Seoul Train Station

Seoul Train Station


This morning, a middle aged man in tattered clothes sat down in the road at the Seoul Station bus stop. The buses went around him. I asked a woman at the bus stop to call emergency services; the police told her to call welfare. While she did, he got up and moved to another spot. Dozens of commuters were watching but no one intervened, so I went over to him. To my surprise he spoke some English.

“I am sad,” he told me, “So I suicide.” He yelled in Korean too. I told him I’m sorry, and that it’s hard. He asked me where I was from and I said Canada. “No one,” he told me, which I think meant no one else was talking to him. Then he got embarrassed. “I am sorry,” he said. “I am sad.”

A young woman tried to talk to him, and he yelled again. Then two policemen came and began directing the buses around him. One took his photo on a smartphone. I asked the police if social services will come. They said they were handling it, and that I must go. Seeing that he wasn’t about to get run over, being late for work and not knowing what else I could do, I left.

It’s so easy to slip through the cracks, until you feel that nobody gives a fuck about you and you’re better off dead. And then, that people only care when you cause a nuisance. What makes this guy special is that he didn’t jump into the Han River, so maybe he still felt some hope. His eyes were still bright.

Daniel Serge, 40, Canadian

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