Day 3 (Wednesday)—Continued checking our temperatures all day. Range was between 36.8 and 37. Normal. My throat was still a bit sore; decided I definitely need to shout less at Dora. We all left together in the morning—Yonguk for work, Dora and I for the market and to buy bread. Dora and I didn’t put our masks on today until just before the market. With so few people on the streets, it seems more unhealthy to wear a mask rather than breathing normally and getting some fresh air. The market was very quiet. We bought tomatoes and satsumas. While buying bin bags, the lady reached out to grab my pregnancy badge, before giving me a lecture about being pregnant and outside. Social distance (or the lack of it) must be a contributing factor to the crisis in Korea (and China). Left the market and took our masks off again to walk to the bakery. Put our masks back on to go into the bakery. We were sadly too early for bread today, but said to the owner that we’d come back tomorrow at the right time.
We stayed home for the rest of the day. Dora played, while I did Bulgarian homework. After, we followed another BBC recipe for salt dough cup cakes. Dora had nap time during my Bulgarian class. When she woke up, we painted the cup cakes and talked to grandma and grandad.
I finally decided I need to Meghan Markle, or withdraw, from doing a PhD at a Korean university for the umpteenth time. It’s a long story, and you can be sued for telling the truth in Korea. Suffice it to say, as with the chaos of Chinese Coronavirus, for the department office, the importance is pleasing those in power. Over a hundred years ago, Lu Xun said this culture needs to change; it still hasn’t. Ironically, I want to study ‘truth’ and reality in non-fiction. Living in Asia gives the truth continuum a whole new dimension. I’ve bought the books needed for the courses and then some, so for now I’ll just have to continue studying by myself.
Tried to keep up with the staggering amount of news today. I’m wondering why experts think they deserve so much money when the Daily Mail comments page makes a more sensible contribution? The WHO and the Korean government continue their shocking performance. I wrote a lot more about this as Dora fell asleep early for nap time. However, by evening the Chinese had started quarantining people from Korea. The Vietnamese are furious with Koreans for complaining about being quarantined and insulting Bahn Mi. The Koreans are outraged about the lack of respect shown to Koreans… However, Korea finally achieved a long-term ambition of paying foreigners less when the Korean Central Disaster Management Headquarters announced that they will pay foreign families less money to quarantine themselves. The official said foreigners have to be paid something because we 'roam around the local communities freely'... I'm not sure what to say about this, other than at least it is honest, and it does represent what some Koreans feel--foreigners are worth less than 'pure-blooded Koreans'. Clearly the world should have quarantined people coming from China in mid-January.
The only upshot to this whole fiasco is that we know Chinese officials 'at every level did not make truthful reports'. The statistics only make sense if you consider they are about as reliable as those from the Great Leap Forward. That is to say, not at all. We already know that the Chinese government has weaponised trade, students, and tour groups. It is not too late to limit the number of Chinese students to the single digits, choose more sustainable tourism, and ban all tour groups. We also have to completely exclude Huawei from 5G networks.
That is until China becomes an open and democratic society whose people and companies are free.
Day 4 (Thursday), Dora’s temperature dropped to 36 degrees during the night. This morning our temperatures are between 37 and 37.2. A touch on the high side and we have a slight cough. No doubt not helped by sleeping very badly; we’ll try not to ‘roam around’ the neighbourhood and to keep contact to a minimum. The plan is to go via the river park for fresh air, visit the bakery for baguettes, and come home via a local restaurant to buy (take away) Bahn Mi. Yonguk has bought a five pack of masks for me, and Dora has a big bag of masks from the daycare. But… we’ll probably start to stay home more and more, although we all feel better after fresh air.
I’m not sure how interesting it will be to read about an exhausted pregnant lady trying to entertain a toddler by attempting to make an entire teddy bear picnic from salt dough, working through BBC children’s recipes, and trying (probably unsuccessfully) to avoid the news… I can't imagine what parents with young children in hotel rooms are doing...
[Update] We went out as planned yesterday; it was a lot busier than we anticipated. Although people were wearing masks, I still feel that fresh air and social distance are healthier. We had wanted to buy Bahn Mi from the restaurant close by. Unfortunately, they’d stopped selling them. It seems Bahn Mi are not as popular as rice noodle soup. On the map app, there weren't any other places selling Bahn Mi close by. Dora didn’t want to go home and declared she could manage a long walk. My map app probably underestimated the time it would take for a four-year-old toddler to walk across our district. We passed by a lovely chocolate shop and bought an iced chocolate. We put our masks on to go in and kept as much distance as possible from the other two people there. They were also wearing masks. Even though the free samples looked so tasty, we resisted. As we left, the lady gave Dora a dinosaur chocolate, so she was happy. The little shops in our area are amazing; they would be ruined by tour groups. By the time we arrived at the Bahn Mi shop, we had missed lunch and nap time. By the time we got home to eat the Bahn Mi, Dora was past over tired. Dora also picked out all the pork and left the bread for mummy. In the afternoon, we continued with our salt dough project.
Kindly, even at home, we receive a stream of emergency alerts direct to our phones from the government about people who have caught Chinese Coronavirus. I mostly managed not to read the news and instead read the new book by David Enrich, Dark Towers. His hook is: Why did this wealthy banker living a life of luxury in London take his own life? The question has not been answered so far.
For a scary news story—full-term pregnant Korean women who were at a hospital where a patient with Chinese Coronavirus was treated are now being denied care at all other hospitals. For something ridiculous—the Chinese embassy made a big announcement that it has donated 25,000 masks to the people of Daegu; Korean companies and the Korean government arranged to send around 3 million masks to China and are now hiding how many are still being sent.
“We know the public doesn’t approve, but we have to send them because we started the project one month ago,” said a South Chungcheong official. “We need to consider relations of trust with the Chinese provincial governments.”
Gangwon is sending 300,000 face masks to China. According to the provincial government, 210,000 masks were to be sent to Jilin Province, 60,000 to Beijing and 30,000 to Changsha. Shipments to Jilin Province and Changsha were sent earlier this month, and the shipment to Beijing will be sent before the end of this month.
“The masks were produced in the province,” said a Gangwon official. “We spent 140 million won on the project. We need to keep our promise because it is a matter of trust.”
The Seoul and Busan metropolitan governments said they also promised to send masks to China. Seoul allocated 400 million won and Busan 300 million won for the assistance, but they said they have not decided when to start shipments.
Some provinces and cities refused to make public information on face mask donations to China to avoid public criticism.
If China has handled Chinese Coronavirus as expertly as Xi Jin Ping and the WHO said, why is the Korean government still sending masks? The Korean and Chinese government must think we are total morons. As I said, we’re trying to limit our mask usage.