Thursday, 10 January 2013

(Day 173) Seoul Nambu Correctional Facility-day 78 D-78

Breakfast, lunch & dinner = January 2

I can't complain about the food, I did that already. The warden asked to talk to me today, so I went. He asked if there was anything at all he could do for me, so I asked for my computer. He wouldn't let me have that.

Then he started to tell me all the special options prisoners have, like vocational training. So I asked to do that, but I'm not allowed because I'm not a prisoner. Like everyone else. I'm here because I didn't pay my fine. He asked why I didn't pay my fine to leave and I told him I had no money because I couldn't work because he wouldn't let me use my computer. He still wouldn't let me have it. He said all the other prisoners have smartphones and if I was allowed to use my computer he'd have to let me let them use their smartphones. I said not the same at all. I don't want to use the Internet. I want to write, draw and read the things on my computer. I have 1000 books on my computer. I have 8 notebook in my cell and 2 sketch books. I want access to the books on my computer and to transfer my notebooks, so everything is on one thing instead of spread out among several things. It will eventually cause twice as much work for me since I will have to transfer everything to the computer at one point anyway. I like to think that he almost considered it at that point, but still no luck ultimately. I haven't shaved in a couple of days. He said I had to shave because it was unsanitary. I said to him I had been wearing the same pair of pants for 3 months, and he was worried about my “dirty” beard? Then he complained about my long hair and I said if he tried to cut my hair or beard I would consider that a violation of my human rights and I would make a complaint.

I told him the guards were always mad at me for not following the rules. I don't even know what the rules are because everything is in Korean and no one spoke English, accept him. I sleep because I'm bored. I can't watch TV. It's all in Korean, but I get in trouble if I try to sleep. If I lie down because sitting cross-legged on a hard floor all day is painful, I get in trouble. If I don't eat rice, I get in trouble. If I turn off the TV, I get in trouble. There was nothing I could do that didn't get me in trouble for breaking some unknown rule. And there is no independent method of communication with the outside world, so they are fully capable of abusing their power and authority and there is nothing I can do about, it since none of my friends or anybody for my own government even bothers to check up on me. Thanks, warden. At least you give me something to complain about today. I was a little worried for a moment...

I watched a documentary on TV. There was a scene with a foreigner with tattoos on his upper arms just like millions of other people and they censored it. His arms were so blurred out, it made him look like he was in an armless half naked foreigner on a beach... It was so distracting, it was all you could pay attention to. It emphasized the difference rather than drawing attention away from it. How are people ever going to learn tolerance and diversity if we are intolerant of difference?

I saw another documentary that showed a woman who had cerebral palsy and I felt pity for her. As I watched the documentary, my pity turned to shame and pity for myself because this woman ran a theatre group with other disabled people, one of whom she was married to, with a child. I felt shame because I assumed she must have a difficult and poor life and although her life was difficult, it was far from poor. It was actually rich with love and happiness and my pity for her turned to pity for my own prejudice and judgment.