by her I mean I had to physically clean that thang out, we even had to call a korean doctor (one with an actual phd not a medicine doctor from jeju er whatever) before she would allow me to touch her "bb"

what have I gotten myself into?

heres a good one though, I never have to buy her shoes because if I do, that means I'm never going to see her again, obviously jimmy choo was a Chinese guy not Korean

John said...

Times I have heard "Ge guh hae da ga" and "joog us suh": 644,454 and counting encompassing things like driving a manual transmission car, bicycling, and bul jang nam (playing with fire), which apparently also induces bed wetting.

jane said...

omg..my mom just told that if i sleep with the fan on and door closed, i will DIE!!
lol and i asked where she heard that, she responded "i dont know, but its true", so I told her that I'll try it and let her know if it's true.. puahaha

also, I asked all the non-korean moms if they know about deaths caused by fans in closed rooms.. NOPE, no one has heard of that.

Anonymous said...

1. If you play w/ fire you will wet your bed.
2. Don't write a name in red ink or they will die
3. Burnt food will cause death or cancer
4. Only a mom's hand rubbing the belly will cure a stomach ache
5. Fan overnight will cause death
6. When the weather changes rapidly the elderly will get strokes
7. Dreams of poop will result in money or some fortune
8. Dreams of teeth will result in injury of loved ones
9. Sandwiches are not considered food, only Korean soup is
10. Marrying an ugly rich man will result in a long, happy marriage

Anonymous said...

All of your posts are funny but this is truly funny! Last summer I visited Korea with my infant daughter, and I was forbidden to turn on the fan at night by my MIL because the baby might die of suffocation. She wouldn't let me open the windows because the breeze in the morning might give her a cold. Koreans are obsessed about not being cold too, but I think that's a Korean-korean thing.

Oh, one more thing is insisting that you keep warm (more like exhaustingly hot) at 100 degrees weather (long-sleeve, thick socks and all) after giving birth. Maybe you can write about that if you've seen anyone around you go through the same experience.

Gloria said...

omg, the fan thing! i thought my parents were the only crazy ones ...

whatitis said...

One time as a child we were eating watermelon for dessert and my mom told me if I swallowed a seed, it was gonna come out through my urine.

i'm 23 now and i only buy seedless watermelon :P

Anonymous said...

There is even a wikipedia article on fan death. I still can't sleep with a fan on at night. My KM also told me that I would die if i ate ice cream after seafood.

sally said...

When I was little, my mom told me that if I laugh too much... I will DIE!

it WAS terrifying

Karen said...

I'm native american and lost my Mom in April. I was browsing the web for links on mothers when I came across this blog. I have to say it made me smile and you Koreans seem like a fun bunch.
It reminded me so much of my Mom, Aunt, Grandma, etc. Some of the things Native Moms say are different like "don't point at a rainbow or your back will get crooked" and "don't sit in a doorway when you're pregnant or you will have a breach birth" :), but some are the same like "Going outside with wet hair will give you bronchitis (mine was pneumonia). Thanks for the smile anyway.

Maida said...

I just read about the Fan Death from Ask a Korean. The thing that made me really laugh was your one line: "not in their gentle soothing voice (whatever that sounds like...)." :D I love how trut that is. Haha!

And most of the dying myths and such I've never heard of. Maybe it's because I'm half Korean or maybe my mum doesn't want me to follow all of her culture. But I enjoy reading about them. :D

Anonymous said...

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Thanks

effbit said...

OMFG. Whistling after dark?

My mother told me that it would attract snakes!!!

Now, please imagine, growing up in Ireland, the horror I felt at the idea of being the sole reason for the snakes St. Patrick drove out to return to the island.

To this day I still don't do it, and stop those around me, logic be damned.

This blog is AMAZING - please keep it up!!!

Dori Dori! said...

omg this is same in my situation. EXSACTLY SAME THINGS.

about the whistling, this rumor is actually from Japan. When ninjas were around they would signal each other by whistling. Therefore, people could be mistaken for someone who they are not.

So why would Japanese rumor end up in Korean moms ? Why because nearly half a century of Japanese colonization. This makes perfect sense.

Now about the dying thing, I can't explain it. Everytime I eat Ramen, my mom (now my sister), will scream at me saying it's going to kill me. If I add just a bit extra salt, they say its going to give me heart attack. If I add a scoop of sugar they say I'm going to get diabetes.

It's obvious korean moms suffer from bad case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Judy said...

Oh. My. Gosh. I am a doctor. I consider myself intelligent, well educated... and my KM graduated Suma Cum Laude from her university once upon a time....

Fan Death is a huge topic of discussion at my house. I have been pulled aside and confronted Intervention Style... by both my parents...when I allowed my child to sleep with a fan in the room... and the sitting on a cold surface thing.... Yeesh!
It doesn't matter that I am a physician. Korean Mom's know best... the GUILT of feeding my kids BBQ with the slightest bit of char... Tang Guh Muk Gee Mah....
I also caught myself telling my daughter and son that if they don't hold my hand in the street, they will die.... Help!!

Judy said...

Oh, and don't forget the "don't play with matches or you'll do she she at night". They just told my three year old that his Jah Gee will fall off if he plays with fire...

unchienne said...

Oh gosh. I should take a break from reading these entries as I'm laughing so hard that my stomach muscles ache. Yes, death was all around me as well. The fact that I prefer to sleep on top of the covers (freeze to death), allowed rain to touch me (death by pneumonia), drank a bottle of my mom's Bacchus D (worms would soon grow in my belly), and snuck out one night to go to a party with my best friend (God himself was going to strike me dead for that one and there was nothing she could do about it) all ensured that it was a miracle I'd lived past my teens.

Norehrah said...

I have to say, after reading all of this, I had to drag my mom in my room and say..."omma bah yo, there are others that actually know my pain!!" She, of course, just said "jee rah ha goo neh", and said "kuh reh, now you believe me, huh?"...

My KM also said the whistling at night brought snakes, which were the "evil spirits".
She also said that sweeping at night brought bad luck, sleeping with that fan on caused you to swell up and suffocate, playing with fire equals wetting the bed...
sleeping with the head broad on the north wall is bad luck because only the dead lay that way...
Oh and crying during the morning hours not because you are hurt, but because your throwing a tantrum(any children)will cause the whole house to suffer bad luck.
Moving furniture was allowed only on the days that say "9 and 10" on the calendar (the numbers below the date on a Korean calender).
Shaking your leg means your shaking all of the good luck away...
The thread and the needle thing was a remedy for all ailments in my family as well...
"omma sohn-yi, yak sohn-yi dah" (momma's hand is medicine hand)...
Men have to be the first to walk through her front door followed by any other women on New Years day because the man brings good luck and the woman brings bad luck...
Being outside during bad weather results in death, especially thunder storms...
I have so much more...but