The Death of a Korean President

Korean President Kim Dae-jung passed away on August 18th, 2009.  Sounds like natural causes, multiple organ dysfunction syndrome.  A few months ago, Korean President Roh Moo-hyun passed away.  He jumped off a cliff and committed suicide.

I find this very fascinating, that two Korean Presidents have passed during my 4 months in Korea.  In my entire lifetime, only two three American Presidents have passed.  I remember the passing of President Ford well, happening recently in 2006.   And I only kind of remember President Reagan Nixon passing when I was a kid.  Apparently Reagan passed in 2004, but for some reason I have little recollection

I was unable to attend any of the events for President Roh, barely allowed to leave the confines of my shoebox apartment because of the Swine Flu H1N1 scare.  But, I did witness a few memorials for President Kim last weekend.




Some of my students described President Kim as a very important person to the Korean people, a hero, so I looked him up.  Everything you read on the internet is true, and according to Wikipedia, President is the only Korean recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, awarded for his efforts to increase communication with the crazies in the North.  He has also been referred to as the Nelson Mandela of Asia for his long standing opposition to authoritarian rule.

I haven’t heard the jokes about President Kim from the kids yet, but I guarantee they are on the way.  I’ve already witnessed multiple suicide and jumping off of cliff jokes and comments from them when referring to President Roh.

Death is a strange subject around here.  The kids constantly talk about it.  The words die and died are commonly used on a daily basis.  At first I discouraged it, now I just run with it.   I even refer to the dialogue portion of my speaking lesson as the Diiiieeee-alogue, while making the throat slashing motion with my hands.  They love it.

Learn Korean with


~ by ripcitytoseoul on August 25, 2009.

3 Responses to “The Death of a Korean President”

  1. Reagan died in 2004. Think you were a little old to be called a kid, although those were some blurry times, so I’m not surprised it’s not real clear in the ol’ dome piece. One other president passed away in our lifetime, Richard Nixon.

  2. I stand corrected, thanks K Dogg. It is Nixon that I barely remember as a kid. Maybe I should have done a little more research before tossing this out… but I’m working my ass off lately.

  3. lol, 2004 was a blurry year for me too. I had to look it up to remember the dates. Nixon if I recall correctly, was in 91.

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