In the world of writing, Korean writing styles usually suggest that the main point is included right at the end of any piece. I think this different from most English language essays as taught in secondary schools and universities. It is, however, most similar to the English language cultural context of when we are telling a joke; the ‘punch-line,’ or the thing which ‘makes sense’ and due to the connecting of the various points of logic included in the story triggers an emotional response from the listener (or reader) is saved until, and presented at, right at the end of that story.

Well, today has seen the release of information about the cheery old topic of ‘the big C’ in Aotearoa/ New Zealand. Yes, rates of cancer, and how they are different around the country.

This is an exceptionally well written piece of journalistic writing because, even though it is fairly ‘dry’, or in other words it does not focus on any person or group of people, it does analyse much of the useful data presented and explain it all carefully, and further, it also points at the weaknesses of that information.

In a way similar to Korean essay writing techniques and English language joke-telling styles, perhaps the most interesting information, despite the lack of context or explanation, is included right at the end of this artcile:

“Cancer remained the leading cause of death in New Zealand, accounting for 29 percent of all deaths.

More people died of lung cancer than of any other cancer in 2008, followed by colorectal, breast and prostate cancer.”

We all know the main cause of lung cancer. My Korean friends may not know that smoking rates are declining in Aotearoa/New Zealand. This is partly due to the fact that the government is taking a very strong stand, such as constantly increasing the tax on cigarettes, thereby increasing the price every year or more, and, smoking is banned in all public places, including all bars.

So, in conclusion, I want to ask my Korean friends three questions.

1.) What is the proportion (or number, or percentage) of people who smoke in South Korea these days, and how does this rate or number compare with that of New Zealand?

2.) What is the leading cause of death in South Korea these days?

3.) What are the ‘contributing factors’ to that high rate of deaths?

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