Compiled by Assunta Ng
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
I learned about pandemics through history books, and never expected myself to live through one. Now that we are living in one, our lives will never be the same. To keep myself upbeat, I often reach out to people whom I have been or not been in touch with, to see if they are okay. To hear back from them is comforting. To know that they are surviving with grace is refreshing. And some, who have lived through COVID, motivates me to thrive even in the worst of times.
Here are some lessons and insights from some of them.
Make every day your best day
“Life is fragile. We’ve lost many to Covid, becoming fearful and isolated. We need to empower ourselves for a better future and make each day the best we can.”
— Alyce Arai, retired
“Some of the most important things in our lives that we did not realize before—to be able to gather with, and hug, our family members (not in the same household), to see friends and relatives freely, and to be able to travel wherever we wish safely.”
— Ruoxi Zhang
Racism and inequity
“The surge in hate crimes against the AAPI community and businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic is horrifying. A year later, the hate and mistreatment of the AAPI community continues at an alarming rate. Coming together and building community support for our AAPI community and neighbors is critical in order to organize, uplift, and overcome these atrocities.”
— Midori Hobbs, Seahawks community engagement coordinator
“Wealth and race inequities came into stark light during the pandemic, affecting almost every part of daily life: healthcare, education, employment, housing. It became a clarion call for change.”
— Betti Fujikado, co-founder of Copacino+Fujikado LLC
“Advocate early and often. Systems were not prepared for the massive health and economic toll that would disproportionately impact communities of color, especially immigrant and refugee communities.”
— Janice Deguchi, executive director of Neighborhouse
“A major lesson learned is ‘safety first and take care of each other and stick together, and encourage everyone to get vaccinated.”
— Larry Gossett, former King County Councilman
“Mask up! Please continue to wash hands, sanitize, wear masks, do safe social distancing, quarantine if you feel sick, get the vaccine, please be safe and donate to the food banks and work together to help all people to stay alive!”
— Rhonda Gossett
“Being worried about so many people, including my 90-year-old mother, kept me constantly reading about vaccine development. I’ve marveled at science and medicine moving with urgency, but also learned the challenges of supply chain and logistics.”
— Betti Fujikado
How it changes the workplace
“Business will never be the same and I think in a good way. We don’t have to go into an office every day to get work done, which will provide more flexibility in our lives. We can make connections online effectively, although I still believe human connections matter. I like wearing pajama bottoms and slippers during the workday.
Essential workers are the heroes of this pandemic—from the medical community to grocery workers to the post office to delivery people. I’m grateful and think it should absolutely include teachers and parents of school-age children.
— Betti Fujikado
Thrive under adversity
“The pandemic impresses upon me that life is short and it is always filled with uncertainty. I cannot control how long I live, but I can control the depth of my commitment to God, to my family, to my community, and to my academic pursuit. I cannot return to the world before the pandemic. I shall not and I WILL not return to that world. I take advantage of the abrupt pause in life to purge and to rebuild all areas of my life! I have started memorizing chunks of bible verses such as 1 Corinthians 13. I am learning how to cook yummy and healthy dishes for my mother-in-law, my adult children, and my grandchildren. I have stepped up my service in the Asia Pacific Cultural Center. And, I have dived deeper into my research on how to better serve the English language learners in our nation.”
— Belinda Louie, Ph.D.
Professor of the UW School of Education, Tacoma
Two most important things I’ve learned
“Frugality and savings are critical. It’s great to enjoy life, but we have to plan and prepare for the worst. Having at least a six-month rainy-day fund can bring us all peace of mind in times of uncertainty. Gratitude, instead of complaining about what I don’t have, I have learned to be grateful for health, family, and safety.”
— Kevin Kwong, insurance broker
Assunta can be reached at email@example.com.