This Korea Times editorial brings together a few things:
You see, Korea's GNP (that's Gross National Product) is now 15th in the world. That's pretty tootin' high; however, its GNH (that's Gross National Happiness) is a dismal 68th. Now, the article trots out some of the usual statistics about the birthrate, the suicide rate, the economy, and job stability, but it also brings up this one:
Only four Koreans have died of swine flu so far. Just four. Yet despite only four Koreans dying from it, the response has been not far off from a national panic -- students getting their temperatures taken on their way into school, people flinching at every sniffle beside them on the subway, and government PSAs, contingency plans, and some big talk about canceling all kinds of things. No Korean children have died of swine flu so far, according to the article, yet teachers are making them all pass the ear-mometer test before they come to school.
On the other hand, hundreds of Korean youths commit suicide every year. How bad would the swine flu have to get to equal the number of Korean young people who have killed themselves in the last five years?
So the question of the day is: Wouldn't it be nice if Korea's leadership threw up their hands with equal urgency over a threat that has been killing, and will continue to kill, many, many more people than have been killed by the flu so far? What would that look like, and how would life change for the people at the highest suicide risk?