Until the end of January 2020 I worked at a private college in Guangzhou, China. Then, after a brief sojourn in Beijing I came back to the UK for Spring festival. Then the coronavirus hit and I’ve been stuck here ever since. I used the time constructively and put out two new books, but I’ve been advised by my school not to return to China until further notice. I’m hoping to be able to return by the time my current visa expires in June. It’s a pain in the ass because I left all my stuff there, including most of my money, which is in a Chinese bank account inaccessible from abroad. All this uncertainty put pressure on my relationship and a week after Valentine’s Day my girlfriend of nine-months and I broke up. She was, and probably still is, on lockdown with her family in Zhongshan, Guangdong Province.
Human cost of the coronavirus at time of writing 3, 568 deaths and one relationship.
I’m still employed by my college and have to teach my 120-plus students online, using a range of applications and software I don’t fully understand. I fucking hate teaching online. For starters, the time difference is a bugger. I only got into teaching so I could travel. If I have to stay in to do it, it’s no fun for me. Added to this, that salary I mentioned is still going into my Chinese bank account which I can’t get to. I need to support myself, so I’ve been picking up all the freelance writing and editing work I can get. It’s about the only thing I can do that fits around my anti-social hours. I suppose I could just resign and look for a job somewhere else like one of my colleagues did. But finding a job anywhere at the moment is a nightmare, especially as an ESL teacher, and even if I succeeded, it wouldn’t change the fact that half my stuff is still in my apartment in Guangzhou. Thinking I would only be gone three weeks, I purposely left a few cans of beer in the fridge. Given that I won’t be able to top up my electricity for five months, it’s going to be warm by the time I get back. If I get back at all. I fucking hate warm beer.
To add insult to injury, most of the UK has been battered by storms ever since I came back. Most of these storms have names. When they give a storm a name, you know it’s serious. There has been snow, hailstones and torrential rain leading to mass flooding of almost biblical proportions. And now COVID-19 has arrived.
If I didn’t know better, I’d say I was cursed.
I don’t mean to make light of it. Well, actually I do. I use humour as a coping mechanism. The truth is my situation could be a lot worse. This coronavirus is proving a real bitch. People are dying all over the world. But there are a lot of consequences that people just don’t think about. Heck, I didn’t think about any of this until I had to. The biggest challenge facing us all in the immediate future is the disruption to the supply chains. China was in virtual lockdown for over two months, and is only now picking up production again. It will be weeks or even months before things return to anything remotely resembling ‘normal.’ This is what happens when you shift most of the world’s manufacturing to one place, and then that one place is unable to manufacture anything for an extended period.
The cost to the world’s fragile economy is immeasurable. Some smaller business will never recover, with many being forced to cease trading already leading to job losses. There will be including medicine and healthcare supplies. In turn, this will have an impact on how the infected are treated and probably lead to a higher mortality rate. Costs will rise across the board, and as everyone knows when prices go up they don’t come back down. With the vast majority of people already struggling, it could plunge us into another economic crisis.
And that might be just the start. Another unforeseen consequence is the outpouring of sheer assholery on the internet, especially the cesspit that is Facebook. Everybody is now an armchair expert on China, the media, infectious diseases and toilet paper, but the reality is that most of these people don’t know shit. Pun intended.
Still, on the bright side I always thought Chinese chicks looked hot in those surgical masks. If you want to keep updated on the current death and infection toll, you can do so HERE.