Seoul Train Station


This morning, a middle aged man in tattered clothes sat down in the road at the Seoul Station bus stop. The buses went around him. I asked a woman at the bus stop to call emergency services; the police told her to call welfare. While she did, he got up and moved to another spot. Dozens of commuters were watching but no one intervened, so I went over to him. To my surprise he spoke some English.

“I am sad,” he told me, “So I suicide.” He yelled in Korean too. I told him I’m sorry, and that it’s hard. He asked me where I was from and I said Canada. “No one,” he told me, which I think meant no one else was talking to him. Then he got embarrassed. “I am sorry,” he said. “I am sad.”

A young woman tried to talk to him, and he yelled again. Then two policemen came and began directing the buses around him. One took his photo on a smartphone. I asked the police if social services will come. They said they were handling it, and that I must go. Seeing that he wasn’t about to get run over, being late for work and not knowing what else I could do, I left.

It’s so easy to slip through the cracks, until you feel that nobody gives a fuck about you and you’re better off dead. And then, that people only care when you cause a nuisance. What makes this guy special is that he didn’t jump into the Han River, so maybe he still felt some hope. His eyes were still bright.

Daniel Serge, 40, Canadian

KOREA EXPOSÉ Editorial Team