Saturday, July 15, 2017

Seventy-year old Korean grandma is a You Tube and Instagram star

. In social media that often prizes youth and good lucks, Park Makrye shows off her wrinkles and her life as a senior.She is so liked by South Koreans that large companies such as Samsung are using her in ads.

Being a celebrity has not changed Makrye's life style. She still gets up at dawn to run her diner. Her videos are called Grandma's Diary. Koreans love just watching her meet up with an old friend or try pasta for the first time.

Lee Injae, 31, who  lives in the capital Seoul says: "She's real. She's not fake. It's refreshing to see the world through the eyes of a grandmother."

Park describes her life before she went on You Tube as "dead like rotten bean sprouts". She said that she used to think that at over 70 her life was over but after her appearances on You Tube she thinks life begins after seventy. Park's rise to fame hardly meets South Korean's expectations of the elderly who are often seen as being poor or as in protests promoting conservative values. South Korea has the highest rate of poverty among the elderly of any developed country. Fewer in the younger generation support their aging parents as the Confucian tradition of revering the aged loses its grip on a younger generation.

Park was encouraged by a grandaughter to start making videos. She thought it would be a way of keeping dementia at bay. Park's fans travel to her diner from far and wide even though it is in a remote part of the city of Yongin about 34 km south of Seoul. There is no easy public access to the diner.

Her granddaughter, Kim Yura, just 27 travels with Park after a doctor told the family that Park had a high risk of getting Alzheimer's disease as had happened to her three elder sisters. Kim even took Park to Australia as a treat. Many of the videos produced on the trip were popular. Park has about 400,000 followers on You tube and Instagram.

Lee Taek Gwang of Kyunghee University said: "The reason she is so popular is that she talks candidly without pretension about things that women feel uncomfortable about. She talks about topics that we don't dare to talk about, especially on women's issues." Park noted that her parents did not educate her even though they were not poor. They wanted to put me to work. However, she continues to write even though she says that her instagram posts are almost illegible. Fans dub Park;s way of expressing herself the "Makrye font".

Makrye was left on her own when her husband ran off after running up debts. She was left with three young children which is why she ended up running a restaurant until after nine every night.However, she was able to see that all three children finished high school.  Kim was the first to attend college. Park says she will continue to run the restaurant until she dies.

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