A Loss

It’s so hard to think of an appropriate title to this post. A good friend here in Korea lost her husband in an accident last Sunday. It was around 5 o’clock in the afternoon and I was shopping in Myeongdong when I received a call from Wendy. I had changed my phone and fortunately she updated her contacts the day before. She told me that Jasmine lost her husband while trying to save their daughter in the stream where they were having a picnic. She asked me to meet at Yonsei University Hospital’s funeral home.

My husband was shocked to learn about the passing of Jasmine’s husband. It was only about two weeks ago when he saw the MBC documentary featuring Jasmine and her family. I was able to see “Love in Asia” last Tuesday and I remember Jasmine talked about how her husband used to call her “honey” but it has changed to “hwani” since she was always angry.

Jasmine is sort of a celebrity in Korea. She regularly appears on KBS’ Love in Asia. She also teaches Korean on EBS. She has appeared in a movie starring Kang Dong Won. She has done numerous translations for documentary shows on SBS, KBS and MBC. In short, she’s a foreign wife who has made a mark in Korea’s conservative society and she happens to be a Filipina.

When we (my husband, my son and I) arrived at Yonsei U’s Funeral Home last Sunday night, I was shocked to see a side of Jasmine I have never seen before. I didn’t know what to say and I didn’t even say “condolence”. I know there are no words that could ease the pain she was feeling. Her eyes were swollen and she was still in her “vacation” clothes. She had no makeup on and it was a pain to see her like that.

I’ve always known Jasmine to be full of life. She could speak a hundred words per minute and I would understand every word she’d say. She’s frank but never tactless. How many times did we laugh at the mention of her last name? When she opens her mouth to speak, everyone would just stop and simply listens. She’s got a “magnetic” personality that one would just be drawn to her. She’s a knowledgeable person but is never pretentious.

After seeing her last Sunday, I knew that it would take a long time for the Jasmine I used to know to come back. She had just turned 18 when she met and married her husband who was 12 years her senior. They were together for more than 15 years and while it’s not perfect, they were a happy couple. We often laughed at the anecdotes that Jasmine shared about her marriage, and they were numerous and a lot of them too personal to post here. She has also shared with us that time when she almost left home.

As I saw Jasmine sitting on the floor in front of the altar on her husband’s wake, I wonder what was running in her mind. They were not only a couple but they were best friends too. Best drinking buddies. Whenever he could, he would accompany Jasmine in her “gigs”. In fact, the last time I saw him was when she manned the Philippine food booth during the “Hi Seoul” festival in May. Cathy (Korea Times) said, he was also with her during the Philippine Independence Day celebration in Incheon.

Mr. Lee Dong Ho would surely be missed. He was a funny man and so full of life just like the woman he left behind. He was a great provider and protector of his family. To Jasmine, just grieve and remember that we care.


  1. i’m so sorry..this is heartbreaking news.. condolences to your friend ate betchay.. i don’t know her but i do see her often in your blog posts and i think i’ve been through her blog before..

  2. sayang talaga… was hoping to really go today… i thought thur pa burial…
    ate, kindly extend our warm hugs and condolences to ate Jaz…

  3. i’ve been following your blog and that’s how i came to know jasmine’s blog. i don’t know but before you even mention the name jasmine i already had the feeling that it was her you’re referring too. i can’t help it but i’m crying. i feel for her because she’s a fellow filipina. my condolences. I know God is with her.

  4. I just read this posting today. I felt like everything around me was closing in and I couldn’t breathe. I’ve been a follower of Jasmine’s blog through your blog for the past couple of years. I haven’t even met them but through the blogs I somehow feel I know them. She must be in such a state of shock. Her children must be feeling devastated. Any father would have done what her husband did. Condolences to Jasmine and her family. My prayers are with her and her children, may they find peace and comfort in this challenging time….

  5. condolences to ms jas. it is not easy losing someone. her family and friends like you may in your own way and in the Lord’s time may help the healing process on this trying times.

  6. Condolences to Jasmine and her family…
    I’ve watched her many times in KBS.
    She must be really devastated…
    I’ve visited her blog and she
    even replied to my post.

  7. Ms. Betchay, please send my sympathies to Jasmine…
    Kababayan ko pala sya..sana makilala ko sya if uuwi
    sya ng Davao…I really admire her work.

  8. hello po..i,m new here po…just hoping someone can able to help me po,,,i,m married korean national last november 27,2011 without expecting it! coz i never have plan to go korea or to marry korean guy….but he is very kind and nice to me.i meet him on a dating site and we transfer to facebook…exchanging conversations, coz he dont know how to speak english that time…and i was only trying to help him just online…even we stay in the same city here in cebu i have no plan meeting him on real,for i have bad thoughts about korean students here who played only filipina..so the time he set up a date..i never show up, and i never send any messages to him coz of my busy schedule of working…and then he sent me a message on facebook,,asking why i didnt show up and keep him waiting,so i answered him…i dont like to meet someone i dont know outside or anywhere~ so i told him if he is really enterested and wanted to meet me..then i want formal way i want him to visit me in my house..and he did even its difficult for him..i just gave him an adresss…so he keep walking and asking to our neighbors…and we did meet in real with my aunt in my house..and i found out his kind and not hard to talk,,,even he cant speak english very well and he keep coming to my house after that until he want to have a serious relationship with me,,i thought he was only joking…so i dont take it seriously..although i dont say i dont like..but i,m not that very enterested…but the more he went to my place and visit…i started to feel something worried about him…goin out at night, so i accept him and we have a good serious relationship,,, until he make a mutual agreement saying i have to stop my job…i have to stop connceting to any guys…and if i sign it….my life will be happier and more good..with him…! and he keep searching many informations about bringing me to his homeland,and he try to introduce me to his parents..but his parents hate foreigners.so most of the time,,i cried on cam but i never show to his parents that i cry….and i keep saying him…follow his parents,,if they dont like me….i cant do anything..i dont know how to speak korean..i dont know bout korean culture~ i dont know how to make them,not to hate me…but he cried too…and say if they dont accept me…he will stop studying….i dis agree with that,,,and i keep conviencing him to finish what he needs to…until i found out he process all papers need to get married…and because i already loved him..i cooperate..then we get married done…we have all marriage papers and everything finished and were already registered! but all those times he wished for a baby,,he want me to get pregnant before he went back to korea on his schedule day of goin back…but failed i never get pregnant…then he left and promise to come back after a month,,, on that moment na wala xa for 1 month i,m so lonely i always stay at home waiting him to online…for 1 month thanks god he did come back here in cebu as he promised,,, but when he arrivesd…after 1 month of living together…we started to fight,,,and more fights even for a small caused,,i want him we think and start for a small buisness…to have a source of income..i hate looking at him keep sleeping and eating and he want me to do that too sleeping all time,,,i hate i want to do something to make income..i,m scared we used all our money and i hate him keep calling his parents for a help,,,i want him responsible enough to have our family,,,so we have a great fight for over a month until i found a space to start a buisness! small buisness better than nothing ,,,but i have suddenly changes on my character,my husband too..he is very sensitive he get angry very easily even small reason..and i started always very weak and sick …were very worried so i make a check up..and we found out i,m 4 weeks pregnant…! he was very happy overjoyed..but i wonder after that he decide goin back korea…to search for work,and save money and comeback here start big buisness,,and he said he want to do his responsibility.hard to get a good job with good salarry in phils..but i was down coz he told me it takes 5 years for him to be there in korea…i am totally down..i felt so alone pregnant without no one care…and he really did left me…i told him to contact me when arrive in gwangju,, but he didnt…3 days after i receive message on fb saying he arrive safe in his parents home..my personal id in fb he used its the only way we connect., and i sent him a lots of messages coz i have hard time living alone..i feel like i,m goin crazy no time and minuetes i never think of him…i keep watching my pc waiting him to conncet,,,crying all day and night…thats all i did almost 1 month now…he send me single messages every 5 days or 6 days since he connet me…i feel so lost and helpless…sometimes i think of killing my self! why he change my life so easily and why he hurt me that much..i feel something hes hiding from me….i want to send his family a message but i dont know how to write hangul..dont understand either…. i try to search him on different sites,,but failed! now,,i have lots of questions in mind… and it takes 1 month now to search for helps i wish you can help me…..please its verry heavy for me..i live alone and rent a room in cebu my parents live far away from me….. and i cant work coz i,m pregnant…. i want to know if i have rights to ask him financial support because i,m pregnant,,and cant work i have sensitive feelings lately easy get sick…. and pwede ba syang mag asawa ulit,don sa korea kasi dito lang kami ikinasal sa pinas…..i really miss him and i realize how much i love him…..i,m goin crazy thinking about my situation everyday…..i feel so empty..ano ba dapat kung gawin maawa naman kayo tulungan nyo ako….~ pasensya napo first time ko pong magsulat nang ganito,,,nagbabasakali lng po baka ito na ang makakatulong sa akin…salamat po…god bless!

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