Saturday, December 17, 2005

Shit-hits-the-fan death

Most residents of Korea who are from overseas are highly skeptical of some Koreans' belief in so-called "fan death," the possibility that somehow exposure to an electric fan in a hot, enclosed room can lead to one's expiration. [My own take on alleged "fan death" is that it is often being used deliberately or inadvertently to mask death by some other means, such as murder by asphyxiation, alcohol poisoning, choking on one's own vomit, or the heart simply giving out for some other reasons, such as stress.]

But while "fan death" is derided as snopes-ish myth, it seems more than a few bloggers are concerned about the possibility that Dr. Hwang Woo-suk, of cloning infamy, might succumb to another type of physical demise that is a little too common here: shit-hits-the-fan death.

In Korea, not unlike its neighbor Japan where this is more famous, a person hopelessly caught in the middle of swirling storm of humiliation may seek to avoid any further loss of face for him/her or his/her family or associates, by quietly seeking quietus. This sometimes occurs even when the person seeking death is not the cause of the embarrassment him/herself.


[Above: shit (left) and fan (right). By themselves, they are relatively harmless, but in combination, they can be deadly.]

We see this with executives or politicians jumping off buildings or bridges, or sometimes hanging themselves. Disembowelment (e.g., seppuku or hara-kiri) is less common for "shit-hits-the-fan death," but is still done in Korea as a form of protest [non-pleasant picture of this coming soon].

At any rate, several bloggers/commenters have already brought up this possibility: Biggdogg's comment sums it up nicely:
If a close eye is not kept on Hwang (and I mean 24 hours) he will be found dead of apparent suicide. If he doesn't kill himself, someone else will kill him...For one, there are just too many reactionary nuts out there who will see Hwang as a national embarrasment and want to kill him.
I'll have more after Typepad completely recovers and lets me sift through people's responses, but one choice one that I remember is someone saying that where he/she is (Japan), Hwang would know what to do after embarrassing the entire country.

ADDENDUM TO ORIGINAL POST:
Darin informs me that it was he who made the above comment, and he did so right on this blog:
He's lucky he's not in Japan though, they'd have him testifying for his life in-front of the Diet tomorrow for national embarrassment after which they'd hand him a knife and tell him he knows what he has to do.
Don't be so sure that wouldn't happen here, too. Although he's more likely to be forced into exile in some isolated Buddhist temple somewhere.

3 comments:

  1. Do you mean this?
    "He's lucky he's not in Japan though, they'd have him testifying for his life in-front of the Diet tomorrow for national embarrassment after which they'd hand him a knife and tell him he knows what he has to do."
    That was me :)

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  2. Yes, Darin, that's exactly what I was thinking of! Was this from my site, then? I'll go look.

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  3. Yea, from your previous post on the subject ;)
    Do bear in mind that it was sarcastic :) Yesterday an Architect who is in trouble for not meeting federal building codes for earthquake safety (he didn't have enough beams and then faked the numbers to say it was stable) was testifying in front of the Diet. He admits to doing it, but says that it was such an obvious lie that any of the 15 idiot committees that approved his plans for building should have caught the lie. (He also claims that he was forced to do it from higher powers in order to cut costs.)
    So anyway that's why I said that ;)

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