IF anyone noticed, one of the more-enduring pokes about our situation under quarantine for almost a year already, had centered around its tongue-in-cheek comparison with Jumanji, a 90s fantasy-adventure screen flick that revolves around a mysterious board game that magically brought out wild animals to life with each new level that the actor-players achieved as they played it.
Starting in March of last year, when quarantine protocols began, then onwards with each month till today, our quarantine existence had always been greeted on social media with a “welcome to a new level” congratulatory meme, as though in all, this playful approach to the whole issue of lockdown swept under the rug the grim reality that we all shared this Jumanji-like atmosphere.
Perhaps imaginative minds in most of us choose to play it as a way to keep our hopes up, although, in truth, it is nothing but merely another version of whistling in the dark. Another such delusion is the thought that we, as the whole of humankind, share the whole experience, as though we were all in the same boat, while all around us, the old world sinks and is swept by this pandemic flood.
Jumanji aside, along with close refs to Noah, the ark and the great flood, we will never be in the same boat on this one. The same flood maybe, but what we are, are hanging on, and desperately struggling in our own respective boats of different sizes, make and design.
For others, the quarantine may be a cabin of warmth, with family and loved ones safe together, while for some, it may be a listless raft, waterlogged with desperate crises. Some may have saved enough to buy rations enough for the long haul, while others may have to brave the pandemic waters so that their hand-to-mouth existence can continue.
While others may have lost their work due to the stoppage, then running out of money and getting desperate, there may still be those who treat their jobs with irreverence and then gripe of low income. While some continually break lockdown rules to have their own way despite the threat of the virus, medical frontliners continually risk their life and indirectly, members of the family, so that the sick may be healed.
Worst of all, many may have already experienced first-hand the lethal hand of COVID through a death in the family and loved ones, but sadly, there are still those who insist that everything is fake news.
All these brought about by a single photograph in a magazine I have just scanned moments ago. It showed a near-evening time pic of Hong Kong harbor, filled with boats, junks, and ships of many sizes, going about their own ways, some resplendent in lights while others in near darkness, almost one with approaching night. So alien from that surreal fantasy board game I saw in a movie.
HONORING MY MOTHER
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