Scraps of a life: rumors, images and a favorite dishSo an actress died.
First she slit her wrist. Then she hanged herself in her dressing room, according to the press reports. Watching the flood of coverage about Lee Eun-ju during the past week, it was interesting to see the process by which every detail of a celebrity’s death becomes codified in the media, as if they had prepared their whole lives for their last moments.
A few days after the actress’s death, rumors began spreading around the Internet that her family had been carrying too much debt. Others speculated that she couldn’t endure the pressure from her family to marry someone from a chaebol family; this theory quoted her suicide note, in which she wrote, “I, too, hate money.” One paper noted that the date she died, Feb. 22, was the date of her character’s death in the film “Bungee Jumping of Their Own,” which Lee had repeatedly said in interviews was her favorite. If I were to make up my own word about the fuss over this young woman’s death, it would be “media rape.”
Of course, I am kidding myself; I’ve just reiterated everything the media has been saying about Lee’s suicide. But as someone who was mesmerized by “Bungee Jumping,” I couldn’t resist expressing my distaste for the local press before getting on with my life again.
I liked Lee on screen, ironically, because she didn’t seem like a movie actress. Then when, in a newspaper article, I saw her smiling in the portrait that was used for her funeral, I became even less sure of what I knew about her. It’s almost always a perplexing experience to look at the portraits of the dead; this certainly was one of those times.
Recently, I happened to come across her interview with a food writer in a local newspaper; it was part of a series of celebrities’ interviews about their memories of favorite food. It’s strange that someone who was on the verge of death was asked to talk about her sense of desire. (In “A Streetcar Named Desire,” one of the characters says, “Desire, thy opposite is death.”)
Lee told the interviewer that when she first moved away from home to attend acting school in Seoul, one of the things she missed most was her mother’s rice cakes stir-fried with soy sauce. Then, when she became old enough to enjoy boilermakers, she came to like eggs steamed with canned tuna and clam soup. At the end of the interview, she said her next plan was to travel some unexplored parts of the world without her mother for the first time.
Maybe she is doing that now.
On her way, I hope she makes some new friends with whom she can share a few boilermakers and some steamed eggs.
How to Cook
Gyeranjjim (steamed eggs)
Ingredients (for 4 servings): 3 eggs, 2/3 teaspoons of shirmp paste, 1 teaspoon of salt, splash of sesame oil, 1 teaspoon of diced green onion, 1 teaspoon of diced carrots, 2 teaspoons of chili pepper, 1 cup of water, sesame seeds.
1. Beat the eggs throughly in a pot.
2. Add the water, diced carrots, green onion, chili pepper and sesame oil.
3. Boil over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes.
4. When the foam rises, lower the flame and boil for another 5 to 10 minutes.
5. Serve with sesame seeds sprinkled on top.
From miz.naver.com, Delicook
by Park Soo-mee
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