Where Is My Friend’s Hometown

Where is my friend’s hometown

Choi Hyun-mo (Secretary General)

Not long ago, R shot a short film. Since the fall of last year, migrant workers’ human rights groups and civil society groups active in the Incheon area have gathered and conducted education and practice for media utilization such as video planning, filming, and editing with migrant workers who are interested in using media. Participated in the program, received training, and produced works as a result.

In the work presented at the film screening in mid-February, R is himself and Mr. With the character Kim as the main character, he attempted to communicate with the audience in the form of a documentary, also known as a mockumentary, with black comedy and dramatic elements added to his daily life at the factory where he works.
In the video, R and Mr. Kim is a colleague who works alone in a small workshop. R, who lives on the second floor of the factory, wakes up early in the morning, opens the factory door, operates the machine, and sets things up, and then Mr. Kim goes to work. As soon as I went to work, Mr. Kim gives R a coffee errand. R willingly brings coffee. After a while Mr. Kim asks R for a driver. R silently searches for a driver. Soon Mr. Kim asks R to give him a hammer. R silently finds the hammer again. Throughout the screening of just over 15 minutes, Mr. Kim repeats ‘Bring me, find me,’ to R even for the most trivial things, such as asking him to bring the object right in front of him. Tired of fulfilling Kim’s frequent errands and miscellaneous requests R gets annoyed for a while and sees it, but soon Mr. Kim smiles and repeats the same request, and R has no choice but to grant all of them. The video ends with a hint that R’s tiring daily life continues like an irresistible fate.

R is a migrant worker from Bangladesh. R lives on the second floor of a small factory in a residential area in Gyeyang-gu, Incheon. R has been working in the factory for over 10 years. R and Mr. The factory where Kim works has 5 to 6 employees, most of whom are family members or relatives of the factory owner. Mr. Kim is also a member of that family. The family gathers and runs a small factory and makes a living with the income, where R is the only migrant worker. R smiles, saying, ‘In our factory, everyone is the boss except me’. R said that through this video work, he wanted to show the behavior of his Korean colleagues who make him do all the troublesome and difficult work in the factory, and at the same time inform the plight of migrant workers who have to endure it.

He remembers how beautiful Korea was when he first met him at Gimpo Airport in 1995. Unfortunately, after that, he often complains that he has never experienced a better feeling than that. R., who came to Korea at the age of 22 and has been living for 16 years this year. Five years after coming to Korea, his right hand was bitten by a hot machine at the factory he was working in, and he suffered a severe industrial accident and had to undergo several surgeries. I came to know the Human Rights Center while dealing with the accident and trying to get fair treatment and compensation. The factory that I returned to work after the accident is the present factory. At one time, there were several other migrant workers who worked together, but one by one they go to different factories or return to their own countries, and now they are alone. So the work is more difficult and also lonely. But R can’t think of going anywhere else or going back to Bangladesh.

‘I came to Korea in 1995 and have been living here ever since. everyone knows I know the whole town. I don’t even remember Bangladesh. Living and working are a little hard, but this is my hometown. I went to another place for a while, but it was more difficult there, so I came back. People have hard work wherever they go. If I go to another place because I’m having a hard time right now, it’s hard there too. And there are many more difficult things for foreigners. It’s harder for illegal people like me (undocumented migrant workers). Because this is my hometown, I like it here even when it’s hard. It’s hard because of bad people, but it’s okay because it’s my hometown. And I know a lot of good people. It’s my hometown…’

This is R’s answer to the question of why he didn’t think of going somewhere else when the conversation with the audience after the screening was so difficult. It was. For R, this Incheon is his hometown. He came when he was 22 years old, worked day and night as he was told, put aside his dreams and dedicated his youth to supporting his family, but for 16 years, he was branded as an ‘illegal alien’ and had no choice but to live like a criminal. R shared that long agony with Incheon, Korea. R always said that. ‘It’s hard’ and ‘But I can’t go anywhere else’. If you are caught, you will have no choice but to leave, but I have no intention of leaving. It’s ‘hometown’.

But R’s hometown leans on him for a while and doesn’t even give him a shoulder to rest. Even at this time, many R’s are forcibly evicted from their hometowns.

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