Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Kim Chi - Really?

On numerous occasions, when playing games or asking questions in the classroom, I have heard students say, “my favorite food is Kim chi”. No it’s not, please let’s be totally honest with each other. I’m not going to lie to you so please don’t lie to me. I completely admire the patriotism, but a country can only expect you to stretch yourself so far. It’s fermented cabbage. ‘Mmm, I could really go for some fermented cabbage’ – I think not.

I am the foreigner here so I am to a degree, expected not to like it. I am still granted forgiveness when the principle very inquisitorially asks me, ‘you no like Kim Chi?’, and with a winning smile and an apologetic nod of the head I reply with comments of ‘too spicy, too spicy’. The Korean students however have clearly been forcefully dragged through the ‘you will grow to like it/the more you eat it the better it gets speech’ one to many times. Yet I watch them as they eat. Silently they suffer, with the sole consolation that everyone is suffering around them, all in the name of maintaining an idea: We are Koreans, we like Kim Chi. Really…

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