London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

The Namdaemun Gate tragedy

International Herald Tribune, 12 Feb

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.

South China Morning Post 12 Feb front page

And the coverage inside: SCMP centre page (left); IHT page 3 (right).

4 thoughts on “The Namdaemun Gate tragedy

  1. There’s been plenty of comment on the other K-Blogs about it.
    How could it happen, a drunk Korean man (Chae Mo-Shi ) set it on fire on purpose.

    Their number one historical monument and there is not a single guard. Only 8 fire extinguishers in the whole place? They really need to think about that when they rebuild.

    It was front page news in Japan too yesterday, this was the day after the front page news titled “London’s Burning” about the big fire in Camden, North London.

    More photos of the night at this guys flickr set :

  2. Wow. Thanks for the link Seoul Man. That first image is specatcular.

    Strange. I didn’t think the Camden Market fire was that big of a deal. Strange how perceptions differ.

  3. Thanks Jon.
    Of couse I read the news before I worte my first comment but I still want say, HOW COULD IT POSSIBLY HAPPEN?

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