A while ago there was this viral social media game that goes “Tell me you are from [a country name] without actually telling me you are from [that country]”. My favourite about Korea was “밥 몇 개 볶을까?” (which still cracks me up! 😂). Belatedly, here is my entry: K-dessert.
Category Archives: Cyworld inertia
Blast from the past 
Apparently Cyworld is coming back. Well, they have been saying so for years, and hence scepticism is understandable. Not everyone welcomes the news either, as it means you will have to embrace your cringeworthy photos and journal entries from 20 years ago.
I, for one, will always have a soft spot for it. No matter what shiny new things come along, I will never have the same level of energy and caring. I really put my heart into maintaining that little digital allotment.
I am still only given glimpses into the full archive, but here is a timely one that my baby sister has recovered for me. Awww, look at the 2-megapixel digital camera that I used to carry all the time with me.
- 100 ways to slightly improve your life without really trying (The Guardian, 2022)
- 100 ways you can make the world a better place (The Guardian, 2000)
Reading these two articles, published 22 years apart, side by side has given me many feelings. I am no stranger myself to tirelessly making such lists and being all hopeful (e.g. here, here, here, here, and here). For this year, however, I have a much toned-down one.
📌 File away papers as they come in.
📌 No new proposals.
📌 Resume yoga.
📌 Move into Ugly. Really move in.
Bye bye 2021
On the slow mend from a sickly December. The past few days have been particularly bad. At first I couldn’t believe that my precious winter break was disappearing through my fingers just like that, but according to my 사람 잡는 다이어리™, it looks like this has indeed been a yearly pattern and I have been refusing to acknowledge it.
Now the additional complication is that when noticing a “bodily glitch“, I can’t quite be sure if it is simply a part of ageing (and hence to be embraced), or if it is something to act upon, Covid or otherwise.
Anyway, I have had no choice but to lie down and ‘recharge’ for a week straight. Perhaps there is some goodness to that.
Flex your age.
I don’t know if this is a thing at the moment, but I have noticed in my social media timelines, both in Korean and in English, that people are competitively sharing memories from their childhood that a young person of today would not understand. (What has shocked me most is that children have an entirely different hand gesture for ‘being on the phone’. 🤯)
I naturally have quite a lot to offer on the topic, but perhaps I will choose two for now.
There was a phone number you could dial just to find out what time it was.
A rock star that I was a fan of when I was about 12 lived with his parents, and their home phone number was available from directory enquiries.
“A Polaroid Guy in a Snapchat World”
This title came from the very first audiobook I listened to, written and recorded by David Spade (2019). I had always enjoyed his storytelling, but in this particular case, it was the title that sold it to me instantly.
I still think I am more comfortable interacting with people online than in person. A “digital innate“, I have so far quietly insisted. However, this is where I must also throw my hands up in the air and admit that live-streaming [라방] a class is a whole other world, especially for someone who can never do two things at the same time. My sincere bows to 마리텔 백주부 and 대한민국 어게인 나훈아…
“Ritual technology” 
I came across these viral pictures a while ago, on separate occasions, and saved the links for my own amusement. Tomorrow I am hosting a virtual meeting with near 150 students, and suddenly these are pretty much me.
Please, Collaborate, don’t go rogue on me.
Food in our genes? 
I am a carbs person. Carbs (and sugar) in all shapes and forms. Probably unsurprisingly though, rice will always hold an extra special place in my diet.
It is still to my surprise that yogurt rice has become part of my comfort food repertoire. While having a bowlful of it, I put together this random post that is a collection of a few ‘rice-related’ online memes I have recently come across.
1. A “rice breaker”.
2. “You can only add 2 things to this plate of simple rice. Name them.”
3. Uncle Roger and “crimes against rice”.
p.s. It escalated so much (read: the female presenter being massively trolled) that they ended up doing a series of ‘peacemaking’ videos together, such as this, this and this.
4. “Spicy Korean rice gnocchi” versus “bland Italian potato tteok” (as in Chinese ravioli versus Italian dumplings).
6. Hill to die on.
Blast from the past 
Into the fifth weeks of quarantining and I have turned to this.
Bodily memories are such a powerful thing — to the point that I am merely one of many who have invoked it. Oh how I dreaded it when I was a child. Now look at me — and eat your heart out, Joe Wicks the nation’s PE teacher.
Descendants of the bear-woman
It has been 12 days since I last stepped out of the flat. I am not “whipping coffee 400 times” yet, but my mind does go to random places. More often than usual at least. Among many other things, I have been thinking a lot about South Korea’s founding mythology, which is taught in school and is also celebrated as a public holiday.
Legends about Tangun [mythological first king of the Koreans] differ in detail. According to one account, Hwanung left heaven to rule Earth from atop Mt. T’aebaek (Daebaik). When a bear and a tiger expressed a wish to become human beings, he ordered the beasts into a cave for 100 days and gave orders that they were to eat only mugwort and garlic and avoid the sunlight. The tiger soon grew impatient and left the cave, but the bear remained and after three weeks was transformed into a beautiful woman. It was she who became the mother of Tangun. (Britannica, 2020)
What I find most amusing about this musing is that so many fellow Koreans, in their respective ‘caves’ in different parts of the world, are making the same reference to this mythological DNA 🐻 on Twitter. That’s right. Eat your heart out, Tiger King.