KOREA: Gossip & Flame

One day last week, after putting the family rice on to boil over her charcoal pot, Mrs. Ko II Nam took a housewife's chance and strolled out to pass the time with a neighbor in the alleys of Pusan's cluttered, teeming Yongju district. When Mrs. Ko returned, the rice had boiled over, the charcoal had spilled onto the floor, and the straw matting of her tiny shack was afire. Moments later the entire house was ablaze. As neighbors tried to put out the fire, a brisk wind whipped the flames against the houses next door, and soon they too...

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