There are some current events which are so unexpected and shocking that the first moment of becoming aware of them is indelibly printed on the memory. It is said that anyone who was adult at the time can remember where they were when they first heard of the death of JFK. I certainly will always remember where I was when I heard that something was very much amiss with the twin towers of the World Trade Centre (on a conference call with US colleagues, who were giving us a running commentary immediately after the first tower was hit).
So it is with the destruction of the Sungnyemun, Korea’s National Treasure #1. Alas, hearing about it after the event is not so immediate, but as I am intermittently out of reach of internet or TV right now, receiving the email distributed to the BAKS list in a lift lobby of an office block in Mumbai was as immediate as it was going to get.
If I as a Londoner feel a sense of profound shock and bereavement at the loss, I cannot imagine how Koreans must feel. “Maybe I’m just over tired, but this actually made me cry” commented one London-based LKL correspondent (a Brit).
Here’s how the front page of the South China Morning Post looked this morning. Today’s International Herald Tribune front page is shown above.
And the coverage inside: SCMP centre page (left); IHT page 3 (right).