EDWISE  - EDITOR AND EDUCATION CONSULTANT
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A Year of Living Positively -Day 138

I am feeling dull after staying home all day. Opting to skip my swim so as to get some chores out of the way, particularly to prepare for the trip to Seoul and the peace meeting over the weekend. I composed three solidarity messages, did some related correspondence, and began filling a couple of small bags. Between tasks, I have been watching a lot of international news on various channels. I guess it's the TV watching and desk work that has left my mind a bit limp.

Right now, though, I am thinking that it is good to be better informed on the most recent global current events, considering I am about to attend an international meeting. I could pass a test today. Many reports are about the Ukraine, plus elections in several countries, the failure of the Democrats' bill to increase the minimum wage in the US, the entry of 10 Eastern European countries into the EU, and disasters in the US, China and South Korea. 

In South Korea, the main topic is still the ferry disaster that has claimed 216 lives of highs school students, teachers and boat crew. The Prime Minister having resigned over the slow rescue mission right after the incident occurred, the Chief of the Coast Guard resigned yesterday, the day after President Park Geun-Hye visited the rescue on the mission then announced that heads would roll. The whole incident is scandalous but not surprising, if you have ever experienced transportation in South Korea, where generally hardly anyone cares a whit about safety standards. Before officials admitted it, I knew that the boat would have been overcrowded. In fact, news reports are now saying that the ferry boat that sank was carrying some triple the allowable capacity. That procedures were not followed when the calamity occurred was made obvious by the fact that the ship's captain chose to save himself and arrived on shore dressed as a civilian, after having repeatedly given passengers the wrong instructions, surely playing a hand in the deaths of many. Ninety people who were on board were still unaccounted for, and, after two full weeks, volunteers and professional rescuers are searching under water in the hope of finding more survivors. The boat has been raised to the surface. They are thinking that there could be someone alive trapped in an air bubble inside it because the captain told the youth to stay in their cabins while it was turning over. The ferry ended up on its side half immersed in the sea. The whole story is so shocking that sympathizers have been sending condolences and wishes from around the world, especially teenagers. Perhaps it is a good exposure of the safety hazards that are prevalent in this country of contradictions, if any can be found positive in this disaster, because we live on the brink of serious man-made disasters every day here owing to a lack of standards and enforcement. In fact, I often ponder that predicament, wondering when the next disaster will occur. The collapse of the resort roof that killed nine of our students of BUFS was another example of reckless practices and a lack of safety measures. Now, grieving parents are very angry with the inadequacies of protection and emergency services, and this is why the government is under heavy fire today.



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