The Korean poor living in the basement are much worse than the parasite.

 The Korean poor living in the basement are much worse than the parasite.

Thats the tallest place in the house. The purification tank is directly under the toilet.

A screenshot of the movie Parasitic, sitting on a dung toilet, lit a cigarette.

Poverty penetrates every gap in a prosperous city, and the underclass parasitizes in narrow, dark underground, and strives to call it home.


Mosquitoes, Fungi and Equivalent Toilets

Feng Junhao, director of Parasitic, once saidu2014u2014

Only in Korea can we see thehalf underground. This is a place with Korean unique color, where people want to believe in theundergroundof theground. Although sunshine came in, it was mildewed with dampness. If you are not careful, you will feel like falling into the ground.

The Golden Driver family in the movie spent countless dark days in such a space.

The toilet in the house is exactly the same as in the movie.

The bathroom has to go up three or four steps, so you cant stand and take a bath.

Its very sad to see tired everyday life become a movie.


So how hard is it to live in a semi-basement in Korea?

The first thing to face is darkness and humidity.

Because the part above the ground is too narrow, sunlight can hardly enter the semi-basement, making it difficult to distinguish between day and night.

The long-term extreme lack of light will lead to heavy humidity in the room, mildew on the wall, and wet clothes for two days.

In order to get rid of dampness, the heating of the semi-basement has been kept at 45 degrees Celsius.

The second is odor. In the semi-basement, the smell of fungi and sewage goes hand in hand.

No matter how many fragrances are used, clothes always smell bad.

Just as in the movie, even if the golden driver changed into a suit and shoes and talked gracefully and politely, the smell on his body still betrayed his identity as a bottom man.

In addition, the sound insulation of the basement is very poor, the sound of upstairs bathroom flushing, and even the sound of husband-wife relationship can be heard clearly.

Not to mention the endless flying insects and reptiles, eating meals, there is a cockroach crawling over the table.

While eating bread, the hero bullets a bug off the table.

Dark and humid, ant infested, these are only pediatrics.

As long as it drizzles, people will feel nervous.

Parasites stills, for underground residents, anti-theft windows are also prison iron windows.

Jin Xishun, a 46-year-old, heartbeats faster as soon as he hears the rain.

Eight years ago in the summer, a rainstorm in Seoul engulfed her semi-basement on the 7th floor (23 feet) of Xilin Cave in Seouls Guanyue District.

It was eight oclock in the morning. Jin Xishun was packing his lunch and planning to take it to the company. The daughter on holiday was sleeping at home.

Suddenly, the glass of the door was broken and the rain poured in like a flood.

Parasites screenshot, rainwater almost drowns to the neck.

Xishun, 152 cm tall, tried desperately to open the Xuanguan door, but he could not open it because of the water pressure. She shouted, Help me!

The daughter who woke up from her dream struggled to get out and dialed 119, but she couldnt get through.

Mom, toilet! The daughter shouted.

This is the only place in the family where there is no anti-theft net. Mothers and daughters stepped on the toilet 1.3 meters high, struggled through the narrow ventilation window and escaped.

Although he finally survived, looking at the ruins of his home after the disaster, Jin Xishun said with tears, Its like living in vain.

Last year, in a flooded basement in Seoul, daily necessities were floating on the water.

As long as it rains, semi-underground households can not sleep well, ready to rush out of the house with valuable things at any time.

At the end of August last year, more than 600 households, mostly semi-underground houses, were flooded in Yingyan Sandong, Enping District, Seoul due to heavy rains. Residents cant go home for a whole month, and the Mid-Autumn Festival is also outside.

The whole street turned into a river in the rain disaster in Parasites.

Now, a year after the rainstorm, residents are still plagued:

The humidity is still there, and I dare not redecorate it, for fear that the wallpaper will be pasted again, and I dare not buy new appliances and furniture, for fear that it will rain again sometime.

I can only pray for less rain this year.

The compensation promised by the government has never been seen.

Residents scooped water out of their houses during the rainstorm in Seoul.

Half underground that everyone dislikes,

Its my only place to go.

Even at the risk of life, and all kinds of intolerable shortcomings, you have to rent and live in the basement. Money is the only bitterness.

According to the relevant regulations, the height from the floor to the surface of the room, if less than half of the floor height, belongs to the semi-underground, more than half belongs to the underground.

A common semi-basement in Korea.

Whether it belongs to the semi-underground or the underground, whether the room has windows or not, and how many steps it needs to go down, all directly determine the rent level.

Take Ahan Cave in Mapu District of Seoul as an example.

If a deposit of 5 million won (about 30,000 yuan) is paid, a half-basement of 13_-33_can be rented for only 200,000 to 300,000 won (about 12 to 18 yuan) per month.

Ahan Cave, Mapu District, Seoul, is also one of the areas where there are more semi-basements.

Without windows, a suffocating basement of only 10 square meters can be packed in with a deposit of 1 million won (about 6,000 yuan) and a monthly rent of 220,000 won (about 13,000 yuan).

There are also only two or three steps, spacious and clean high-priced half underground, full rent needs more than 100 million won (about 600,000 RMB).

In Han Zongs Help me Find a House, a half-basement in Qingtan Tung, a golden section of Seoul, needs 200 million won (1.2 million yuan) for full rent. The hosts also exclaim that its really cheap.

At the age of 62, Li Shunzi moved to a 33-foot semi-basement.

Because of her husbands affair and career failure, she suffered from depression and decided to divorce.

She took her children from 193_high-rise apartment, first moved to plastic shed, then moved to the semi-underground, life trajectory also fell sharply from Jiangnan housewives, fell to the bottom of the valley.

The crevices of the New Home were permeated with water, and Li Shunzi had to paste newspapers all over the wall. Is this the place where people live? But its a place where people cant die. Plastic greenhouses are much better than that.

After moving half underground, Shunzi did not have a good meal in a day, and his depression became more and more serious.

The doctor asked me to bask in the sun for at least two hours a day. Shunzi said, staring blankly at the damp ceiling.

In the semi-underground, without lights, the day is as dark as night.

In Korea, there are not a few semi-underground households like Li Shunzi.

According to the survey, in 2015 there were more than 360,000 semi-underground (including underground) households in Korea, and about 860,000 people lived in semi-underground.

More than 90% of the basements are located in the capital circle (including Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi).

This is due to the population explosion in Seoul in the 1960s and 1970s.

At that time, Koreas economy soared, and a large number of immigrants poured into Seoul to find jobs and a better life.

By 1990, the population of Seoul had peaked, and a quarter of the entire population of South Korea lived there.

The tight housing supply and soaring housing prices after the 88 Olympic Games are squeezing the living space of the lower-class residents.

As a result, the semi-basement with low rent, which was rebuilt from the air-raid shelter, became the first choice for the poor.

Grandma Kim Mei-tzu, who has lived in the semi-basement of Alandong for more than 30 years, is 84 years old.

Nowadays, the new apartments built by Gao Gao have blocked the view of the river, and there are more tenants in the community. Drunks often abuse them in the middle of the night. A few years ago, there were homicides.

The police had to install CCTV at every hutong.

Grandma Kim Mei-tzu (right) likes to sit on the stairs and chat with friends in the breeze.

In the complicated and tortuous semi-underground, crime inevitably grows latently.

As long as the windows are open and ventilated, there will be a fear that curious passers-by will look in through the open windows.

Every time I go out, Im worried about thieves. Theres nothing I can do but pay attention to the portal.

Invasion of privacy, sexual harassment, theft, robbery... In the semi-underground area where public security is not guaranteed, these are everyday meals.


Hell torture.

In addition to underground and semi-underground, there are some more crowded and unbearable living spaces in Korea.

In Korean, there is an abbreviation called Hell Copy, which is taken from the basement, the roof tower, and the exam hall.

In Kowloon Village, a slum in Seoul, temporary plastic greenhouses are built. Fires often break out because of the untidy wiring and backward fire fighting equipment. Soohyun Kim

According to statistics, 1.39 million young people aged 16 to 34 in South Korea are living in difficulties.

74% of young people have spent their youth in windowless examination room.

The examination room in the Korean drama Others are Hell is dark and narrow.

There are also many potential safety hazards in the overpopulated examination halls.

In November 2018, a fire broke out at the No. 1 National Examination Center in Seouls Zhonglu District, killing 7 people and injuring 11 others.

The fire happened on the third floor of the exam house. In addition to the public toilet and kitchen, 140 square meters of space is divided into 29 rooms, each room is about 2.64 square meters.

How narrow is it?

The corridor is so narrow that the door cant be pushed open completely. The clothes hanger is on the bed. When a person lies down, he cant turn over. With the removal of a necessary desk, the room space can only stand for one person.

The test of young people also happens on the roof.

The rooftops in Korean dramas are full of love fairy tales, but in reality they challenge the physiological limits of human body.

In order to save electricity, some households put up tents in their roof towers, which can be both insulated and warm.

The roofs of Seouls residential areas are densely roofed.

Zhao Enhui, a 27-year-old graduate of Seoul University, once thought she would have a bright future if she enrolled in Koreas No. 1 school.

But after graduation, she lived in a 5-floor (16.5-inch) roof tower. Her dream was to move into a 15-floor house after paying off her tuition loan.

Its silly of me to think that my future is secure when I enter college.

Zhao Enhui still has 20 million won (about 120,000 yuan) to repay his tuition loan.

Now is a hopeless struggle, but the future is an uncertain confusion.

As for buying a house, its more like a fantasy.

According to statistics, the average age of first purchase in Korea is 43 years old, which is 56.7 years old in low-income families. In other words, the poor cant have their own home until they are almost in the year of flower armor.

Zhenhao, 28, initially wanted to rent a single full-rent apartment, but many friends around suggested that it would be better to buy an apartment directly.

However, in the capital circle where Zhenhao lives, the price of a new apartment is 33,000 yuan per square metre, and the total price is 2.64 million yuan, based on the area of 80 hectares.

And house prices are rising. Data show that apartment prices in Seoul have risen by nearly 50% in the past two years.

Anzai Hyuns apartment in Golden Lake Cave in the east of Seoul City appears in New Journey to the West. It is said that he bought it for 4.3 million yuan in 2016, and now it has risen to 8.9 million yuan, more than doubling.

It is almost impossible to buy a house on ones own.

Eventually, Zhenhao rented a single room, only to comfort himself: I am 43 years old, there are 15 years to go.

A newly married Korean netizen @rollcake even sent out soul questions on the forum:

Whichever option is, there is a long way to go.

A newly-married couple rented a half-basement as a wedding house and made a major renovation.

In order to alleviate the widespread housing difficulties, the Korean government amended the Building Law in 2012 to curb the supply of semi-underground housing.

Welfare policies such as Happy Residence and Youth Residence have been promulgated successively, and 2136 youth residences have been built near the subway station.

The government also provides 100% of the guaranteed assistance for 19-39 year-olds without shelter.

However, there are more monks and fewer porridges, and hell torture is still the last refuge for most poor people.

Despair and poverty are hidden in the corners of the city, and its prosperity is illuminated by brilliant lights.

Hannan Tung UNvillage, located in the south of the Yangtze River, has been hailed as an ideal top-level house for Koreans at a sky-high price of 4 billion won. But five years ago, the famous slum of Kowloon Village was embedded in the shadow of the road.

Outside a highway in the slum of Kowloon Village in Seoul is a skyscraper in the south of the Yangtze River.

Editor Xiao Cui Xiaohu

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