Sunday, 5 August 2012

(Day 16) Hwaseong immigration detention center-day 3

In the morning, when the lights turn on, there is an announcement on the loudspeaker a woman says something along the lines of “Good morning, did you have a good sleep?” in Korean, English and Chinese. I don’t know about the other two language spot in English, she sounds mildly retarded or on drugs. The timbre of her voice and the word emphasis is all wrong. Instead of “did you have a good sleep?” She says “Did you have a good sleep?”

There has already been some drama today and the lights had only been on for 15 minutes. The lights go on at 7:00, but most people were up at about 6:30 and talking. Loudly. One of the guys still trying to sleep got pissed off and started yelling at them. The guards came and the now not sleeping dude spoke enough Korean to tell the guard, who then gave the guys talking loudly a dressing down.

The guy trying to asleep, was the Nigerian who’s willing to stay in the detention center and as long as it takes to get his money. In English, he has referred to the other detainees, most of them Chinese, as “animals” a number of times. The first time, I had given him a book I had just finished reading and I complained about the condition— some pages missing, writing all over the pages, obscuring the text— and he said these animals have no respect for books, they rip out pages to use as notepaper. From the way he acts and talks, it’s obvious he’s been university educated I don’t mean to sound elitist or class conscious, but there is a definite difference between educated and unwashed masses. Sometimes you don’t even have to hear them talk, you can just tell by looking at— even if they are wearing the exact same clothes (as they are in this detention center).

Reading some of the graffiti, there are indications some people have been here for as long as four years. When I first got here, if I met the teacher who had been here for longer than two years, they were veterans. They had been through hell and back because of shady owners and general difficulties of living in Korea, but to be stuck in a detention center for all it really takes is a plane ticket to get out, for four years! That’s some crazy shit. Perspective.

This room has a crazy, channel-changing assholeshi in it, too. What is wrong with Asian men over 50 years old? Were they always assholes or did they suddenly become one when they reach a certain age? Pick a channel and watch it.

The Olympics are now half over, but the only thing on TV are events Koreans won last week. So, on every channel you can watch dancing, badminton, archery, handball, air pistol shooting, table tennis and men’s 400 m freestyle swimming over and over and over again and relive Korea’s glory moments. There is still a week of events left, but in Korea, the Olympics are essentially over. And they’ll show the saints ordering events as time filler over and over again for the next four years along with past World Cup games where Korea won. I think this is one of the reasons why Koreans have over inflated sense of importance in the world— because sports Koreans suck at or games in which they lost are not shown on TV, so they think they win everything. Park TaeHwan lost the 1500 m swimming event so now he’s refusing to do interviews. A Korean lost a boxing match a couple of the Olympics ago and staged a sit in the middle of the ring. When it comes to speed-skating mention the name Ohno and see what kind of reaction you get. They are very poor losers and not very gracious winners. The propaganda they are fed from the time they are born is overwhelming--  5000 years of history, incredible prosperity since the Korean War, kimchi cures cancer, SARS, H1N1, AIDS, etc., only country in the world with four distinct seasons, the list goes on and it’s a constant barrage every time I meet a new Korean. Okay, I get it, you’re proud of your country. Get over yourself and move on— one of my countrymen invented the telephone, my culture invented democracy 5000 years ago, so fucking what? I don’t go bragging about it to every new person I meet. Nobody gives a shit and it’s annoying. 

The trick to control over the TV is to hide the remote. Then the assholeshis wander around aimlessly looking for it. They look like lost zombies.