Quiet is scary

Quiet day on the news front! No news is good news 😀 , says the positive side of me. The negative side wonders what is going on – are they working on some kind of major cover-up. Or maybe the sombre news already broke early morning, when the fatalities overtook SARS. Albeit this new one supposedly being less lethal. Shrugs, it is really strange that no numbers appear at all today, the last tally was yesterday …..

The scarier part is that … tomorrow … (the rest of) China officially starts work again. If anyone of you have lived or worked in any Chinese cities, you would know why the dread and the fear.

* * *

As for happier things …

The doubleOs are back home from Japan, and they are doubleAs now. Oliver and Oscar are all rosy like little and big Apples from their wintery trip. Sis remarked at how quiet our roads have become. I remarked at how quiet her workplace is going to be when she’s back tomorrow. 😮 I have to transit at her workplace every week, and for me, the quietness is a relief.

So we were on the topic of Chinese-ness again, which is funny, cos it always differs depending on who and when. I remember when I travelled with Dad across western China, when we chatted with Hongkongers and Taiwanese, it was always with a certain amount of camaraderie, guess with respect to all of us being “outsider Chinese” yet not exactly “overseas Chinese”. There is alot of racism / racial issues involved here, so I won’t go too much into it until I am more ready to take this on. Sis was telling me how this time when they were in Japan, there is still that distinguishing “which Chinese” instinct, but with a twist. Everyone’s just examining each other as to where each is from, but that gaze … hahaha. the way she described That Gaze. If I were in her shoes, I will probably end up writing a paper on Orientalism and Occidentalism from an internal viewpoint or something. So, well, if you have not guessed it, everyone’s just judging everyone on which type of Chinese each is – mainland or territories or overseas etc, and probably mentally calculating a safety radius. Haha!

We can normally tell, because the accents are starkly different. Singaporean’s Mandarin is rather crap and not many can converse in full, complete Mandarin sentences. Taiwanese Mandarin are alot more refined, while Hongkongers have a distinct Cantonese accent. Hongkongers sound alot like the Chinese in Canton region (e.g. Shenzhen, Guangzhou, etc), so this is where we still get mistaken and rely more on behaviour and mannerism than just accents. Although, the HKers probably inject many English terms into their conversations too. It is very interesting.

Even in Singapore, we have quite many dialects that the older generation are still conversing in. My dad speaks in Hokkien, while my mom speaks in Teochew. As for my siblings, we can understand both interchangeably, but if we try to speak in those languages, it just ends up a mishmash of sentences because we cannot tell which term is which dialect (I can only tell from whether it came from Mom or Dad).

Anyway, whatever our language, whatever our culture. Lives are lives and our innate humanity is larger than our prejudices. If we aren’t so, we can strive to be so. I am reading about so many prejudices on social media, that I am starting to watch my very own thoughts, my words, and my actions. Maybe in difficult times, it is every man for himself. But I really don’t think we in this country are in those difficult times as yet, so I aim to have a bigger heart and … prioritise compassion and empathy over all the other complaints I have about bad social behaviour elsewhere. Reminder to myself: 能施是福 – being able to give is a blessing.

Oooh, I found a series of clips which has the government message about protecting ourselves from the virus. Comes in the few different dialects I mentioned above! ❤


12 Comments Add yours

  1. I am also going to have to write about this, Ping. Why is it that China is not being flooded with offers of help? I am dismayed.
    Why is it that so few face masks are made outside of China?
    It has been reported that a Wuhan lab is applying for a patent on the use of an experimental drug developed in the US. Surely the Wuhan authorities are not seeking to profit from this disaster? See https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/02/china-coronavirus-outbreak-latest-updates-200204233943034.html
    There are a number of very unsettling issues that this crisis has revealed.
    Have you been thinking about these things too?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. leapingtoes says:

      China is getting quite some help (my country just sent them a plane load of test kits and PPEs and stuffs; and many other countries and private sectors too), but I guess at this scale of outbreak, not sure how much is sufficient .. and well, I guess many countries are worried .. and I also feel that every country should really protect their own people first. … :/
      Chinese is a very … hmm… … I don’t know how to phrase this without sounding politically incorrect. But the culture within is not something I would trust. If we be compassionate, we do not know if their own people indulge in their own profiteering.
      At a personal level, I will do my best not to get angry at certain deeds, while at the same time, I will not extend additional help… hard to explain / describe.
      So yes, I have been thinking about these too… fuming at first, but getting over it. And just praying for the best and that that this boils over soon before I start finding myself an evil person.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for the links, Ping. It is very complicated, isn’t it? I can quite understand your viewpoint. The profiteering works against containment of the virus and causes hostility. Despite this, I am grateful that your government has provided measured assistance.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. leapingtoes says:

        Yea, being able to give is really a blessing. We are very lucky to be a country advanced enough to produce our own test-kits so fast, and China really need these more than we do right now, so on that front, I am very grateful for and proud of that.


  2. It is all about safeguarding own interests first, I guess! There are so many conflicting reports that one does not know what/ whom to trust. One can only pray that it is contained soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. leapingtoes says:

      Yups, many conspiracy theories out there too. 😮

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The US has sent massive amounts of supplies, both government-sponsored and through corporate donations. The mainland Chinese government has simply been slow to acknowledge the help. [replace the (DOT)]:

    The US, Canada, Japan, and several EU countries have also offered help with medical teams, but China has expressly refused. Even Taiwan was rebuffed… though a single Taiwanese epidemiologist was finally allowed into the mainland, and there’s now some kind of negotiation to get an American team in. Epidemiologists (and mathematicians) know that how quickly it gets contained is contingent upon even very slight variations in the rate of transmission, which has been difficult to assess through China’s official channels. We’ll probably get better information from other sources as it spreads outside of China. But the fact that it apparently hasn’t simply exploded in places like Thailand, Vietnam or the Philippines (so far) is a good sign. It may simply be that the Chinese central government screwed up and responded too slowly.

    Listening to the clips (I don’t speak any Chinese), I can recognize the Cantonese sound in the first one. But that’s it. My husband speaks a little Cantonese, but says that it’s quite a bit more difficult than Mandarin. My only friend in the mainland is originally from Wuhan. She said that while working in Harbin, her boss told her it was better if she spoke English because her own dialect sounded too rough. Probably the Chinese equivalent of Japanese “Edokko”, which ironically sounds a lot like East Los Angeles “Street Chicano” which mixes California and Mexican accents and expressions. At any rate, I think it’s pretty cool how languages can take on a certain regional character. And I’ve mentioned to you before how impressed I was at watching a group of teenagers shuffling between languages on a train in Singapore.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. leapingtoes says:

      Yesss. I remember reading so much about the supplies from your govt and (especially) the corporate donations, yet still seeing the pleas for help… and wondering where the black hole is. Good point, maybe (hopefully) it is a matter of slow response.
      Even the WHO was like “hopefully” xx xx xx when asked who’s in the international team.
      The “hasn’t exploded” is an iffy sign – I am relieved with countries with sensible/plausible numbers that have stabilised, but I am really concerned about the (neighbouring) countries that show no numbers when all the other common sense points otherwise… … … and test kits don’t come cheap …
      One question! Why do people do the [DOT] thing? To prevent scam / spam or what? It looks like a good practice that I have no understanding about. :/
      I like observing languages in different cultures! Cantonese is supposedly alot more difficult because they have nine tones while Mandarin only has four.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think there’s just a certain degree of paranoia in authoritarian governments that makes them reluctant to appear as though something “incompetent” might have happened. Notice how quickly the calls for “free speech” were shut down after the blundering admission that Doctor Li Wenliang had died. (So much for this comment ever being seen in the Chinese mainland.) In the US, we’d just consider the incompetence “business as usual” while the population was decimated, and then fight over who was to blame until the next election.

        The (DOT) just prevents posting a live link. Sometimes they trigger comments going into SPAM folders. And some people just don’t like having them posted in their comments. Just a habit on my part.

        My husband mentioned the “nine tones”, but also said that there’s a relative pitch as well as inflection. Maybe that’s the nine-tone thing, a pitch combined with an inflection? I’ll have to ask for a better explanation. He learned Mandarin when he was younger… actually kind of compelled to do so. But it’s ended up being useful in his work.

        Liked by 1 person

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