There’s the (Blind) Rub

My favourite wake up ritual (other than Opal’s hello kiss), is reading my BBC daily e-mail. This morning it did not disappoint. File this under; ‘Interesting stories about the blind’.

The South Korean Constitutional Court has ruled to uphold  a law which states; All licensed masseurs in the country must be registered blind persons.  The 7,100 members of  the Korean Association of Masseurs led noisy protests leading to this victory, even jumping off bridges into the Han River which runs through Seoul. There are 200,000 unregistered masseurs who claimed that the law discriminates against them. The law to restrict masseurs to people who are blind, goes back to 1912 when Korea was under Japanese colonial rule. The US military government abolished the practice in 1946, but it was reinstated in 1963. Non-registered (blind) masseurs can face heavy fines or imprisonment.

The most interesting part of the article was the  statement released by the Korean Constitutional Court:  “Massage is in effect the only occupation available for the visually handicapped and there is little alternative to guarantee earnings for those persons”.  Welfare experts in the country say the law helps blind people make a living in Korea, but it makes employers in other fields less likely to hire the visually impaired, thus adding to workplace discrimination.

In the wake of the 100 jobs lost in Atlantic Canada which resulted from the CNIB axing its Caterplan (allegedly only 14 blind people are no longer being ‘Catered’ to), I thought this might inspire someone to organize a new industry or make work program for the blind. It  sounds like reasonable employment for people who are  blind to me…beats washing dishes at a cafeteria, assembling cardboard meals, or checking coats for drunks at the local Casino, eh?

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3 responses to “There’s the (Blind) Rub

  1. Well from what I know about Caterplan, it has been a sinking ship for a long time. Small food companies come and go all the time. And if they were only had 13 or 14 blind and or low vision workers is it reallysomething worth holding on too? Besides, from what i could tell, it was all rubber sanies and iceburg lettuce. We haven’t had a Caterplan here for a number of years and I think CNIB is better for it. It usually sucked money from the organization not contributed much at all.

  2. yes, absolutely deader than a door nail. Caterplan was a lost cause. My question would have been, why of the 100 jobs lost in Caterplan here, were there only 14 blind people? Why did CNIB bother having a program like this if only 14% of the employees are consumers?

  3. I agree with you all the way. The same thing went on here, very few of Catterplan’s workers were blind or low vision. I think that was because the person running the show was a food business person and had no real commitment to employing blind or low vision clients. perhaps the same has been the case in Halifax.

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