A White Lie Comes Back to Bite Me

Some years ago I was teaching the phrase “use chopsticks” from the coursebook Let’s Go 2 to a class of primary students in South Korea. During our discussion I casually mentioned that my grandfather couldn’t use chopsticks. The children were visibly shocked by this statement (probably just as much as young American children might be if they heard someone didn’t know how to use a fork). 

“Is it because he can’t see well?” 

“No, it’s because my grandfather is old and a long time ago there were no chopsticks in Canada so he never learned to use them well.” 

I was of course exaggerating a little for the purpose of generating discussion.

“However, young people like me can all use chopsticks now.” 

Most of the students just listened and nodded but one girl looked at me with a straight face and said, “But Teacher, you’re not young!”

헐, as the young in Korea might say.



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