The Dark Side of Seoul Podcast

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June 29, 2023 ZenKimchi Episode 171
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The Dark Side of Seoul Podcast
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The Dark Side of Seoul Podcast
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Jun 29, 2023 Episode 171
ZenKimchi

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Seoul is a wonderful city to explore, with its historic sites, quaint cafes, and reliable public transportation. Wonderful, that is, if you don’t require ramps, elevators, or smooth walkways. In this episode, we’re joined by Crystal Jo to explore Korea’s lacklustre track record in aiding the differently-abled.

Support the Show.

Join our Patreon to get more stuff

https://patreon.com/darksideofseoul

Book a tour of The Dark Side of Seoul Ghost Walk at https://darksideofseoul.com

Pitch your idea here. https://www.darksideofseoul.com/expats-of-the-wild-east/

Credits

Produced by Joe McPherson and Shawn Morrissey

Music by Soraksan


Top tier Patrons

Angel Earl
Joel Bonomini
Shaaron Cullen
Devon Hiphner
Minseok Lee
Gabi Palomino
Steve Marsh
Mitchy Brewer
Ron Chang
Mackenzie Moore
Hunter Winter
Cecilia Löfgren Dumas
Emily Umbaugh
Josephine Rydberg
David Weatherly
Janice Song
Devin Buchanan

Facebook Page |
Instagram

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

Seoul is a wonderful city to explore, with its historic sites, quaint cafes, and reliable public transportation. Wonderful, that is, if you don’t require ramps, elevators, or smooth walkways. In this episode, we’re joined by Crystal Jo to explore Korea’s lacklustre track record in aiding the differently-abled.

Support the Show.

Join our Patreon to get more stuff

https://patreon.com/darksideofseoul

Book a tour of The Dark Side of Seoul Ghost Walk at https://darksideofseoul.com

Pitch your idea here. https://www.darksideofseoul.com/expats-of-the-wild-east/

Credits

Produced by Joe McPherson and Shawn Morrissey

Music by Soraksan


Top tier Patrons

Angel Earl
Joel Bonomini
Shaaron Cullen
Devon Hiphner
Minseok Lee
Gabi Palomino
Steve Marsh
Mitchy Brewer
Ron Chang
Mackenzie Moore
Hunter Winter
Cecilia Löfgren Dumas
Emily Umbaugh
Josephine Rydberg
David Weatherly
Janice Song
Devin Buchanan

Facebook Page |
Instagram

Speaker 2:

And welcome to the Dark Side of Soul podcast. This is Joe, This is Sean, And this week we are joined by Crystal Joe who, um well, this is. This is really fun because Crystal is actually Mindy the Ghost, the famous mascot of Dark Side of Soul. Hey. Great to see you, Crystal.

Speaker 4:

It's great to see you both.

Speaker 5:

Hmm, it's been a while. It was the last time we saw you and Tommy, was it a year ago now.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, it was. It was a year ago. We came on our first year anniversary. It was a gift to Tommy, my husband, um, because I told him all about it, that's where I used to work for you guys And I thought he'd really like it because he's a historian expert, so he really enjoyed it. He wants to do it again, oh great, so later organized the time to do that this week before we leave Korea.

Speaker 5:

Right, maybe try Joe's tour this time.

Speaker 2:

Okay, Yeah they did my tour. I think Uh, did they Give it my tour? No, give it my tour, no, yes, no, tommy.

Speaker 4:

I met. Tommy.

Speaker 2:

You met him before.

Speaker 5:

I don't think.

Speaker 4:

Tom has gone to your tour yet, Joe.

Speaker 5:

Really.

Speaker 4:

Oh, it must be when I was just stalking you guys, or?

Speaker 2:

something That must be a.

Speaker 4:

Probably It's not Tommy.

Speaker 2:

All right, all right, um, okay. So we have Crystal on today, not just to talk about being being our ghost, minji the ghost.

Speaker 4:

Which is the best?

Speaker 2:

It is great, I love it. I love it, Uh, but uh, Crystal, tell us you have, you have, um, what introduced? a little bit about yourself.

Speaker 4:

Um, well, i used to be a special education teacher here in South Korea. Um, i lived in Korea for about almost eight years, but I've been in Korea like back and forth because you know my mother's Korean, so Korea has always been a second home, so it's not new to me. Um and um currently in grad school for a special education as well And doing research in Korea for grad school related purposes, and then also personal research that I'm doing on the side. Um, and, yeah, i guess, like, uh, besides being Minji the ghost, i I think I uh guess I helped you guys with the dark side of soul kind of thing when I was Minji the ghost, when I did live here.

Speaker 2:

You sure did.

Speaker 5:

You did great. We have a funny story before we get into the topic. Do you remember one time you came on my tour and you were dressed up, you were in cosplay and uh, the cops got called at us. Do you remember that?

Speaker 2:

Oh yes, oh my, i didn't know this one, i didn't say that.

Speaker 5:

No, it's right. Just before the tour started we were waiting at Sao Dae-moon at the gate and two cops came over and they're like, uh, what's going on? I said, oh, i was, i was really weird. So it, we're a tour, this is a tour. and he's like, oh, it's just, it's just a walk, like a walking tour. It's like, yeah, we're just doing a walking tour. And he's like, oh, okay, so have a good night. And he left. someone called the cops. He said he said somebody, uh, somebody called in. There was something strange happening at Sao Dae-moon station gate, for that's right Pal three nights a week.

Speaker 4:

Oh my gosh, i mean my, my costume was pretty believable, my cosplay was pretty believable. So yeah design meant for the Joe Sin style.

Speaker 5:

Right, right. I was dressed as um um you're Justin Sao, Sao, right, Justin Sao. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.

Speaker 4:

I was uh, which is like the death, or angel death or something.

Speaker 5:

Yeah, yeah. Talk to him many times in the podcast. the psycho pump, joe's favorite folklore word psycho bomb, psycho bump The episode when I first say that he's like the, what It's like. that's the name of Joe's metal band in the future.

Speaker 3:

Cool, And then one time another time you were dressed up.

Speaker 5:

After a tour, we went down into, uh, the basement bar called resistance. Remember that You were dressed up. You had Ramian, oh my gosh. So we just walked in and I had been there a few times. The woman there is really cool, and she's. She's like, oh, hello. And then Crystal comes in behind me dressed as a, dressed as a ghost, and she's like, oh, that was, that was Halloween, um there was three or three or four years ago. Maybe I'm going to be like that.

Speaker 4:

I've scared so many people just walking down straight just doing work related stuff. I like did a photo shoot for a friend He does photography and we went to soul sup to do pictures And when we were leaving to go get food, still nighttime, um, people were like grabbing their chest like they're having a heart attack And like, well, wait, it's Halloween, right, Halloween, right Halloween, Trying to make sure that what they saw wasn't real And it's because it's Halloween.

Speaker 5:

Right, Yeah, So a lot of good stories later, Joe, if we write a dark set of soul book like the history of the tour we got to put in. We had the cops called on us. Oh yeah.

Speaker 2:

Oh no, it doesn't really be a chapter to just dedicated the crystal. I mean antics, antics.

Speaker 4:

Thank you guys. It was fun. I still like to do more of these And we should. We should definitely do a coming back next year, do a special, because Joe just told me that people were expecting me at the tour. But be disappointed, i'm not there. Don't live in Korea anymore, and we did do a Halloween special, though, where Minji made an appearance, and you guys, such a huge amount of people that you have to separate into two gigantic groups.

Speaker 2:

Yes.

Speaker 4:

Just to do deal with it. And even still, it was still big.

Speaker 2:

And they were so distracted We almost missed the subway. It took a lot. That tour took a long time.

Speaker 4:

Yes, it did Longer than anticipated.

Speaker 2:

By far. And that was 2018, right. Worth it. Yeah, worth it. We got so many classic photos from that for that tour.

Speaker 4:

Oh, a lot of good ones, a lot of good ones. And then me doing the weird back, kind of distorting my body.

Speaker 2:

Oh yeah, oh, wow, yeah Yeah.

Speaker 5:

So, but yeah, but other than Minji the ghost, and you mentioned how you are doing research, research. What is that about more specifically?

Speaker 4:

just to bring us into the topic of the episode tonight, Well, currently the personal research that I'm doing is on accessibility around the world. I've been thinking about writing a book about accessibility and different countries, how cultures view disabled people even religions as well But of course, one of the bigger ones is in South Korea, because it's one of my other homes and pretty much just the difficulty of being disabled in a culture that does not accept you for who you are, and I'm hoping that this will shame Korea into fixing it, because this is ridiculous. It is the 21st century. People need to get over the idea that because disabled people exist, it's fine.

Speaker 4:

It's not like the end of the world or seeing as something very bad or terrible or shame to the family or whatever which was what I was brought up in And I want to change those views that just because we're disabled doesn't mean that we can't live a normal life and thrive and are no different from anyone else who are not disabled.

Speaker 2:

So the international shame is one of the only ways to pressure Korea to change.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, i know my culture pretty well and it seems like that's the only way it's going to make it work, because they're already getting international shame about the LGBTQ community and Korea's homophobia towards the community.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, we talked about that in one of our recent shows two weeks ago.

Speaker 5:

Yeah, and then just recently was it Daegu. Oh yeah, daegu, yeah it was Daegu. Yeah, they have this issue about that. Yeah, yeah. So I agree, i think, the idea of if shaming is the only way to do something, then that has to be done, but it's unfortunate that that's the way, like it has come through shame and not just through compassion, learned through education.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, yeah, and that's what I'm trying to do. I've been doing that Like I've been as a special education teacher in Korea. I've like trained teachers, educated teachers, even parents that I had to help them understand their child who has a disability, and a lot of people which is very irritating is that they see disability as something that's just physical. There's a thing called invisible disabilities, which is what I have, and so you look like your normal able-bodied person, but you're not.

Speaker 4:

And invisible disabilities are a lot of things. They can be mental illnesses, neurodivergent brains like ADHD, dyslexia, autism, down syndrome, i mean, there's a whole list of it. Dyslexia, i think I said that, but then the other part is like autoimmune. Autism is another form of invisible disability, as well as depression. Schizophrenia, BPD.

Speaker 2:

I was going to say BPD. Okay, yep. Borderline personality disorder.

Speaker 4:

I can't go through the whole list, but there's a plethora of them.

Speaker 4:

It's just it's a lot, and so I'm trying to educate people that invisible disabilities do exist, that just because you don't see it doesn't mean that they're not disabled, and not to just assume that disabilities only ranges from just physical And it's not like that. Glasses, for example, is having glasses as a form of disability. If you need glasses, if you didn't have glasses you'd be visually impaired or blind because you can't see anything but glasses give you the assistance to be able to see. A lot of people don't think about that, but it's true. Way back when, when glasses was like a new invention, it was considered a luxury. If you didn't wear it, you were considered blind and disabled.

Speaker 5:

So then, would you mind talking a little bit more about about your disability, and so people can understand it from?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, um, it's a lot of things. Um, the physical aspect of my disability is all mostly to do with my spine. I have radiculopathy, which means that the spine is compressing and pressing into the nerves. That actually spread out throughout your body because your main nervous system is, you know, directly connected to your spine. Um, i have degenerative disc disease, which the disc between the bones are degenerating, which has led to two spine surgeries. Um, the second one, i've actually had to fuse my lower part of my spine.

Speaker 4:

Um, and it sounds like I'm going to have to have another surgery in that same location again, because one of the screws that connect, kind of keeps my spine together, shifted and I was pinching a nerve. Oh no, yeah, so they have to. They're probably going to have to fix that. And then I'll have to have surgery on my pelvis because, um, my autoimmune and colosing spondylitis I don't know if I'm pronouncing that right AS, is known as AS. Um, it's an inflammatory disease that causes arthritis, swelling and stiffness of the joints um, in my spine, and when I have it, uh, the vertebrae slowly kind of fuses, my spine becomes less flexible so it's a.

Speaker 4:

It's like a really nasty type of arthritis, um, so they're thinking of using part of my pelvis, um, because it's pushing out on the right and it's causing my um, the femur where it connects to my hip um is dislocating, and so I'm always walking in dislocated hip Um. And then I have cervical gligia, spondylitis, spondylitis, little lice splices, sorry.

Speaker 4:

Arthritis typical arthritis, sciatica and scoliosis. My spine is crooked. Um, i found out that the this problem with my spine happened in utero, so my mom didn't take enough folic acid. Takes folic acid mothers or people who are going to be pregnant? Um, because of that, my spine wasn't developed the correct way, because there wasn't enough fluid in the um in the uterus for my development. And then I also have a heart murmur. I found out recently that I have a hole in my heart and the reason they were able to catch it is because the medications I'm taking to treat my um conditions I just mentioned earlier is exacerbating the heart murmur and the condition. On that, um, uh, i am neurodivergent, i have ADHD, i'm dyslexic and autistic and and those are my disabilities- Okay.

Speaker 5:

And then, as as we know, joe and I know that you've been going since moving back to the US uh, you've been coming back to Korea now and again for for uh, for medical treatments here.

Speaker 4:

Yes, yes.

Speaker 5:

So what are your experiences with the medical system in Korea, very personally and specifically related to how you're being treated and your treatments themselves.

Speaker 4:

Personally, i've been. it's when I had this the second surgery, um, the hospital staff and and so I won't tell you what hospital. does You know when I get defamation hit on me um, it's, it's a major hospital in Seoul. It? um they didn't treat me very well and I would never go to them again. but the hospital in Daejeon where I used to live the state used to live um, with the first surgery I had, um, they were really great, um, absolute best. The staff were very kind. So it was really weird to see just a difference in how I was treated in two different major cities. Daejeon is another big city in South Korea. um and uh, other than that, like um, i've been treated for many different things besides my disabilities.

Speaker 4:

I like, last year, part of my ACL tour and um, i had to come to Korea to get physical therapy because I couldn't see someone soon enough physical therapist in the States. Um, the injury happened, happened in February, and they said that they couldn't have me see a physical therapist until July. By then my knee would have been stuck, like this, um, you know, at an angle and then they would have to do surgery, and I didn't want that. So I was like you know, fuck it. I'm going to Korea and seeing a physical therapist there and within a month my leg was like mostly straight, it wasn't stuck and I wouldn't have to have surgery, was lucky enough to avoid that And if I did wait a longer I stayed in States I would have ended up having to have surgery around my knee, um, which I did not want, um and then the other reason it would have cost as much as having a new car too.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, that too. I just I didn't want to go into medical debt on my first year in the States, um, uh. But then, on top of that, um, the medication I need. So I have another condition. It's called endometriosis. People who have uteruses, um are, are ones who you know would have this condition. And, uh, the medication. Ironically it's made in the United States, but it is sold everywhere. Hold on a second.

Speaker 5:

That's okay. Yeah, no worries.

Speaker 4:

So is any here? Please do not disturb.

Speaker 2:

We'll return to the podcast after this message.

Speaker 6:

In our first comic we explored ghastly Korean folktales while walking the streets of Seoul. This time we are ambling the Korean Highlands with terror tales set in those storied landscapes. Welcome to the dark side of Seoul. Weird tales from Korean lore mountains of the Macabre.

Speaker 4:

Oh my gosh. The guy asked me to clean your room.

Speaker 4:

Yeah and I was like no, okay, where was I? So this medicine is called Vizan. It is a medication that's made specifically for treating endometriosis. Ironically, it's made in the United States, but it is sold elsewhere, outside of the United States and other countries but the USA. So I cannot get it in the USA, even though it's made there. I have to come to Korea or any other country, like in Europe or Canada or Mexico, to get this medication, because it helps prevent further surgeries. I've already had three surgeries on my organs. What it does is it causes internal bleeding If it's not treated. It causes internal bleeding. It cements my organs, causing scar tissue all over my organs. I have met people who have had pieces of their organs removed, like parts of their intestines and stomach, their entire uterus and ovaries removed. It spreads like cancer if it's not treated. Their only way to treat it in the USA is surgery and birth control, which is weird because they're trying to fight and making access to birth control illegal in the USA.

Speaker 4:

So it is an absolute nightmare. It is causing lots of people suffering because it causes chronic pain. I ended up losing my job when I first got diagnosed with it because the pain was just so bad. I had three surgeries Two in the USA, one in Korea. The last surgery in Korea. That's when I was given vizan, prescribed it, and the doctor was really confused. He was like why aren't you on this? It's made in the USA. I'm like I don't know, doc, i'll look it up, i did. The reason is because the FDA refuses to approve it. It's been out since 2007. The same year I was diagnosed with endometriosis.

Speaker 5:

Wow, that's strange. It's so bizarre. What about affordability of these drugs? They're exported, of course, then, but I'm sure there are trade systems that allow them in these countries, the countries' own versions of the FDA in the US allows them. Korea's allowed it, but how is the affordability of?

Speaker 4:

treatment taken. I have insurance here in Korea. After insurance let's say a six-month supply of vizan is like after insurance is covered most of it I only have to pay about $50,000 won out of pocket. Wow, let's say I didn't have insurance, then I would have to be paying almost $400,000 won out of pocket.

Speaker 5:

That's fantastic. I'll always say that I think Korea has a very good insurance. Systems here are very good. My wife just got out of hospital, had a surgery. She was in for five days The surgery, five days in and then eating three meals a day, plus all the treatments and whatnot. The total cost was less than $1.8 million won.

Speaker 4:

That's good.

Speaker 5:

What's that? in the US, $1,500. Yeah, that's cheap.

Speaker 4:

That would never cost that much in the US. Oh my God. I'm supposedly supposed to get surgery. We'll see. You guys might see me soon Again. If it becomes too expensive in the States, you'll be seeing my ass back here in Korea again. I'm not going to go bankrupt over medical healthcare. That. I am a fucking right. I completely am dependent on. That is not my fault of my own. I need it. It's either that or dying.

Speaker 5:

Yeah, the whole privatization of medicine is just madness. I don't understand it. It just confuses me Yeah.

Speaker 4:

Yet Yoon is trying to privatize the healthcare system here in Korea, of course he is. It's insane. It's insane. You guys, I freaking protest that. I'm absolutely terrified of that happening.

Speaker 5:

Yeah Well, E-mail and PAC tried to do that and he got shut down pretty fast.

Speaker 2:

No, they blowed back because people are really accustomed to how the healthcare system is, people who are not familiar with Korea's healthcare system. it's not a completely single payer. It is a hybrid system where you get a basic everyone gets a basic amount of coverage, but you can upgrade it through private entities. It's a hybrid system.

Speaker 5:

Yeah, it's an affordable system where everybody can get affordable treatment. That's fantastic.

Speaker 2:

There's also not the ledger that a lot of hospitals use in America, where you charge $50 for a single Tylenol. Jesus.

Speaker 4:

That was the case. I was just like you know what. I'm just going to go walk to the drugstore and just buy it myself.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, the only difference, okay, the only thing is we don't really have a comedian over the counter drugs in Korea. Whenever I go to the States because I have chronic migraines, I get my big, giant Walmart size buckets of ibuprofen that I bring back to Korea because I get tired of going to the pharmacist, and it's always on Sundays when the pharmacies are closed, but I really need some headache medication I've been there.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, i did the same thing with extra shank Tylenol and stuff like that to treat with my pains, because one thing I have to add, though Korea has a really weird relationship when it comes to painkillers. They don't want to give you painkillers. They don't want to give you anything that is supposed to help relieve pain.

Speaker 2:

No.

Speaker 4:

And oftentimes, if they do give it to you, it's such a small dosage that it doesn't really do jack shit.

Speaker 5:

Yeah.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, I find the same thing.

Speaker 5:

That's the scary part.

Speaker 4:

I was in agonizing pain in Korea often because they wouldn't give me the medication I needed. And I'm like look, I'm not a drug addict, Just give me medication.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think they're scared of addiction. That's why they do that. Because, yeah, I had a 2016,. I had a spinal injury and I was in a lobster shell for a month And it's painful. It still is. I still is painful if I'm in the right, you know, get me in the right position. So I mean, I get a tiny hint of the pain you go through Tiny bit And I'm like I can't imagine what crystal I mean, it's so tough And like I was like, oh, they might give me morphine. No, no, no, they wouldn't give me anything for my pain. So I screamed. I was screaming, It was so rough.

Speaker 4:

I don't understand why they can't do that. It's like you're causing more suffering. I actually. I mean it got so bad I could not function. I couldn't even get out of bed or leave my home or even work, and I had to work because I needed the money to support myself. And the problem was is like when I was with the doctor, like I have a high tone for pain, but there's like degrees. If I'm at the point where I'm crying, that means I'm suicidal at that point And I would need something and give me something to make me not feel that way.

Speaker 4:

And doctors just wouldn't refuse, would continue to refuse, and I'm like, look, i swear to God, i will leave this hospital and kill myself If you do not give me something. To just give me the bare minimum, i don't even care, bare minimum. so I can just function and do my job because I'm teaching.

Speaker 2:

How is it now?

Speaker 4:

That convinced him, so he gave me the medication so that I could do it. This was like years back, before I even knew what was wrong with me. We're still figuring out why my whole body was like an agonizing pain. But what was your question?

Speaker 2:

How is it now? Because I can't get a recent issues.

Speaker 4:

Well, like this morning just standing, my body reacts. So my body was like crying, but I wasn't actually crying, it's just my body's reacting to the pain. So I'm like, oh, i guess I'm in a lot of pain because I'm tearing up and crying and I'm not trying to cry And like, hopefully this goes away. So I took my medication and hopefully it kicks in.

Speaker 2:

So your body's in pain, but you don't know it. So your body's in pain.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, because.

Speaker 2:

I'm so used to it.

Speaker 4:

I'm so used to it that my body will react to pain when I'm not mentally reacting. I don't know how to describe it Like I can't control the crying, so I'll just be crying. And I'm like why am I crying? Oh, it's because I'm in agony standing right now. I probably should take my medication and I'm like hopefully this will dry up before the interview.

Speaker 2:

Oh man, You're just wiping the tears away.

Speaker 4:

So this is a new thing for me. I didn't realize that, like yeah, you don't even have to be crying for your body to react to crying. It's just, i guess, this natural course of reaction.

Speaker 2:

It almost sounds like a superhero skill. I guess, It's like I can't feel the pain, but my body does.

Speaker 5:

So then, but I guess, moving away from the medical system itself, what are the actual day to day challenges that the differently able face, say, say in soul, especially ones that you have observed or experienced yourself?

Speaker 4:

Walking. Just basic walking. I can barely casually walk 20 minutes without me losing my ability to walk to the point where I will be crawling because I can. my body physically I cannot stand and walk if I'm doing it for too long. Traveling, just traveling. So I traveled from Dejaun to Seoul yesterday And yesterday I just passed out, like as soon as we got to the hotel. I passed out for four, four and a half hours.

Speaker 2:

Oh my.

Speaker 4:

And I was asking my husband, tommy Hey, has this been happening every time we travel? And he's like Yeah, every time you travel to a new location you pass out. I'm like Okay, because I don't remember. I'm just reacting to how my body is reacting.

Speaker 2:

You just black out. You don't even realize you're doing it. I don't.

Speaker 4:

And he knows that it can be so bad that, like waking up, there's no point. Like you, just leave me alone, because waking up will not wake me up. I am completely out.

Speaker 5:

Yeah, you need to, you need to rest. But I mean, i mean more about the actual, the way say soul is designed. That limits accessibility.

Speaker 4:

Oh, yes, um, just, i mean everything really there is, it's not accessible for people like me. I do use a wheelchair. I also use a cane. I would prefer wheelchair because then that does not over exert my body, and over inserting my body is what causes more problems to my condition. So, like the sidewalks are just not accessible, it's uneven, they have. Oftentimes they use like stone decorative thing. So it makes it really hard for wheelchair users or power chair users or anyone who use the mobility aid to kind of get through it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you have to slow down between the trees to.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, and you get stuck And also people don't realize it, the sidewalks are actually slanted. They're not flat and straight. It's slanted, so it's dangerous for wheelchair users or anyone who's mobility aids, because we will go straight into incoming traffic. Yeah, it's slanted towards the street.

Speaker 4:

Right, so prevent flooding, i'm working my like arm really hard trying to prevent my wheelchair from rolling towards the street the direction it wants to go, because all the sidewalks are that way and I'm, it's like, exhausting, and then by the time I give up, i will literally roll into the street and my husband had to like grab me to prevent me from getting hit by cars Because my wheelchair wants to go that way It's. we've. we've actually replaced all four of our tires the back wheels, the front wheels, all four of the tires. During three weeks we've been in Korea.

Speaker 5:

Already You had issues. You had issues getting those tires changed as well, finding places or people to change them?

Speaker 4:

Another issue is is every place that, when it was, they would refuse to help or fix it? And actually there is a news article, i think, on non news. They did an article about a power chair user And that was from Geonju. And there's no, there's no wheelchair shops that like fix broken mobility aids. So you have to travel all the way to Seoul to get it fixed, and that was our problem. So I was left four days without a wheelchair in Daejeon because everyone refused in Daejeon to fix it, even wheelchair shops, which blew our minds. And they're like well, we have to order the parts, but it's from Seoul, we don't know when it's coming in. And I'm like, okay, well, we're just going to go to Seoul because I can't wait, i need it during my travel. So we had to travel back to Seoul to get it fixed And we finally got it fixed yesterday. So while I was passed out, my husband went out to the wheelchair shops to get the wheels fixed because they had to be replaced.

Speaker 2:

And yeah yeah.

Speaker 2:

And this is it is. This is all about a pattern we've always seen in Korea. There's two things. It's an image before image uber Alice, always looking like it's it's supporting differently abled people. You see this on TV. You see someone always, especially in the news, someone doing sign language on the news, even though there's close captioning people can just read, but it's for show. We have someone doing sign language. Go to the streets. I get asked this all the time is like what's this on the sidewalks? And I'm like, well, these are special patterns to help blind people figure out where, where to go on the sidewalks.

Speaker 4:

It's not useful. I have not seen a blind person here using. I have people, but not using them.

Speaker 2:

That's the other thing. I think is like doing it without getting it is. Korea will do stuff to make it look like, but they don't understand it. A good example is my current apartment building. We have all the the special I don't know what you call it special flooring for blind people.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, like the ramps and stuff. Yeah, we have a ramps.

Speaker 2:

But no, we have the special like textured, the little textured part, little paths for blind people, so that the canes feel You know, talking about the little yellow parts, i don't know why they're yellow, because they can't see it And you know they have the little divots and everything. So anyway, we have like, basically, it's floor, it's ground braille, it's braille for the ground, but the, the passcode to enter a building, there's no braille on it, it's a, it's a flat, it's a flat screen, it's a flat screen.

Speaker 4:

A lot of it just seems like offhand, like as a side side note. I've been to places what you make you think it's accessible until you get there and that's only accessible to a point. So a great example is soul station. Like we come across where the elevators were broken so we'd have to go further to find an elevator just to get to where we need to go. Yeah, it was just. And it's not even inside soul station, it's like outside of soul station. I'm like how is this helpful?

Speaker 4:

or like the hotel I used to stay in. It had it had a ramp into and Automatics lane doors and then, as soon as I rolled in there's door, doors that I someone has to physically open and push. And I'm like, yes, this is accessible. It's accessible to a point, or you can take the elevator, you get down and then everything is just stairs.

Speaker 2:

It's accessible if you can access it. Yeah yeah, i mean, yeah, the lack of elevators, i mean.

Speaker 2:

Oftentimes you can't access those of us, those of us who've had little children We had to deal with. You know, we had strollers. That then everything comes really Up to surface when we have a stroller of how hard it is to find an elevator in a subway station. Yes, they, they're required to have elevators in subway stations, but usually it's like this one elevator and you got to go. Oh, you have to do this maze just to get to this.

Speaker 4:

It's like a lab ramp and then oftentimes people who don't need the elevator you can literally use escalator.

Speaker 4:

It's like right there Yeah they can't be bothered to do that, and so they take the elevator space and it's like you're preventing. And then that's what happened to me. They took the elevator, this couple took this elevator, saw me coming And I'm just pointing like that's there's right there, and they're just like still went down anyways. I'm like, yeah, thanks, so I'm gonna have to sit here and fucking wait until you guys get to your destination faster. You couldn't be bothered with the escalator which is like right there by the elevator or the stairs.

Speaker 4:

I mean, you have working legs, i know because I was watching them entering the elevator And then seeing me and realizing, oh, and I'm like really, really It's. It's just really irritating. It happened to me on the bus. I was on my cane, i had didn't have my wheelchair at that day and this high school student Saw me, didn't give a shit, sat in the disability seating, forced me to stand the entire time on a pinched nerve.

Speaker 2:

Oh, I'm so sorry about that.

Speaker 4:

And I showed him my cane telling him please move, and he just put on his his His iPods and just ignored me while I was forced to stand. No one said anything. Everyone watch. This is something I really fucking hate about this culture, my culture doing this, where they just watch something happen and do nothing about it.

Speaker 5:

People are afraid to get involved. Yeah, very cowardly in a lot of ways, and I'm seeing this.

Speaker 4:

And it's just rude as fuck and I'm like kid, i know you don't need to sit there. Hmm, you don't need to sit there at all, i'm seeing this and it happens off so commonly.

Speaker 4:

It's just irritating that I don't even want to use public transportation because people are just rude and mean. They're literally exacerbating my suffering even more because I'm prone to falling. I have a heartburner, so it's best if I'm sitting, in case I passed out, because I I can't even shower alone anymore because I will pass out my I don't know, it just happens, and I Don't want to end up accidentally killing myself in a shower because I passed out and fell at first. So that's, that's the thing. It's like I'm trying to do things to prevent further problems for myself, prevent further suffering or pain for myself, and people able-bodied people are literally exacerbating it and making it worse. And Just the lack of compassion, the whole idea of John. You know what I'm talking about.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, John Yeah only for them and it pertains to them.

Speaker 5:

John is one of those things that I've, that I've learned through folklore studies, is is a very, very nice thing to talk about, but hardly exists an actual, in reality right.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, right, right, right. I mean I get junk because I'm privileged middle-aged white guy. I'm not just saying that because okay. So so you know I go. Bart recently released a video about him and me going through the baijang meat market and I'm reading the the comments in Korean on the YouTube site. And a lot of time There's a woman at the end who gives us two free brains cow brains And people say oh, that's oh, I love to see this, John. I love to see this John.

Speaker 5:

Right, she just gave you something that obviously didn't cost her anything. Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

And there's. There's another one that I call. Would they consider, john, i consider burdens burdensome. Generosity is You're giving me something that I'm gonna be stuck with and I have to figure out what to do, and I don't have any room in my freezer for anything.

Speaker 2:

I mean, i'm fine, i was really sweet, but I tend to get we tend to get that from Just just happens it just happened burdensome generosity, or when people give you like so much kimchi, like I have to pull everything out of my refrigerator just to fit this kimchi in, so I had to. Anyway, anyway, i'm complaining about stupid stuff.

Speaker 4:

It's just, and it just annoys me. When I hear it, i'm like yeah, okay, sure, whatever, only when it pertains to you and benefits you.

Speaker 4:

Yeah it's really not, john, that's not what it is. Then Yeah, and I'm saying that a lot. I now, however, i have come across people who are very accommodating, very understanding, very helpful, and you know that Really helps my day get through it, but they're they're few and far between, and so I'm completely and dependent on Tommy or friends to help me. And they have seen it, because one time On our way to soul station, i was telling you that the elevators like way outside soul station. Well, when we got to the level They were, they gas, because I guess there was just this huge amount of people behind us. I couldn't see, because I'm like, facing this way, and As soon as the elevator doors open, this mob literally just went in, push, we couldn't even get out, push this in. And they were complaining, saying, oh, it's raining, and I'm like, yeah, and like Yeah, you don't worry about it.

Speaker 4:

I mean, rain on if you don't let me out of the the elevator so that you can come inside and there are just are you and try And I'm like, no, i don't give a fuck, let me out. Like they had to, like literally fight to make space for me to get out. I couldn't even get out if they weren't there. I would have been stuck on the elevator and going up and down the entire time until they were satisfied to views elevator before my needs.

Speaker 2:

I'm sorry, yeah, i don't know.

Speaker 4:

If it's like you can use the elevator, i have no problems with that, but you need to let me out of the elevator for you to fucking use it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, the thing is in Korea, and Korea rain is the equivalent of the.

Speaker 4:

Shit, because I'm on a wheelchair and I'm like it's not my problem, we're all suffering, we're all gonna be rained on.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, but in Korea rain is the equivalent of the floor is lava, yeah. Yeah it's like I cannot. I cannot have one drop on me or I will die. I you know my hair, my hair will fall out.

Speaker 5:

Yeah, and so in all these play like you, how you're talking about A little while ago, have the. The young guy wouldn't get up for you on the. It was a bus that you said.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, it was a bus.

Speaker 5:

I've seen that become more and more common recently. Young, young men. There's the, there's this, this generation, have you heard? they're called the, the edam.

Speaker 5:

Yeah he did. I'm generation, so there it means it means generation men in their 20s and, as I recall, it's an old term, it's not, it's not new, but it just meant when a certain because there's the, there's also the, the opposite, the Eden young for women in their 20s, and it just meant what I remember is entering your 20s and you're able to vote and then you're more, you go to university and stuff like that. but now for the edam generation, it's now become this generation That's very, very self-serving, very self-important titled entitled and they, they, they're very black.

Speaker 5:

Very, what sorry lacking empathy. Oh yeah, yeah, and very, very consciously lacking empathy. It's not like they've just were brought up in a way And weren't taught how to be empathetic. their con, they consciously know they're being bad, so she'll social pieces of shit.

Speaker 2:

They're anti-social.

Speaker 5:

Yeah. Yeah, they just don't care. They don't care, they're, they're happy about it and they're also They're. You know, one of the key things too is that they're they opposed, you know, they're anti-feminists and stuff like that as well. That's a key element of that particular generation And I just see it all the time now. All the time they won't stand for the elderly. You'll see, like an old dude who's really, really old, and you're like this guy fought in the Korean War probably.

Speaker 5:

Yeah you know, his generation helped build this country And that gave these young guys, the, the ability the ability of what the life they can have now.

Speaker 4:

Yeah right being their North Korean communist rule.

Speaker 5:

So right Yeah, so so ironic.

Speaker 4:

Yeah you know, and another irony of is they're going to become disabled.

Speaker 5:

Yeah, sooner or later.

Speaker 4:

This is the irony. A lot of people think, oh, it will never happen to me, i'm not disabled, oh, you're not. Well, just wait. Serving in the military, car accident, which is very common in Korea, any kind of accident, even in the work, autoimmune I didn't know, i had an autoimmune and it hit me like a brick in my early 30s Old age. Again, you will become disabled. Yeah, that is the thing. It is the only. It is the largest minority community in the world and is the only community you would be joining.

Speaker 4:

Mmm, yeah, and people don't think that, and I remind them. You treating us this way now and you're not giving a shit now. Just wait. You're going to think it's going to matter soon, because if you don't do anything about it now to fix these problems, it's going to have negative effect. You to the point where you are under the mercy of able-bodied people.

Speaker 5:

And that's, yeah, that's. Those are excellent points, and it's going to be exasperated even more in the future, where we know Korea's continually an aging and An aging society.

Speaker 5:

That oh yeah is getting even older and by like 2050 or 2055, there's gonna be no social safety net for the elderly, and So they'll rely on systems that are in place from the government, through policy or through Whatever. Whatever system, whatever would allow through law that would allow these things to get into place. They will be completely dependent or partially dependent on on on these systems, but yeah, What we will call k karma.

Speaker 4:

K karma.

Speaker 5:

And so, yeah, no, those are very astute points about how, eventually, everyone's going to be disabled to some degree.

Speaker 4:

Well, and the irony of it is another one is, you know Korea likes to claim pride on being a Confucian practicing culture. One of the biggest, important still to the stay that I still take with me from Confucius during my studies, when I went to Songin one day, is the typical gone rule Do not impose on others that you wish to not be done to you. And then the irony is people don't think that as something to teach my students all the time. If you don't like it done to you, do not do it. Please think before you take action.

Speaker 4:

Because it's consequences to every action, good or bad.

Speaker 2:

We've said on this show many times that the Korea's Confucianism is perverted. It's, it's, it's, it's Mutated. It's a mutated version of Neo Confucianism, which itself is a very mutated version.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, it is, yeah, and it's still to the state surprises me that this is something that No one thinks about, and yet they treat everyone so terribly. And I'm like you do realize this is gonna happen to you too. Right Yeah we're all in this together. Yeah, why are you acting like we're not? It doesn't affect you, it does. Just wait, you're going to get old.

Speaker 5:

And that when I see like younger people not letting the elderly sit, i was thinks like, do you wouldn't sit for your nan, like for your grandmother, because they're not.

Speaker 2:

No, you wouldn't, i saw you wouldn't Inside their bubble. They're not inside their bubble exactly the whole drum is.

Speaker 4:

It's only within their click and that's it. It's only in their bubble and no one else.

Speaker 4:

Yeah as long as it doesn't bother them, they don't give a shit, and that's the thing. That's the kind of attitude that I really get so infuriated with, because it's like it will and you should, because I'm pretty sure There's disabled people in your family. Why are you having this type of attitude That's so discriminatory and so cruel? Yeah, i mean, that says a lot, and if I have a family member who's like that, i'm like no, you're not my family. If this is the type of attitude and this is how you treat other people, jesus, i can't imagine what you're thinking of me or how you would treat me if, if you were given the chance, it has it. I would like to call it like you, jet light eugenics, late eugenics, because of these type of attitudes that, oh, like these people don't deserve to live or they don't deserve to have a thriving life, or blah, blah, blah, and it's just like Yeah.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, because we're disabled and you're not. You do realize that you will become disabled too, so that whole concept shatters. It doesn't make any sense to me. The logic makes no sense, and yet this is how a lot of people think, and it's it's making a comeback and it's terrifying.

Speaker 5:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, and we're seeing it in this younger generation that the ediname movement Is is, you know, running through politics and stuff like that as well, because they're they're a demographic, they're a huge voting block, so and of course they're being, they're being kind of picked up by the, by the conservatives, of course, of course so. but but Speaking about politics, what's being done through government policy, the government or right? Is there any? is there any movement right now?

Speaker 4:

No, nothing is being done. There is a group and The disability community In Korea have been protesting like so. Last year I left Korea to move to the United States, and that was the same. The same day I left was the same day that the disability community was protesting against the newly elected Yoon about public access. All they wanted was just like Basic public access, because people were dying. And there's still. You can find them still in Gwanghwamun.

Speaker 4:

Yeah um, they're still there because I think a disabled person died there using one of their lifts, which is supposedly accessible. It's not. The lifts are actually dangerous. They either can malfunction and have kicked people off so people died and their mobility aid, or it would get stuck, or they get caught in it. It's actually killed people. So the lifts are not accessible, it's just Accessible. It appears accessible but it's really not so. And then, of course, oftentimes they're like out of service too, so you're just stuck going upstairs instead of, you know, finding accessibility like an elevator or something. It's just, it's just really frustrating. I Don't think the government is doing anything. From what I've heard, they haven't. They're still protesting. So if they're still protesting, you know the government's not doing anything.

Speaker 5:

They're just ignoring it, just like you, and ignores everything else right, and it's yeah, and I remember, yeah, gwanghwamun was one of the main stations. They protest because, of course, and Chungno Samga, because those are, you know, very, very busy stations, especially in.

Speaker 5:

Russia hour and When I first came to Korea there were huge protests and they would you know, they'd have them petitions for people to sign walk by and I'd always stopped there and sign. I was like, can I sign it again? Or a couple of times I signed it with a like I'd sign my name differently. I put like Sean Morrissey, and then I actually like S Morrissey. Oh, why Then I choose James? because my middle name is James, so it's like Sean James Morrissey and James Morrissey. So I signed it with different names a bunch of times.

Speaker 4:

Thank you for your service.

Speaker 5:

Yeah, and so so, yeah, and then I remember, yeah, the one that what you're talking about now and just to explain what you said, like a lift. So these are these plat automatic platforms that are platforms Yeah, go up the stairs right.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, and, and they're like meant for mobility aids, so people who have wheelchairs or power chairs, but they're very dangerous because they don't like I mean people have actually fallen out of it.

Speaker 4:

They've been like stuck on there or been, i don't know, like the lift actually like pushed them off but they wasn't at their destination So it malfunctioned during during it And it's really terrifying because people have actually died And that is why they're protesting, because it's like we don't have public access. Like me, the reason why I left Korea because I knew eventually I was going to be needing a mobility aid, i would be in a wheelchair eventually And I know just being an able body person at the time before it became debilitating and actually physically affected me. It was just really hard navigating Korea while disabled. It's just impossible. Oftentimes people who are disabled are just isolated in trap in their own home. They can't even leave their own home And since I was, you know, living on my own, it was not possible. I needed to rely on someone to help me because of my condition. And that is the problem. Like being disabled here in Korea, it's impossible to be independent. The whole point of accessibility and this is what I tell I've actually taught students at Kyunghee University when I was visiting there was I told them that accessibility is independence.

Speaker 4:

You know it's accessible when you can independently do it yourself. You can independently get to where you need to go by yourself. You don't need to depend on anyone to do anything. That is accessibility. Accessibility is independence And when I was a special education teacher, i teach my students. I want them to be independent to as much as they can, to an extent in their ability to be independent, because teaching them dependence brings in abuse, exploitation, isolation, all these things that are problems that a lot of the disabled community come across. I know because I've experienced it myself And you don't want that. You want them to be independent.

Speaker 5:

Right, yeah, yeah, definitely That's what everyone wants. Yeah, so everyone deserves it. Yeah.

Speaker 4:

And that's why I try to tell people is like you know. I told the students, like you know do you value your independence, do you like being able to do and go to places on your own and do things on your own, Everything yourself. Being disabled in Korea, you cannot do that. Right. You're forced to be dependent on an able-bodied person, and it is not safe to me. It's not safe. Right. Because you're at the mercy of them. Right.

Speaker 5:

Yeah, and then the government thing as well, like as you were saying how there's very little movement. And you mentioned Yoon, of course, because Yoon's the president. But in addition to that, the leader of the party was not Yoon, he was Yi Jun Seok, who is a right piece of shit and now has been suspended from the party. And that, the young guy Yeah, that young.

Speaker 4:

Isn't there? Oh Se Hoon? Do you know, oh Se Hoon?

Speaker 5:

He's the mayor of Seoul.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, he also said some really awful things to big part on towards the disabled people. He's against the disabled people and made damning statements that disabled people should get out of our way and not bother us. That's what he was saying, oh wow. Of course he got criticism for that statement, but he is criticizing the protests in the subway And he thinks that because of this you're preventing regular people from using the subway properly.

Speaker 2:

That's his response to Oh, oh, oh, oh, so you can shut up and build a Ferris wheel. Oh Se Hoon Oh.

Speaker 5:

Se Hoon, yeah, And Yi Jun Seok. He very similarly. He said playing the disability card is not going to work anymore And he was the leader of the conservative party And so he is the one who, during the protests last year, before he was suspended from the party. So people might not just say again Yoon Seok Yeol is the president, but he's not the party leader. The party leader was Yi Jun Seok, But Yi Jun Seok was too young to run for president. Either way, they both suck. Yeah, Yes And so and so Yi, the conservative party leader, the party, the leading party. He went to the protests and was essentially ridiculing the people while they were on the platforms. Probably Kyun Bok-Kung, Kyun Bok-Kung station, I think it was.

Speaker 2:

And so no, it was Kyun Bok-Kung, Kyun Bok-Kung station.

Speaker 5:

So yeah, so like it's unfortunate, like I wanted to ask the question because I don't really know, and I wanted to know the answer, if the government is doing anything, because I'm not surprised that the answers no, because, well, look who's in power, they don't care.

Speaker 4:

They don't care. Sorry, I just had something on me.

Speaker 4:

Yeah they just they don't care And that is the most frustrating part, because you're preventing us from living our lives. I mean, i've actually yelled at my former primary doctor back in the States because he refused to write down actual diagnosis from my specialist. The doctor that you know specializes in orthopedics. This document is a federal document to allow me disability to access a disability placer so that I can legally park in disabled parking, and he just wrote down lower back pain, even though I spent money giving him all of the medical documents to write this. And in two weeks this is what he writes And I come and yelling at him like you are literally preventing me from living my life. I'm isolated my home for months because I can't leave my home, because I can't legally park anywhere so that I can use my mobility aid, and he you know he argues saying, oh, i don't look disabled. This is one of the things I fucking hate hearing.

Speaker 2:

That makes me just want a bunch of people You say this is the American doctor, right.

Speaker 4:

This is an American doctor And it's not the first. I've heard it, because I've heard it in Korea too, where I don't look disabled And so they don't want to accommodate. And so you know, with this doctor who was making this argument, i told him like yeah, because I cannot legally park in the disability parking to use my mobility scooter for one, and second, your office is not accessible for my mobility scooter. So what did you expect? I had to walk in Because of you not filling out this document correctly. I'm unable to use these things to allow me to live my life. It is literally preventing me mobility. It's not just an aid, it's just like another version of having legs as an extension, just like us using glasses so we don't become blind, we can actually see. It's an aid, it's a right. You know a lot of people want to forget this. I'm like, okay, you use glasses, you don't need it, you don't look disabled, i'm sure you see, just fine, it's stupid.

Speaker 5:

Yeah, and I think like connected to that, but then I don't want to harp too much on the political aspect of it as well. We can move past that. But I don't think the Democratic government in Korea is doing much either.

Speaker 4:

Oh, they're not All of them, it's just because it doesn't affect them. They don't fucking care. And that's what infuriates me the most because it's will, though, eventually, but because they're privileged, they'll have all the access they need And pretty much ignore everyone else, all the voters who put them in that position to represent them, and they're not doing it. It's aggravating, it's infuriating, it's depressing, it's infuriating. You know, i'm in constant rage because of it, because you're preventing me from living my life, and a whole bunch of other people too. There's so many people out there who can't live the lives that they want because of fucking shitty people in positions of power that we put them there and they're not doing anything to benefit the actual citizens they're representing, and so more people are suffering. That is why they're still protesting. They're still protesting, and it's been over two years.

Speaker 5:

I think even longer than that.

Speaker 4:

Like I said, it's longer than that, yeah, longer than that, yeah, yeah, that's just the current specific protest, maybe, yeah. But this one, yeah, specifically.

Speaker 5:

Right, and we see stuff like this in the tourism industry as well. Now, fortunately, the dark side of Seoul tour is mostly accessible. There are certain things. If we get a note and we will, we do have. When people book the tour, they can leave a note and they can let us know. There's people with mobility issues, just, for example, someone with, and every now and again we'll get it. So we have a mobility issue. Is this okay? And as long as we know, we're like yes, no problem, we've set it up. Yeah, we set it up. Yeah, but even if somebody joins the tour and they didn't let us know beforehand, it's okay because we can. We can, we're professionals and we know how to arrange it. We know exactly where we're going, our content and a professional guide is always ready to, or should be ready to, shift the tour to suit anybody with mobility issues.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, the catalyst I had for splitting the tour up into regular and extended versions was that some people were having issues like asthma attacks and stuff on the on the two and a half hour tour. So I that's why I created the one and a half hour version. Right, that was the impetus for that.

Speaker 5:

But as but back to like the way, something that's more difficult for, for say us who who create tours, to try to be as inclusive as possible. There was one section on my tour behind the Soul Museum of History. There there are ramps to come down all the way down to a certain walkway, which is called the P&E walkway, just behind the Soul Museum of History, And as soon as you get down to that walkway it was all cobblestone.

Speaker 4:

Yeah.

Speaker 5:

So a chair wouldn't be able to go over it. So which was okay for for for us leading the tour Joe doesn't go down there but it was okay for me leading the tour because it was like okay, well, i know someone has this issue, so I can, i can bypass that section and add something else to feed the time. So, professionalism within within our industry. But the problem is, why did the museum have the foresight to build ramps but then have the ramp go exact, go directly onto a walkway that's inaccessible? So people would go down the ramp and they wouldn't know until they arrived on that walkway like oh shit, now I can't move across this walkway.

Speaker 4:

That happened to me a lot. And also I want to add ramps. A lot of ramps in Korea are not accessible If it's too steep.

Speaker 5:

Oh yeah.

Speaker 4:

It's not accessible. Yeah, right I would literally roll to my death. It's really hard to prevent that from happening, that it sounds like my hands are like a bike break. It sounds like that because that's literally the sound I'm making trying to present my wheelchair from rolling off into traffic or whatever It's.

Speaker 4:

It's awful, it's very common. They just it's a common thing in Korea They make appearances is all like you've mentioned before appearances without any effort or thought. They just don't care because they don't think it's going to happen to them. And I find this often in the Korean mentality is they don't care if it doesn't happen to them. They always like to say they're a homogenous country, but they still think very opposite of that And it's more focused on just the self, like if it doesn't affect me or bother me, i don't fucking care until it does. And then, when it does actually affect them and bothers them, then they actually change their mind and fucking give a shit And I hate it, i hate it, and it happens all the time.

Speaker 4:

Right, Right It's I like in work and meeting people in the street I mean even students saying I don't care, It's not me And I'm like, well, yeah, even if it's not you. You should still have some compassion for other people, because what happens if this happened to you? It's like, well, i'm like how are you so sure it's never going to happen to you?

Speaker 5:

Right, right.

Speaker 4:

It's going to happen to you And someday you're going to want someone's help and karma is going to hit you.

Speaker 5:

That's an I live forever mentality, you know, an immoral kind of thing. Yeah, so it just so we move on to come to the end. But a final thing I'll say about the tourism industry. There are a lot of people today and I've complained about this a lot that seem to fancy themselves tour guides these days, and they're actually not, but people who are developing tours. If anyone is developing a tour that's accessible, that's going around the city, but you do not make your tour accessible, like if your tour has a bus component and it's one of it's in, it's not an accessible bus, which there are very few of them in in Seoul, oh yeah. But if you are, if you add a portion of your tour that requires riding a bus and the bus isn't an accessible bus, then you're a bad tour guide. You're not really a tour guide actually And you're not making your tour accessible. That's okay if people are doing like rock climbing tours or something like that, where, okay, you're, you're, that's a very niche kind of thing anyway.

Speaker 4:

Yeah.

Speaker 5:

So, but there might be something else that you can include that. So look into the possibility of including this, because there are ways that a lot of these other tours that are not just city walks can be done.

Speaker 4:

Exactly. Well, i want to add too. It's like disabled people want to travel too. It's not just able-bodied people. That's right, and we've.

Speaker 4:

We came across this like using Jeju air, and they just have this mentality assuming that disabled people aren't going to travel and use the airlines. And I'm like why are you wanting to completely limit an entire community from using your services, money that you can actually get? Isn't this supposed to be a capitalist mentality? You're literally preventing a whole group of people who want to travel and is willing to pay to have access for that travel, and you, you're leaving them out. Same thing in tourism Disabled people do go on tours.

Speaker 4:

I mean, this is not a new phenomenon. I don't know why people act like this is a new thing, i have to say like the most accessible country in the world is in the Netherlands, most accessible in the world And and then everything else is just, you know, downhill from that, depending on varying degrees. Korea is by far the absolute worst. It's not even a great place to even travel to while disabled, because it's not accessible in any way. And it's like it's a huge population. Disabled community is a huge population And you're literally preventing them from having access to do these things And then, of course, preventing yourself from making an income out of it. And that's that's the frustrating part is why I'm writing this book is to see how accessible other countries are, how they treat the disabled, how religions are are the ones that actually form these types of mentalities and and views of surrounding disabled people and the disabled community. And again, i want to end with, before I read the poem And don't you guys still want me to do that One of the things that I thought was really important. That really dawned on me. It made me really think a lot about just society in general and where I fit in it.

Speaker 4:

And Margaret Mead I don't know if you know who she is. She is a famous anthropologist And a student had asked her what she considered to be the first sign of civilization in a culture And Mead said it's because of a broken femur, like the thigh bone, where, where that connects to your hip, it healed, and that's having a broken femur. And in the wild is a death sentence. There's no way you can survive, you will automatically die and fell prey to predators.

Speaker 4:

But here it shows that someone actually took the time to take care of the person, provide them protection, food, lodging all these things until they were healed enough to be able to move again. That there shows civilization is being able to heal from something that will eventually could kill you. That is civilization, a civilized country, and in my opinion, korea is not civilized because it does not take care of its own. Those who are children, the disabled, the poor, those who need the support from the community. That's what makes a civilized culture, and Korea does not check that in any way, and the United States, too, is another example of it. So, yeah, do you want me to begin?

Speaker 5:

Yeah, let's read the poem. Oh, yes, please, yeah, so maybe maybe talk a little bit about the poem first, maybe like how does?

Speaker 4:

So this poem I wrote while I was in the United States last year, when I just moved back to the States and in my rage realizing that, being gone for like almost a decade, nothing has changed and how they treat the disabled community and how they help them. Even the disability like support, the systems like SSI disability, and then just plain disability, i still don't qualify. Because they say, in their eyes I'm not disabled enough, or because my assets are above $2,000, i don't qualify. So they want me to be completely impoverished. And oh, they also told me to divorce my husband in order for me to be eligible Doesn't mean I'm accepted, eligible for disability services. It's crazy.

Speaker 4:

It happened every time I apply And out of my frustration. It's like the system is designed to keep me impoverished, to keep me pretty much without anything. It's not a life. There's no way someone can live on less than $2,000 in California. Yeah, And not even minimum wage has changed for disabled people across the nation at $725 an hour.

Speaker 5:

So wait. So is that different from? Is there another tier of an wage?

Speaker 4:

Abel body people across the nation. Starting is $15 an hour. We're at $725 for disabled people.

Speaker 5:

That's nice, i did know, that Again, they're excluding disabled labor. That's exploited labor, for sure. Yeah.

Speaker 4:

And definitely for progress And they keep us poor And keep us poor. So this poem is going to be talking about a lot of things, along with my culture, because my culture sees me as evil. There's this I know you probably know about it, sean that disabled people are seen as evil spirits or demons that are possessed or being followed by one to explain away their disability, and so we deserve all the hardships and suffering because of what our ancestors did in the past or something. So that's pretty much the views in Korea, and it's not far off from the United States, because they treat disabled people not very well either. I mean a lot better compared to Korea, but it's still. I can't find work, i can't even live on my own, i can't even be independent because they keep me exploited and impoverished. So this poem is just my rage to tell the world like you did this, the system, the society did this. It's preventing me from living my life. The society is disabling me because it's not making it accessible, and accessibility is independence being able to live my life the way I want it. So that's what this poem is about, and it's called Abled. Abled is a term to describe a person who's not disabled And by It's more of a negative way. It's pretty much Abled is better and perfect, and they use that as ableism to justify not helping and to pretty much just discriminate against disabled people.

Speaker 4:

So I'll begin my poem What's it mean to be disabled in this world made for the abled? I may appear abled, but I'm dynamically, invisibly disabled. Don't walk away and pretend I don't exist. I'm sorry. My disability is your inconvenience. What's disabled? They ask, as they make a list Death, blind, neurodivergent check. Connically ill, mentally ill, crippled and in firm check. Handicap, cognitively and physically challenged check. Changeling was a term before the science. Then create a book to fit all the terms for your convenience. Oh, go ahead and assume what disabled I am. Going through the list of your misery, the labels to describe my abnormalities, cause you're the experts of my experience. Fit us neatly into a basement and throw away the key, lock us up and forget we even breathed. Forget representation, because haven't you heard? This world is designed for the abled with the perfect forms.

Speaker 4:

You're high functioning, you're low functioning. You're faking it. You're doing it for attention. You're making an excuse. You can't do that because you're disabled. You're not disabled. As they measure me on a scale of severely disabled and low functioning. You don't look disabled as they measure me on a scale of high functioning because they're experts of my disability. Ignoring the struggles and the pain as I jump through hoops, they establish Moving the goalpost of what's normal. I'm not disabled enough to park there. I'm too disabled to do XYZ, can't go nowhere in our wheelchairs. Must communicate in the languages of the abled. It's clear this world wasn't made for disabilities.

Speaker 4:

They all gasp and yell and glare with their judging eyes of hostility. Hey, retard, they say and I'm venomous hatred. Why are you so stupid? They mutter under their breath as they pass me through. Education Must be my learning difference. Drop out of school for being too stupid. No inclusion for institutions. Segregate the disabled masses from the abled. I'm too disabled to be educated.

Speaker 4:

Don't be as bad as they yell to silence me. Barg me too sensitive for crying out injustices. I protest against their shame and abuses for respect. Don't be silly. Respect is for the abled. As they congratulate my bullies, you're crazy. They scream during a meltdown.

Speaker 4:

Call the cops because they feel threatened by my shutdown. They must be mentally ill to explain away the mass shootings down the street. Believing the mists of violence in the mentally ill must be linked. Being disabled makes me a criminal. I guess that's the reality that will lead to my funeral. Accept ableism is all I hear. Never mind your comfort and boundaries here. No autonomy for my identity. Just be glad you're still breathing.

Speaker 4:

My reality is hard to hear when I come from a culture that paints me evil, designed by my family for my imperfections. Shame on the family. Due to my existence, let's pretend I don't exist as they go about their business. Lowliness is my companion as I embrace the abandon. Do I deserve to exist? The world doesn't think so. Survival of the fittest is their motto. As you, genesis or the governments, politics say we're the problem. Assistive suicide and infanticide is a modern solution.

Speaker 4:

Covid-19 was a global nightmare. To survive the virus, i must sacrifice myself for the abled masses. Where do I fit in history? Shhh, it doesn't matter. Gather the monsters for the circus Point and laugh and stare at the freak show as we entertain you with our sorrows. Once you have no use for us, it's time to cheer. We don't fit the utopian image. Nancy's. Hunt us through the nations. The T4 program will create the standard.

Speaker 4:

Ask Hans Asperger if I'm useful to the able causes for her labor or the gas chambers. Dissect us to find the answers to our afflictions. The suffering and fear is never ending. Erase our existence and our history. Do you think I belong? That underzybel is our identities. Can't find my name in the family registry. I don't got marriage equality, still paid $7.25 an hour across the nation, unemployed because I'm lacking ableism. I must follow societal standards of what's normal. Keep us impoverished and inaccessible. Price is too high for our lifesaving medications. Homelessness is the way of the disabled. Watch us struggle in the dirt. It's okay because I deserve it.

Speaker 4:

Now let's focus on the able struggles for a moment. Here's the solution The able denounce. Institutionalize them so we can go about our business. Sterilize us so we can't be disabled. Drug us to submit to the able masses. Pull our teeth and lobotomize us as the conclusion.

Speaker 4:

Aba to correct our behaviors. Test us to see if we're still useful. To be honest, they prefer us buried. Keep us hidden. Keep us quiet, abandon, forgotten, erased, stigmatized. Blame us for your shortcomings. Then later represent us through twisted able lenses. Are you surprised? You're silent? stuff in the cross our corpses.

Speaker 4:

What's my purpose? Be useful and productive to society. She make us profits. To be the greedy Inspiration form for the abled. Use my accessibility to benefit you. You know better than I do.

Speaker 4:

Never mind if you're a woman, a queer or a POC. It's worse if you're any of these identities. Can't be autistic. If you're a girl, hold the puzzle piece as we find the cure. Not even the disabled community will acknowledge your struggles. Guess your shit out of luck for being too disabled. Cut myself to make it better.

Speaker 4:

The anxiety and only smothers my anger. Isolation is my only existence. Cry out for a better future. Get some help to fix the issues. No diagnosis Sorry, you can't help. No money for our diagnosis. That's your fault. Quiet, no one's listening to your woes. Suicide is just around the corner. Still alive, that's great. Here Your poverty awaits. The ables seem to be comfortable with their perfect state. Forgetting disability can happen in a second A car wreck, covid, sports injury, old age, auto moon serving in the military. Remember you don't need to be born disabled, but keep thinking it won't be me. After force fed ablum. Since the beginning, i realized the conclusion of this journey. I wonder what it's like to be abled to live in a world designed for me, a world that accepts me. For me, it must be nice to be abled. That's it.

Speaker 2:

Oh, thank you so much. I'm very good.

Speaker 5:

Powerful. Okay, yeah, so I guess we'll have to wrap it up there. Thanks, crystal. That was great. Thank you, crystal.

Speaker 4:

Thank you for listening and thank you for inviting me on this. It's really important to me to spread about accessibility and disability and sharing my poem. I really appreciate it.

Speaker 5:

Thank you, thank you.

Speaker 2:

We'll return to the podcast after this message. Well, i'm gonna. I'm gonna wrap things up. I'm gonna point out that the Soul Dark Side of Soul podcast is produced by Joe McPherson and Sean Morrissey. Our opening and closing music is by Suddak Sound, which you can find on Bankcamp under Jeju Digital. We'd like to thank our top tier patrons. Here we go Angel Earl Jolobonamini, sharon Cullen, devin Hiffner, min Suk Lee, ryan Birkebal, gabby Palamino, steve Marsh, chad Strauss, michie Brewer, sarah Ford, jane Kang, ron Chang McKinsey, moore, hunter Winter, cecilia Lufglund, duma, got it, got it. And Emily Umba Umba. Is it Umba? Emily, tell me how to pronounce your last name Umba Umba, umba, umba. Anyway, emily, you're in our chat room. Yeah, if you want to join our chat room or get extra content, just go to patreoncom. That's Dark Side of Soul. Starting at just $5 a month can get a lot of extra content. All right, crystal, you're amazing. Continue being amazing.

Speaker 4:

Thank you, i know, i mean I am into the ghost.

Speaker 2:

So you are.

Speaker 4:

Everyone's just there to see me. You should have bring something for next year Minji Ghost Special.

Speaker 2:

Challenge A Fierce or something.

Speaker 4:

I really miss the tour tourism. I really love doing that with you guys. I had so much fun doing it.

Speaker 2:

Well yeah, and.

Speaker 4:

I learned a lot. Yeah.

Accessibility and Advocacy in South Korea
Medical Access Challenges
Accessibility Challenges in Traveling
Disability Discrimination in Korea
Neglect of Disability Accessibility by Government
Disabled Access and Discrimination in Tourism
Soul Podcast and Patreon