Saturday, November 27, 2010

3 words for rice

In Hahm Hanhee's article, "Rice and Koreans: Three Identities and Meanings", the author talks about how much Rice has effected Korean society. In English there is only one word but there are 3 words for rice in Korean.
They are "byeo," "ssal," and "bap." "Byeo" is the plant. This word instills harmony because people must work together with their community and nature in order to realize it. It is a peaceful word.
"Ssal" is a troubling word because it invokes memories of tension and conflict between the wealthy landlords and the poor tenant cultivators.
"Bap" has to do with the enjoyment of food and sharing it with one's family. Whereas people in China and Japan have started to consume less rice, it is still very much a staple in Korea. Many people eat it with every meal. It can be seen as the national dish.
However, since it is widespread, having it as a national dish does not make Korea distinctive. Therefore, Kimchi is looked upon as the national dish as it is unique amongst all countries. So Kimchi gets more attention but rice is more of a staple food.
Rice has a lot of meaning and significance to Korean Culture.

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