Pongsona vs. Covid

Someone has rightly said that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. Difficult times create great men and great men create cheerful reigns. With COVID-19, I agree this is such a terrible era, but we should not forget the potential and bravery that has always led us to the safe corner. Unfortunately, technology has made us too sensitive that even a single breach in our comfort zone feels like a hurricane. This lockdown, social distancing, fallen economy, and depleting resources may sound quite horrible but is it for the first time that humans has been challenged? Surely, the reason behind this is new but haven’t we fought such circumstances before?

December 8, 2002, Typhoon Pongsona hit Guam, and overnight static electricity exploded the main gas tank supply. Cars and shipping containers flipped and scattered over, utility poles laid on the road, expensive hotels lost their windows everything was just ripped from its very base. We had no power, no water, and gas had to be rationed out on the island. Businesses couldn’t open due to the low supply of gas; they couldn’t get much to even use a generator. Some places lost their communication line. To find out what store had supplies for batteries, candles, or butane gas, we had to turn on the radio station for updates.

No power also meant, your meats and frozen goods need to be consumed within the week to prevent spoilage. What to do when there is no power? At that time, we had a corded phone, so it was quite difficult to multitask as you couldn’t move around the house if you wanted to chat with them at the same time. Listening to CD’s or radio stations, reading a book, writing poetry, playing with your siblings, or any non-technological activity was to help pass time in the day. You were lucky if you had a Gameboy and enough batteries to use. 

Typhoons have always hit the island of Guam hardback in the day, we got used to no power for 3 months. With tourism as our main economic source, we have fallen many times, not only were jobs lost in the past, but some lost their homes.

There was no rule or law to tell us to Stay at Home. We just stayed home. Now look around you, don’t you have better resources? You have a power supply, internet connection, online deliveries, chattering, still, you protest? The past years the main complaint everyone had was not having enough time for this and that for home projects, and now that you’re stuck at home, you are bored?

COVID-19 allows you to get news on your fingertips, have a cellphone/tablet, Wi-Fi, Youtube, NetFlix, Facebook, Instagram, chat messengers, enjoy Dalgona coffee, enjoy ordering take-out or food delivery. You have a chance to learn cooking at home any time of the day versus hoping you have a recipe book on hand. You have a chance to connect with multiple friends at the same time versus three-way phone calls.

See the bright side and buck up your energies. If you survived in worst situations before, this is nothing that you cannot win from.

Covid-19 versus Chronic Illness.

Life is very unpredictable. It smashes you right in the face when you are actually cheering out. Like a billiard’s ball, it blows you with a simple stroke strong enough to make you wriggle all the way. Not long ago, who on this earth had imagined that the whole world will be under locked down or quarantine rules? And now, all of sudden, you are facing it (if you’re following the rules).

COVID-19 has attacked you! You’re not infected, but we are now seeing the effects of how it has attacked. The daily life you used to have is not what you can do at the moment. You have to practice social distancing, you can’t go outside, can’t sit at your favorite restaurants, and no one can reverse this scenario for you. The majority has no jobs at all for 4 weeks, while others may have lost much of their profits. Not only you are cautious about your health, but with the current economic situation, your financial future is not going to be the same as well.

What do you do now? Either whine how the government should run things or find alternatives? You can’t grow from what broke you! You have to balance risks by keeping your mental infrastructures intact. No gym? Go running outdoors. No meetings? Have a chatter on the internet. The point is, why beat yourself and others down when you can look at the positive aspect of things?

Guess what?
You’ve experienced a glimpse of what chronic illness individuals experience all the time. You have friends that live daily fighting or caring for someone with Autism, Cancer, Lupus, Endometriosis and other health issues that have prepared them for COVID-19. Ask them how it feels to not be able to work, be financially burdened when their illnesses are on the rise, balancing their energy if they can go out or not, deal with social sacrifices, find alternatives and balance their lives due to risks their body may fall into. And yet their face is smiling! They do not cry of panic for they know it won’t cure them. They do not complain of demise for they believe, rather in retaliating against it. Most of our leaders today fight a battle no one talks about. So, the next time you protest about your circumstances, think about them once. If they can do it, you have even more chances. If they can survive their chronic illnesses, then you can also make it against COVID-19!

Written by: Catherine Manlapaz #covid19thoughts