Wuhan Diary #6: Tenth Day of the Wuhan City Closure — February 1, 2020

Graphic by 巴丢草 Badiucao

Tenth Day of the Wuhan City Closure – February 1, 2020

I been feelling very perturbed these last two days. I need to take some time to calm down so that I can continue writing this diary.

I rehearsed in my mind countless times what I would do if my parents or I became sick. After a lot of thinking, my conclusion is: I will do no better than those people in the videos circulating online.

I do not have any confidence in myself.

It seems I am waiting for a trial, wondering when the sword will fall on my head.

This morning, I got a call from my cousin (female) after waking up. My aunt received the confirmed diagnosis of coronavirus infection. It is not a suspected case or a highly-suspected case anymore. It is confirmed. No more room for luck. In addition, her son, my cousin (male), also has a fever and shows some symptoms.

My mom cried many times today. I cannot find any comforting words. I only have selfish thoughts that my mom is okay at least.

Since I brought up my aunt, another story came to my mind. During the first days of the Wuhan lockdown, my mom, my cousin (female) in Wuhan and I called my aunts and uncles repetitively to beg them to pay attention to this outbreak. We told them not to have a party and wear masks to go outside. But they did not take the situation seriously and thought the outbreak was far away from their life. They continued to play Mahjong and visit relatives and even had a huge party with all four generations of the family. Now that my aunt has been confirmed to be infected, the whole family started to panic, isolated from each other and sanitized our home. I do not know if there is still a chance for a rescue. We have elders over 90 years old and little kids under 10 years old in our family.

I am writing this down not to rant about the consequences of them not heeding to our advice. What I want to do it to reiterate that concealing the truth from the public from the beginning and the media’s narrative that the epidemic is “preventable and controllable” is responsible for all of this. Changing people’s habits is very difficult. This makes it especially important to inform them clearly about the dangers they face and to educate them in preventative measures.

But it is too late to say anything that can make a difference. I can only hope my aunt and the whole family can survive this difficult time.

My mom keeps doing household chores today, many of them unnecessary just now. moment. But she needs to keep herself busy to keep control of herself. So I didn’t interrupt her.

Have been continually following news about the Wuhan Red Cross. Surprised to find out that I couldn’t get worked up about the news.I can not tell if its because I have become numb to it. After all, this kind of corruption has been going on at the Wuhan Red Cross for years. Or maybe it is that I have just too much to worry about and I simply don’t have time to process it.

If I were to be asked about the reasons for the problems with the Wuhan Red Cross – whether it is they are intentionally stealing donations or just aren’t capable of efficiently allocation resources, I’d say it is the latter for the time being. What leads me to this is not any faith in the ethics or integrity of the Wuhan Red Cross, but just the fact that supplies are swarming from both China and abroad. Given their limited brain power, I’m afraid Wuhan Red Cross can’t even fish in these troubled waters. You heard me right – lining one’s pockets by fishing in troubled waters would require some minimal degree of competence.

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This doesn’t mean that there wouldn’t have been corruption. At the beginning of Wuhan Lockdown, I saw someone selling masks with Red Cross logos on Xianyu ( an online tplatform for buying and selling used items ). The seller’s certified address was in Wuhan too. It was ust then that the Wuhan Red Cross started receiving large quantities of donated supplies. Going through seller pages I found it very suspicious. Then they were capabable of selling donated masks to make money for themselves. That page was soon deleted of course.

I saw on the news today that many donated supplies are arriving the Xiehe Hospital directly, bypassing the Wuhan Red Cross. However, I think the most urgent problem is the rapid and efficient allocation of the supplies they have in stock to ease the the shortages in the hospitals. Many discussions online call for the most direct of solutions – May there rise (metaphorically speaking) a wise and responsible “Lord Bright-Sky”, who beheads all the courtiers before the battle. Being forced to wait for the arrival of a noble lord on the scene leave people hopeless. My last comment on this issue is a quote from Weibo — the censored Chinese censored version of Twitter — user Fangfang: “Hubei (Wuhan is Hubei’s capital) officials’ level may not necessarily be China’s worst. Moreover, the performance of the Wuhan Red Cross may be just about the average for a Wuhan government department.

On January 28th, I saw Ma Yiyan’s Weibo story about a single father from Hong’an, Hubei, who was forcibly isolated for suspected infection. His eldest son, who had cerebral palsy was left unattended at home. Ma Yiyan called for help. However, I heard last night that the child had died on the 29th. During the week when his father was forced to be quarantined, he had only eaten two meals. That hit me like a bucket of ice water being poured on my head. There is no essential difference between that child and I. While writing today’s diary, I saw a foreign actor I like posted on ins: Love For Wuhan, Love For Human. Suddenly I couldn’t help myself. Iwept. This world is so fucked up. How is it that we manage to find the strength to keep on living? We can only manage that because of those soft bonds of love that tie us together.

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Chinese text:

2月1日 武汉封城第10天

这两天心里特别乱,需要花时间让自己静下心来才能继续完成这个日记。

最近我在心里预演了无数遍,如果我发病或是爸爸妈妈出现症状,我应该怎么办……我想了很多很多,但最后的结论是,我没有办法比网上流传的那些视频中的人做得更好。

我没有这个信心。

现在仿佛就在等宣判,等着头上那柄剑什么时候掉下来。

早上起床接到堂姐的电话,姨妈确诊感染了,这次不是疑似,也不是高度疑似,而是确定了,再没有任何侥幸。而且她的儿子、我的堂哥,现在也在发烧,出现了症状。

妈妈今天哭了好几次,我找不到安慰的语言,只能很自私的想,还好妈妈没有事。

说起姨妈生病,这又有另外一个故事了。武汉封城那几日,我、妈妈、在武汉的堂姐,都反复给舅舅、姨妈们打电话,请求他们对疫情引起重视,不要聚会、出门一定要戴口罩。但是他们没有当作多严重的事情,都觉得疫情离他们很远,照旧打麻将、串门,还组了四世同堂的聚会。现在姨妈确诊,整个大家族都慌了,各自隔离、家里消毒……不知道还来不来得及,毕竟家里上有年近九十的长辈,下有垂髫小儿……

我记录这些,并不是想说他们不听劝告而导致这样的后果,我只是想再次证明,初期的瞒报以及媒体宣传的“可防可控”应该对这一切负责。普通老百姓的生活惯性和意识是如此难以改变,才更应该提前告知危害性和预防措施。

可是现在说什么都迟了,只能希望姨妈和家人都能平安熬过这个阶段。

妈妈今天一直在做家务,打扫、整理……很多并不是现在一定要做的事情,但妈妈说需要找一些事情做才能阻止自己胡思乱想,所以我没有劝阻她。

一直在关注武汉红十字会的消息,但是我的内心竟然毫无波澜,不知道是出于对这种毫无新意的腐败、渎职的麻木,还是因为眼前已经有很多需要操心烦恼的事情而无暇顾及其他。

如果问我,造成现在的局面,究竟是红会有心藏私,还是无能调配,我个人倾向于,至少在现阶段应该是后者。做出这样的判断并非是信任红十字会的道德和操守,而是因为现阶段国内外援助物资蜂拥而至,以红十字会的能力,恐怕还没有浑水摸鱼的本事。

是的,浑水摸鱼、中饱私囊本身也是一种“本事”。

但并不是代表一定不会。封城之初就有人在闲鱼(线上二手交易平台)售卖有红十字会标识的口罩,而卖家的认证地就是武汉。那是红十字会大量收到捐赠物资前夕,我看过这个卖家的页面,确实非常可疑,而且在那个时间段是有能力将红十字会库存口罩进行变卖、中饱私囊的。当然,这个售卖页面很快就删除了。

今天已经看到有很多捐赠物资绕过了红十字会直接给到协和医院了,我认为现在最需要考虑的问题是:红十字会临时仓库里积压的大量物资如何能快速有效的分发到位,以缓解各个医院物资的紧张。

看到很多议论认为现在最直接的解决方法是出现一位英明神武的青天大老爷,斩佞臣于阵前。

不得不说,将太平安宁的希望寄托于明主降临,这本身就够让人绝望的。

最后多记一笔,我认为正如前几日分享的方方的微博所言,湖北的官员水平不一定是全国垫底,我想,武汉红十字会的业务能力,也只是武汉政府部门的平均水平而已。

28日看到马泮艳的微博,一个湖北红安的单亲爸爸疑似感染被强制隔离,患有脑瘫的长子一个人在家没有人照料,当时马泮艳呼吁希望有人帮忙解决。

然而昨晚才知,这个孩子已经在29日去世了,他父亲被强制隔离的一周时间里,他只吃过两顿饭。

我犹如被兜头浇下一桶凉水——我与这个孩子,本质上没有任何区别。

在写今天的日记时,看到我很喜欢的一位外国演员发了一条ins:Love For Wuhan, Love For Human。

突然有些绷不住,哭了出来。

这个世界如此操蛋,为什么还能坚持生活下去呢?不过就是因为斯人斯情,那点柔软的羁绊。

About 高大伟 David Cowhig

After retirement translated,with wife Jessie, Liao Yiwu's 2019 "Bullets and Opium", and have been studying things 格物致知. Worked 25 years as a US State Department Foreign Service Officer including ten years at US Embassy Beijing and US Consulate General Chengdu and four years as a China Analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Before State I translated Japanese and Chinese scientific and technical books and articles into English freelance for six years. Before that I taught English at Tunghai University in Taiwan for three years. And before that I worked two summers on Norwegian farms, milking cows and feeding chickens.
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