So it seems I took an accidental hiatus from writing. The last month has been a whirlwind – moving jobs; getting robbed; leaving the EU (I know this was a collective UK experience but damn, that shit hurt); and being bombarded with the constant fear-mongering and bad publicity that has come from the detection of Coronavirus – or COVID-19 for my more science attuned readers.
- the new job is fab and the team are lovely – I’m now halfway through probation and it has gone by so quickly I can barely even remember my first few weeks.
- mine and MR OneBigStressball’s home was burgled, and all of our electronics were taken – but I will write a separate post about that because even writing a summary of it is quite upsetting at the moment.
- the UK is no longer part of the EU, and we will soon have ugly blue passports rather than the current burgundy ones that have been around for longer than I’ve been alive. With my dual nationality, I have a Hong Kong passport, which is also blue…. I wonder how many times I’ll end up getting the two mixed up? Hopefully not many, though the amount of mishaps I manage to get myself into while just trying to go on a relaxing holiday seems to suggest otherwise.
- Coronavirus became a thing, and everyone seems terrified. My own mother bought all of the stock Boots the Chemist had of their Carex hand sanitizer gel as soon as she heard there was a single confirmed case of the virus in Scotland, and now she’s trying to stop me from going on a two day trip to Luxembourg I have planned for the end of the month.
IT is true that there is massive debate going on about how serious this virus is. There are people in my mum’s camp, who quite clearly think they are going to catch the virus and die immediately (she self quarantined when she got back from a trip to Hong Kong a month ago, before self quarantine was even really mentioned to be a thing), and then there are people in Mr OneBigStressball’s camp, who, though taking it seriously as a virus that does kill and has made many thousands of people ill this year, aren’t letting it stop them from living their lives like normal people.
I could go on and on about how I think a lot of the news coverage on the virus is pure scare-mongering, and how making the country grind to a halt seems an unnecessary and frankly, rather extreme measure, but what I want to talk about is the problem that ‘Corona-gate’ has brought about.
The pure, blatant racism that is now not only escalating, but is being videoed and shared on the internet as casually as though it were another cute cat video.
With the rise of the virus came the finger pointing, and, as the virus is most likely to have originated from China, people have now taken it upon themselves to blame the entire nation, as well as people from China who now live in other countries of the world, for the virus spreading. Because that’s how it works. You seemingly friendly Chinese neighbour in Glasgow or New York or London had a primary role in Coronavirus spreading and making its way around the world.
Throughout history diseases have originated and spread from countries all over the planet. Measles and smallpox originated in Europe and North Africa; the Spanish flu originated in France (according to my best researching efforts); and more recently, swine flu was recorded to have started spreading from the US.
Yes, a a large number of pandemics which have occurred have originated from the East, and yes, China has a questionable track record when it comes to being the origin of viruses. However it is crucial to look at the social and economic situations of the cities in and around the country. China is a massive country, neighboured by teeny tiny Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, not to mention various other metropolitan areas. What do these places have in common? Lack of space. People live in incredibly close proximity to one another, and it isn’t necessarily through choice. If there is no space to build houses for the ever-growing population, the personal space of each individual continues to shrink, and the less space one person has to themselves, the more chance there is for them to catch and spread disease amongst each other. Add to this mix the ease of transport and travelling, and you get yourself a virus spreading like wildfire and suddenly, it seems, a collective hate of an entire population of people who a) didn’t ask to be in the position they’re in, and b) cannot be blamed as individuals for something like this happening.
However, instead of taking all this into account, and intent on using their spare time to seek out someone to place blame on, and, even if there was someone to blame, focusing instead on the helpless and weak.
About a fortnight ago a video emerged on the internet of an elderly Asian man being assaulted and robbed in the middle of a car park. Not only was he subjected to racial slurs being thrown at him, he was also chased after by a man who was wielding a stick-like object, hit across the head, and filmed up close while he cried at the fact that the recyclables he collected to make an honest living had been taken from him. To make matters worse, not only were people around filming the attack – not only one person either, the video footage shows other people just standing by, filming the incident on their phones – two security guards working at the car park actually told the gentleman to leave the car park, as if the whole thing was his fault.
This morning I read another article about an Asian man being asked to move as he was standing ‘too close’ to a man, then, when he refused, he was sprayed with Febreze, whilst being yelled at. During the incident, the perpetrator shouted that spraying people with Febreze was the only way to ‘cure Coronavirus.’ This happened in New York… and at the time of the incident, out the 22 people who were confirmed to have had coronavirus in the US, a total of 0 were Asian.
I guess what is frustrating to me is the fact that I feel people resort to hate and anger way too easily. In times of stress and fear, we should be uniting, helping each other, not hating and tearing each other down. No good comes from racism, no matter who it is directed at. How is it through hundreds and hundreds of years of racist tension we still have not learned, as the human race, that it gets us absolutely nowhere? Individuals should not have to suffer from the preconceived hate that other people have developed against an entire people through ignorance and insensitivity.
Washing your hands thoroughly, stay away from massive crowds and coughing into your elbow or a closed over hand will help contain the spread of COVID-19, hate-bashing your Asian neighbours and spraying them Febreze will not.