Walk Thoughts #45: in Yangpyeong
5 hours ago
Sfc Barnes, a. Motion Picture Cameraman and I were looking through Inchon, Korea for pictures when we saw some marines detaining some North Korean POW's. As we started to take picture, we heard a child crying and saw a better picture. The results appear in this picture, which I call "All Alone."The Chosun Ilbo has some newly released photos from the Korean War, as well as some released last year; among the latter, the first photo reminded me of a passage by Reginald Thompson of the London Daily Telegraph quoted in the book Korea Witness, which perfectly described the photo. One detail is different, however, making it clear that such a scene repeated itself many times throughout the war.
So far this year, a total of 22 people committed suicide by jumping on subway tracks in Seoul and the metropolitan area, according to Seoul Metro and Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit Corporation, or about four people a month on average. The number is a 30 percent increase from the same period last year. In 2006, the figure stood at 34.The Chosun Ilbo continues:
The most recent suicide occurred around 2 p.m. on June 17 when a man in his 30s threw himself onto the subway track at Gunja station on subway line 5. This month alone, five people have killed themselves on subway tracks.
There were 21 suicide in subways in 2000, rising to 52 at the height of the recession in 2003. The number dwindled to 34 and rose again to 41 in 2005. This year, it is also expected to exceed 40.That the Korea Times (and the Chosun Ilbo, in its Korean edition) used the graph below to illustrate the projected rise is a bit silly, seeing how, if they had started with 2003, the 2007 figures would still seem low; the graphic doesn't really seem very helpful.
I don't know all of those stations, but, to judge by the presence of new apartment complexes nearby, Noryangjin fits that description (not for long though, as a new town is headed its way), as does the Kkachisan Station area (which is also likely getting a new town). Songnae Station in Bucheon, on the other hand, has large apartment complexes nearby, though the husband of a former coworker witnessed a suicide there back in 2002.
The station with the most suicides during the period was Guui Station on Line 2: a total of six people killed themselves by jumping on the tracks there. Noryangjin and Songnae stations on Line 1, Kkachisan and Gunja Station on Line 5 and Hansung University Station on Line 4 are also popular with suicides with five each. The common factors are that there are fewer distractions because there are not many passengers, and that they are in lower middle-class areas.
Most of the suicides were unemployed or suffered economic hardship. Most were in their 20s to 40s, and men vastly outnumbered women. According to analysis of 300 train suicide accidents from 2003 to 2005, 70 percent were unemployed. Some 216 men committed suicide, three times the number of women, which was 85. By occupation, 24 were factory workers, 13 were office workers, six were public employees, and four had their own business.The article goes on to tell us that the appearance of screen doors in subway stations have ended suicides there, but that "Of the 256 stations in Seoul and metropolitan area, only 20 or less than 10 percent have screen doors." You'd think the advertising possibilities these screens present would make them affordable in the long run; when they first appeared at Yeongdeungpo Gucheong station they were covered, for the entire length of the station with ads for a single product.
Some experts say changing the atmosphere in stations can also prevent suicide. Dr. Nam Yoon-Young of Seoul National Hospital said, "People commit suicide in places and times when there are fewer people. They could also be discouraged from suicidal thoughts by music or signs."Somehow, I don't think music or signs are going to make a huge difference to someone who's decided to kill themself. I doubt they would have dissuaded this man:
The increasing number of suicides at subways also leaves irreversible trauma to train drivers, which is emerging as a serious social problem, according to Kim Hae-gon, a subway expert.It can't be a very pleasant thing to witness from the driver's seat.
Some 1,056 photos taken by the U.S. Navy for military purposes in late August and early September 1945 of Seoul, Busan, Incheon, Gunsan, Jinju, and Masan were released on Tuesday.Below are some of the photos. The first looks north, with city hall near the center and Gahoi-dong at the top.
They [were] taken on Aug. 28-29 and on Sept. 9-10, right after national liberation on Aug. 15, 1945. Except for Seoul, all the other locations are ports. The U.S. military authorities seem to have taken photos of major areas, first of all, to obtain information on Korea after the collapse of Japan. [...] During the colonial era, Japanese authorities also took aerial photos, but only of downtown Seoul.
Finally, there was the problem for the occupation force of finding any information about the country they were to occupy. One of the few sources of intelligence was the Joint Army-Navy Intelligence Study of Korea (JANIS 75), which had been published in April 1945. This document contained some useful data but was superficial. Korean prisoners of war captured on Okinawa were interrogated and provided a small amount of additional information. Since the situation in Korea was obscure and General MacArthur wanted to avoid any incidents prior to the occupation, aerial reconnaissance of Korea was forbidden. However, some recent prints of aerial photographs were discovered, and the XXIV Corps staff persuaded an Army Air Force reconnaissance squadron on Okinawa to fly a few photographic sorties. The resulting photographs, although inadequate for combat operations, were useful for planning the deployment of the occupation troops. Thus, in the absence of any more authoritative information, the former anti-aircraft gunners of the newly formed Military Government Headquarters planned for the occupation of Korea using War Department field manuals, some illicit aerial photographs, the Cairo Declaration, and JANIS-75.The occupation force arrived in Incheon on September 8, 1945, and its arrival and the ceremony in which the Japanese turned command of Korea to the US can be found here.
On Sunday afternoon, two sections of track near Gajwa Station in Seoul, midway along the line, caved in, falling 50 meters to the ground and cutting all rail traffic between Seoul Station and Susaek Station.
Those who ride the train from Munsan as well as Paju and Ilsan, both in Gyeonggi, were hit the hardest. It took many of them longer than usual to get to work as people scrambled to use alternative transportation.Photographers got the chance to photograph crowds of people waiting for buses in front of Susaek Station. Of course, they might have had other, more horrific photos to take had things not turned out as well as they did.
A train carrying around 150 passengers passed the accident spot seven minutes before it collapsed, even after the Korea Railroad Corp., the state-run operator of the railway, was informed that signs of a railway collapse were appearing just 17 minutes before the accident.Thanks for waiting for 27 minutes, guys. Of course, the Korea Railroad Corporation almost ended up making quite a mess of things itself.
Ssangyong Engineering and Construction, which was in charge of the project next to the railway, said it detected an impending collapse at 4:30 p.m., 44 minutes before the accident, and withdrew all of its workers from the construction site, according to police. Police said the company informed the Korea Railroad Corp. at 4:57 p.m.
But the railway operator allowed trains to keep running, merely slowing their speed to 20 kilometers per hour, police said. Of four trains passing the accident spot after that, two were carrying around 150 passengers each.Blind luck seems to have saved Seoul from another Seongsu Bridge-like disaster. The construction crews unsurprisingly worked quickly to fill in the hole near the collapsed section of the wall.
Police said the accident happened after retaining walls on a subway construction site next to the railway collapsed, spilling sand under the railway into the construction site and collapsing the track bed.Many of the articles mentioned the Gyeong-ui (Seoul-Uiju) line, perhaps for two reasons. That line continues to run next to the construction site, above ground, but it also will eventually be routed underground in Seoul, which is one of the purposes of the construction seen above. What's not mentioned in any of the hundreds of articles at Naver is the fact that the Incheon Airport railway will also take this underground route: