Jokes, parties, concerts are out as South Korea mourns ferry victims


Associated Press

Posted on April 24, 2014 at 10:32 AM

Updated Thursday, Apr 24 at 11:34 AM

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — As South Korea mourns one of its worst-ever disasters, there can be a quick backlash against anything that is deemed frivolous or fun.

A politician was warned by his party, after attending a party where alcohol was served. Another was criticized for running in a marathon. A popular singer was harshly criticized online after going ahead with a concert -- even as bodies continue to be recovered from the ferry that sank last week. The sinking killed more than 300 people, most of them high school students.

A popular lifestyle magazine says it won't be publishing next month's issue, because it's "not the right time to sell joy and laughter."

Most of the popular comedy, reality and talk shows that usually fill the airwaves aren't even filming. They've been replaced by somber documentaries, or by news coverage of the sinking.

Springtime flower festivals have been canceled across the country. Musicians have postponed album releases.

And baseball officials have asked the cheering squads for professional teams to refrain from cheering loudly.

The country's Film Council says movie attendance has plunged.

But some say they wouldn't mind some escapist entertainment. A receptionist at a bathhouse in Seoul said it would be a welcome relief after "days of seeing nothing but miserable news."

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APPHOTO TOK805: FILE - In this April 16, 2014 file photo released by South Korea Coast Guard via Yonhap News Agency, South Korean rescue team boats and fishing boats try to rescue passengers of the sinking ferry Sewol in the water off South Korea's southern coast, near Jindo. Jokes and concerts are out. So are school field trips and boisterous cheering at baseball games. As South Korea mourns one of its worst ever disasters, a ferry sinking on April 16 that will likely result in the death of more than 300 people, most of them high school kids, anything deemed frivolous or fun is frowned upon, and the backlash for breaking this collective somber mood can be harsh. (AP Photo/South Korea Coast Guard via Yonhap, File) KOREA OUT (16 Apr 2014)

<<APPHOTO TOK805 (04/16/14)££