One time one of my students in Korea had a little brother who LOVED his hamster. They were going to an English speech competition on a Saturday morning and he didn't want to go. He wanted to continue playing with his hamster, but his parents told him he had to go (of course) and so he put his hamster in his pocket so he could play with him later.
It was a three hour drive to the competition. They stopped on the way and had lunch and cooled off in the river. The boy was splashing around in the water a bit, they had lunch and then they continued on. After the English thing they headed home. On the way home, he pulled his hamster out and found it was DEAD. He was crying and hysterical.
The parents believed that the hamster died from getting water in its ears. They told the boy that he had to be careful because small animals can not handle water in their ears because their head is too small to have a skull and so the water directly reaches the brain. My student, a 13 yr old who spoke near perfect English, told me about it the next day. She was convinced that her parents were right.
The Koreans believed that if a small animal gets water in his ears, the water has no where to go and the animal will die from water flooding its body....Interesting theory.
I laughed when I heard the story-my student was a bit unhappy about me finding the situation funny.
They also have the tale of the dreaded Fan Death. The fans all have timers on them, so that you don't forget to turn it off, thus killing all the people in the room. My director told me about it when we first got our apartment. In South Korea, if you have a fan on for too long, it will suck the oxygen out of the room and the people will just drop dead. I thought this was one of the greatest Korean stories EVER. Death by fan. Hilarious.
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