Coronavirus, China and me

Fear is contagious and spreads quicker than any disease.

I’ve been living in China for more than two years now, and the last week or so have been completely overwhelming for me and so many people around. Just weeks into the new decade and the world finds out about a new strain of coronavirus that shakes the country that I call home. When things first got serious, I was sitting on a beach in the Philippines, and like most of you, just reading things from my phone. Then came the memes, then the tweets, then the texts, and then the constant headlines. It did seem scary. After coming back to China, and seeing things first-hand, I realise how worse it seems from the outside looking in. The mass hysteria and moral panic caused by some of the headlines that I’ve seen from social media and western news is absolutely damaging and draining. I am SO tired of it already. So, I’ve done what I do best. Read, researched and ranted. Welcome to my myth debunking and personal source of living in China today.

“Leave the country or you’ll get coronavirus.”

I understand the fear and why the Wuhan coronavirus is scary. It’s new, we don’t know the origin and there’s no known cure. I get why there is a fraction of fear. However, Zika, Swine Flu and even Influenza have all been declared public health emergencies in the last 10 years. Swine flu spread across the world and killed more than 200,000 people, infecting thousands more. We didn’t flee our countries from it.

The same can be said from the flu. People are saying that it’s different because we have a cure for that, we have vaccines to prevent the flu! Yet, in this winter season alone, more than 15 million Americans have been infected and more than 8,200 have died. The USA have also had their first human-to-human confirmed case for coronavirus. People aren’t fleeing.

China is my home right now, just like millions of others. And it’s a big old country who have taken precautions and measurements to prevent the spreading. In fact, WHO have even praised their actions, and thanks to the resources and power that the country has, they’ve seemed to cope and control things better than predicted. The situation could be much worse for a developing country and that’s the main reason why they’ve announced a health emergency.

The virus started because Chinese people are dirty and eat weird stuff.

Firstly, this is completely racist. Secondly, people all over the world eat things for different reasons that you may not. Thirdly, nothing has been officially confirmed. Just wanted to share these other recipes for you foodies out there…

Haggis in Scotland! Sheep heart, liver and lungs stuffed in a stomach. Guinea Pig found in South America. Dogs and Cats found in multiple places. Black pudding from UK and USA – blood stuffed in sausage skin. Fried pig brain sandwich in USA. Italian Casu Marzu cheese with live insect larvae…

I could go on….  But just because you’ve watched one video of an Asian man eat a rat, does not mean everyone in the whole of Asia eats rat. From my circle of friends and family, only a handful are vegan or vegetarian, so if you’d happily eat a big fat beef burger, then please stop sharing and calling out others for eating animals. It’s hypocritical and a whole other big boring debate. Got a problem? Stop eating animals.

We’re all going to die.

Okay, this obviously can’t be confirmed yet, maybe this is how the world will end. If that’s how it’s meant to happen, it’s gonna happen. But for now, most people that have died already are elderly, those with weakened immune systems or those who have underlying and pre-existing conditions. Except, the news isn’t talking about any of this. If you’re reading this, then the likelihood that you’re like me, young, fit and healthy is high, and so you probably wouldn’t die even if you were to ever catch the Wuhan coronavirus.

To say things like this in a time where people have died and families have been broken is insensitive, entitled and just plain stupid in the current situation. Know that if you’re sitting on your sofa with a cuppa in hand 9,732 miles away in the UK, this does not affect you right now. Think about what you’re saying over social media.

EVERYWHERE IS A GHOST CITY!

Okay, this is one of the headlines that is bugging me the most. Let me start by telling you something about the Chinese. They are some of the hardest workers ever. And once a year, they get a well-deserved break. Chinese New Year is the biggest celebration, most important and longest holiday period.

CNY is also a mass migration, the biggest in the world at one time in fact! With a population of more than 1 billion, people travel and leave the bigger cities so their families can come together and loved ones can visit their hometowns and villages after months apart. My city, Shenzhen, is a massive migrant city which means that EVERY year at this time, things close down. It’s not new to see shops, restaurants and homes shut… for the holidays… not for a virus. Yet still, I’ve been food shopping, went for an Indian last night and heading to Hong Kong for the weekend! I can’t say the same for Wuhan which is the epicenter, of course, I haven’t seen it for my own eyes, but life continues! It’s quiet, of course, but people need to live and eat still.

But the media said….

Don’t be foolish. The media, whether it’s the Sun, CNN or the Guardian, is never 100% reliable. With anything. ALWAYS do your own research before you reiterate and share the news that you read, see and hear. Especially when it spreads fear and affects peoples lives. Do you even know what coronavirus is? Are the images used real and updated? Question things and beware of the language used in any situation. Using words like “escape”, “fleeing”, ‘BREAKING”, “Coronavirus City” is toxic and used to create panic, clicks and engagement. Look at the numbers and compare things realistically. Wuhan has a population bigger than London, with more than 11 million people, so the figure of 9,692 people infected is still relatively small when that’s countrywide and over a population of more than 1 billion. The media are going to hype it as much as they can if it keeps us all talking and tweeting.

Just be cautious and responsible when you’re online.

  • Omg do you have to wear a mask? China is a mask wearing country, similarly to Japan and Korea. The bad air and billion people mean it’s not an uncommon sight. The country has made it necessary to wear in public places, a very smart and simple move.
  • BA have cancelled all flights! How will you leave?! No one flies British Airways, plus they’re just one of many. Flights have not stopped, and we’re not stuck in China… yet.

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How to be safe: Wear a mask. Clean your hands regularly and properly. Contact your doctor if you’re feeling the symptoms. Do your research and listen to the experts.

Sending peace and love to you 🖤

Vanisha

X

Follow my adventures on Instagram at @vanishamay

https://www.who.int/

Are you eating brunch wrong? This is how best friends should brunch according to Instagram…

As much as I love the advancement of social media and technology, the downsides and superficial images you find on platforms like Instagram can be especially damaging. For young people and those growing up around fitness personalities and girls on flamingo pool blow ups, you have to step back and question, are these people for real? 

It’s all fun and games if you’re fully aware but how ridiculous and damaging can some posts be? This one in particular made me think…

With over 2,000 likes on this picture alone and 20,800 followers, this girl has insta-famous sussed to a T. She travels, she’s beautiful and she looks like she’s living the dream life! I love looking at feeds like hers that are full of travel and inspiration but this picture baffles me. What exactly is it saying?

• That best friends should brunch topless?

• Ah best friends should brunch standing up?

• Best friends should brunch after a photo shoot and after poses around their brunch food?

• Best friends should have no actual room for a plate on their table

• Best friends should share one glass of champagne (lol never)

• Best friends should brunch with 6 plates of food in front of them then assuming hours at the gym because as far as I’m aware, you can’t have your cake and eat it, and be in such good shape still. 

• Best friends should then post all of the above on to social media


I don’t know. Maybe it’s all a bit of fun but the amount of people writing ‘goals’ in the comments makes me wonder how many people think this is seriously real life and achievable. Are we able to distinguish between reality and a photo-shoot, Photoshop and set-up shots? Are we aware of what’s authentic? Would they be eating brunch like that without Instagram? Would we be the same people without social media?

Am I overthinking things? Or am I eating brunch wrong?

Let me know what you think about the use of social media, being authentic and any experiences/thoughts you might have!

Thanks for reading guys!

Have a good day

Vanisha

X

Follow my South American adventures on Instagram @vanishamay and travel related blogs in the travel section 🙂 

Are you an Insta-sham? The negative side to social media.

So, in the last week, thoughts around social media, and especially Instagram, have consumed my brain almost entirely (other than my pooey dissertation!). And after lots of discussion, and changes in my own social media accounts, I feel like I’ve reached some sort of conclusion in my brain and annoyingly, my eyes are even more open about social media and its role in society. This is my ridiculous battle with instagram...

 

I can’t lie, social media is amazing, and finally after all these years of meaningless use, I’m finding my own ways to use individual platforms to raise awareness about issues that are important to me, things that help educate, and also entertain, but in a more thoughtful and strategic way, and in a way that might benefit me, or hopefully someone else. And there’s no rules in this, social media is completely up to the individual who uses whatever platform, to do whatever on it. You decide it all. But do you? With Instagram, I’m having a real issue about all this.

 

Over the weekend, I realised that I had gone Instagram crazy. I was suddenly brainwashed, consumed and obsessing over an app. Who am I following? How many likes does this picture have? I wonder who’s stalking my profile? (which apparently, there’s an app for) Who’s following me? Who’s not following me? Erm, is this girl dating my ex?! How did she get so many likes?! And how did she get that body?! Maybe it’s them fitness pages? Hmm, let me check them out. And, how has this fitness guy got so many followers? Maybe it’s because he’s topless in ALL his posts. Hmm, I’ll let that one slide. Wait. Hold up. Stop. WHY DO I CARE AND WHAT ON EARTH AM I DOING?!

 

Then I realised I had wasted half my night on a stupid app, doing stupid shit that I actually do not care about. And so, to detox my mind, I deleted my whole account. Then made a new one like five days later….

 

It’s so unhealthy, and as a sociologist especially, I’m fully aware of it all. But it’s so dangerous that so many people are not. And even for me, I get so caught up in it still! There’s so many types of pressure and ideas about how we should live our lives and what they should look like through brands and personalities on an app. It’s silly. There’s a whole generation growing up in the world of social media, and being accepted through followers, and self-esteem boosted by likes, by numbers, by strangers. It’s a sad reality.

 

There’s a fine line between posting something for yourself, for your business, for your own personal aim and growth, and posting something for likes and for attention. And it’s so easy to forget that for so many ‘instagram famous’ people, their posts are not fully representative of their real lives but actually “a finished product” (quote by my gal Becca, oi oiii) after staged situations and hair and make up teams and photographers and photoshop and so much other shizz. Shots of travel couples in the Bahamas, and egg on avocados on toast, and yoga girls doing the lotus on a mountain top, are all nice to look at but are tiny little snippets of someone’s life portrayed through filters. Which I guess is why it’s so important not to get too sucked up into it.

 

You can use instagram however you like, but why are you doing it? Who are you doing it for? What’s your point? Is it healthy?

 

In 10 years time, are you gonna be okay if your children find your instagram? If your mum saw it tomorrow, then how would that go? I guess it’s about asking yourself how you want to be portrayed and the kind of people you want to communicate with. It’s about authenticity. Because in a few years time, when a new app comes along, are you gonna be the same person without an app like instagram?

 

If ya want more, take a look at these similar things….

http://elitedaily.com/life/culture/x-pro-ii-valencia-instagram-choose-neither/614571/

Have a good day!