Friday, November 4, 2011

KU Girl Killed in Shuttle-bus Accident

Just a couple days ago a Korea University student, Kim Kyung Min, studying in her third year in the Sociology Department after transferring only this past March from Inha University, was killed on campus by a KU shuttle bus. Apparently, as the news came diffused down to me, she was texting with her cell phone and it also seems the shuttle bus driver was momentarily distacted, the combination of which created the unfortunate subsequents events of the girl being hit by the shuttle bus and being dragged behind. Apparently, it was the latter which killed her.

As white is the traditional color for mourning in Korea, on campus yesterday and today, a table to pay respects to the dead has been set up under a white tent near the well populated side entrance of the campus. Those passing the tent can pay their respects and commemorate her passing by bowing, lighting incense sticks from the perpetually burning white candles and lay another white chrysanthemum beside Kyung Min's framed smiling face while making wishes for her passage onward to the next life. The making of wishes is a Korean practice that seems fairly universal across religious disciplines in Korea, but even for those Christians who do not believe in the afterlife, paying silent respect to her and placing the white chrysanthemum is a symbolic gesture of both love and regret. The white chysanthemum is the flower which symbolizes lamentations and grief (or death) and is the funeral flower in Korea unlike the white lily in American society. Today sometime in the afternoon, the young lady's picture, I believe it is her high school graduation shot, was finally added to the white table. People wishing to sign her mourning "guest" book are welcomed, and the book will be passed on to her parents and single sibling to place with among the treasure and cherished memories which Kyung Min left behind.

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