P36. Labor Topics in Contemporary East Asia

Session: Session 5, 10:15 – 11:45 am, Saturday 9/30

Category: Individual Papers

Location: Loyalty

Chair: My-Xuan Hillengas (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign)

Paper Presenters: Edenille Ann Santos (University of the Philippines), Do Yeon Shin (University of Illinois Chicago)

Alagang Pinoy: Filipino Care Workers’ Perspective in Caring for the Elderly in Japan

Speaker: Edenille Ann Santos
Role: Paper Presenter
Institution/Affiliation: University of the Philippines
Abstract: Filipino elderly care workers in Japan are immersed in a cross-cultural setting in which the administration of care is ingrained in the Japanese socio-cultural space that requires cultural negotiations in the process of giving care. This research aims to understand the care practices that Filipino care workers observed in administering care in care institutions in Japan and the current cultural negotiations involved in giving care. Moreover, what makes “Alagang Pinoy” (Filipino Care) in kaigo different through the lens of Filipino care workers? Through the results of the survey questionnaire and the interviews, this research concluded that the observation of the Filipino care workers in the elderly care setting had shown that doing kaigo in Japan entails learning: (1) language and cultural concepts; (2) cultural practices and routines; and (3) valuing the balance of emotions and work. Filipino care workers undergo a series of cultural negotiations despite the cultural differences that the cross-cultural setting brings in the transnationalization of care. The management of care in the social sphere of the Filipino care worker shows that as a caregiver, caring for the self, the elderly patient, and the co-worker staff is essential. “Alagang Pinoy,” or Filipino care in kaigo is elderly care work imbued with Filipino values undergoing cultural negotiations, embodying affective care through giving love, passion, patience, support, and help to the frail elderly in Japan.

운수(Unsu): Luck and Gigs in the Korean Taxi Industry

Speaker: Do Yeon Shin
Role: Paper Presenter
Institution/Affiliation: University of Illinois Chicago
Abstract: In this paper, I explore the historical context of the Korean taxi industry, focusing on the metaphor of “운 (pronounced as “un.” Defined as luck, fate or movement in Korean)” and discuss how the characteristics of “운un” has changed over the time, depending on different means of recruiting passengers. The meaning of 운수(unsu), which can be translated as transportation business in Korean, is used as a joke from the taxi drivers that the industry is called 운수(transportation business) because the quantity and quality of trips they can complete in a day rely on their 운luck. Therefore the transportation business is called 운수 (business which operates on luck or fate). By looking at the shifts in the work environment of Korean taxi drivers, from phone-call-based gigs to platform economy-based gigs, I discuss what luck and movement mean in the platform economy, where the quantity and quality of calls are decided by the operation of artificial intelligence (AI) and big data. In this context, I ask, “What does ‘un’ mean in the Korean taxi industry, and how has it been changing?” Using qualitative research methods, I aim to weave the social and historical context of the Korean taxi industry with the interlocutors’ life narratives. Lastly, I ask how the work environment of taxi drivers has changed since the introduction of the platform economy in the taxi industry.