Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A One Person Picket

Across from the pharmacy, a woman for seven years was a one person picket with her placard. The pharmacist in Bible & Life writes about his thoughts on the woman who wanted to say something to all those who  passed her way.

On a cold day when she began her picketing she entered the pharmacy to  buy a warm drink.He asked her why didn't she forget about the picketing on such a cold day. With a smile, she said she  didn't notice the cold.

Except for weekends, from morning to 1:00 pm, she was in her place before the clothing exporting company she worked for, after leaving the country, and coming to Seoul some 15 years earlier. In her position before the door of the clothing company she stood with her placard: "Its unfair all I want is to work."  Each day her one-time follow workers and bosses would pass her without a word.

It was a small company, her first  job after arriving in the city after graduating from a girls' commercial high school. The company was small but solid. With her salary she was able to help educate her brother and participate in the life of the city. She married and had two children. The  atmosphere of the company was changing and a labor union began. She was involved in the forming of the labor union. Her apartment head warned her that participating would have a deleterious effect on her  job rating. One day on coming to work her  job had been changed, and no reason given, shortly after she was laid off.   

She was responsible for a family of three. Her husband died in a traffic accident so she was the sole support of the two children and had to take care of the monthly rent for her villa, about 400 dollars a month.  She had taken pride in her job and when she was fired unfairly she didn't want to leave in disgrace, and took to the street.  

Her picketing came to an end without any benefits. She was in debt and had to send her two children to her parents in the country. She worked at anything that came her way: as a janitor in a  bath house, domestic help, selling juice on the street,  tending the sick, in a welfare center and office help-- one day coming out of a restaurant where she washed dishes,  she met her old  boss who fired her; he had been promoted. The news bothered her for some time.

The pharmacist recommended she sell rice cakes in the spot she had been picketing for all those years. She did so, and did very well for there were many who remembered her from her years of  demonstrating. Laughing, she was sorry she didn't stay longer at the picketing; she would have a bigger clientele.

The pharmacist also had  a time in his life when he fought  against  injustice, and he learned  a lot from the fight although he did not win, and the women also has no regrets in the battle she undertook. It has helped her to grow and the pharmacist concludes: marketing her rice cakes shows how the nutrients in  her life have given dignity to life.

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