Ruby Ramblings


Running Amuck
May 27, 2009, 2:37 am
Filed under: South Korea Quarantine, Travel | Tags: , , , ,

Well actually, it’s almost afternoon.  The positive side is that it is a gorgeous day, and fortunately since none of our air conditioners work in our rooms, there is a gorgeous breeze.

I want to thank all the blogs that have been posting about the flu, because we aren’t getting much information inside the quarantine. I’ve learned a lot from everyone and it’s helped me keep some perspective.  Thanks to Kimchi Ice Cream for getting me thinking really early on about the importance of this and how it affecting the whole country, and not just those of us in here.

Therein lies the problems we are having today. The group of us still in quarantine has split into two factions. The group itself is dwindling because for obvious reasons of inconsistency, method, and control, the quarantine has not worked for us on the inside and people are getting taken to the hospital every day. 1)Those of us who did some research and thinking, realized this problem is bigger than our own comfort and needs and have at least attempted to follow the ever-changing directions, and 2) those that decided they get to call the shots and have been hanging out in groups, not following any protocols, and acting like they are at a hotel on Phuket.

Not to be too harsh on anyone reading this who is here, but my roommate and I were kept up until 3am by wafts of cigarette smoke and chatter coming from the balcony.

One of the problems is inconsistency with punishment. J., my partner, is on the floor below me, a definite cigarette addict, and has stayed in his room and tried really hard to follow the no smoking rule by only having three cigarettes all day yesterday. A drastic reduction for him. He was yelled at extensively all three times. Meanwhile, there are a group of people who have been sunbathing, smoking, and generally running around who no one appears to have spoken to at all. One person even had five packs of cigarettes delivered by someone on the outside, without so much as a raised eyebrow. It seems they yell at the ones who are trying to comply, and are too intimidated by the loud ones to say anything to them. (Something that was just pointed out to me by someone else is that the people who have been running around and not getting talked to, and even getting praised for their behavior right after smoking, are Korean or half-Korean. I can’t vouch for that since I haven’t been out in the common area, but that’s what I was just told by someone staying on another floor. Take it or leave it.)

All in all, I would say the quarantine isn’t really working, for many reasons, and it appears the best way to get out of here is to get sick and sent to the hospital. Part of it is complete non-compliance from some of the people, and some of it is hygenic basics like not restocking the paper towels in the ladies room for a day and a half. I am under the impression that wet hands is one of the best ways to spread germs, especially if everyone is touching the same door handle. After 1 1/2 days of no paper towels, I raided some closets and found some.

So the voice over the intercom this morning expressed their sincere disappointment in us as a group, and has demanded we stay in our rooms, wear our face masks at all times, and take better direction. Honestly, even though I’m griping about non-compliance, I’m not going to wear my mask in my room. It’s really uncomfortable, fogs up my glasses (which I assume means it doesn’t fit right), and they’ve given us single use masks to wear for days at a time. Honestly I think they are just for show.

Sorry to be so negative on my first post of the day, but that is the chronicle of events. Thank you for your e-mails and comments, they are much appreciated, and keep me thinking.

This quote sums up what I’ve been reading and hearing from a lot of folks.
From Gusts of Popular Feeling:

Considering I’ve been told in the last week that ‘Koreans aren’t catching the swine flu because they eat kimchi,’ and considering the misunderstanding of the disease (helped along by the media) that it’s a foreign virus, and considering the way this is playing on xenophobic attitudes that die hard, I can’t help but see the similarity to the belief held by some a year ago that because of a misunderstanding of the science, media disinformation, xenophobia, and a belief that Koreans were ‘special’ (genetically) and therefore more susceptible, mad cow disease was going to ravage the Korean peninsula.

On a completely separate note I saw the most awful thing on an internet advertisement today. The top of the page had a giant flashing banner that said “You’ve won a free visa to live and work in the USA!!!!!” I’m didn’t click on it, but I’m sure it’s some way to scam money of people’s dreams.

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5 Comments so far
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Haha! I love that post about kimchi, it’s the same idea that only Koreans will die if left in a closed room with a fan running overnight. This has caused long, hot summer nights for me, and not in a good way…

Comment by Talya

What!!! When I was in Nepal, if you were wearing bangles and one cracks, it was believed that your brother would be hurt if you didn’t take it off right away and break it in half all the way. I thought it was an interesting piece of superstition, and a comment on how valued boys are.

Comment by therubycanary

I just heard about this site today…I had gotten word that a group of foreigners were basically being held hostage…I just started teaching at a hogwan about 3 weeks ago. I’m sure it’s a scary experience and I wish I could do more to help. The blog on koreasparkle said that there was only one day to drop goodies…is there any other way to get things to you all? I feel very strongly that much of this is spread by an anti-foreigner feeling here, but also, that the flu is something real. I’m not sure that it is as serious as they have made it out to be, but who really knows…if there is anything I can do to help, please let me know.

Comment by Maghie

Have you given a LIST OF PROBLEMS with the QUARANTINE to the head doctor?
1) single use masks need regular replacements
2) sanitation issues in the bathrooms
etc

If you give it to this guy in writing, with info from the WHO or American CDC and he still doesn’t do anything to rectify the situation . . . I don’t know . . .

Seriously wishing you all get out of there soon,
Jason

Comment by kimchi-icecream

Hello, very interesting article. I completely agree. I think that establishing relationship with prospective and existing customers is a very important part of every business. Advertising plays a great role in the success or failure most of times. Thank you. I read the article with pleasure.

Comment by Jessada Juntason




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