Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Burning money in Korea

I learned something today : when you find a lucky penny in Korea, superstition wants you to purchase matches with it for good luck. Money is supposed to fire up afterwards.

In English, to burn what you earn is to use your money, not necessarily in a positive way.

In French, a "flambeur" (literally: who sets on fire) is a plunger, a gambler, someone throwing money out windows or buying useless luxury stuff... not very positive either.

Yet, this "arsonists get all the money" piece of advice makes perfect sense in Korea.

Here, if a stock appears in red, it means that it's hot and going up. Blue means cold and going down.

Here, eating ultra hot and spicy food, or sweating in a near-death jjimjilbang experience is considered "cool" (시원하다 - shiwon hada).

Here, you don't want to stay away from something hot, you want to seize it. Even if it's a bubble. You want to be in the red, or even, when the national soccer team is playing, "be the Reds".

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