Gyanu Regmi, 30, a Nepali working in Korea, committed suicide yesterday. Regmi, who had been sick for a couple of days, hung himself at his residence with a bed cloth. There seems to be some confusion as to the full facts but it appears that he shared a room, rented or company billets, with two or three other Nepali people (apologies – not sure of the plural for Nepali). Apparently he left no reason for his suicide. There have been a rash of Nepali dying in Korea lately. Shyam Bahadur Gurung died in a fire at a motel in Seosan this last December. Karna Bahadur Thapa, a 63-year-old visitor, died of a heart attack in a taxi in Seoul on December 11th, only a day after he had arrived in Korea.
The Nepali workers in Korea have had some problems in the past – as have many of the foreign employees in Korea. To be honest I have no idea if working conditions have improved or not. The number of Nepali (Nepalese?) in Korea does seem to be growing. According to Korea Times there were about 10,000 in October last year. In 2005 it was estimated that there were nearly 7,000 Nepali working in Korea and half of them were illegal.
I did manage to find young Kaibalya Bahadur Bista’s (Korean name: Kaibal) blog Kimchee Times and while I did not read the entire blog, he seems to be having a great time in Korea and especially at his daycare – of course, mom and dad seem to be having fun too.
My only experience I have had with Nepali in Korea is with the Gurkhas while I was in the military. I remember at the rapel training course in Jeju I went with a couple of Gurkhas and a few KATUSAs….some of the KATUSAs had problems with the ROK army soldiers (we trained with them as well) and the Gurkhas made it perfectly clear they would not sit idly by while the ROKs harrassed the KATUSAs – it was a peaceful week. I am not the only one with respect for the Gurkhas in Korea.