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What can we learn from the news of Sulli (f(x) member)’s death?

This was indeed a tragedy, and many kpop stars have expressed their feelings about her suicide; and the relation to both mental illness and the effect of cyber-bullying on people’s health.

Sulli was only 25 when she died, which makes it even more tragic as she’s the youngest kpop star to die pre-maturely since the death of Eunbi and RiSe (of Ladie’s Code) in a car accident back in Sept 2014. I wept at both funerals.

Here’s my take on this:

Firstly, mental illness is a huge problem in Korea especially. Korea is a very socially conservative country, where depression and mental illness isn’t properly treated and is instead shamed. There is a stigma against expressing yourself in Korea. This leads to many Koreans who feel ‘답답하다’ – feeling that they are keeping feelings bottled inside them and can’t let it out – long term, this is bad for mental health and manifests in either violence (drunken fights, domestic violence etc) or depression (suicide) – Korea has the highest suicide rate out of all OECD countries. This is an issue with Korean society that cannot change until Korean society becomes more open minded and progressive and less judging of others – the very fabric of what makes Korea society what it is today.

Secondly, online bullying is a real problem with not just Korea but every country. It’s especially pronounced in Korea though because of how judgmental people are in that country. Does it make sense to judge someone for showing their a bit of skin on top when Korean women can walk around in incredibly short skirts or shorts with no one saying a thing? That’s one of the ironies of Korean society. It’s conservative in some ways – and yet it’s not in other ways. You have churches surrounded by motels and adult shops. You have porn banned but you have hundreds of movies with bed scenes in them. The society is very contradictory.

And I have my own experience that I can relate to  – with both depression and netizens – what you really have to know is that social media really brings out the worst in people. Because they are hidden behind the safety of their own monitor, they feel like they can just say stupid, harsh, ridiculous or ignorant things without any repercussions.
Last year 2018 was really the worst year of my life. I wasn’t enjoying my job at my previous company. I wasn’t able to maintain the long distance relationship I had with my (ex) gf (partly due to my previous company which wouldn’t allow me to take any vacation time to visit my gf in Korea) which led to a messy breakup. I had broken my friendship with one of my closest friends. I had lost one third of my net worth in bad crypto investments. And to top it all off – I was forced to sell my apartment to pay off my loans, move to a place (Vancouver) where I didn’t know anyone and I lost the rest of my money from a scam, trying to move it back to Canada from the US (I was trying to avoid fees from bank commission by using a crypto exchange to move my money back – the CEO suddenly died and it was revealed that it was a ponzi scheme right when I was trying to withdraw my money ). I suffered from deep anxiety and depression because of all of this (losing 90%+ of your net worth in one year and breaking up with a girl you thought you would marry does that to you).
After I got scammed, a few articles popped online about it – and several threads were created on reddit to mock the fact that I had lost all of my money. People saw my Youtube videos online and insulted me, chided me for being an idiot for taking such a huge risk and accused me of being a money launderer. Some netizens even encouraged me to take my own life, saying that ‘stupid people like this deserve to lose their money and shouldn’t be allowed to reproduce’.

Did I contemplate suicide? Of course I did. But I also tried to talk to my friends and family more. Out of this I have to thank my family + friends for providing me support in my darkest times and giving me a reason to live. I realized that money was not everything and that I can always make it back. I realized that people online shouldn’t be taken seriously and that the only people you should take seriously are the people who are closest to you. “People who mind, don’t matter – and the people who matter, don’t mind“.

Sorry my story is kind of a tangent, but the point to hit on is this; We can’t pray for easy lives. Because life isn’t easy. We have to pray to be stronger people. We have to re-assess what is our true purpose in life and what we are living for. Who are the people who care about us? These are the things we should think about before we can decide to suicide or take our own life.
I can’t pretend to know what was on Sulli’s mind when she decided to take her own life – perhaps if I was in her shoes in the constricting Korean society with all its pressures and being only 25 years young my mind would have been the same as hers – but what we can learn from it is that perhaps Korean society should take mental health more seriously, Korean entertainment companies could treat its stars better, perhaps netizens could think more about the real-life implications of their comments and perhaps before doing something like taking our own lives we can think about other people that care about us – in a way suicide is an act of selfishness – because Sulli surely had a lot more people that loved her than hated her. I wish she would have re-thought things more before she did what she did – but it always takes a tragedy for human society to progress I feel.

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This year isn’t getting any better…

So another update so far. I’m in the middle of my Korea trip. Met a lot of my Korean friends which was good, but most of them were in Seoul. I spent 6 weeks in Seoul, and now I got 3 weeks in Busan before I head out to Osaka/Shanghai/HongKong for a nice 2 week trip before returning back to Toronto to see my parents for Christmas.

Busan is a nice city. Weather and air is much better than Seoul. I haven’t been able to enjoy it much though, the past week I’ve been sick with the flu. Some guy gave it to me on my last day in Seoul staying at my dorm. So I haven’t been really able to go outside that much. In addition, my Google Pixel 2 that I was using Project Fi to get data for, suddenly died on me about the same time. So I have no phone to use for data anymore. I ordered a replacement Pixel 1 (since I can’t send back the Pixel 2 for warranty in Korea, gotta wait until I’m back in California for that) and that takes 2 weeks to arrive from the US. I don’t want any international data plans or roaming plans so I guess I’ll just have to wait. I also don’t have many Busan friends anyways, so I am not meeting many people these days either.

Update: The Google Pixel 1 replacement I got sent, arrived 2 weeks later but IT DIED AS WELL, unbelievable. As soon as I started charging it, it died. I drained the battery fully then charged it again and then it started working, but I promptly then lost it 3 days later in a taxi while I was drunk from clubbing. FML. That’s gotta be a new record for shortest amount of time with a phone. Now I’ve got no phone number or data abroad anymore…

In addition to all this, QuadrigaCX, the Canadian Bitcoin exchange I’m using to transfer my money back to Canada, apparently has withdrawal problems that will take 3-4 months to resolve. Yeah, I had no idea either. So most of my money (over $500k CAD) is stuck in that account well into next year it seems. Just my luck.. I really hope they are trustworthy else God really has it in for me this year. As if losing $250k (1/3rd of my net worth) this year from the crypto crash wasn’t enough! I really hope the rest of my money will be ok! Oh – and ofc I invested in the stock market at the all time high on Oct 3 and everything has gone down since then – AND the crypto market is at its lowest point this year! Investments really hate me this year. Oh yeah and my Google Authenticator codes were all on my dead Google Pixel 2 -I don’t have the backup keys so I have to manually contact all the exchanges just to disable the 2FA so I can access my money again! Dammit…

Also.. finding another Korean girl? Yeah I am beginning to lose hope. I thought about my ex a lot these days. Most of my Korean friends don’t have anyone to introduce to me because at my age (30 years old) they are all already married or in long term relationships. I don’t have enough time in Korea to really meet someone anyways. Tinder as I already mentioned has a bug for me. MEEF/HelloTalk/Conversation Exchange seems to be full of girls who ignore my messages. And I don’t like to go to bars/clubs. Korean matchmakers and dating sites explicitly ban foreigners from using it. Korean girls abroad in Canada/USA are mostly students who will go back to Korea anyways. And even if they find someone, they will want a white dude. So yeah, its almost hopeless for me. I’m going to be lonely for a while, it seems…

Nothing else to really say. I need a miracle to save me now. Next year just has to be better than this year right?

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Korea life update…

Hey guys, it’s time for another one of my more honest and personal posts. I’ve been in Korea for more than 3 months now, and how do I feel?

Well, not too different actually. My Korean has gotten better, which is expected since I hear Korean everyday and do language exchange with a lot of Koreans, so that’s good. I can do most light conversations about a decent variety of topics now. Even paying the utility bills and rent isn’t too bad anymore. But what about the thing I wanted to do in Korea? Finding a Korean gf? Well… not so well.

Even though I’m not a really charming guy, I’m not exactly the most antisocial guy either. At least better than some Korean guys that I see. And I’m not a playboy either. (How do you know I’m not a playboy? because I’m writing this post on my public blog!) Yet, for whatever reason, these 3 months in Korea have been the most utterly futile 3 months ever. It’s not that I don’t meet a lot of girls, but its just getting them interested in me seems to be near impossible.

I go to bars, sometimes clubs, meetups, I message a lot of girls online, and all I’m looking for is a young, cute girl who can treat me well. That’s it. That’s not a high requirement considering how often I see those kind of loving young couples in the cafe and on the street. And out of all the girls I’ve met or contacted, most of the ones who fit my criteria outright ignore my messages, and the ones that don’t are too busy / have a bf already / don’t want to meet me. That’s kind of disappointing.

I guess I thought it would be easy to find that kind of girl in Korea, since many of my friends told me girls like guys who can speak English, play guitar, have a stable job, make money, do cooking and cleaning and housework, live alone, etc. Well, despite being able to do all of that, I don’t think Korean girls really care about those things. Now, this might be because some Korean girls discriminate, since I’ve seen white guys pick up Korean girls fairly easily by speaking English, or learning Korean, etc. But not for me, and I learned Korean by myself and speak it better than most of them! I actually don’t know the reason why most of them reject me, or ignore me.

For example, I think I had at least 20 girls in 3 months outright ignore or block me on Kakao talk for reasons I can’t explain. You would think that I said something offensive or bad right? But no, the last messages I sent to them include such heinous sentences as ‘Good morning’, ‘did you have a good new years?’, ‘nice to meet you’, ‘did you arrive home safely?’, etc. It makes absolutely no sense why they would block me or ignore me for things like that. Maybe because I’m an engineer, I like to dissect and analyze the reasons. But for this there is no explanation. I’m frustrated because I don’t know what I did wrong. For a programming analogy, it’s like working on a server which only starts up 30-40% of the time, gets bugs at any time, cannot be debugged, yet is able to work perfectly in the hands of other guys. It’s insane.

Anyways, that’s been my 3 months in Korea. It’s frustrating when you see couples on the street or at a restaurant or cafe all the time, yet have no idea what you are doing wrong. Relationships have always been my weak point. It’s probably the most difficult thing in my life since there is no concrete solution to it. The solution to getting a job? Build up experience, network with people, go online and message recruiters, etc. The solution to buying a house? Save up money, look for a location with high demand, look for a place you can rent out if you don’t live there, etc. A lot of the other so called ‘difficult’ goals in life have somewhat concrete steps to achieve them.
Not so for relationships. And no one can help me with it since it’s so specific to my case. I just have to keep trying I know, but just how much effort does it take? I must’ve put more effort for this goal already than any other goal in my life.

Next month I will go back to US and Canada. But what a disappointing and heartbreaking 3 months its been. TZ signing off for now…