Do you know “ddak-bam?” Chris’ Korean culture paragraph on last week’s homework enthusiastically asked me. Ddak-bam, it transpires, is the Korean punishment for the losers of a game. When Koreans play games, there are often punishments and some of them are not very nice. Perhaps it’s an Asia thing because Japan has a hilarious game-show based entirely on administering some of these punishments in the middle of a library where all the players have to keep completely silent.
|Third panel: gourd and walnut Onew cracked with|
powerful ddak-bam. Source.
Eighth panel: administering the ddak-bam
Panels nine, ten, eleven: the effects of ddak-bam.
Ddak-bam, however, is relatively harmless compared to some punishments I’ve heard about. But it can be painful depending on who is administering it. Ddak-bam is using the middle finger to hit someone else’s forehead. There are two techniques: either flicking or pulling the middle finger back and snapping it into the forehead.
Apparently Shinee boy-band member Onew has a strong enough Ddak-bam to crack chestnuts. Turns out that is particularly appropriate because “ddak-bam” was named thus because when the forehead is hit, the sound is similar to “ddak,” and “bam” means chestnut.
I’ve only seen ddak-bam administered once and that, coincidentally, was last night. My friend and I went to a bizarre play that was entitled “Love Actually.” We were banking on her superior listening skills and our combined knowledge of the movie by the same title to get us by. It did, for the most part, although the extremely tiny size of the theatre dramatically and uncomfortably exposed us as the only nonnatives in the 35-person audience. The tricky part (and the ddak-bam) came in when the two narrators (??) of the story, a cross-dressing older man (possibly acting as a transvestite?) and a skinny and wildly gyrating younger man, took the stage. When, at one point, the older man ddak-bam-ed the younger several times in a row the “ddak” resounded through the room and everyone in the audience visibly winced. (We still have no idea why the young man was being ddak-bam-ed.)
Chris also informed me that Ji-Sung Park (the beloved Korean Manchester United player) taught this bit of Korean culture to his teammates who have since used it in training sessions. But don’t worry. Chris assures us that ddak-bam is “not a bad action. It just for games. If you are foreigner, try ‘Ddak-bam!’ It will be interesting!”