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6 Min English : Blind Massage Therapists  

2012-08-11 06:27:32|  分类: ★KERISA |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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Todays Question
Approximately how many people in the world are living with a disability of some kind?
a) two percent
b) ten percent OR
c) twelve percent


Now recently, I heard an interesting report about how, in South Korea, only people who are blind are legally allowed to do a certain type of work.
What type of work?  And is that law fair to everyone else – especially to people with other types of disability?

There's a lot of old people obviously, and old people very often have disabilities of one kind or another. And there's unfortunately, there're a lot of wars and that leaves people with a lot of disability.

Since 1963, people in South Korea who are blind have been the only ones allowed to work as massage therapists.
A 'massage therapist' is a person who mainly uses their hands and fingers to rub different areas of the body, head, arms or legs to help stop pain or to help people move more easily. So someone who's been in an accident, for example, might have 'massage therapy'.

People in South Korea, especially those who've recently become blind, are really happy that the law keeps those jobs for them. But people who aren't blind want that law changed so that they can also earn money in the same way.

In today's report, we'll come across the expression 'to cope with demand'.
What's that mean? Well if a person or a company 'copes with demand', they provide what their customers need when they need it. So for example, a dressmaker who can't sew all her customers' dresses on time has more work than she can manage and she
can't 'cope with demand'.

In his report, the BBC's John Sudworth explains that there are about seven thousand massage therapists who are blind in South Korea. There may be seven thousand, but they can't cope with demand. South Korean cities are
awash with massage parlours, barbers' shops and bath houses – all offering massages by
unlicensed, sighted practitioners. An estimated half a million of them in total.

'Awash with'  literally means covered with water. But here, it means that there's lots of something. So for example, if you said 'London is awash with tourists in the summer' it means that there's lots of tourists in London in the summer.

So the cities in South Korea are awash with all kinds of businesses which offer massages. But many sighted people – people who can see - are breaking the law by providing those massages.

But how many people who aren't blind would like to be legal massage therapists too?
In the report John says that there are about half a million people who are working illegally – without a licence. They've asked the courts to change the law because they believe it's unfair to stop them from earning money and it actually makes them
into criminals by doing massages. Now the massage therapists who are blind aren't happy either…

Report: JOHN SUDWORTH
Blind masseurs and masseuses have been taking to the streets to defend their monopoly. Some massage therapists have even jumped off bridges into the Han River.

Wow – that's a powerful protest. They really do want to keep their legal right to be the only group of people who can become massage therapists; they're desperate to hold onto their 'monopoly'.
Luckily, so far, no-one has been seriously hurt in the protests. Now even though there's more than enough work for everyone, blind people are worried that this won't always be the case - and say it would be really difficult for them to find other types of work.

Here's a final question from which gives us all something else to think about:
Is massage work a valuable protection for a vulnerable minority, or a patronising excuse for a lack of equality?

A question the courts will have to answer. What are your thoughts - should certain jobs be kept for people with disabilities?
William:

Umm…I don't know – that's a very, very difficult question. Umm – maybe.
Maybe that's the fairest thing until everyone can apply for every job.

Today's question: Approximately how many people in the world are living with a disability of some kind?
Answer: Ten percent…


Vocabulary from the programme
a massage therapist
someone who uses his or her hands and fingers to rub different areas of the head, limbs and body to help stop pain or increase movement

masseurs
male massage therapists, but also used for females

masseuses
female massage therapists, never used for males

decades
tens of years - a decade is ten years

cannot cope with demand
is unable to manage and complete all the work there is to do on time

awash with
literally, covered in water, but here, used as an adjective to describe a place where there are lots of people
Example sentence:  "During the summer months, the streets are awash with people."

barbers' shops
a place where people, usually men, pay to have their hair cut

sighted
able to see

practitioners
people who do something that's practical

non-visually impaired
able to see, having no problems with eyesight

constitutional court
a legal court where laws are made or changed

a monopoly
an exclusive right to do something

patronising
treating people as though they are children, have little intelligence or are of little importance
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