RIP: Roh Moo-hyun

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The former South Korean president committed suicide today:

AP article: Embattled SKorean ex-president jumps to his death

Prior to the recent corruption allegations, I had only heard good things about him from Koreans. My grasp of the situation is that it's like Bill Clinton committing suicide during George W. Bush's presidency. South Korean politics have historically been rife with corruption, but Roh seemed to be above it all.

Corruption: Invisible Enemy of Korean Politics

The suicide rates here are also very high. This article claims that mental illness is a leading cause, with societal pressures only being responsible for 10%, although she does acknowledge that the reason mental illness often isn't diagnosed or treated is because of the stigma attached.

Suicide in South Korea Case of Too Little, Too Late

The Korean concept of "chae-myun" (saving face) would seem to me to be a more contributing factor in the suicide rate in South Korea. I wasn't able to find any articles that sum it up completely, but did come across these:

Interesting blog entry by a film-maker focusing on Asian-American mental illness:
The Virginia Tech Murders and Its Implications

Focusing on chae-myun from a business perspective:
The Importance of Saving Face in Korea


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