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“One’s Daily Bread” by Yang Gui-ja

#Books on Demand l 2022-08-02

Books on Demand

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It was clear that the reason Brothers Supermarket suddenly began selling rice and coal and even set up a standing sign with “Rice, Coal” written in red paint was undeniably to counter Gimpo Supermarket’s opening.

People realized only then that Brothers Supermarket and Gimpo Supermarket were not even 100 meters apart. They also realized that when Gimpo Rice Store stocked only rice and coal bricks, they had bought all other goods at Mr. Kim’s Brothers Supermarket. 

김포슈퍼와 형제슈퍼가 공방전을 사이,

새해 들어 빈 상가주택에 ‘싱싱청과물’이란 간판이 걸렸습니다.

싱싱청과물은 김포슈퍼와 형제슈퍼 딱 가운데 지점이었는데요,

과일만 파는 게 아니라

‘부식 일절 가게 안에 있음’이란 종이쪽지까지 써 붙였습니다.

While Gimpo Supermarket and Brothers Supermarket were fighting for their survival, a new store named Fresh Produce opened in a vacant building. The produce store was located right between the two supermarkets. It sold not only fruits and vegetables, but also other goods as well. 

웃음 많던 김포슈퍼 경호 엄마 얼굴에도 시름이 가득하고,

형제슈퍼 김반장도 술이 늘었습니다.

거기다 싱싱청과물에서 취급하는 품목에 대해

김포슈퍼와 형제슈퍼는 가격을 대폭 낮췄습니다.

그러자 싱싱청과물 주인이 부식일절 운운한 쪽지를 거둬들였습니다.

과일만 팔겠다는 표시였습니다.

그러나 형제슈퍼의 김반장은 멈추지 않았습니다.

Gyeong-ho’s mother of Gimpo Supermarket was full of worries and Mr. Kim of Brothers’ Supermarket drank more. 

When Gimpo and Brothers Supermarkets lowered the prices of the goods also sold at Fresh Produce, the owner of Fresh Produce was compelled to remove those products from the shelves. It was his way of declaring that he would sell only fruits and vegetables. But that didn’t stop Mr. Kim of Brothers Supermarket.

# Interview 1 (Jeon)

The title “One’s Daily Bread” encapsulates the story very well. Gimpo Supermarket and Brothers Supermarket continued to undersell each other until a new contender, Fresh Produce, appeared on the scene. Then the two stores formed a sort of cartel to drive away the newcomer. Some residents sided with Mr. Kim or Gyeong-ho’s father, but some residents felt sorry for the produce store. However, it was the residents who ended up enjoying the most benefit from the price war. This story was told comically, but the reality behind it was quite desperate and sad. Where did the owner of Fresh Produce go after being pushed out of Wonmi-dong? He probably went farther outside of the city. But we cannot place sole blame on the people of Wonmi-dong, because this place was their last resort as well. Everyone that appears in the story fought to survive each day, not to live in luxury. 

나는 “왜들 이렇게 장삿길로만 빠지는지 몰라” 

“I can’t understand why people keep trying to start a business.” (Paper goods store)

“먹고 살기가 힘드니까 그렇지요” 

“Because it’s hard to make a living.” (Young wife)

우리 정육점 여자의 우문에 새댁이 즉각 현명한 답을 내놓았다.

그리고 잠시 말이 끊겼다.

매일매일을 살아내야 한다는 점에서

원미동 여자들 모두는 각자 심란한 표정이었다.

그 중에서도 시내엄마가 가장 울상이었다.

지물포집 막둥이가 넘어졌는지 앙앙 울어대는 것을 신호로 여자들은 제각각 흩어져 버렸다.

The young wife gave a wise answer to the dumb question of the butcher’s wife. Silence descended between them. The women of Wonmi-dong all seemed worried at the thought that they had to make ends meet and survive each day. Si-nae’s mother looked most dejected. As if signaled by the crying sound of the paper goods store’s youngest child, the women each went their way. 

그리고 빈자리에는 이른 봄볕만 엄청 푸졌다.

The place where they had left was filled with early spring sunshine. 

Yang Gui-ja (Born in Jeonju, Jeollabuk-do Prov., Jul. 17, 1955~ )

Debuted by publishing “Morning Starts Again” in Munhak Sasang (Literature and Ideology) in 1978 

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