4) Jeong Da-Bin (1980-2007)
Da-Bin had starred in a series called “Rooftop Room Cat”. The series was about a couple of friends that lived together and eventually fell in love. Cohabiting is still pretty taboo in South Korea so of course the ratings went through the roof, especially with teens and early twenties.
Da-Bin was well known for being a very cheery and positive person which made what happened next even more of a shocker. Da-Bin was making a successful career in films, but a film she made in 2006 – “That Summer’s Typhoon” was a bit of a flop and she took it to heart. February 10th 2007 found Da-Bin hung by a towel in the bathroom of her boyfriend’s apartment.
Da-Bin’s boyfriend said that she had been on a massive downer because of difficulties finding work and constant internet attacks regarding her physical appearance. She didn’t leave a suicide note but she was an avid blogger as most South Koreans are:
“Everything is so complicated. I get angry for no reason and I feel like I’m going crazy. It hurts so much that I feel like I’m getting seasick. My head hurts so much that I start to tear. I was becoming a slave to my temper. I thought that I was losing myself, losing my identity. Then, as if lightning had struck, all became quiet. The Lord came to me with love. He made me realize my importance and gave me courage. I was about to collapse, and he lifted me up, saying it’s going to be okay. YES, I WILL BE OKAY”.
She wasn’t OK. In a country where opinion in public is expressed rarely and delicately, the rash of internet connectivity has opened a new and anonymous pipeline to vent spleens. Legislation has been brought in to try and kerb internet thuggery and to protect people’s professional personas. Reputations can be smashed in a matter of hours by teens with smart phones and no one can do a darned thing about it.