Extra! Korea

May 15, 2010

Nine suicides in two days, eight done in groups

Filed under: suicide — extrakorea @ 11:54 am

In South Korea, nine people have killed themselves in the last two days, and all save one involved group suicides. On Wednesday, four men and one woman in their 20s and 30s committed suicide by inhaling toxic fumes in a car. Two of them left notes saying things like, “I have no more hope and no more dreams” and “please find my identification card in my back pocket.” That same day, eight men in their 20s also committed group suicide by inhaling poisonous gases, but this time in an apartment. The next day, a 72-year-old man hanged himself.

Police believe that the two group suicides had their beginnings online. Such news is not rare in a country that has the highest suicide rate among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the third-highest in the world, and the leading cause of death among young people.

“There’s a huge gap in this country because the speed of materialism spreading is much faster than the speed of cultural maturity that must grow together. It all comes from stress of rapid modernization,” said Jeung Taek-Hee, an expert and consultant at Lifeline Korea.

[ snip ]

“Naturally, these busy parents end up spoiling the child who ends up self-centered and incapable of dealing with competition,” Jeung said. “But the reality is that this society is very, very competitive.”

Along with the miraculous rate of economic growth in the past decades, many South Koreans have become driven by materialism that has been passed on to their kids, Jeung said.

He noted that most of the people who commit suicide, especially the young teenagers, find themselves dangerously distressed by not being able to keep up with others materialistically and eventually become anti-social.

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