Regrettably on my last trip to Seoul I was assaulted at a major pedestrian crossing at midday. I was waiting alone to cross at the traffic lights when I heard a scream and felt pain over the top of my head.
To my terrible dismay, I realized the scream was mine and I had been hit. I struggled to look around to see a well-dressed young man equipped with a snazzy iPod looking back at me strangely. He seemed to be enjoying my pain and confusion.
I dared not say a thing in fear he would hit me again. While I regained my composure, I heard more screams. The assailant had then moved on and hit two more women over the head before making a hurried departure. We were too stunned to move or say anything.
My daughter is a graduate student at a prestigious Korean university. She has had two similar assaults in the 18 months she has lived in Seoul.
The same letter, with only a few subtle changes, by that same author was in the Joongang Ilbo two weeks ago. The JI piece seems to want to go in a different direction, though, and was titled by the paper "Korea’s denial of mental illness," whereas the KT letter is titled "Attacks in Seoul Street." Both close with
I will continue to travel to Seoul because my affinity for Korea is more than skin deep. Then again, if I was a tourist visiting Seoul for the first time I would never go again.
There was a similar situation in March when a California woman, presumably of Korean descent, had nearly-identical letters published in both the JI and KT on the dangers of American beef.