Wuhan Diary #23: The 27th Day of the Wuhan City Closure — February 18, 2020

February 18 The 27th Day of the Wuhan City Closure

Today the weather is just great! A warm Spring breeze and brilliant sunshine. Just seeing this kind of sunlight fills me with visions of seas of flowers climbing mountainsides.

I don’t think I can stay inside.

I thought I’d be able to stay inside indefinitely. Here I have many amusements – books, Wi-Fi, and movies. I thought I’d be able to hold out until the End of the World. But I just can’t.

Yesterday evening I finally made the Hema Supermarket shipping quota for the day. I finished my order and paid in just five seconds. A new record for me. That made me really happy! I bought milk, bread, vegetables, and fish along with a few snack foods. Receiving the order will be difficult since a barrier seals off the entrance to our building. When the delivery person came in the afternoon, he had to help me by putting the packages to me one-by-one under the barrier. It’s tough being a delivery person these days. Every community does things differently. That causes all kinds of trouble.

When I got back home, I couldn’t wait to open the bread. For nearly a month I haven’t enjoyed the aroma of butter on toast. I didn’t dare eat it right away. I put it in the toaster, took it out when both sides of the bread had turned nicely brown. Then I put the toast in my mouth. How tasty it was! In the days to come it may well be a long time before I again dare to eat unnecessary processed foods.

I also did a very foolish thing. Ever since I have been stuck at home I haven’t been eating any junk foods. This time I seized the chance to buy a cola. So that my parents wouldn’t notice, on the way back home I tore off the outer packaging and put the cola in my coat pocket. After getting home, I figure out a way to get it into my room without my parents seeing me. But even the best laid plans fail. I had forgotten to take the receipt out of the bag! My mother saw it. Not only did she give me a talking-to that lasted a half hour, my cola was confiscated too. I felt very sad about that.

Lately the closure of our community has gotten much tighter. A few days ago I saw some old people walking around without face masks. Far fewer of them these past two days though.

It is very hard to talk sense into middle-aged and elderly people. Everyday on my WeChat group I see friends ridiculing their parents and grandparents. No matter who much they try to persuade, to intimidate or just beg them, they won’t pay any attention to what they are told. They insist on running around outside.

My friend who works in his community every day explodes with anger as he tries to persuade his grandfather and grandmother to get back inside “Every single day they want to go out shopping, and to look at many supermarkets in order to compare prices. Each time they buy only a small bag. When I tell them that they should stay home and not go out, they say that there is no food at home and they will starve to death”. Some people even into loud argument and lose their temper. Someone died of new coronavirus pneumonia in their community but that doesn’t scare the grandfathers and grandmother. There is just nothing that can be said.

To solve the problem of labor shortages in the communities, some institutions and schools who have party members not involved in online classes have arranged for personnel to be sent down to the communities. According to a friend who was sent to a community, they organize group purchases of vegetables in the community. A grandmother who bought carrots went to the community office to complain “This carrot is not fresh, it tastes bitter. The community is trying to poison me!”

I’m really pleased that my parents are solid citizens. They have obediently stayed at home for over twenty days. They don’t complain, they never go out, they just eat whatever I buy. I’ll take good care of them.

Our community has finally started to organize group purchases of food and vegetables online through our community WeChat group. We order directly from the nearby supermarket. Naturally the food we get can compare in freshness, tenderness and appearance with what we choose for ourselves at the supermarket but it does ensure that we are supplied with food.

There are eight types of group purchased meals: the legumes set meal, the fish set meal, the pork set meal, the beef set meal, the fruit set meal and the spicy set meal. The meals all come with rice and eggs so there is a good variety of choices. The vegetable set meal costs 100 RMB for 20 pounds. You can choose among eleven kinds of vegetable set meals including 7 – 8 different vegetables you get at random. I was very happy that tomatoes and potatoes, which I have had since the city closed, are included. The set meals are not cheap but not outrageously expensive. Satisfying housewives highly skilled in selecting good food is very difficult.

I don’t know much about vegetable prices so when buying vegetables I always check with mother before deciding what to buy. Now that we are in a state of emergency we can’t be too hesitant in making our purchases. I am a bit confused about the supply situation though. Everyday the news reports on how many areas are sending vegetables to Wuhan. This morning there was a report that Shouguang County in Shandong Province was sending 350 tons of assistance and another recent report that Fujian was sending 600 tons, Hunan 600 tons, Ningxia 550 tons, Jiangxi 300 tons and Sichuan 100 tons of vegetables and 5000 pounds of chicken. Even Liangshan Prefecture in Sichuan Province, an impoverished region, sent 139 tons of cabbage. The reports give no details at all about how this food is being distributed though. I can only appreciate that many areas are sending assistance.

Dr. Liu Zhiming photo va ladbible.com

I saw in the news that Liu Zhiming, director of the Wuchang Hospital in Wuhan has died of coronavirus pneumonia this morning in the line of duty.

I really hope that once the epidemic is over that Wuhan will erect a monument to those doctors and nurses and inscribe their names on it. This city should remember them.

One of my our neighbors, I don’t know which one, played a Jay Chou song on his

Taiwan singer Jay Chou on YouTube

speakers. It was popular over a decade ago when I was a student. It made me feel nostalgic and brought back memories of the old days. Perhaps because the song came to me through several walls the voice that reached me felt a bit sad. Anyways, I turned off the music I had been listening to. Somehow that melancholy sound reassured me like something coming from another dimension.

A singer I like very much released a new song yesterday evening. I was enthralled! I played that song over and over the entire evening. In this lively song had sunshine, had moonlight, had flowers, had beautiful songs and wonderful movies, and good friends too.

Thinking back to what I was like twenty-odd days ago, so very passive and wishing that I could die straightaway and solve all life’s problems, it felt so very much like a dream. Life is beautiful. This winter many have died. Now may those us who have survived really live.

Chinese text

2月18日  武汉封城第27天



















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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2 Responses to Wuhan Diary #23: The 27th Day of the Wuhan City Closure — February 18, 2020

  1. El Contusion says:

    Thank you for continuing to post these diaries!


  2. Pingback: Escaping the Lockdown: Misreporting China – Wake in Fright

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