16 dead in Korean outdoor concert mishap

At least 16 spectators died and 10 seriously injured in a mishap at an outdoor concert in Seongnam, Korea, on October 17, 2014. They fell 20 metres into an underground parking area when the ventilation grates (which they were not supposed to stand on) gave way under their weight. Image by TheFact [Kr].

Seongnam outdoor concert fatal accident

The accident happened around 5pm KST, two were confirmed dead initially, but the numbers continued to rise in the past few hours. 20 metres is about five stories, and the bottom is most probably hard concrete; it’s a really bad scenario, hope it won’t get any worse.

The concert featured pop groups 4Minute and T-ara etc. The organisers obviously underestimated the crowd the concert would attract, the seats were very limited and people were standing in whatever spots they could find. Unfortunately some people made a fatal choice.

The country’s public safety standard is already under heavy scrutiny since the Sewol ferry disaster, it’s going to intensify after this. To be fair the vent area is waist-high, people won’t step on it by accident. It’s also reported that the securities had warn people to not climb on the vent but to no avail.

The shaft design (20 metres straight down) is definitely flawed though, I’m not sure it’s a common thing elsewhere (I’ve seen a few in Seoul, not sure if it’s as deep) but to have a 20 metres hole in a populated public area is quite daunting; the grates need to be stronger to cover the structural shortcoming.

That being said, people need to have more common sense. The vent design was bad, the concert organiser was partly blameable, but ultimately it’s the lack of public safety awareness that caused the accident. Many of the victims were adults, it sounds cruel to blame the death, and I’m not saying they deserved the outcome… it’s just that the tragedy could have been easily prevented, it’s just sad.

May the victims rest in peace. Condolences to the families and relatives.

Hong Kong protest seen from above

Thousands of demonstrators, many of them students, have occupied the streets in Hong Kong to protest Beijing’s decision to vet the candidates for the Chief Executive of Hong Kong election in 2017 (which technically means Hong Kong can only choose a pro-Beijing leader, kinda makes the election pointless.)

This is a video taken from a drone, originally by Nero Chan on Facebook, on September 29. The crowd has reportedly got even bigger in the past couple of days and will probably continue to grow during this holiday period, as China is celebrating its National Day on October 1.

Not sure how this is going to end. I don’t think Beijing is going to back down on this; they may resort to force if the demonstration continues, which is something I don’t want to see. For my friends in Hong Kong, stay strong, whether you are on the streets or against it. Peace.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashes in Ukraine

A Malaysia Airlines passenger plane crashes in Ukraine, near Russian border, on Thursday, killing all 298 people aboard, mostly Dutch. It’s widely believed that the plane was shot down by pro-Russian separatist.

My condolences to the families and relatives. Like many people around the world, I’m shocked and saddened by the news. Can’t comprehend the reason behind the attack, and can’t understand how it was deemed safe to fly over the region.

This is the second disaster involving Malaysia Airlines this year. The flight MH370, which gone missing in March, has yet to be found.

Sultan Azlan Shah (1928-2014)

Sultan Azlan Shah of PerakSultan Azlan Shah, former Yang di-Pertuan Agong (head of state of Malaysia), the Sultan of Perak, the state I was born, has passed away on Wednesday at the age of 86.

The Sultan wasn’t the de-facto successor to the throne. He was a lawyer, later a prosecutor, a judge, and the Lord President of the Federal Court of Malaysia.

He became the Sultan in 1984, after a string of unexpected events. To cut short, if his successor, Sultan Idris Shah II, died a few months earlier, he won’t be the Sultan.

His wife became the first ever commoner Queen in the history of Malaysia when he became the King in 1989-1994 (in a unique elective monarchy system).

He was also a patron for a few educational institutions, including as Chancellor of the University of Malaya, where I graduated from. It’s regrettable that I couldn’t receive my scroll directly from the man; he usually attended only the first day of the ceremony.

He was a state hockey player and contributed to the growth of the game, both domestically and internationally. And he’s also famous for his good looks =)

He will be missed. Al-Fatihah, rest in peace.