Our Experience in China over the COVID-19
Taryn Murugan and Karun Murugan
While there are many outside perceptions &differing reports daily, on many issues surrounding the COVID-19, I’m sharing our personal experiences.
My husband Karun & I are South Africans, who have been living in China for 5 years. We spent the last 3.5years in Xinyang, Henan Province. So, when we share our experiences, it’s in line with our personal interactions, discoveries and conclusions, as we undoubtedly consider China as our second home.
Unlike the generalisation by many of the Chinese, we have seen, heard & felt ONLY warmth, generosity & camaraderie by All of The People Of China. This has been even more strongly felt and displayed by ALL of the Chinese people, especially, during this very trying time in China with the battle of the COVID-19 coming to surface.
CHINESE NEW YEAR
We teach at Xinyang Normal University. Traditionally, the University Staff and students arrange very flamboyant gala events, recitals with song & dance, extravagant dinners with elaborate gifts. This year was no different!
The Department Heads, Deans, CCP Leaders, Assistants, and general staff of Xinyang Normal University pulled out all the stops. Students shared their holiday plans with so much enthusiasm. Some of them had not seen their families in 4 months or more, and this reunion was going to be absolutely spectacular. You could feel the thrill & excitement in their voices. After all, Chinese Spring Festival is a time of festivities, migration of individuals from all parts of China to their homes, meeting of families over extravagant meals, lots of laughter, giving & receiving of Red Packets (Cash in Envelopes) and dressing up in their finest.
This year, Chinese New Year fell on Saturday 25th January 2020. About a week earlier, the spread of Corona Virus was detected in Wuhan.
The outbreak became so rapid that Xinyang went into lockdown from 25th January 2020 - On that fateful day the entire Nation was deprived of a joyous New Year celebration. All modes of transportations were affected: flights cancelled, trains, buses, public & private taxis stopped their services. All businesses closed their doors, street vendors were nowhere in sight.
That day we went downtown, it was painful!
The streets were desolate, businesses were closed, shelves still fully stocked, loads of unsold Chinese New Year Decorations & the few people we can across were subdued and sombre, this broke our hearts! Xinyang was reduced to a ghost town. Very sad indeed and it remains like that. Understandably, these are all the necessary steps in containing the contamination.
Now, at the onset of the Outbreak in Wuhan, the overly concerned University Staff made several personal calls to check on all their teachers and our Individual wellbeing. Lots of precautionary measures were shared. We were immediately notified to:
Report on our movements
Advise them if we have any special needs
Wear Masks, SHOULD we step out the apartment (only by prior arrangements)
To maintain our safety, that travel plans be either Changed or Cancelled
Practice the necessary hygienic routines of not rubbing our eyes & washing our hands
Use the main entrance, where our temperatures are taken when we depart the University, &again upon re-entry.
Face Masks were hand delivered for use (Only required when outdoors)
While all of this maybe restrictive, personally we’re quite comfortable and respect that these are the necessary steps for our safety, in curtailing unnecessary infections.
Being homebound has given us the time to speak more often to the families back home. We correct the misconceptions and havoc that the foreign media has caused.
Our mums are 92 & 86 years old respectively, they worry about everything; now, more than anything else, as there are constant negative news in the headlines. We’ve asked that they, and hoards of our friends& family, to stop watching the News & not believe everything that the media presents.
We are comfortable, happy & safe and that’s all that matters! They seek comfort from hearing that in our voices & can see us on the many video calls that we share.
Daily, we receive updated reports via WeChat, tons of motivational videos, local & international developments, flight movements & the government sharing frequent new rules & regulations, all of this information has just kept us believing just how strong this Chinese Nation is.
The Chinese Dream – Step aside COVID-19
CHINA IS JUST GETTING STARTED!
1.2 hospitals being built in over 10 days
2.5G Robotsbeing used to supply medication to patients
3.Transportation of medical supplies using Robotic Vehicles
4.Online platform - Working from home or wherever people travelled during Spring Festival
5.Alibaba offering free communication tool to 10 million businesses, encouraging E-Commerce
6.A court trial taking place online via a group video call (Shandong Province)
7.Mask making business resuming production during the Spring Festival, when staff were supposed to be on leave
8.Simple & ordinary individuals handing over wards of cash, anonymously towards this cause
9.Tons of Food dropped off at the steps of the hospital
10.A coffee shop supplying hundreds of cups of coffee, daily, free of charge to the doctors and nurses
11.Robot detecting body temperature & whether a mask is being worn from 5 meters away (Guangzhou)
12.3D Printing of Masks
13.Meituan Home Deliveries – fewer cars on the roads
14.Chinese Dama(Dancing Ladies) who have been hospitalised,using dance to keep activeand lift the spirits high, amongst patients, doctors and nurses.
15.Foreigners – Some return to China during the Lockdown to Volunteer, while others make music videos, paint posters, keep online feeds updated & spread the Positivity
16.19 additional make shift hospitals are being erected
17.Convention Centres & Gyms are being converted to accommodate the infected
18.Cruise liners have offered for the use of their cabins free of charge, for overnight stay to the many doctors and nursing crew, who have volunteered their services
These are just some of the things that we recall; each aspect stirs up an excitement of witnessing The Power of The People to move mountains. Itsin action, here in China.
” WOW, That’s Exciting, never knew that was possible with innovative & interesting time ahead.”
World - Watch the Space!”
While all this may sound bleak, there’s just a constant positive reminder that even after the long Winter, the Sun WILL always shine Brightly.
Your warmth, strength& unity of the great Chinese Nation will definitely ride this storm, and we await your victorious return.
We Love China & Stand Strong with You All the Way.
外籍教师Taryn Murugan&Karun Murugan