Lara Knight – 1 May, 2020
The world stopped for the first time in history…. and we ran out of toilet paper. Our priorities may be odd but I’m always grateful to live in Australia. Our government tries to be fair and practical, we have good healthcare, clean water, plenty of food, and a vast, salty moat between us and new infections.
Lockdown in Fremantle has been super quiet but with river, bike tracks and beach all open, and school going back this term, it hasn’t been hard. We usually work from home so the inconveniences so far have been minor – home schooling, cancelled events, and worry about elderly family and all those who have lost jobs and income.
Below: Late starts; home yoga; new greens; kid-friendly office; and breaks on the water.
In contrast, my virtual assistant in the Philippines has enforced lockdown by a volatile government. From the ABC on April 2: “President Rodrigo Duterte has warned Philippine police and military to shoot dead anyone ‘who creates trouble’ during a month-long lockdown…” To date, more than 30,000 people have been arrested for breaching restrictions, and it looks like the health and social problems there have barely begun. Justine shares a little of the boredom and frustration below.
Justine Bea Bautista – 30 April, 2020
A lot of us are going through different emotional states right now due to COVID-19. Vivid dreams, lockdowns, schools closed, plans and trips cancelled. I’ve been reading articles, watching vlogs and chatting with friends to see how they are coping with this strange time. I found out that life is much slower now everybody is confined to their homes. Some are combating cabin fever, having an irregular bedtime schedule, and of course trying not to get on each other’s nerves with siblings. In the Philippines, we’re only allowed to have one quarantine pass each household to go outside and buy essential needs. This order continues until the lockdown is lifted.
I live with my dad and two brothers – my mother is usually away because she works as a private duty nurse and her patient needs her 24/7. Luckily, she came home today and had lunch with us for a short period of time. We haven’t all been together this close in a long while since my dad works abroad as a marine engineer, my older brother is a teacher, and my younger brother studies aeronautics in Manila. When the coronavirus started, we decided to come back here to Dasmariñas City, Cavite before the government implemented the enhanced community quarantine.
There’s only one thing that I know for sure, we’re all bored in quarantine. We’re starting new hobbies, working out, re-watching movies, reading books that we’d forgotten existed in our shelf, etc. I’m currently reading a crime novel Smaller and Smaller Circles by F.H Batacan that I got from a guy I used to date a year ago. I read myself to sleep.
I just started getting into cooking and discovering healthy food recipes. With a limited supply of goods due to COVID-19, we have minimal ingredients to experiment with. That’s why I’ve been learning creative ways to pull it off. Making my own version of Garlic Udon is one of my personal favourites. It only takes about 10 minutes to prepare it with simple and easy ingredients such as garlic, cabbage, udon noodles, oyster sauce or any mixed vegetables you like. Voila! You’ve got yourself a healthy meal.
Quarantine has also got me into fitness. I’ve been working out since the lockdown started thanks to my personal Youtube trainer Roberta’s Gym. I can now enjoy workouts without going to public gyms and making my introverted-self anxious. It is essential to keep your immune system healthy and strong especially in the middle of a pandemic. Doing basic workouts at home like this makes it possible for all of us.
Since the government extended the enhanced community quarantine until May 15, we’re not allowed to go outside unless there’s a valid reason to. Luckily, the guards let me use my father’s quarantine pass so I could buy vitamins and groceries. Puregold is a small supermarket near me which is usually filled with a lot of goods but this crisis makes it impossible for now. Some products are temporarily out and some consumers still have the audacity to panic buy. Whenever we do grocery shopping, it’s important to take extra precautions like practicing social distancing, wearing facemasks, washing hands thoroughly and often. I always make sure to clean and sanitize my goods because experts say that the virus can live on surfaces for days.
A lot has changed is an understatement right now. Outbreaks are really stressful and it can be hard to accept so abruptly. That’s why it’s important to come up with healthy coping mechanisms that keep us upbeat and positive. I remind myself that it’s okay not to be productive sometimes – we’re experiencing a crisis; this is not the right time to push ourselves too much. I’ve been doing so much self-reflecting lately and appreciating how fragile existence is as the days all blend. Accepting the important things that I have instead of what I don’t have. At the end of the day, I still consider myself quite privileged to be able to enjoy my job, and not have a hard time putting a roof over my head and food on the table.
The Philippines is observing stricter quarantine enforcement compared to other countries. This administration normalises the presence of state forces and started deploying more soldiers and police personnel. Instead of addressing this crisis as livelihood and healthcare issues, they chose to implement strict curfews and mass arrests. One thing I’m looking forward to after lockdown is joining millions of Filipinos who will flood the streets to oust Duterte.