Wuhan Diary #31: The 35th Day of the Wuhan City Closure — February 26, 2020

February 26th the 35th Day of the Wuhan City Closure

When I first started writing this diary, I never thought I would still be writing it after 35 days. I thought at first that the city closure was just an “emergency measure” that would be lifted in a week or in a half-month at most.

That first half-month and then a second half-month have passed. Now we are in the third day of the third half-month. Now every day I feel the tension and wonder when that tension will break.

I often wonder what impact this epidemic and the city closure will have on my life? Some are obvious, and others may not appear for a long time to come.

A friend living by the bank of the Yangtze River sent me a night-time scene of the

September 2019 Lighting display, Yangtze river, Wuhan, China via YouTube

Yangtze River last night. After the city closed, neon lights along a large segment of the the river were turned off. Both sides of the Yangtze have been dark for nearly a month.

Light shows along the Yangtze River have become a popular Wuhan attraction these past two years. At the Lunar New Year both river banks are jam-packed with big crowds of people. I have never been interested in going and so have never seen it. Unexpectedly though, the moment I saw from that photo that the Yangtze River was now lit up, I felt strangely moved.

The city is slowly recovering its vitality.

I saw a data set on WeChat worth recording there. Using the Baidu Index, and by restricting the search to Wuhan, one can find the popularity of keywords used in Internet searches made by people here.

Data on how these search term frequencies have departed from average is shown below:

  • Bread: search peak up 260% above normal.
  • Mustard: search peak 343% higher.
  • Steamed roll (mantou): search peak 376% higher.
  • Grocery shopping: search peak up 382%.
  • Chest tightness: search peak 491% above average
  • Fever: search peak increased 422% from average.
  • Pneumonia symptoms search peak up 1093%.
  • Fear: search peak up 183% from average.
  • Funeral home: search peak up 212%.

Baidu Index

These search terms describe the lives Wuhan people have been living for over a month.

In videos I saw on the Internet, many people from outside Wuhan now stranded here by the city closure cannot afford to pay for their accommodations and become homeless. I thought of the girl in the Phoenix TV episode “Humans of Wuhan“. She said she only had enough money for a week or two. Somehow I know that she is doing alright.

A friend from outside Wuhan told me a story recently. He used to run a bed and breakfast place in Wuhan. He shut the business down last year and it was empty. After the city closed, he sent a message on WeChat saying that he was willing to provide bed and breakfast accommodations to people from outside Wuhan free of charge. He never could have imagined that just two days after he sent that message that a complaint was filed against his bread and breakfast for supposed violation of fire safety regulations. The matter is all finished and done with. As he told me that story he made fun of himself. I understood it differently though, as a kind of parable of how we live our lives in this modern era.

I saw in the news that in Weihai, Shandong, Province, beginning February 25th, everyone arriving in Weihai from Japan and South Korea will have to go into fourteen days of quarantine at a hotel free of charge. By contrast, the Wuhan city government, also yesterday, announced a way for outsiders stranded in Wuhan to seek help. The announcement included a help phone number to contact in each district of the city. Other than listing the phone number, the announcement didn’t mention any measures for helping stranded outsiders.

No matter whether someone is an outsider stranded in Wuhan or locals like us who have been banished to our homes, are all paying the price for the government’s hiding the facts and negligence at the beginning of the epidemic. A responsible and humane government has an obligation to protect the lives of all these people. I can’t imagine what they have lived through this past 34 days while the government has been so derelict in its responsibilities. I am very disappointed in it.

I bought cucumbers and potatoes yesterday. I paid 20 RMB for 3 cucumbers and 18 RMB for 5 small potatoes. I examined the bill carefully as I listened to the news from the Chinese Central Television. “China’s epidemic-fighting measures will go down in history as a model of how humanity fights epidemics”. “A model?!”, I cried. I felt personally offended.

Tens of thousands of seriously ill people still lie in their hospital beds. We survivors still need to bear up under a high cost of living but they have already started to hop past the grave mounds to resume their riotous lifestyle. I think that they should wait until the epidemic is over before joyously celebrating a great victory. I never could have imagined that now they just can’t wait to proclaim that everyone should “be happy and cultivate your own garden.”

Could that CCTV anchor, while reading that broadcast script, have given any thought at all to how we in Wuhan, human beings after all, feel?

I thought of the line from the Pu Shu (朴樹)’s song “The Birch Forest”:

Who could say that there can be love and life without tombstones?

Pu Shu’s “The Birch Forest” on YouTube

Chinese text:

2月26日  武汉封城第35天

刚开始写日记的时候绝对没有想到会写到35天,原本以为封城只是一个“应急反应”,一周,最多半个月就能解除,没想到转眼就35天了。

过完一个14天,又过完一个14天,现在已经在第三个14天里了,每天都紧绷着神经,不知道什么时候这根神经就会断掉。

我常常想,这场疫情、这段封城的生活,给我的人生会带来什么影响呢?有些影响是显而易见的,也有很多可能要等到很久以后才会知道了。

住在长江边的朋友发给我一张照片,是昨晚长江的夜景。封城之后江边大面积的霓虹灯光都关掉了,长江两岸黑了近一个月,前几天晚上江边灯光又重亮了。

长江上的灯光秀这两年已然成为武汉的热门景点,逢年过节两岸会挤得水泄不通,可是我没有兴趣,一次都没有去看过。没想到的是,看到长江亮起来的照片的那一刻,我竟然莫名有些感动。

这个城市的生命力正在慢慢复苏。

在微博上看到一组数据,值得记下来。用百度指数限定武汉地区的搜索关键词热度,部分数据变化如下:

面包:搜索峰值较平均值上涨260%

榨菜:搜索峰值较平均值上涨343%

馒头:搜索峰值较平均值上涨376%

买菜:搜索峰值较平均值上涨382%

胸闷:搜索峰值较平均值上涨491%

发烧:搜索峰值较平均值上涨422%

肺炎症状:搜索峰值较平均值上涨1093%

恐惧:搜索峰值较平均值上涨183%

殡仪馆:搜索峰值较平均值上涨212%

这些,就是我们武汉人这一个多月来生活的缩影。

在网上看到的视频里,很多因为封城滞留在武汉的外来者们因为支付不了住宿费用而沦为流浪者,又想起《冷暖人生人在武汉》那期节目里的女孩,当时她说只够在武汉一两个星期生活的费用,好想知道现在的她还好吗。

我的一位外地朋友最近给我讲了一个故事。他在武汉有一所民宿住宅,年前刚好停业没有住人,封城后他在微博上发出消息,愿意把民宿无偿提供给滞留在武汉的外地人,没曾想消息发出没两天他的民宿被人以违反消防安全的名义举报了。事情已经过去了,他给我讲这个故事的时候全是自嘲的语气,我却仿佛在听一则现代寓言故事。

新闻里山东威海从2月25日起对从日本、韩国来威海的入境人员全部统一接到宾馆免费集中居住,隔离14天。与之相对,武汉政府也是在昨天发布了在汉滞留人员遇生活困难的求助办法,公布了每个区的对接电话,虽然公布了电话,但是没有公布具体的救助措施。不论是滞留在武汉的外地人,还是我们这样禁足在家的本地人,其实我们都是在替疫情之初政府的瞒报、放任在买单。一个负责任、有人情味的政府,有义务保障他们的生活。不敢想象,在政府缺席的这34天里,他们都在经历着怎样的生活,真是心酸极了。

我昨天买到了黄瓜和土豆,3根黄瓜20元,5个小土豆18元,我看着账单,听着中央台的新闻里说“中国抗击疫情的措施会写入历史,作为人类抗击疫情的典范”,听着听着我就哭出来,太委屈了。现在还有上万重症在病房里,我们这些幸存者还在承担着高昂的生活成本,他们俨然已经开始坟头蹦迪了,我以为至少要等到疫情结束后才会欢呼伟大胜利,没想到现在就要急不可耐的宣扬“幸而种花”。主播在念这篇稿子的时候,有一分一毫在意我们武汉人作为“人”的感情吗?

想起了朴树《白桦林》的歌词:

谁来证明那些没有墓碑的爱情和生命

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.
This entry was posted in Health 健康, Media 媒体, Politics 政治 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.