Sunday, 13 September 2009

Hadn't thought of it that way... Suicide and Swine Flu

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?

5 comments:

1994 said...

I find it very fitting, and somewhat of a strange coincidence that the theme song for MASH was "Suicide is painless". Marylin Manson did a cool cover of it, there is a video on Youtube.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9dFYpDy0UQ
A guy at my office killoed himself early this year. There was no talk from management about this not being an approriate solution to the problems of live (nor of him being teribly overworked). Actors, actresses, the president, the mayor of Pusan/Busan...they make suicide appear a legitimate solution to your problems. I do not want to talk bad about Choi, Jin-shil because it is not right and I had a major crush on her back in her day, but her suicide was especially tragic in that she left (I think it was) 2 young children behind and her scandel would have gone away in weeks. It truely was not devestating.
Remeber when Baek, Ji-young's sex and drug tape came out. She attacked back. I remember when asked a question regarding her scandel, she fired back "What are you writing a book?!"
I foresee a terrible future in Korea much similar to what they have done to their population demographics by (murderous) selective abortions to ensure having a son. I think in the mid-90's it was 122 to 100 for a male-female gender ratio for newborns. Now look at the problems they are having and the radical solution of buying SA Asian women.
The future of Korea looks like this: Too many males + too many suicides + low birth rate + Korean women marrying foreigners + aging population + longer life expectancy = major social and economic problems.

Anonymous said...

It is funny how before swine flu, the Korean populace was quite pissed off at the Government. Now they are united in fear.

Korean Rum Diary said...

Interesting perspective... Suicide is a tragic pasttime for too many Koreans... Yet for some reason nobody really seems to care that much. Yet when a new illness comes along they throw their arms up and run for the hills. Weird.

I guess Koreans just love to panic, and suicide's been around so long they've stopped caring.

Learn Korean said...

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thebobster said...

Wanna thank Roboseyo for pointing this editorial. I don't usually seem much in the way of good sense coming from the editorial pages of newspapers in this country. It's a valid comparison.

A lot of the movements for social change that takes place over here seems to carry an aspect of hysteria about it - whatever the facts or evidence, when everybody's talking about something, whatever they are saying, whether it's about a flu virus or American beef or some girl who wouldn't clean up her dog's poo, must be true ... perhaps a bit of media hysteria about teen suicide would be just what the doctor ordered.