Tag Archives: suicide

KoreanElderly

‘Well-Dying’ Courses Offered in SKorea to Counter High Suicide Rate Among Elderly

by JULIE HA

It’s well-documented that South Korea has the highest suicide rate among developed countries. But if you parse the numbers, there’s this equally disturbing discovery: it also has the highest elderly suicide rate. Nearly 5,000 people over the age of 60 took their own lives in 2012, up from 4,300 in 2007.

Such alarming figures have prompted the spread of “well-dying” courses, where the elderly can learn about how to appreciate life and make peace with their mortality, according to a recent article in Bloomberg.

Park Kyung-rye, 80, enrolled in one of these “well-dying” classes after having suicidal thoughts. The widower, a retired house cleaner with no pension, told Bloomberg that her “loneliness” pushed her to the edge. But, through the class, she joined about 20 other senior citizens in activities like writing their autobiographies, recording video messages to their families and even visiting a crematorium.

“I rediscovered life in the light of death,” she told Bloomberg. She also promised to “live as happily as possible until a natural death claims me.”

The South Korean government is funding these “well-dying” courses (a play off of the expression “well-being), which are cropping up throughout the country, in the hope of reversing the elderly suicide trend. But it’s a trend that’s being unfortunately fueled by alarming poverty rates among seniors.

While intense education pressure is often blamed for suicide among young South Koreans, experts point to poverty as a  major cause among senior citizens, the Bloomberg report said. The poverty rate among the elderly was 49 percent in 2012, making it the highest among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) members. The OECD estimates that 37 percent of Korea’s population will be older than 65 by 2050, bringing even more of an urgency to the issue.

“We’re headed for one unhappy society that’s both aged and suicidal,” Lee Jung Min, professor of labor economics at Seoul’s Sogang University, told Bloomberg. Lee went on to warn that, if this trend continues, the nation will see ripple effects in multiple aspects of society.

Financial Times article noted that, as South Korea has emerged as a more materialistic and highly competitive society, more traditional values like filial duty seem to be falling away. It cited a 2010 government survey that reported only 36 percent of respondents saw it as their obligation to care for their parents. In 1998, that figure was 90 percent. Meanwhile, the Times article said that spending for South Korean children’s education is climbing at a dramatic rate, often leaving little money for elder members of the family.

Caring for the elderly population emerged as a major issue in the 2012 presidential election, and President Park Geun-hye promised in her campaign to boost social spending, including for seniors. Only one-fifth of senior citizens receive a regular pension, said the Bloomberg article, citing OECD figures, while 70 percent receive a minimum old-age payout. Recently, Korea’s parliament agreed to increase this monthly allowance to 200,000 won, which amounts to less than $200.

Photo via Family Edge/mercatornet.com

 

dentalstudent

Family Of Jiwon Lee To Launch Memorial Scholarship Fund In Her Honor

Image via Facebook

The family of Jiwon Lee, the 29-year-old Columbia University student found dead Saturday afternoon in the Hudson River, will be using the donations they received from a GoFundMe page to set up a memorial scholarship fund in her honor. The donations had originally been used to pay for a private investigator, and since the page went up in early April, nearly 1,200 people have donated over $87,000.

“Thank you for your continued prayers, donations and support,” Matt Lee, Jiwon Lee’s brother, wrote on Monday. “Unfortunately, Jiwon, beloved daughter, sister and friend has gone on to a better place. Our family thanks you at this time for respecting our privacy. We are currently planning a memorial service to honor Jiwon and will post further details as soon as possible.”

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Lee, a fourth-year dental student who had been missing since early April, had reportedly been suffering from depression and previously attempted suicide. The NYPD found her body floating in the Hudson River off of West 86th Street at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. The cause of her death was still being investigated as of Sunday night, although police said they found a suicide note in her apartment. The American Student Dental Association (ASDA) released a statement upon learning of Lee’s death. She had served as the 2013-14 president of the organization, as well as serving as an appointed member of the American Dental Association’s Joint Commission on National Dental Examination. Before enrolling in dental school, Lee had been a middle school math teacher with AmeriCorps. She often noted that the experience helped to her leadership style. “Lee will be missed by the leaders, members and staff she touched during her involvement with ASDA,” the statement continued. To honor Lee at her memorial, her family is asking anyone who knew her to share funny memories and stories at weloveyoujiwon@gmail.com. You can find more information on the Jiwon Lee – Missing Person Facebook page. [ad#336]

dentalstudent

Jiwon Lee, Missing New York Dental Student, Found Dead In Hudson River

Image via Facebook

Jiwon Lee, the Columbia dental student first reported missing on April 2, was found dead Sundayafternoon in the Hudson River, according to a police report.

Lee, 29, was wearing a sweater, underwear and boots as she was floating in the river off of West 86th Street,  the New York Daily News reports. Prior to going missing, she reportedly suffered from depression and attempted suicide. A medical examiner is looking into the cause of her death, a NYPD spokesperson said.

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“Thank you for your continued prayers, donations, and support,” wrote Matt Lee, Jiwon Lee’s brother, who set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for a private investigator to look into his sister’s case. The page reportedly raised over $87,595 as of Monday morning.

“Unfortunately, Jiwon, beloved daughter, sister, and friend has gone on to a better place. Our family thanks you at this time for respecting our privacy. We are currently planning a memorial service to honor Jiwon and will post further details as soon as possible.”

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Jiwon Lee was last seen on April 1 when she left her West 98th Street apartment in New York and never returned. The New York Daily initially reported that she left a note in her apartment, saying she was “sorry she did not live up to expectations” and that she “could not live anymore.”

Lee, also known for her work as a comedian in the New York area, was just weeks away from graduating Columbia’s dental school when she went missing.

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묵념하는 시민들

Female Officer’s Suicide Raises Issue of Sexual Harassment in SKorean Military

A South Korean military investigation has determined that a female officer who committed suicide last October allegedly because of repeated sexual harassment died while on active duty. She will be buried at the Daejeon National Cemetery, where military personnel are laid to rest, according to the Korea JoongAng Daily.

The 28-year-old female officer, only identified by her last name Oh, was found dead Oct. 16, 2013, inside a car in a parking lot in Hwacheon. She reportedly killed herself by burning charcoal in thevehicle.

Oh’s diary, notes and suicide letter indicated that verbal and sexual harassment from a commanding officer took its toll on her after 10 months, during which she said she was groped and verbally abused, authorities said. She wrote in her suicide note that her superior, whose last name was Noh, demanded that she spends “one night with him.”

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The note also said that, when Oh rejected Noh, he punished her by making her work overtime, touching her inappropriately and harassing her with suggestive remarks. The case helped raise the profile of the issue of sexual harassment in the South Korean military. Although Noh was indicted last November on charges of sexual harassment, the court only sentenced him to two years in prison, and four years probation—a verdict Oh’s family and many in the public considered too light.

Investigators said that at least six other female officers were also harassed by Noh last year, and three of them have pressed charges against him, the newspaper reported.

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jjak

SBS Pulls Plug On Dating Reality Show After Contestant’s Suicide

Amid fierce public criticism, South Korean broadcaster SBS announced it was canceling a reality dating show after one contestant recently took her own life.

The 29-year-old woman, surnamed Chun, apparently committed suicide the night before the last day of production of “Jjak” on the resort island of Jeju. Crew members found her in a locked bathroom with ahair dryer cord around her neck.

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SBS, one of Korea’s three major networks, apologized to viewers in a statement and promised to take steps to prevent future incidents, according to AFP.

The suicide shocked many Korean citizens, some of whom said the reality show put contestants under too much pressure.

The participants, clad in matching uniforms, are put through various physical challenges in hopes of getting a date out of one of their fellow contestants, before making a final choice at the end of the week.

SBS did not accept any direct responsibility for her suicide, but newspapers have carried interviews with past participants who spoke of feeling bullied and humiliated.

Chun was favoured by three male contestants at the beginning of the shoot, but they had a change of heart and ended up competing over another woman.

Chun told her mother in her last phone conversation she would not be able to live in Korea if the show aired, AFP reported. Her friends said Chun complained producers were trying to portray her as the tragic, unpopular girl.

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Mental Health Taboos Fuel Korean American Suicides

Jean Yoo

by Peter Schurmann and Aruna Lee of New America Media

SAN FRANCISCO — Jean Yoo’s friends and co-workers all said nothing seemed to be amiss with the 36-year-old media personality, well known among Los Angeles’ Korean community as the anchor for Prime News. Which explains why so many were shocked by word of her suicide last month, one of a recent number to strike the city’s sizable Korean community.

Korean media reports show that last month there were four suicides and another murder-suicide involving either Koreans or Korean Americans in the greater Los Angeles area. Nationwide, there were some 21 Korean-related suicides this year, according to a report in the Korean-language Sunday Journal in Los Angeles.

Investigators say they are still looking into the possible motive behind Yoo’s death, which was followed days later by that of a marketing director with Radio Korea, identified by his surname, Choi.

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Choi’s body was found in the office lavatory, where he hanged himself after leaving a note apologizing for his decision. No explanation was offered, however, though co-workers told local Korean media that the 56-year-old had struggled with bouts of depression.

According to Christine Kim, who runs counseling services at the Korean American Family Service Center in Los Angeles, despite the risks, “issues of mental health or depression are rarely discussed” within the community.

“Koreans tend to be very concerned with physical health,” explained Kim, “though the topic of mental health often remains taboo.” Continue reading

Wednesday's Link Attack: North Korea, K-Pop, Dia Frampton

North Korea Reports Progress on New Reactor
New York Times

Earlier this month, the North’s state media reported that “the day is near at hand” when its new reactor will come into operation. The Web site “38 North” later published satellite photos that it said showed significant progress in building the new reactor. But it said it was unlikely to become operational for two to three years.

Six-nation talks aimed at ending North Korea’s nuclear weapons program collapsed in 2008 when North Korea balked at the American demand for intrusive inspections on its nuclear facilities. It has since raised tensions by beginning to restore the partially dismantled nuclear facilities in Yongbyon, test-launching a long-range rocket, conducting a second nuclear test and launching military provocations against the South.

Football Veteran Lee Young-pyo To Join Major League Soccer
Yonhap News

Lee, 34, retired from international play earlier this year, and ended a two-year stint with Al Hilal in Saudi Arabia in June. He said during the summer that he was mulling retirement.

Should he sign with Vancouver, it will be Lee’s sixth professional team. After starting out with Anyang LG Cheetahs, currently FC Seoul, in South Korea’s K-League, the versatile wingback has also played for PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands, Tottenham Hotspur in the English Premier League, Borussia Dortmund in Germany’s Bundesliga and Al Hilal.

Korean Pop Music Out to Conquer the World
Reuters

The structure of Korea’s relatively small music market is such that telecom companies control a large proportion of revenues, he said, meaning bands have an economic incentive to look abroad.

And K-pop acts, often created and nurtured by savvy record companies like S.M. Entertainment, are being groomed for specific markets — learning Japanese, for example, and fitting in with Japan’s musical mores.

One recent success story has been the nine-member South Korean girl band Girls’ Generation, whose first full-length Japanese album sold over 500,000 copies in Japan.

McClure also argued that Korean pop acts, though often manufactured, were generally more professional than their Japanese rivals and produced a better sound.

K-Pop Translation on Smartphone App
Korea Times

Pop!gasa is at www.popgasa.com and the app is available to download through Apple’s App Store. It is priced at $0.99 and available for free for a limited time as a promotion.

The app is user-friendly, sorting translated lyrics by artist, title and by show. Lee and Kim want to provide a nest for K-pop fans all over the world and have included a comment function to their app, so fans can share their thoughts and ideas through Pop!gasa.

“We want the app to reach as many users as possible but it has legal issues and we have to pay for copyrights to the Korea Music Copyright Association,” Lee said. “When this app makes a profit, the first thing we will do is develop it for Android.”

Coming Soon to the Sidewalks: A New Look for Scaffolding
New York Times

To replace those painted plywood sheds supported by pipes and protruding bolts that can rip pedestrians’ coat sleeves, a team consisting of Young-Hwan Choi, Andres Cortes and Sarrah Kahn from Agencie Group, a design firm based in New York, gracefully melded recycled steel and translucent plastic panels into a structure that resembles an open umbrella.

“I would say it is a really elegant take on protecting you instead of from rain from debris falling from a construction site,” Mr. LiMandri said.

Some version of sidewalk sheds with scaffolding above them have been placed at construction sites since builders began erecting Gothic cathedrals and probably since the pyramids, said Dan Eschenesy, the buildings department’s chief structural engineer.

Babysitter Arrested After Mom Tells Son About Penn State Scandal
ABC News

The mother of the two boys found out about the alleged abuse after she told her oldest son about the Penn State sexual abuse scandal.

“She was trying to describe some of the acts that are basically no-nos,” said Tom Lorenz, spokesman for the Glendale Police Department. “The child began to cry and said, ‘Mommy, the babysitter has been doing this to me.’”

Margaret Cho Says She’s Like Susan Boyle With Dirty Songs on Ferguson
AOL TV

In talking about her latest project, Margaret Cho admitted that it’s a mix of stand-up comedy and original songs on ‘The Late Late Show’ (Weeknights, 12:30AM ET on CBS). Craig Ferguson was surprised to hear that she did songs, as she’s not well known for that.

Watch the video here: LINK

Police Say Two South-Side Deaths Were Murder-Suicide
Anchorage Daily News

Tae Won Ro, 40, was found hanging by a rope in the second-floor living area, and an autopsy showed he had strangled, police spokesman Lt. Dave Parker said in a written statement. A medical examiner found that Yoo Jin Kim, 33, died from multiple stab wounds, Parker said. She was discovered lying on the home’s third floor, surrounded by blood, said Detective Mark Huelskoetter.

Ro apparently killed Kim, then hanged himself, Huelskoetter said. Crime scene investigators found evidence that Ro had Kim’s blood on his hands when he went to the first-floor garage to get a rope, the detective said.

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2 Koreans shot in Manila
Journal Online (Philippines)

Two Korean nationals were shot in two separate incidents in Manila — one in an ambush while he was driving his car and the other in a foiled robbery.

The first victim was identified as Jeong Mwan Choi, 39, a freelance tourist guide residing in Bustos, Bulacan.

‘The Voice’s Dia Frampton: ‘Don’t Kick the Chair’ Feat. Kid Cudi Lyric Video Premiere
AOL Music

She isn’t just a pretty ‘voice,’ but also one talented songwriter! Dia Frampton, who rose to fame as the runner-up on the inaugural season of NBC’s ‘The Voice,’ has a catchy new, Kid Cudi-assisted single out called ‘Don’t Kick the Chair.’ The Utah native puts the tune’s poignant lyrics in the spotlight for its brand-new video.

‘Don’t Kick the Chair’ also features an interlude by famed rapper Kid Cudi. “It was a pleasure having Kid Cudi on this song,” says Dia. “I’m a fan of his work and also am very happy with the positive lyrics he created. This song has a dark undertone, but overall, I wanted it to be optimistic.”

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Local LA News Anchor Dead in Apparent Suicide

The co-anchor of a popular Korean-language news program was found dead in her Los Angeles apartment on Monday in what police are calling a suicide, according to news reports.

A relative of Jean Yoo, 36, found her body on Monday night at her condo in Koreatown after co-workers asked the relative why Yoo did not show up to work that day. The relative then called the police, who made a preliminary ruling that it was a suicide by hanging but are continuing to investigate. The body was sent to the L.A. County Coroner’s office.

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Yoo served as a news anchor at Asian-language channel LA18, co-hosting the Prime News program, and previously worked at Korean-language channel tvK.

One of Yoo’s colleagues from LA18 told the Korea Times that there didn’t seem to be anything amiss with Yoo in recent weeks. A neighbor of Yoo’s told the paper she just moved in three weeks ago so they didn’t know her very well. Her immediate family lives in Korea, according to the Korea Times.

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