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Monday, February 28, 2011


This article is from The Korea Herald.

A 26-year-old South Korean man died on Thursday when an explosive he had apparently bought on the Internet and tied to his body exploded, police said.

The man identified only by his surname, Oh, had complained of his personal woes for four hours at a local police stand earlier in the morning while claiming he was carrying an explosive, according to the police in this eastern port city of Pohang.

The police said they could not immediately verify Oh's claim that he had an explosive on his body, and kept others at a distance from him.

Oh's parents later appeared and took him home, but in the afternoon he was found dead on a breakwater near his home with the wreckage of an explosive littering the site, the police said.

Police said Oh had remained unemployed since the latter half of last year, adding that Oh appeared to have illegally purchased the explosive from an Internet site. (Yonhap News)

Note... This took place in Pohang - where I live. Another article from the Washington Post, published in April 2010 reported on Korea's suicide rate. Suicide is the leading cause of 20-30 year olds in this country. Thirty-five people on average per day take their own lives. Yet in Korean culture, it's better to just kill yourself than to seek help to cope with suicidal thoughts. 

I find that any kind of "mental health" is just not common at all. A fellow teacher had booked a trip home for a month but the higher-up education board didn't approve it. To find a loophole, her boss took her to the doctor and said "Look sad." The boss explained to the doctor that the teacher is depressed because she missed her family. The "medicine" prescribed was a month at home. 

I don't think anti-depressants should be the first treatment for someone who might be feeling a little overwhelmed or depressed, but it really does help some people. Well, not in Korea. The biggest...mmm...challenge... we teachers face is the "non-existence" of attention deficit disorders altogether. 

Maybe in America we over-medicate children who don't necessarily have ADD or ADHD but simply act out because they aren't challenged or might need a different learning technique. As a teacher of children in a country who doesn't believe in disorders, I can tell which children would genuinely benefit from Ritalin. One of my former students, Josh, is a prime example. He is super bright and very smart. One week when I taught him one-on-one he was delightful, but when other children are in class his attention span goes from perfect to zero. He is loud, obnoxious and at times a little manic. 

Anyways, that's my rant on Korea and mental health. Maybe if they believed in it, the poor chap, Oh, might not have blown himself up. 

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