BUSAN -- In the 22 years since her husband died, 85-year-old Hwang Young-suk has lived alone in Busan's Haeundae seaside district. Her children also live in the southern port city but are too busy to visit every week.
Hwang frequently visits the neighborhood senior center to chat or try to win some rice money playing hwatu, a kind of Korean poker. In her apartment, the TV is always turned on at medium volume. "I miss the sound of people," she said.