Monday, September 3, 2007

Fun Fact #3

To be completely honest I don't know how I haven't written about this topic before now. This fun fact is something I heard about shortly after getting to Korea, but as time passed I came to realize that this wasn't just a small little tid bit of information that you get under a Snapple cap, but a firmly held belief in Korea. What I'm talking about is "Fan Death". Yes, you read that correctly, "Fan Death" or death by fan. What could I possibly be talking about right? How is getting killed by a fan a "fun fact" you might be asking yourself. Well first of all I'd like to strike all of the horrible images of fans lopping off peoples heads from the record; images that you have undoubtedly already pictured in that little head of yours, that's gross (a last second change from the word "chopping" to "lopping" was made because I have a firmly held belief of my own that the word lopping is one of the most underrated words in the English dictionary).

The idea of "Fan Death" was, interestingly enough, started here in South Korea, but has since spread to some other Asian countries. Few people outside of Asia know what it is, or have even heard of it. So listen up as I drop a little international urban legend knowledge on you. This strange phenomenon is simply the belief that if an electric fan is left running in a closed room overnight, any occupant of said room may find themselves deceased in the morning. Dead, departed, expired, lifeless, perished, or snuffed out, all due to that, seemingly harmless, everyday housing appliance known as the electric fan. I know what kind of crazy thoughts and questions are running through your head right now, so I'll give you a second to recompose yourself. Take a look at this picture, and try to imagine it is a silent killer:
*Paul can not be held liable for any ill effects that come from even staring at this menacing fan*
(That is a really menacing fan, all fans being considered)

It's true, an entire country of people believe that a running fan in a closed room is deadly. The actual rationalization that they have for causing the death is a bit hazy, as you can imagine. However, they believe it so absolutely that the belief has actually spread. It's like when dinner is over and everyone except you cleans your dishes, but you fight so strongly that you did, in fact, do your dishes that your parents start to believe you. Even though the dishes still sit in the vacant seat that you occupy every day of your waking life for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the only logical conclusion is that you're lying, somehow they start to believe; "Maybe they're not his dishes". In much the same way, countries in Asia now believe "A home appliance will kill me while I sleep".

So when I heard this urban legend, that's exactly what I wrote it off as, just a story you tell little kids to scare them into not using up too much electricity. Because we all know how our parents hate using up electricity. Like the story that my dad told me when I was a child, if I don't shut the light off to my room when I leave it, he will put a killer fan in it while I sleep that will lop my head off. I'm glad to say that I've become something of a daredevil since the independence of moving to Korea sank in. Today I don't turn the lights off when I leave the room, and I sleep with a fan blowing directly on me, but I am alive and well, head intact, to tell you today, that I am a survivor.

If you don't believe any of this, or just want another "credible" source please check out this wikipedia article: Fan Death or this "Fan Death" website.

If you need anymore concrete evidence as to how far reaching the absurd fear of "Fan Death" is, just look at the reaction I got when I told this 'Asian' Prairie dog that I was keeping the fan on in his room tonight:


Alli said...

hahaha i already love your blog.

so you taught in Seoul? i'll have to read more of your posts. I'm working towards volunteering in Uganda.

Paul A. Kroll said...

Volunteering in Uganda, good for you. I would love to but I'm a huge pansy when it comes to getting fatal diseases.
And I'm actually still teaching in Seoul, for another 6 months, but thank you for that comment. I think more people should leave awesome comments like that. Heck I'd even go for a "your blog isn't so boring" comment from time to time.

Alli said...

your blog isn't so boring.

we can be blog friends, i want to learn about seoul :]

Carol said...

I just foud your blog today...its not so boring! I'll be checking it regularly from now on.

Paul A. Kroll said...

Great Carol, Welcome aboard. I'll try to keep it interesting for you.

Oil on Water said...

amazing aye. I made the biggest foreigner-teacher mistake possible when I first found out about fan death, by making a joke about it in front of 30 freshmen, thinking "surely this generation doesn't actually accept that...."
BUT, the result was simply 30 stone-cold faces staring back at me with "whadya mean?" expressions...
Very awkward.

Annoushka wijekoon said...

Its always interesting.. i love reading your Blog BB.. keep it up..