Tuesday, May 30, 2006

is Shawn of Korea/China Life Blog dead?

I got an email from Hardyandtiny, who had a look over at the blog run by Shawn Matthews's ex-girlfriend, Ling Ling. H&T wrote this rather startling sentence:

Shawner's ex-girlfriend is claiming he committed suicide.

I followed H&T's link and saw this post:

Hard Time

It wasn't long ago that Shawn had stopped posting on China Life Blog. He had his own reasons for doing so, none of which I ever found out directly. I had heard scuttlebutt that he'd been discouraged by the nasty commenters who flocked to his blog, but having read Shawn's book, Island of Fantasy, I was convinced the dude was irrepressible.

When Shawn left Korea for China and started up his new blog, his posts fairly thrummed with enthusiasm. New faces, new school, new culture, cheap food, a new girlfriend-- life was looking up.

Shawn struck me as pretty frank about his life abroad. Some of his trolls routinely suggested that he was always making himself out to be a heroic protagonist, with the Korean or Chinese forever in the wrong and Shawn in the right. I didn't have that impression; besides, I suspect that we are all, to some extent, the heroes of our personal narratives.

H&T's email was phrased in terms of a question and a speculation. That's the right way to go: I don't see any confirmation that Shawn is dead, though I have no real reason to doubt his girlfriend's claim. Trust but verify, as the maxim goes. Ling Ling's post says that one of Shawn's friends will be writing an entry about him. So far, that blog doesn't show any such post, but the absence of a post could be for any number of reasons, including the possibility that Shawn's friend is distraught and needs time to organize his thoughts.

If Shawn of Korea Life Blog and China Life Blog truly has killed himself... I'm shocked and I wish his family and friends well as they deal with his death. Shawn's writing always struck me as upbeat, and Shawn himself seemed like the kind of person to rebound from any setback. I don't know what could have pushed him to perform an act of such despair, but I hope his friends and folks will come together and comfort each other. It's horrible for a parent to lose a child, and devastating for friends to lose a friend.

It would be nice to find out that this is all a rumor or prank.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I certainly hope this is not true, but like you said, I can't imagine why his girlfriend would lie about this. This is quite distressing.