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Four moments that made us cringe while in quarantine |


Four moments that made us cringe while in quarantine

EVERYTHING IS EMBARRASSING - Margarita Buenaventura - The Philippine Star
Four moments that made us cringe while in quarantine
In Academy Award-winning film Parasite, the rich Park family sees the torrential rains as a blessing, while their staff loses their home and possessions.

The world is scrambling to “flatten the curve” — that is, to address the growing number of COVID-19 cases by asking people to stay at home and practice social distancing. It certainly hasn’t been easy, but studies have shown that these two methods are effective means to curb the growth of the virus.

In the Philippines specifically, it’s been clear from our recent news cycle that staying at home simply is not an option for many. For those whose livelihoods are in danger because of this virus, they’d rather risk going out and actually catching it, than staying at home only for their families to starve. Knowing this seems to have brought out the best in people. Donation drives, awareness campaigns, and making our discontent known: it’s clear that these things work. But while we’re all stuck at home, with a lot of time in our hands, let’s recap all the moments (so far) that have, in fact, made us cringe while in quarantine. Moments that make you go ???, !!!, or just feel like you’re living in the first  five minutes of a dystopic film. May we learn from them, may we better ourselves from them, and may we never do them again.

The “need” to be productive

COVID-19 is unprecedented — in World War II, most of the world still went on in its own way. Schools are closed, and (some) employees continue to work from home. We’re told to keep staying productive. While there’s no arguing that this gives us a semblance of normalcy, it does show how much we value human labor, but not so much life itself. If the world were a better place, we’d be able to shut down and worry about what’s happening. We’re people, not machines.

Missing in action: testing kits

As if the class divide weren’t already wide enough, this pandemic has just revealed that celebrities and the rich still get to be first in line — as proven by news of the rich and famous getting tested for COVID-19. How’d they get tested if testing kits are so scarce, and they’re asymptomatic? Exposure is one of the criteria, but media personnel and healthcare workers report that they have not been tested for the virus. This brings up the question of how testing kits really are being administered. Is there a system in place, when so many others are desperate to know their own health status?

“This virus is a blessing” and “just obey!”

In Bong Joon Ho’s Oscar-winning film Parasite, the rich Park family saw the torrential rain as a blessing, while their household staff’s house got drowned in floodwater. The Filipinos are a resilient people, and that’s one of the things that make us so great. But when celebrities post on social media to reframe this virus as a “blessing,” then it just reeks of insensitivity to the struggle of so many others.

There are thousands, if not millions, of Filipinos living in Metro Manila/Luzon who don’t have the luxury of time to see this in a new light — they’re just trying to survive. There are even pseudo-celebrities/ influencers who claim that the frontliners — not just in the healthcare sector,

but those who need to work because they are employed in essential businesses — are just “motherf**kers” who want to disobey rules. Now is as good a time as any to start being sensitivy to what others are going through. Not everyone can afford to sit in an airconditioned room and watch the news on their flatscreen TV.

It’s mayor vs mayor

When President Duterte empowered local government units to enforce the law, it seems to have revealed who really are there to do good, and those who just love putting their faces on “Happy Fiesta!” tarpaulins. One mayor has earned the admiration of so many who have been tired of the usual inaction. As he’s defied the national government’s directive to ban all  public transport, he has insisted on keeping tricycles on the streets, to serve those who need to travel for medical reasons. Social media users have begun a meme posting photos their mayors on “Missing” posters, as if to underscore their absence during this pandemic. Other Metro Manila mayors have claimed this to be due to this young mayor’s social media savviness; they’re doing something too, they say, you just don’t see it on social media. Sure, guys. Sure.

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