Monday, April 7, 2014

Bridge of Life

사랑해주세요 - Please love me or Love me....

Remember how on the weekend I finally walked the Mapo Bridge?, I had crossed that bridge by car and bus many times and each time I thought about what the bridge represents…

The Mapo Bridge crosses the Han River in Seoul connecting the Mapo District and the Yeongdeungpo District, this bridge was completed in 1970 but was called Seoul Bridge.

This Bridge has been re-named Mapo Bridge but is also known as Bridge of Life (Since it was renewed on September 201) to prevent people from jumping off the Bridge.

Korea is known for having quite high Suicide rates and this bridge had over 100 attempts Between 2007-2012. According to a note on the; South Korea’s suicide rate has been the highest among developed nations for 8 years, with almost 42 people choosing to end their lives EVERY DAY.

All along the bridge you can find messages and pictures of Korean people and Korean food, the messages on the bridge were chosen by psychiatrists and are aimed to reduce tension and getting people to relax with humor.

Messages such as: “Have you eaten yet?” (A popular greeting in Korea) can be found and funny messages like “Did you know Gorillas all have blood type B?”, to messages like “Doesn’t it feel good to be outside walking on a bridge?” or “Worries are nothing”.

There’s also a statue of a person comforting another one.

After the renewal of the bridge more people tried to take their own lives but the actual number of those who DID jump off the bridge decreased by 47% from the previous year.

Besides the pictures and messages, there are also mirrors –I guess looking at your own reflection when trying to jump can make you stop and re-think your decision-  there are also 2 Emergency phones in case you see someone attempting to jump and CCTV monitoring systems have been also installed.

I don’t really want to get too much into the Suicide subject because I’m not expert on this, I would never do it but I don’t judge those who attempt it, while walking on the Bridge I felt at peace and despite not really understanding the phrases –in Korean- you can sense certain peace there, I wish I could help those who feel so bad the only exit they see is Jumping off a bridge or tell them to just Fu+k everything off and do not let themselves down by doing so, anyway, I wanted to explain a bit more about this Bridge because it’s has become a somehow an Attraction when you are around the area.

I wish I had the right words for those who need it, but I suck at this whole Comforting words… :(

Well… there you go, that is it…

-Gisela V.

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