former south korean president commits suicide

Some crazy news that has rocked South Korea this weekend... Former President Roh Moo-hyun is dead from an apparent suicide. He was 62: Former SKorean leader leaps to death over scandal.

Roh, who was embroiled in allegations that he had accepted $6 million in bribes from a businessman during his time in office, hurled himself off a 100-foot high cliff early Saturday while hiking near his retirement hom. He died from severe head trauma.

In recent weeks, several of his aides and relatives had been arrested or questioned on charges of taking bribes. Late last month, Roh himself was questioned by state prosecutors, but denied most of the bribery allegations against him.

In a suicide note found on his computer, he wrote that life had become unbearable and "too many people are suffering because of me." More here: South Korean Ex-President Kills Himself.

This is just the latest a series of high-profile suicide deaths in South Korea, as well as a number of reported Korean American suicide/murders here in the United States, raising questions about the the highly volatile issue of shame and judgment in the culture.

Rather than a sensationalist attitude towards such tragedies, I hope that the death of a former president might promote a much-needed dialogue about mental health, shame and suicide within Korean society, the Korean American community and beyond.

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