Monday, 21 April 2014

Korean Sewol Ferry Disaster - 세월호 여객선 침몰

Hey musers..


It's been a crazy week. So much has happened in Korea since the last time I blogged, which was Tuesday last week. Little did I know that the very next day, something would happen that'd drastically change the whole scene of this country... My TV, which I rarely watch, has now been on for the 5th day straight with constant coverage news on the situation of the Korean Sewol Ferry Disaster.





I was so sad about this entire situation that I honestly couldn't smile properly for days. Oppa and I constantly talked about it, I was always looking for news updates - even the 24 hours AfreecaTV livestream of the actual place where families are staying to get updates about their missing family members. It's a true tragedy.. and every few hours the death toll continues to rise. Not a single person has been rescued yet, as of right now (Mon 21 April 2014).

Seoul has been buzzing ever since last Wednesday. My K-Style TV segments have been cancelled for two weeks. News and weather anchors are wearing dark colours in their broadcasting features. A Kpop concert oppa and I were supposed to attend on Saturday night was called off. National entertainment and recreational events everywhere have all either been postponed or cancelled. Everywhere I go in Seoul, people share their own grief with me about the situation and the mishandled management - from the initial emergency call to the rescue missions - whether they are family members, taxi drivers, shop assistants or even total strangers.

A crying mother of a missing child. T_T
Text messages sent from students on board just before the ferry capsized.

There were controversies everywhere (and there still are). I had to research far and wide on my own to figure out which news stations were ones I felt were trustworthy, and those that were clearly just trying to get the more entertaining (shocking word to use here, but yes), action-packed footage and constructed imagery of constant happenings that were most likely not true or fabricated.

Out of all the news groups, I found the most trustworthy were those not mainly funded by governmental corporations or big-ticket institutions; JTBC (who have really gained my respect), and of course 뉴스타파 (news for the people). I truly learnt to appreciate my high school media studies which made me critically aware about the art of the press creating and constructing false perceptions on a topic to us - the mostly gullible public - who approach tragic news with positions of compassion and open-heartedness, and thus expecting and assuming that everyone else - including high officials, corporations and the government - would also most certainly be putting altruistic reasons ahead of other motivations or self interests when doing their job. For those who can read Korean, here is just an example of what a member of the South Korean public have written on their blog in regards to this current tragedy. Or here is an English tumblr version of just a few of the controversies that people are starting to be aware of.

(Please be assured: I am not trying to spread hate about my own country, I simply want to raise awareness on the injustice that those concerned may be going through that many may not know of.)

손석희 (Sohn Suk Hee), president and news presenter of JTBC news.
Thank you for your true and honest presentation of public affairs.

More than anything, I had a few sleepless nights thinking and praying for the students who might be alive and suffering, cold and hungry in some of the air pockets. I thought, after all, out of the 270 who were still missing at the time, of course there would still be people who would've found some safe places to huddle together, right? What kind of horrors would they be facing? How dark would it be? Would they be having to see some of the dead bodies of their own classmates as they waited for rescue? And what about the families who were waiting, desperate, for some proper rescue work to be done? I could only imagine the amount of grief, frustration, unbelief, betrayal, anger, sadness, hurt and feelings of helplessness they would be experiencing.

All I could do was pray.


Parents and families waiting for news on their loved ones in the gymnasium.
People gathering from all over Seoul for candle-light memorials to mourn for the lost and support families still waiting.

Even amidst all of this, I could just feel God's love for my nation of Korea. I could feel His grace flowing out over all the pain and suffering, covering us like a blanket.

Situations like these that seem so unfair and unjust can sometimes lead us to asking the question, "Why God? Why?" But in the midst of it all, we can only remember that God is always, always, always good. His love never fails. He is righteous, just, fair and knows everything that is happening everywhere. He is a God of miracles, healing and restoration.


God is never to blame. He is always good.

Have peace, be still.

I know that to some, the news of the Korean Sewol Ferry disaster may be something that is very far away and irrelevant to you. Perhaps this kind of tragedy is nothing compared to what you may be going through in your life. I guess we can never know what the person right next to us is really going through, even if there might always be a smile on their face.

I think this current situation is a highlighted event that all can see, that reminds us of the other constant sufferings of fellow humans around the world. Injustice, abuse and misfortunes that happen at unimaginable scales and in hidden, secret places that no one can see.

It's something that stares you in the face when you think all is well. I was just reminded of this fact.. that I need to keep praying for those who are facing such troubles and struggles. God is moved by our prayers, and nothing is impossible for Him. Our prayers are the key to bringing Heaven on earth. I simply love when people unite with the purpose of praying and lifting a situation together, with one heart and one mind.

Let's continue to cover the families and all those affected by the Sewol Ferry incident, that they will have strength and peace to face the situation that lies ahead. Let's continue to hope for miracles where there seems to be no hope. And let's not forget the rest of those around the world who are also enduring suffering and times of hopelessness and loneliness - those who are forgotten and faceless.

I'm grateful for this hope that has been given to us by what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross over 2,000 years ago. It is simply overwhelming that the King of Kings, the God who created this universe and you and me, has suffered for us so that we can continue to live with this hope, joy, healing and strength. So that we can have eternal life with Him in a place where there is no more tears. As special as this Easter has been for me (my first Easter in Korea - a country that doesn't celebrate it as a public holiday hehe), I hope and pray and send my love out to every single one of you who are reading this blogpost.. that you will also have strength for the strengthless days, hope for the hopeless situations, peace amidst chaos, and experience God's great love for you deep, deep, down in your heart.

God loves you.

To finish, here's an old video by Janice and Sonia onnis (Jayesslee) of one of my favourite Korean hymns, '하나님은 너를 지키시는 자' - 'God is your protector'.


God your protector
He protects you day and night
Leading you like the sun in the day and moon in the night
His love surrounds you

God your protector
He has listened to your troubles and sorrows
You should have faith in Him
That God will protect you

For He is higher than the mountain
Deeper than the sea
As He is the Lord who creates heaven and earth.

God your protector
He protects you day and night
Leading you like the sun in the day and moon in the night
His love surrounds you

For He is higher than the mountain
Deeper than the sea
As He is the Lord who creates heaven and earth.



I love you guys! <3


Love Jen
xox