Coronavirus Missives from the Philippines, USA, France, Lebanon and Germany
Linh Dinh • March 30, 2020
In Singapore, you can be jailed for half a year for failing to keep “social distance.” The same offense in New York will only get you fined for up to $500, although an 86-year-old woman has just been killed when she got too close to someone at a Brooklyn hospital. Out of masks, Tennessee doctors strap diapers on their faces.
On March 29th, 2020, 756 Italians died from the coronavirus, and that’s considered encouraging news, believe it or not, since 919 lost their lives on the 27th. Half of the world is in lockdown, and should this drag on, riots will certainly break out, since billions can’t just stay indoors as their food runs out, if it hasn’t already.
Here in Busan, people still mingle, talk and laugh, but schools remain closed, and the baseball season won’t start until April, if that. There are no more international flights from here. Two weeks ago, I could still fly to Saipan or Vladivostok, which is so close, but Russia has just sealed its borders, as has China.
There are ferries to Japan, so maybe that’s how I’ll get out, but why go anywhere? I’m just a subway ride away from God Pizza, Sincere Beer for You, Happiness in Pharmacy and a café that reminds me that “coffee brings to every person the feeling of luxury and nobility. It is the common man’s gold.” What more do I want?
At my guesthouse, I’ve met a Brazilian and a Pole who are also stuck, but contentedly so, for they think that it’s much saner and safer here than just about anywhere else. In the evening, some guests shoot pool in the basement, while others slurp cups of instant noodles. If they can afford a few wons, there are many cheap eats nearby, plus the slightly more expensive Samarkand, an excellent Uzbek restaurant.
Wanting to hear what it’s like elsewhere, I emailed some friends a few basic questions. How has this crisis changed your life, if at all? What is the situation like in your city and/or country? What are you most worried about regarding this crisis, the disease itself, its effect on the economy or your government’s handling of it? How long do you think this crisis will last? Will there be any permanent effects? What do you think your city and country will be like a year from now?
Below is the first batch of responses:
Graham Reinders, a 78-year-old Canadian, living in Dumaguete City, Philippines
I hate it when my wife is correct. Two weeks ago she went out and bought a year’s supply of rice and raided the Supermarket. Luckily we had enough toilet paper to start with, but I have a year’s supply of everything else. I gave her hell, saying two weeks max and it would all be over.
Over the last two weeks the powers-that-be have been telling many places to shut down or restrict services. The local Mall only has “essential” stores open. The Department Store only has the grocery division open. McDonald’s is closed. A lot of restaurants are closed.
Three days ago some of us hired a big van, packed a large picnic and were off to a Beach Resort which had assured us they would be open. Half-way there a check-point stopped us. Temperatures taken. Off we went again. Damn! the resort had just received orders they were to close. A most expensive return home.
Two days ago the Governor and a few mayors decided that only one permit per family would be issued, so only that person is allowed to leave the house. To me, that sounds like too much hard work so it will always be “coming.” My wife will go this afternoon to see if this is actually happening.
Our Post Office has been closed for two weeks. The Civil Servants never waste a good crisis. I am sure the teachers have their legs up, hoping the crisis will go on forever. My two darling little girls are a damn nuisance sitting at home with me all day. I am no “Home schooler.”
This is a relatively poor country and there are many many people who just try to earn enough to get through the day and feed their family. They will be seriously hurt, not many compensations in this system. I like this President but I think it is wrong to follow the American Model. The Dutch Model for me is the most intelligent. This present model will hurt the locals badly. I have no doubt that China will come in and make things whole again. We can no longer rely on the US.
I am very close to 80 years old so if this “Pandemic” is for real I am in front of the line to go and visit my ancestors. Try as I might I cannot take Covid19 seriously. If one took the Media Hype away, and did not have the Social Media waiting to pounce on any tardy action by the politicians, nobody would even know there was a crisis. Social Media has changed the world forever. Their power has been shown to control politics.
I was around in the 1940’s. Only in 1955 did Salk create the vaccine for Polio. Every year some people got paralyzed, some people died. That is what viruses do. Luckily, in our country we took personal responsibility and were not scape-goating everybody all the time.
I do not believe the parallels the Media is trying to draw with the 1918 H1N1 are valid. With H3N2+H1N1 in 2018, about a million Americans were hospitalized and about 80,000 died. The CDC said it raged above “regular epidemic” level for 16 -19 weeks. The H2N2 in 1957 killed around 120,000 Americans.
We took these in stride. I believe Covid19 without the hype is not worse than those. At worst add another percent or two for this year’s Covid19 and get on with life instead of destroying a whole way of life. The Dutch seem to understand this. This crisis will last as long as the Media can get headlines.
Capitalism is Human Nature, a mixture of greed and Self Interest. Many of the weaker links will be washed out. The strong and talented will soon build either a modified system or a new system. Within a year all the essential businesses will have patched the holes and then we just have to wait and see if the damage will cause a systemic change.
I think this “prevention Model” has tipped an unstable system into the unknown.
Rudy List, a 77-year-old retired math professor, living in Dexter, Michigan
I pretty much live alone, and have been doing so for several years, so apart from going out to buy groceries or going to the post office, the changes in the way I live are fairly minor.
All nearby places where people might ordinarily interact, restaurants and bars, for example, have been seriously restricted from following traditional operating procedures. Bars are closed. Entering restaurants is prohibited, but drive through (e.g. think McDonald’s) and carry out are allowed. In this context carry out means that one somehow attracts the attention of employees who will bring your order to the entrance. I would have no way of placing an order except in a drive through outfit, because I have no phone.
I haven’t encountered any traffic check points.
The disease itself does not appear to be a serious threat (See, for example, https://www.wodarg.com/ where we read “Die Zahl der Atemwegsinfektionen normalisiert sich jetzt – wie in den Vorjahren ohne Lockdown. Der Test Misst auch in Italien oder im Altenheim keine Todesursachen. Der Test zeigt lediglich, dass die Kranken Kontakt mit einer der vielen Varianten von SARS-Viren hatten.”).
Its overall impact, however, will be enormous and probably devastating to the economy and social system. More than likely this is another in a sequence of contrived events (9/11, Boston marathon, Sandy Hook…) all generated to increase global control through fear. Significant aspects of control include, for example:
Total digitization of currency (cashless economy)
Militarization of police
Restriction of travel
These are all currently underway or developing.
The crisis is meant to last forever, but without altering its effects (again, see https://www.wodarg.com/ ) its social impact will eventually subside. Fear, however, has been generated, so for a while mere reference to COVID-19, or whatever it’s currently called, will suffice.
I don’t think the US is going to recover from this very fast. The controllers (Zionist Occupied Government) have their claws well dug in. So I expect conditions in the US a year from now to be similar to the present, if not worse.
Further developments might well lead to outbreaks of more serious illness, including death; in order to deflect attention from the underlying agenda, from time to time it’s necessary to document claims with genuine results.
Steve Church, a 72-year-old retired English teacher, living in Paris
The lockdown has me crawling the walls. It’s made me irritable, lethargic. While we live in Paris, by this time of the year I’m usually at my wife’s place in Burgundy in a hamlet of about 50 people only an hour away by TGV. I say « usually » because last summer we sold the place and now our only escape valve is her mother’s summer place in the Lot, a six hour, relatively expensive Inter-Cities train ride down to Cahors, then a taxi to Catus. But her mother, who’s ninety-one and still lives independently and who needs, especially during these lock down days, my wife to visit two to three times a week for food, company, and constant explanations on how to use her computer, cell phone, and TV, is afraid it will be too cold down there, and refuses to budge. It’s really exasperating as there is a huge terrace, a garden across the street, and the place is centrally heated!
Paris is pretty much locked down, but for some of the more « disadvantaged » neighbourhoods which are more or less ignored by the cops. In order to go outside (for an hour) we have to print out the government permission slip (or hand write it), check one of the seven choices we have, note the time and date, our address, and sign it. I went out for groceries the other day and decided to walk over to the Louis Philippe bridge for a bit of sun. As I was sitting on a bench, some cops came by and asked to see my permission slip. They said they were fining me 135 euros for not walking. I said that I didn’t have them, and that my walk over was my exercise and I was just getting a bit of sun and was going to do the shopping on my way home. Long pause. He returned my permission slip and told me to do my shopping and get my sun from my window. Knowing that further discussion would be futile and maybe involve them taking me to jail, I wished them a good day, grabbed my shopping bag, and skedaddled, relieved but fuming nonetheless. It was kind of humiliating. And disgusting to be staring into the face of a police state. I’ve read comments here and there saying that France is ready to explode, but I’m not convinced. They’ve become too Americanised, too passive. I don’t know if the Gilets Jaunes movement has generated enough dissatisfaction in the general populace to constitute a kind of lightning rod for a country-wide insurrection, which is what we really need. I say « we » because I live here now, have my ten year residence card. But I’m an old guy now, approaching 73 with a couple of vertebrae pretty much destroyed due to a mysterious bacteriological infection a few years back, and have a difficult time even walking. On the other hand, there exists here and there a certain solidarity. Musicians of all kinds play music from their balconies or gardens, some restaurants are providing meals for health care workers. The idea of « local » in the food chain supply has become more prévalent. Whether stuff like this actually translates into real change is yet to be seen.
This « disease » is just the flu. Maybe more virulent, maybe more contagious, and affects mostly old folks with other health problems (see this) but given the mass disinformation put out by the government and their media lackies, most everyone has been terrorised into obedience, which is scary. Personally, I’m not too worried about getting sick. Or at least becoming sick enough to have to be hospitalised, even though I now have a seasonal minor cold. As in the States, big business will get the majority of financial support. The people? Fuck ‘em. The French government, if you can call this assemblage of career politicians and new wannabes (« Jupiterian » Macron being a prime example of the latter) a government, has either been totally overwhelmed and confused by recent events (basic incompetence) or is entirely complicit in the instauration of a cynical, uncaring police state (corruption). It’s probably a combination of the two.
The duration of this « crisis » probably dépends on a lot of different stuff. How long everyone will put up with this prison-like atmosphere? I know it’s going to very difficult be able to last til the end of April. Every day is a psychological nightmare. I think we’ve been moving in this fascist direction since the end of WW II (probably long before, ie Smedley Butler, or earlier), with the corporate screws being continually tightened. The media here are megaphoning a rise in Macron’s popularity, but I don’t believe that for a moment. I was standing in line at the bakery the other day and struck up a conversation with an older couple, standing at the appropriate distance, just behind me. We agreed it’s all BS. Dangerous BS, but BS just the same. On the other hand, the young woman at the smoke shop got all pissed off when I told her I didn’t believe in all this virus panic. Go figure. France has been a semi police state since the Charlie Hebdo Attack and this is just another turn of the screw.
I have no idea what it will be like a year from now. They might let us out of our cages sometime this Spring, which would be nice of them. But, having gotten away with this lock down, I reckon they won’t hesitate to do it again, for some cockamamie reason. I’m very pessimistic. And really pissed off.
Chuck Orloski, a 68-year-old out-of-work school bus driver, living in Scranton, PA
The “crisis” has changed my typically clean life. Nonetheless, my routine life including school bus driving job, is consistently crazy, bearable. Am unemployed now, and later will sign-up for U.C. benefits. As I write, many neighbors, a couple friends, are even more crazy for fear of dying from COV-19. Irony, hundreds of Project Housing-based kids are outside daily, and doing what they normally do, “play.”
Scranton residents are practiced at getting multifold “crisis” laid upon them. Homeowners fear endless taxes and politician roberry. Many take extraordinary measures to stay healthy and distance themselves from their “authorities.” Couples drink Yuengling on porches, they anticipate the mailman & delivery of Mnuchin’s money, with love.
The US government has practice weaponizing threats. As always, the privileged few will figure out how to benefit by scaring the shit out of the dumb goyim, and welcome Trump as their personal “Savior.”
(Sigh) Is all a matter of timing and Zionist plan-implementation, and dark fulfillment. The Corono “crisis” will last until the novel fear diminishes, and an unforgiving US political economic reset is underway. And then, whoever is President, shall return to doing the vital business of regime change in Iran and Syria.
We are permanently fucked, and “The End of America” is outside my door.
In Scranton, many people are terrific, decent, faithful, down to earth, fun, & are suffocated “Points of Light.” Lots are cursed with having a conscience, and such subset suffers most for the “sins” that are commited from upon High, and naturally, viral shit aplenty “trickles down”… on you and me.
Done with this, I spoke with my buddy, Bill Hopkins Jr., on cellies, and following is a crazy thing which happened to Hoppy, a couple hour’s ago.
Hoppy’s pickup truck has electrical problem, will not start. As Hop does almost zero cooking inside his Lutherwood Senior High Rise 4th Floor apartment, he called Domino’s for an X-tra large pizza delivery, with toppings.
He went to main floor terrace until delivery, by a guy named Joe. Hop gave Joe a fin, said, “Thanks and God bless you for your service!”
Hop placed the pizza tray, and given his prostrate removal problems, he entered Men’s Room, and upon exit, the pizza was gone. Became furious and cursed the “thief” who, given the facility’s “No Visitor” policy, was a fellow hungry resident.
Later, in room and calmed down, Hoppy called Domino’s, explained the theft, and emphasized, “I am hungry!”
Domino’s did the right American Thing! Another tray of pizza on way to Hoppy, and all he had to pay was a service charge, $5.00.
‘Taxi’ from the blog, Plato’s Guns: a self-exiled American expat living in south Lebanon
Being an American expat living in the south of Lebanon, the spread of COVID-19 has not really affected me and my lifestyle at all.
For almost a decade now, self-exiled from southern California, I have lived here in the Levant with a handful of rescue dogs and a housekeeper, on a farmhouse that sits atop a remote hill between two small villages. Lived a semi-reclusive life where my only contact with the natives is out of necessity and not out of sociable impulse. Sure, I’m friendly to everyone I encounter, but for the most part, I do not have the habit of exchanging phone numbers with anyone, nor do I accept invites for coffee, dinner or wedding celebrations. In other words, I do not socialize out of choice, therefore, neither self-quarantine nor social distancing has affected me at all. Plus, due to my following a Macrobiotic diet for the past fifteen years, my immune system is super high and intact, to the point where I have not suffered a single day of illness, not even a single cold for the past fifteen years. This means that I am not experiencing any psychological fear of contracting the COVID-19 virus.
Because I grow my own seasonal organic vegetables and fruit trees, my normal habit is to shop for non-perishable household items only once per month. This includes buying cleaning materials, grains, pulses and tea—also a giant bag of onions plus garlic and ginger for the month: essential edible items that I don’t grow in my veggie patch. This means that even before COVID-19, I had minimal direct contact with commercial outlets and shops anyway—having also abandoned the hyper consumerist in me back on the shores of Los Angeles. Two days ago, I did my monthly pantry shopping and the only difference in my behavior this month was that I carried a small bottle of rubbing alcohol in my pocket, which I used to spray my hands and monies with in the shop in front of the cashier. I did this mostly for the benefit of the shopkeeper’s psychology, as indeed I did the same when I went to the gas station to fill up my jeep. I already live in super cleanliness in any case, and I’ve for years now been using rubbing alcohol throughout the day: my hands going from dog-patting to keyboard tapping have always needed a germ-killing drizzle in between.
Moreover, here at my south Lebanon farmhouse, I have trained my Philippines housekeeper to cook Macrobiotic dishes, foods that she too eats daily, rendering her immune system by now fairly high. I can’t even remember the last time she got sick—and she used to get sick all the time when she first started working for me some five years ago. But she is a sociable animal who travels to the city of Beirut every week on her day off to meet with friends etc, and for the past three weeks, she has not been able to do this due to COVID-19. She is feeling the social distancing by far more than I am, though this is made less painful for her as she is an avid social media user. I continue with my unchanged regular routine during COVID-19: solo daily hikes with my dogs on one of the many remote hills around here, plus writing on my personal blog about Pax Americana and its geopolitics in the middle and far east.
Simply, I live off the grid in a foreign country; I live a healthy and simple life: untouched directly by the highs and lows of the world and humanity, though, of course, I remain emotionally and deeply affected by ongoing political injustices and warfare.
Lebanon itself has been experiencing a government-imposed lockdown on its seaports, airports and borders for the past three weeks, so as to contain the entry of COVID-19 from the outside. Several days ago, the government extended this condition to the 12th April, as more cases of infection around the world have been reported this week. Even though the government has imposed a militarized nighttime curfew on the whole nation, it is estimated that some 98% of Lebanese natives and residents are adhering to daytime self-quarantine of their own volition anyway.
This past autumn, Lebanon was experiencing a severe economic and political crisis. Fortunately, it was resolved just before the outbreak of COVID-19 with the appointment of Hassan Diab as Prime Minister. Mr. Diab’s government has demonstrated ongoing and focused vigilance in fighting COVID-19, despite Lebanon’s acute financial problems. It has taken appropriate measures that place the safety of citizens and residents above all else: a principled position, indeed. Compare the COVID-19 stats between the verging-on-bankruptcy Lebanon to that of its direct neighbor and declared enemy, Israel: a nation with a robust economy that also receives billions in annual aid from the USA and Germany. Lebanon’s latest stats register 391 confirmed cases of infection and 7 deaths, while Israel is charting at 3,035 infected with some 12 dead. The Israeli military has also been hit by COVID-19, with some 45 Israeli soldiers infected and another 4,156 under strict quarantine. It appears that Diab was quicker than Netanyahu to implement preventative measures against COVID-19 and this has indeed made all the difference. Clearly, COVID-19 is testing the compassions and competencies of governments the world over, and already we’re seeing with our own eyes how ‘developing’ nations are providing more protection for their people than most ‘first’ nations.
The world is not the same anymore. Till a successful vaccine is found, which according to the WHO will take some 18 months, world citizens will continue to experience fear and even hysteria over this biological and deadly mystery. Notable here is how most world governments are exploiting their people’s fears to further their own power grabs and personal financial gain, as indeed is clearly happening in the USA.
Without having to go into a litany of complaints about how poorly the Trump administration is handling the pandemic, a list I’m sure readers are well aware of, I would like to state that I thank my lucky stars I live outside of the US during the COVID-19 spread. Sadly, the US is fast becoming the global ground zero for COVID-19, with infections surpassing even that of blighted Iran. The $2 Trillion COVID-19 rescue package that congress passed this week, largely and mainly helps unscrupulous corporations, leaving mere crumbs for COVID-unemployed citizens, small businesses and our healthcare system. This does not bode well for the future socio-political stability and physical health of our nation.
I expect a paradigm shift in American citizens’ political thinking, where voters will now start demanding that their own hard-earned tax dollars are spent, first and foremost, on their own individual health, and not on bailing out billionaire corporations and paying for endless warfare in the Middle East. And we will soon enough discover if our presidential candidates genuinely care more about the physical welfare of the nation’s citizenry, or more for the DC lobbyists they personally benefit from. The presidential elections in November will be COVID-centric above all else. This means the current American healthcare system will be under the severest of ideological scrutiny, and I estimate that voters will side with the candidate who will provide them with the best healthcare deal, regardless of which side of the aisle they stand on.
After all, voters looking for a safer and healthier future will need much governmental assurance that they will indeed be protected, come the spread of another mysterious biological virus in the winter of 2021, and thereafter.
In the meantime, it is the introverts who will survive COVID and inherit the earth.
Erik, a 49-year-old former Director of Training at Frankfurt Airport, living in Offenbach, Germany
This crisis has not affected me much. I spent most of my time indoors before and do so now. It is harder to get a job (which I’m currently trying to do) and also toilet paper.
As for my town, it’s rather relaxed here. In Frankfurt, the big city nearby, most people walk around with masks and gloves. Here, it is the other way round. The authorities have put up the same rules as in most places (stay indoors, keep your social distance, wear masks and gloves and so on).
Thomas Schäfer, Minister of Finance in Hesse, recently commited suicide, supposedly while staring into the abyss of the finances of the Federal State of Hesse. While our finances were far from “okay” before Corona, Schäfer may have done what Friedrich Nietzsche warned about: If you stare long enough into the abyss, the abyss stares back at you. Whatever he saw, it surely wasn’t a pretty sight…
I am not worried about the virus (if it exists at all), rather about the handling of the situation by the authorities. Our economy is shut down, approximately tens of thousands of small businesses may go bankrupt, the government will have to spend hundreds of billions of Euros to help the economy come back to life. Also, our civil rights are taken away in response to the virus: Already you will be fined a few hundred Euros if you don’t behave the way you are told and the government has already declared that it will fight fake news more actively, look into our social media, use smartphones to detect or scan infected people and so on, all to fight the disease.
I think the pandemic may fizzle out in May or June, maybe comes back in autumn for one or two months, and that should be that. The permanent effects to me are much more severe in the political realm: We will be accustomed to giving up our freedom in order to gain security—to me a very dangerous path. Also I imagine we will have a further concentration of wealth in the hands of the few: If it’s true what Martin Armstrong wrote, the so called BIG Money was exiting the markets just before the crash and is standing now on the sidelines, waiting to buy the companies and businesses, which might go belly up the next months.
A bit like in the GDR, when it collapsed in 1990. Back then the West German companies bought and closed almost all the East German companies. Rumor has it that not all were really bankrupt but were made to go bankrupt. Guess we’ll see something similar on a grander scale. As well as more inflation, leading eventually to hyperinflation, accompanied by civil unrest, a violent police state and the impoverishment of large chunks of the society.
A year from now, my town and country will be worse off. More in fear and anxiety and more dependent on this ever growing nanny state, who in the end turns us all into a sort of slaves. Until it breaks down completely, which we should see in our lifetimes.