Weekendish: The origins of chunder and Slender Man
- 13 June 2014
A collection of some of the best reads from the BBC News website this week, with an injection of your comments.
An ageing population is a global phenomenon and South Korea is one country that is aging faster than most. And many of those senior citizens are poor. In Seoul, elderly women are turning to prostitution to make ends meet. Why? Because the centuries-old Confucian social contract that dictated that children look after their parents in their old age is getting weaker. Many are neglecting their duty in their own pursuit of wealth. This is what one of the women who turned to prostitution at the age of 68 told a researcher who interviewed the so-called Bacchus Ladies: "I'm hungry, I don't need respect, I don't need honour, I just want three meals a day." Vicky Wong tweets: "One of the saddest articles I have read today and a tragic consequence of the ageing population in Asia". Mohammad Ilyas Khan adds: "Is investing in one's children the best form of pension? Koreans discover a surprise, and we may not be far behind." Dorothy Brown tweets: "The Korean grandmothers who sell sex. Read this article and be glad for our UK welfare system."
Anything that begins: "Not sure I should publicly confess to this one..." makes you immediately sit up and listen. So it was that John Richards from Cardiff went on to admit in our article about readers' epic miscalculations that due to an error of calculation he ordered more woodchip than he knew what to do with. In the end there was enough to do "the entire house, two of my mates' houses as well, and my father still had a few rolls in his garage when he died 10 years ago!". There are 10 other gems and they feature a tape measure that was a few inches short because it had fallen in a fire and a cat flap that was fitted to the wrong end of a door. Thoughtcat tweets: "This reads like a Viz spoof", while Chris Cooke thinks "they all sound like Partridge anecdotes".
Zawn, sunwheel, shiver, tolmen - not names dreamt up by trendy, New Age parents, but simple words that described the features of the British landscape. The best thing is that you will be able to see them and hundreds of others soon because photographer Dominick Tyler is travelling around in his camper van documenting them. A zawn? It's a steep-sided coastal inlet. Watch John Galliver's short film for more.
Slender Man is in the news after being linked to two stabbings. Who is Slender Man? A character, a thin man, in a dark suit, sometimes with tentacles, who lurks in woods. But more importantly he's a deliberately created meme - in the original meaning of the word, a replicating idea. Read Justin Parkinson's feature on the character's origins. Antony Johnston tweets: "If you're feeling old and confused by all this Slender Man business, this is an excellent primer from the BBC". F.R.Tallis adds: Slender man. I wonder if fabricated 'myths' will have the longevity of real myths? MrChris wanted more: "No recognition of where the Silence in Dr Who came from?" he tweets.
Don't come the raw prawn with me. Australians have long been famed for their rich and varied vocabulary of slang expressions, but experts say a new generation of Australians is coining fewer of them and borrowing more from abroad. Apparently "chunder" originated with the first immigrants to Australia, who suffered from seasickness during the voyage. Read about the origins of many more colourful lingo. Amanda Austen tweets: "I still use woop woop (far away), crook (sick) and chook (chicken), I guess."
The World Cup has begun but the usual fevered expectations surrounding England's chances in the tournament are absent. "I for one couldn't be happier," says our Scots-reared, London-based reporter Jon Kelly. Instead of the customary confident predictions by television commentators and saloon-bar pundits alike that victory is imminent, a much more modest mood is afoot. This new realism makes the English squad much more likeable for supporters of other home nations, Jon argues, and "enlightened English fans acknowledge the hype that has spiralled around their national team has been self-defeating". Stevie Lloyd says on Facebook: "England should just attack in every game they play as they are not going to win it. Go down fighting I say. Make it entertaining, not boring!" "When is Scotland's first game? I can't seem to find it on my wallchart," adds Paul Phillips. Kenneth Anthony Wilkinson rather gloomily writes: "No hype because England won't win a single match."
Here are some things we've enjoyed this week from elsewhere around the web: