Wuhan Diary #41 The 45th Day of the Wuhan City Closure — March 7, 2020

March 7, 2020 The 45th Day of the Wuhan City Closure

Today is the first day that I have participated in the community group vegetable purchase. This wasn’t the group food purchase from the supermarket organized by officials but done instead by placing an order through a WeChat Mini Program open source app. This enables people from the same community to place an order together. Each package you order weighs five or six pounds so it can be a bit too much for a small family but unlike the supermarkets, you are not getting unsaleable goods, there is no minimum purchase, they can still deliver to the entrance of the community and the prices are a bit lower than the supermarket. So it is the best choice for me.

Once I get a notice from the group, I can go downstairs to pick it up. I wait for a while at home and don’t leave until I expect that I will be the last one. Mother gets angry that I go so late, thinking that the others will have gotten the good stuff and I will only get left-overs. I think in these times it is better not to fight in a scrum. Getting infected for the sake of a few vegetables doesn’t make any sense. When I get to the food pick-up point, I find that I am indeed last, that the vegetables are all pre-packaged so there isn’t any pick-and-choose. I hadn’t expected that I would get a few extra garlic sprouts for being the last one – the delivery guy just gave them to me. Life is like that, always full of the unexpected. I didn’t care about losing out some but ended up being pleasantly surprised to get a bit extra.

The potatoes I bought last week have already germinated. It can’t be helped. We get plenty of vegetables through our group purchases but if we don’t consume them in a short time the easily go bad. That is hard to avoid. Fortunately with potatoes if you cut off the part that is germinating, you can still eat it. I heard earlier that some of the bean products from group purchases were going bad and that sometimes the pork stank.

Recently many communities have been distributing “Caring Provisions”. Our

Image result for 爱心物资 蔬菜
240 tons of donated food supplies on their way from Sichuan Province to Wuhan.

community also gets them and once I got a notice about them in our community WeChat group. There was a violent scrum for the provisions at the distribution point; some people got hurt when they tripped and fell. After that I didn’t get anymore notices to pick up provisions. Our community network manager said that after that those provisions were being set aside for households in particularly difficult circumstances such as widows, widowers and elderly people living alone. Fine, if they are really doing things that way. The only question is that the varieties, quantities and distribution of these “Caring Provisions” is never published one might suspect that something funny is going on behind the scenes. During the state of emergency I don’t get too excited about that, but some people do, and in the end this will cause problems between the residents and the community administration. Once this epidemic is finally over, our community will feel its repercussions for a long time to come.

The government recently released some meat stocks at a very low price although quantities were limited. Our community issued a notice and mother had me buy some. I have doubts however about the quality of the meat from the government stockpile. In the past some so-called “vampire meat”– years old frozen meat of uncertain quality — got on the market from government stocks. Although now we are in a sudden epidemic outbreak, I still have a hard time believing that the meat is of good quality.

One of my classmates stayed in Beijing to work after graduation. This year she didn’t manage to get back to Wuhan before the epidemic broke out. Her parents in Wuhan became infected with the new coronavirus. Just at the time when hospital beds were in short supply, she asked for help on our classmates’ WeChat group, hoping that someone could arrange for her parents to be hospitalized. Fortunately that auntie and uncle persisted in trying to find a hospital. Yesterday evening I heard that they were both cure although auntie is still in the hospital and uncle is in isolation in a quarantine facility.

Many times after graduation I regretted my choice and really felt that I should have left Wuhan. For grown children to be living with their parents really is a disaster! I always do worry though, since I am an only child and my parents are getting older, particularly public homes for the aged are of very uncertain quality, can I really abandon all responsibility for them?

After the sudden outbreak of this epidemic, I more than once rejoiced that I am at home together with them. I made sure that the wear their face masks properly and that they don’t go outside. I take care of buy food by express delivery. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be in my classmates’ position. I don’t know what I would do. It would have driven me absolutely crazy.

What can we do? If they make us live in an abnormal society, we’ll just have to get on by living abnormally.

Yesterday evening, the new Wuhan City Communist Party Committee Secretary Wang Zhonglin called a video conference of the Wuhan Municipal New Coronavirus Epidemic Prevention and Control Headquarters. At the conference, he stated “We shall carry out gratitude education amongst the broad masses of the entire city so that people will be grateful to the Communist Party General Secretary [Xi Jinping], grateful to the Communist Party, obey the Communist Party, follow the Communist Party, and so become a source of powerful positive energy. ”

I think that must be a consequence of the incident at the Gongguan Community in the

the Kaiyuan neighborhood of the Qingshan District. Those voices that yelled out “Its all fake!” embarrassed the leadership so they need to reprimand us. That is absurd! It is just so absurd that I can’t keep myself from laughing. Grateful? Grateful for Li Wenliang or for Wang Guangfa? Grateful to the medical workers who came to Wuhan from the outside or grateful to the Wuhan Red Cross Society? Grateful to the volunteers or grateful to the Health Commission? Grateful to the Communist Party General Secretary? Grateful to the government and to the State for the false reports and dereliction of duty that led to the loss of thousands of lives and shattered innumerable families?

According to official figures, the death count in Wuhan as of yesterday was 2349. I don’t

Circulating online
in China of a blindfolded
man on log surrounded by
sharks. Banner flying above
the log reads “Gratitude”

believe that number. We may never know. There are still many thousands of seriously ill people in the hospitals. There are innumerable dead, just innumerable bones that have not yet cooled down, innumerable ashes that have not yet been interred, innumerable people who never got a chance to say goodbye.

Not only that, we are today still confined to our homes, the schools are still closed, and factories and businesses have not yet gone back to work. There are still many thousands of people at the fangcang temporary shelter hospitals and at quarantine centers who cannot yet return home. The delivery of supplies hasn’t yet returned to normal. Just a few days ago there were still people jumping off buildings to their deaths. … And now they want us to be grateful?

Yes, we Wuhan people certainly are grateful. We are grateful for the kindness and assistance that has come in from around the world. We are grateful for the sacrifices of medical workers. We are grateful for the selfless contributions of volunteers. We are grateful for the countless numbers of ordinary people who have kept on working through it all. Wuhan people are not ingrates. We remember those who have helped us.

However, we have suffered so much sorrow, pain and fear. Who will take responsibility for that? Who is responsible for the false reporting? Who is responsible for the malpractice of the Red Cross Society? Who is responsible for stuffing their own pockets with profits from selling relief supplies? Who is responsible for all those people holding do-nothing jobs in government departments? The normal life of the city has already been halted for 45 days. Who is responsible for that?

And as for “strengthening gratitude education”, wouldn’t it be far better to have an education that develops a sense of honor?

Chinese text:

3月7日 武汉封城第45天

今天第一次参加了社区的蔬菜团购,不是官方对口超市的套餐团购,而是通过微信小程序下单,同一小区的可以集中配送,虽然每种商品都有4斤到5斤,量有些大,如果家里人口不多会有些负担,但是不像超市的套餐有搭售商品,也没有最低消费限额,还能送到小区门口,价格比超市还要略便宜一些,算是现在最好的选择了。
群里通知可以下楼拿菜后,我在家里又等了等,估计自己是最后一个才出门,妈妈埋怨我这么晚去,好的都被别人挑走了,只能拿别人捡剩下的,我倒觉得这时候不要扎堆比较好,为了几颗菜感染了才是不划算。到了领菜地点发现自己果然是最后一个,菜品都是提前称重打包的,不存在挑拣,尤其没想到的是最后多了一份蒜苗,送货人索性就送给了我。人生总是这样,充满了意外,很多事强求不来,对于得失随意些,也许反倒能收获些琐碎的小惊喜。
上周买的土豆,剩下的几个都发芽了,没办法,现在团购的蔬菜分量都很足,短时间吃不完就容易变质,难免会发生这样的情况。好在土豆把发芽部位切掉还能吃,之前还听说过团购的豆制品变质、猪肉发臭的情况呢。
最近很多社区分发了“爱心物资”,我们社区也有,在群里通知过一次,结果领取点被人哄抢,听说还有人摔跤受了伤,此后就再没通知领取了。网格员说后期的物资会分发给低保困难家庭、孤寡老人和独居老人,如果真能按照这个标准倒也不错。只是“爱心物资”的品种、数量、分发情况都不曾公示,难免会有人为操作的可能或瓜田李下的嫌疑。特殊时期我不太计较这些,但是想必总会有计较的人,最后还是会落脚到居民跟社区之间的矛盾上。疫情就算结束,这些“后遗症”也会持续很久吧。
政府最近投放了库存肉类,价格确实非常便宜,不过数量有限,我们社区也发了通知,妈妈让我买一些回来。不过对于库存冻肉的品质我有些怀疑,以前曾发生过政府储备的“僵尸肉”流入市场的事情,何况现在这种突发疫情,真的很难相信品质。

我的一位同学毕业后留在北京工作,今年过年没来得及回来疫情就爆发了,在武汉的父母感染了新冠肺炎,当时正是病床紧缺的时候,她还曾在我们同学群里求助,希望能找人帮忙安排父母入院。好在叔叔阿姨坚持到了住院,昨晚听说二老已近痊愈,阿姨还在医院,叔叔在隔离点隔离。
毕业以后我曾无数次后悔,觉得真应该离开武汉,成年子女跟父母住在一起简直是个灾难。却又总是担心,自己是独生子女,在父母日渐老去、公共养老保障极不健全的情况下,我真的能坦然的撒手不管吗?
这次突发疫情后,我不止一次庆幸,庆幸我在家、在他们身边,有我盯着他们戴口罩、盯着他们不出门、有我采购物资拿快递,我不敢想象如果换作是我处在同学的境地,我该怎么办,大概会抓狂得疯掉。
怎么办呢,谁让我们生活在一个不正常的社会,只好不正常地生活了。

昨晚,新任的武汉市委书记王忠林主持召开了武汉市新冠肺炎疫情防控指挥部视频调度会,会上他提出“要在全市广大市民中深入开展感恩教育,感恩总书记、感恩共产党,听党话、跟党走,形成强大正能量”。
想必这就是青山开元公馆小区事件的后续吧,那几声“假的”让领导们难堪了,所以来训诫我们。这真是太荒谬了,荒谬到了极点以至于我忍不住笑出来。感恩?感恩李文亮还是感恩王广发?感恩来援助的外地医护还是感恩武汉红十字会?感恩志愿者还是感恩卫建委?感恩总书记?感恩共产党?感恩这个因为瞒报、渎职害死了几千条人命、无数家破人亡的政府和国家?
官方通报的武汉死亡人数到昨天是2349,我不知道真实数字是多少,我可能永远都不会知道。医院里还有成千上万的重症患者,无数生命、无数未寒的尸骨、无数未入土的骨灰、无数没来得及的道别……不仅如此,我们到今天还困在家里、学校没有开学、工厂企业没有复工、方舱医院和隔离点还有上万人没能回家、物资到现在还没有正常供应,就在前几天还有人跳楼自杀……现在要我们感恩?
对,我们武汉人的确应该感恩,感恩全世界的善意和帮助、感恩医护人员的牺牲、感恩志愿者的无私奉献、感恩无数平凡岗位上的平凡人……武汉人不是白眼狼,所有的帮助我们都记住了。
但是,我们承受了这么多的悲伤、痛苦和恐惧,这个责任,谁来承担?疫情瞒报的责任在谁?红十字会的渎职责任在谁?救灾物资中饱私囊责任在谁?政府部门尸位素餐责任在谁?整个城市的正常生活已经暂停了45天,这个责任在谁?与其对我们加强感恩教育,不如你们自己加强廉耻教育。

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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