An update to an escalating affair
I agree with Jon Metzer that a heart if is no way to express my admiration and thanks for this post, which I find particularly powerful in conjunction with your Jan 22, 2022 Substack post: ‘Hell Line: Lessons from Seoul’s controversial privatized subway line.’
I just don't understand South Korea's conservatives. Especially here, what's the long-game? South Korea's social spending still pales in comparison to other OECD countries of similar GDP/capita, and especially as the population begins to age rapidly, paying attention to these sorts of issues is going to be more and more important for more and more people.
How are they going to look in hindsight, when the average age of Koreans starts pushing into the 50's and 60's, and, e.g., Korail's non-level boarding platforms for intercity trains starts posing a barrier to "ordinary citizens" looking to safely board a train? Especially since the most actionable request--escalators--is completely quantifiable and not very expensive overall, offering a budget of 1% of the total is just clearly meant to be inflammatory. Or perhaps the conservatives expect that 90% of Koreans will remain agile youths forever? Such a complete disconnect from reality these people seem to suffer from.
"In 2001, an elderly couple using a Seoul Metro station wheelchair lift was thrown off; one was severely injured and one died from injuries. " I'm assuming this was the accident referred to later in the post. There were similar issues in Hong Kong of getting access, but eventually equal rights laws forced the MTR corporation to make the investments. As a colony of the USA (Korean constitution gives the USA ultimate control over South Korean military), there might be an effective path by using the ever present American NGOs to put public pressure on Korea via US Congress, particularly as American corporations can offer up their products.
I want to heart this to thank you for writing it, but heart definitely feels off as an emotion. This was incredibly moving. Thank you for sharing.