Seoul National University Hospital asked 4,176 people what they thought would be a good death. 26% answered the death surrounded by family and 22% the death un-burdensome to family. Also two notable answers were the death without pain and the death after things settled down. All these answers have one thing in common: they do not want to be a burden to family or others.
Studying similar surveys overseas, we can find one common difference between Koreans and Europeans: Koreans prefer unbordensome to familyand Europeans painless. Whatever the preference, it is good thing to do preparing one’s life in time. And this seems to be a reason that ‘well-dying’ business has started budding up amid over-flooding ‘wellbeing’ frenzy.
People also started to question whether living longer in ‘pain’ is as good as the abusively quoted‘homo-hundred’ on the media. New funeral cultures like natural burials and eco-friendly cremation are not unrelated to this. In this regard, the services of the Korea Ending Life Support Association are well worth noted for reference. Set sail only last year, the association is second to none in terms of its passion in organizing ending life coordinator lectures and seminars and training. And the association president Kim Kwon-ki proved it by recently receiving the National Assembly Gender Equality and Family Committee chairwoman’s prize at the 2020 Korea Regional and Society Contribution Awards.
“The job of an ending life coordinator is to help people not afraid of death and prepare the end nicely and timely. This involvescase study, appropriate knowledge and consulting” says Kim who has built extensive knowledge and knowhow in the field home and abroad. He has traveled the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany and Switzerland to studydifferent funeral cultures in 2016 and organized a seminar in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in 2018.
He points out that a good ending coordinator involves professional services for organizing convalescence, keepsake, will, funeral and burial. And the services may not necessarily be limited to people but also to beloved pets. “Ending coordinator jobs can also improve people dying alone which has become a serious social issue in South Korea. It is encouraging that ending coordinator has been registered to the Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education & Training as a private qualification and certification, and its trade mark also has been registered to the Intellectual Property Office.” Kim is scheduled to start a certificatecourse at Sogang University from October this year.
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