"This is the reality of people in their 20s these days. More than half of them are probably living in a basement room, a rooftop house, or a bedsit, making one million won (844 U.S. dollars) a month, and struggling to live." "I am studying for the civil service examination in Noryangjin, and I rarely contact with my parents. I once thought that even if I died suddenly, nobody would notice it for awhile. What happened to her can also happen to me." These are comments that netizens made on the Internet about the death of a woman in her 20s who was found dead in her bedsit 15 days after she died.
Hwang`s body was found days after she died in her bedsit in Gwanak-gu, Seoul. Hwang (29) was a speech therapist and lived there for over one year, but none of her neighbors knew about her death. The death of seniors who live alone has been a serious social issue but now the issue is expanding to younger people`s death. Hwang did not have a regular income and had many difficulties. Her rent, which is 430,000 won (363 dollars) per month, was not paid for two months. A student at Seoul National University threw himself Friday from his rooftop house leaving a suicide note that says, "What determines life and death is not your intelligence but your parents` wealth."
The size of people`s houses has a huge psychological impact on their state of mind and sociability. Buildings such as apartments and bedsits can accommodate a lot of people in a small area but their closed structure makes it difficult for the residents to be close to their neighbors. A study done by Professor Kim Young-uk of Sejong University compared residents of a shantytown and a permanent rental apartment and showed that the latter have higher incomes as well as much greater suicide rate. This result indicates that people who are living in a less-developed environment but in regular contact with their neighbors live a happier life.
The book "People who are standing at the edge of a cliff," written by students of Graduate School of Journalism at Semyung University, illustrates the lives of the poor, introducing stories of poor people such as one who carries 10 kg-heavy sacks of green onions overnight and one who works as a hotel houseman to make one million won (844 dollars). They live a hard life moving from one public sauna or flop house to another. Among temporary workers, 5 million are day workers without even the four basic insurances. Major conglomerates of which working environment is comparatively better have recently started layoffs on a large scale. The end of the year is cold and sorrowful.