[QODLink]
Viewfinder - Asia2013

A Father's Protest

One man turns his grief for his daughter's death into a protest against a corporation, linking the tragedy to her work.

Last Modified: 27 Aug 2013 13:04
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Mr Hwang, a South Korean taxi driver, has been protesting against the government and a giant multinational corporation for more than five years, to find out why his daughter died of a rare form of leukaemia at the age of 23.

There was no family history of the disease and Mr Hwang believes that his daughter died because she was exposed to deadly toxic chemicals at the semiconductor factory where she worked for nearly 2 years.

The film follows a very emotional journey of a grieving father, who is dealing with the loss of his daughter, and is determined to find out why his daughter died.

Filmmaker's view

LiGyeong Hong

Mr Hwang is a modest taxi driver in Sokcho, which is about a four-hour drive from Seoul. Six years ago, he lost his daughter, Yumi, to leukaemia. I first met Mr Hwang when he was protesting in front of the headquarters of Samsung Electronics in the spring of 2011.

Just before graduating from high school, Yumi started to work at a Samsung semiconductor factory. And twenty months later, she was diagnosed with acute leukaemia. During her battle with the disease, she told her father about her working conditions and that she was required to deal with toxic chemicals at the factory. This convinced Mr Hwang that Yumi's work environment was the reason for his daughter's illness.

Samsung Group is South Korea's largest family-controlled conglomerate, with 79 affiliates in the country. There are numerous reports listing Samsung as the world's biggest semiconductor supplier, while the company's mobile phones are ranked most popular across the world. As a result of such tremendous success, the media in South Korea often refers to the company as "the Republic of Samsung".

 

LiGyeong Hong  has been working at Purn Productions since 2010.

Samsung owes its achievements to its army of hard-working factory employees, especially as most factories operate on a three-shift work rota over 24 hours. Many of the employees are young female workers and Yumi, was one of them. 

Soon after Yumi's death, Mr Hwang started to suspect that she had contracted leukaemia as a result of exposure to toxic chemicals in the factory where she worked. To be sure, he decided to begin his own investigation into Yumi's death. He spoke to her colleagues and asked questions about other workers who had died.

Samsung, however, insisted that Yumi's working conditions had nothing to do with her death but Mr Hwang was not convinced. He spoke to Korean media who were mostly dismissive and said they could not report anything unless Mr Hwang obtained convincing evidence that could prove that Yumi's working conditions caused her illness. But after a while, Mr Hwang succeeded in getting the case covered by two publications.  

Soon enough, other reports claiming to link Samsung factory working conditions to employee deaths, started surfacing elsewhere.

And eventually, the coverage of Yumi's case resulted in civil rights organisations contacting Mr Hwang, offering to help him in his fight for answers.

This documentary follows Mr Hwang's daily life as he continues his quest for justice. He works as a taxi driver in Sokcho city and travels to Seoul two or three times a month, where with a photo of his daughter, he protests outside the Samsung Group headquarters.

With this documentary I hope to present the inspiring story of how one man deals with his personal tragedy by searching for the truth.

 

This episode of   Viewfinder   can be seen from Monday August 26, at the following times GMT: Monday: 2230; Tuesday: 0930; Wednesday: 0330; Thursday: 1630.

Click here for more on   Viewfinder  .

752

Source:
Al Jazeera
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.