▲ Haenyeo laugh by the shore. Photo courtesy Jeju Special Self-Governing Province
This article was written by a ‘junior journalist’ and is published as an NIE (newspaper in education) resource for English education in schools.
A) Due to1)industrialization, traditional job roles have changed. However, one occupation remains even as Jeju has 2)modernized. It involves diving in the water without a license or scuba equipment, and B)holding your breath for an average of over three minutes. This job is that of the living mermaids of Jeju, the female divers known as haenyeo. They are the 3)protagonists of this story.
On June 15, 2013, the JDC Junior Journalists went to Hado Village to report on the life of women divers. We interviewed 68-year-old Han Sook-hee whose 4)wrinkled hands are 5)testimony to her life as a haenyeo, which she became at 19 years of age.
C)Jeju Island is surrounded on all sides by the sea. So, in the days when Jeju people had little income, many women had to D)earn a living from the abundant seas. This is also why Mrs. Han became a woman diver in the first place.
Unlike nowadays, the haenyeo of the past didn’t have any diving equipment.
“In the past, there were no diving suits,” said Han, describing the old days. “We just wore a sokgot [a Korean petticoat] and muljeoksam [an unlined summer jacket]. It was so cold and truly hard.”
Despite not having enough gear, E)women divers are the equal of diving experts. The majority can stay underwater for three minutes, and experienced haenyeo can last 5 minutes. Working for about 4 hours at a time, they go into the water at low tide, and come out at rising tide.
Despite using a “taewak” to maintain 6)buoyancy, being on the open seas is often very dangerous.
“If I had to choose my most dan-gerous moment, it would be when a ship passed right by my side,” said 53-year-old Park Mijeong, the youngest woman diver in Hado Village. “On a foggy day, it is also really risky. Every moment in the sea is always dangerous.”
Despite the danger, Park is committed to her 7)craft.
“I will never 8)retire from this job as long as my body is healthy,” Park emphasized.
In the beginning, working in the water was for money, but it soon became an 9)integral part of the women’s lives. Despite having back pain because of weights used around their waists during dives, suffering 10)decompression disease and F)facing countless risks while working in the sea, Jeju women divers keep working, even today.
* Vocabulary : 단어
1) industrialization : 산업화
2) moderniz : 현대화하다
3) protagonist : 주인공, 주창자
4) wrinkled : 주름이 진
5) testimony : 증거, 증언
6) buoyancy : 부력(기체나 액체속의 물체가 그 물체에 작용하는 압력으로 인해 중력에 반하여 위로 뜨려는 힘)
7) craft : 기술, 기교
8) integral : 필수적인
9) lumbar disc : 허리 디스크(질병)
10) decompression disease : 잠수병 (잠수부가 바닷속 높은 고압에 있다가 갑자기 물위로 올라왔을때 혈액속의 질소가 기포화함으로 생기는 질병)
* Key expressions : 주요한 표현들
A) Due to industrialization : 산업화로 인해
B) holding your breath for an average of over three minutes : 평균 3분동안 숨을 참는 것
C) Jeju Island is hemmed in on all sides by the sea. : 제주도는 바다로 사면이 둘러싸여 있다.
D) earning a living from the surrounding seas : 둘러싸인 바다로 인해 먹고 사는 것
E) women divers are the equal of diving experts :
여성 잠수부들은 잠수 전문가들과 동등하다.
F) facing countless risks while working in the sea :
바다에서 일하는 동안 수많은 위험에 처하면서
* Discussion topics : 토론 논제
1) Is it fair for haenyeo to work such a dangerous job?
이렇게 위험한 일자리가 해녀에게 당연한 것인가요?
2) Why do you think few younger women want to become haenyeo?
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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