How foreigners in Korea view the Sewol-ho Ferry tragedy

(Photo : NEWSis)

People all over the world were both shocked and saddened as they looked upon the Sewol-ho Ferry tragedy in Jindo on April 16. Magazine N was curious about what foreigners living in Korea for some time thought about this accident.

Hence, Magazine N interviewed a few foreigners living in Korea for more than five years: Dong Lie Lie, 56, from China, who is the publisher of the online newspaper, Jurgen Germeys, 40, a private business owner from Belgium, and a professor at a university in Seoul, 45, from Oregon, USA, who participated in the interview on the condition of anonymity.

They all called the Sewol-ho Ferry tragedy a man-made disaster. They also said that the national atmosphere of mourning and rage “showed the collectivism in Korean culture.”

When asked what the biggest problem was, they answered “materialism” and “authoritarianism.” “A culture of obedience” (China), “respectful treatment of one’s elders” (Belgium), and “irresponsibility of the company” (USA) were pointed out as causes of the Sewol-ho disaster.

Jurgen Germeys compared the situation to European culture and said, “Information must be shared equally regardless of age or circumstance.”

All interviewees responded unanimously, “We never imagined such an incident would happen in Korea. It is so tragic. We hope the families of the victims and the Korean people can overcome the grief they bear. We hope another such accident never happens again.”

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