The Man Rotting in the Weeds

When I picked up The New York Sunday Times from the dirt driveway this morn, there front and center was this story about the man rotting in the weeds. Yes, I know some people still think a conspiracy exists and the man rotting in the weeds was another man despite fingerprints and DNA and what the JoongAng reported but I think they have the right man who was rotting in the weeds to the point where he was mostly rotten. As in life so in death.


The leader of the Salvationists got his salvation in an apricot orchard where maggots feasted on him like he had society for most of his 73 years. Of little surprise, The Times points out that he turned his followers into investors early on:

Money for investment was hard to come by, so by using church members as a source of capital, he was able to build factories and companies at the same time that Samsung and Hyundai rose to prominence, though he never matched their size.

Later, in the late 80s, when one of his many companies ran the Han River tourist boats, the man rotting in the weeds showed what he thought about safety in the face of profit, a philosophy that would lead to the Sewol tragedy:

Even then, Mr. Yoo’s vessels faced criticism for overloading. Once, when his company tried to board more than twice one vessel’s maximum limit of 200 passengers during a busy holiday season, irate passengers almost rioted, said Lee Cheong, a former Salvationist who worked as a crewman on the boat. He said Mr. Yoo watched the melee impassively from the pier.

The man rotting in the weeds will provide a great case study in moral bankruptcy, megalomania, and how to buy your own exhibitions at the Louvre and Versailles in case your godly reputation has suffered from a mass suicide and four years in prison for defrauding your own flock:

Hoping to reinvent him as a Zen-like artistic genius, a family business donated $1.5 million to the Louvre, which then etched his new identity — the pseudonym Ahae — in gold on a marble wall at the museum. The family inaugurated a worldwide tour of his photos at Grand Central Terminal in New York and spent nearly $1 million to rent space as part of a deal to exhibit his work for months at Versailles…

Perhaps turning your back for a million to allow a megalomaniac to hold an exhibition with his pictures can be forgiven, but willfully avoiding responsibilities for the safety of human lives cannot. The sheer negligence of officials and human beings in the marine industry goes beyond sinister. As is laid out in the article, the Korean Register of Shipping, the Coast Guard, the Korean Shipping Association and local government officials all failed to carry out their duties, which led directly to an insanely overloaded, top-heavy, ballast-light Sewol on April 16.  Red flags that had been raised four years earlier and just last year about such overloading were ignored, and in January of this year, the following incident prompted company officials to call for the sale of the ship.

[T]he ship’s trouble with balance became glaringly obvious during a port stop in Jeju. Hit by gusts, the ship’s oversize superstructure acted like a huge sail, pinning the vessel to the dock and preventing it from departing. The episode was worrisome enough to company officials in Jeju that they sent a report to their management warning of the ship’s instability, prosecutors say.

Yet the man rotting in the weeds vetoed a request to sell the ship and, instead, called for more cargo perhaps knowing that no one would notice or care—until more than 300 lives, most of them high school students, came to an end in the cold dark seas off Donggeochado. Someday maybe we’ll learn what the man rotting in the weeds thought about all this but, at least for me, it is enough to know that as April turned to May, with June and justice around the corner, the man who had for so long put profit over people decided it was best that he go rot in the weeds.

  • kaizenmx

    Rest in pieces

  • Horace Jeffery Hodges

    As L. Ron Hubbard once said, “If you want to get rich, you start a religion.”

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

  • Aja Aja

    South Korean government should just contract out all the safety regulating jobs to the foreign companies. I don’t trust no Korean to do the jobs properly. This goes for all the relevant industries like transportation and construction. For instance, look at all the middle east and South East Asian construction projects that South Korean builders (under foreign regulators) undertook and achieved, versus at home (where corrupt Korean regulators allowed things to slip).

    As for that evil Yoo, if there’s really a God that hands out justice, Yoo would be burning in hell in agony by now. It’s a fitting end that maggots sucked out his eyeballs from his rotting corpse.

  • redwhitedude

    Yea like Apple Inc. It is a religion according to the fans.

  • redwhitedude

    Invite EU regulators.

    It seems like their is this tendency to lay all the blame on the crew and this Yoo guy. What about the people who were suppose to be inspecting and checking all this stuff like modifications to the ships, checking cargo is properly secured, cargo load is within the maximum allowed load, crew properly trained, checking and double checking documentations and so forth? Maybe that hits to close to home for certain government officials.

  • redwhitedude

    Or Rot in hell.

  • RElgin

    The real problem that the government and many want to avoid doing something about is the gross lack of regulation and enforcement of rules by government, police, etc., which is so great that it pervades this society at every level and the willingness to turn any position of oversight into a money-making scheme.

    This problem will return, again and again and invariably end in someone’s blood being spilt.

  • redwhitedude

    The older generation doesn’t get it. It’s one reason why I get suspicious of the older generation.

  • RElgin

    They get it; they just don’t want to acknowledge the problem and this is where the real, true danger and rot in this society

  • redwhitedude

    Not having the courage to deal with the problem and make fundamental changes still counts as not getting it. Perhaps that is a threat of the way they do things or smacks going against their views and beliefs.

  • bballi bballi paradise

    the article states some regulators from the Korean Ship Registry were arrested. I think, hope, the officers who “eyeballed” the cargo weight were also arrested.

  • redwhitedude

    Some “eyeballing”. If the weight of the cargo was that much over the limit it should have been noticeable even with “eyeballing”.

  • JMR

    Because the ballast water was mostly dumped, the ship probably appeared to be riding in the water rather normally, until the turn.

  • bballi bballi paradise

    The article is a good read.

  • redwhitedude

    I’m pretty sure that experienced inspectors would have a rough idea about how much weight a ship is suppose to have and what looks overloaded by just eyeballing. If things don’t add up such as overloaded and the water level is not consistent that would call for closer inspection. Maybe it had empty containers on it or so forth. What’s stupid is considering by how much this vessel was overloaded it should have been very obvious.

  • redwhitedude

    I have read it.

  • JMR

    Not really–there’s only a 131 metric tons difference here (if you look at how they compensated). The operators knew what they were doing–they’d done it hundreds if not thousands of times. I’m sure they also knew lazy “experienced” inspectors were not doing their job.

  • Sumo294

    EU regulators? You mean Frenchies, Greeks and Italians? Haha . . . no thank you.

  • redwhitedude

    Well have they had any disasters to the level of Seowul happen to them? Not sure if Costa Concordia is at the same level.

  • eujin

    The Costa Concordia would’ve been a lot worse if it had slipped down the underwater bank after overturning. They were very lucky really.

  • redwhitedude

    Does it involve as many violations of regulations and safety checks. If it hadn’t been for that all seowul might have amounted is several people getting hurt due to the maneuver. Costa Concordia I think was just a navigation error. Was the crew in the Costa Concordia properly equipped to handle the situation except for that loser that jumped ship early?

  • eujin

    The captain is still on trial on a number of charges. Five other people have already been convicted of manslaughter and failing to conduct a proper evacuation. 150 people were badly injured during the evacuation with injuries that included paralysis, amputations and blindness. Survivors have testified in court that had they followed crew orders to return to their cabins they would have drowned. The cruise line has escaped a criminal investigation by settling out of court, but had on previous occasions ordered a detour from the normal shipping route to sail close to the shore.

    It’s more than just one man and a navigational error. There’s plenty of blame to go around.

  • ex_commander

    Does anyone believe any of the conspiracy theories that are floating out there? I’m not sure what to make of it all myself. I find it to be a fitting ending if the body in the weeds was indeed Yoo. However there is an uneasy part of me that is suspicious that a scumbag like Yoo doesn’t conveniently croak in the weeds in the middle of a massive manhunt, especially when he has the money and the means to go to extremes to throw off the equally incompetent authorities. The advanced state of decomposition of the body and some anomalies such as the height, length of fingers, etc. casts some doubts whether this is actually his corpse. The DNA match to his brother is hard to argue, until you hear that his brother was only a half brother with a different mother. Hmmmm.