From BBC world news, here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/8530836.stm
The prison offers Western food and satellite TV programmes in English, Chinese, Russian and Arabic…
…Inmates are given classes in Korean culture but can also view satellite TV from around the world and eat non-Korean meals. A number of the guards are fluent in English, Russian or Chinese.
…One American prisoner told visiting journalists that compared with standard South Korean prisons, the food and education on offer were much better.
The government has said the facility aims to respect the inmates’ human rights and treat them in a humanitarian manner regardless of their language, culture or religion.
“We will operate this facility for the inmates to recognise that their ‘Korean dream’ was not a failure,” said the prison’s director, Kim Pyung-gun…
I found this interesting because I remember reading one man’s experiences a while back. As a kind of experiment, he allowed himself to be incarcerated in various prisons and jails around the world. He said that if you want a real picture of a society, look at how they treat their convicts.
It was very interesting, because he believed that some of the worst treatment came from the cleanest and highest quality facilities, where there was a lot of psychological punishment—everything from hours you could talk to isolation could be imposed—while some of his better experiences actually came from dirt-rung places where the inmates actually had to band together in order to survive because they lacked food and water and proper facilities.
I’m not trying to say that good physical quality in a prison automatically means that it’s a bad place (because there are also a lot of places mentioned in the article where the prison guards practically had no power because there were gangs that formed within the prison walls), but I think it’s important to consider things in a different light.
[I really wish I remember the name and source of the article and its author, because I’d totally link it here, but I don’t, so I’m quite sorry.]
[Context: people were being bitchy about the way Canada hosted the Olympics, and so Canadians expressed their defense in ways that, I admit, made me laugh.]
- Me: So how was it?
- Friend: How was what?
- Me: Staying over at ___'s house.
- Friend: Oh--it was good.
- Me: Did you have fun?
- Friend: Yeah--well--yeah. Except--
- Me: Except?
- Friend: *mutters funny story about a massive labrador* ...Can I ask you, why are white people so obsessed with their dogs?
- Me: *a beat* Well, how am I supposed to know?
I know, I know. Whenever there’s the tag, “inspired by a true story,” you always have to take the ‘inspired’ part more seriously than the ‘true story’ bit, because Hollywood sez you can’t handle the truth if isn’t Hollywood-viable and cleaned up for the masses.
But Saff, what happened to telling good stories? Good stories means good characters. And anyone can play a good character.
Sure thing, pumpkin. So where is my Ben Franklin biopic starring Takeshi Kaneshiro as Ben Franklin?
Apples vs oranges?
How about: Avatar: The Last Airbender
Asians: we’re more than just your best friends (or mortal enemies). We have extraordinary things happen to us and boring lazy Sundays. Some of us can play the piano and some of us are part time thrashcore guitarists. Some of us aced advanced Calculus at 10, and some of us flunked high school Calculus three times.
We come in lots of different colors - from sienna browns to milk whites. Some of us are lactose intolerant. Some of us will cheerfully shiv you in the grocery aisle if you take Americone dream away from us.
Our cultures have been co-opted, adapted, evolved, and bastardized. We’ve done a lot of good and also terrible, dehumanizing acts of violence.
Some of us are super religious, some of us can’t even remember the last time we went to a church (and didn’t burst into heathen flames).
Asians: we’re just like you.
Except when we’re not a viable demographic.
[As a side note: a good history of yellowface can be found here.]