CEBU

Malilong: Feeling deprived? Think of the frontliners

The Other Side

I HAVE been hearing complaints about how the City Government is handling the Covid-19 crisis. The curfew is unfair, the quarantine has deprived them of their right to make a living, social distancing is useless and impractical, the ECQ passes are not enough and the distribution of the relief goods has been politicized.

Some of the complaints, especially about the allocation of the ECQ passes and the distribution of the relief items are legitimate. People should, however, realize that what we are facing is something that we have not experienced and even if we had time to prepare (we did not), all these measures to contain the spread of the virus and to mitigate its effects on our lives would still be, as they are, a work in progress.

Besides, if you think you are being made to unreasonably suffer, think about our health workers manning the frontlines. What you’re going through is little compared to the risk they face and the price they may have to pay for serving us. How many of them have died from the infection? And how many of us have perished from hunger because we have not received our ration?

I do not think the government is out to starve anyone. Every deserving family will get their share. And by that, I do not mean the politically-deserving family because there is no such animal but the poor and marginalized one. The self-sufficient ones should not expect any help, that’s the least they can contribute to the effort to manage this crisis.

To the really needy, have a little more patience. To those who do not need help but simply feel entitled, stop bellyaching. And to those who claim that the implementation of the containment as well as the relief measures are being politicized, look at yourself in the mirror. There could be a dark shadow behind you.

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When I wrote this, I have already spent exactly two weeks doing nothing but read, watch TV, eat and sleep. I am not complaining. But for the fact that the currently most dreaded thought (do I have the...?) immediately comes to mind everytime I sneeze when I wake up early in the morning even if I have been sneezing every morning when I wake up during the last 40 years, life in mandated seclusion has not been that bad. Thank you, Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook has been a reliable companion in this period of uncertainty and isolation. When I say this, I speak not only of my own experience but of many others. My proof: during the last four weeks the invitations for Facebook friendships that I received had shot up as dramatically as the number of Covid-19 cases reported in the country. I told you, Facebook and the social media have become the refuge of the afraid and the bored.

I mean that neither as an endorsement of nor a testament to the social media’s trustworthiness as reporter of facts. Facebook is full of crap, if you will pardon the language. Many of the accounts belong to trolls and the ones owned by “real” persons do not use their real names. Even the pictures are fake. I have a rule of thumb in deciding which offers of friendship to accept: be wary of any invitation coming from an attractive-looking woman unless you know her personally. She could be a man.

I go to Facebook for socializing and entertainment. I love looking at the pictures of my friends, find out where they have been and what they have been doing or have happened to them lately. I enjoy reading their views and their jokes (sometimes there is actually no difference between them) and watching the videos that they post. I chat with them, “like” their posts and publish my own photos and opinions. I want them to know what I believe in, whether they agree with me or not, and what I have done and been doing.

I value my friends’ opinions even if they differ from mine and look forward to their version of the facts even if I know they’re wrong. I laugh when they re-post and share things that I know are crap and rarely will I tell them what they’ve done. That is Facebook. And that is what has kept us dependable company in the time of Covid.


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