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The Stories

R.A., 57, a domestic helper in Hong Kong

“Swerte ako 4 days bago maglockdown sa Pilipinas naibook ako nang mabait Kong amo nang Cathay Pacific at nakabalik dito sa Hongkong. Pagbalik ko dito stay room din tuwing holiday dahil sa pandemic na lumalaganap nagkaroon na Rin nang takot kasi di mo alam or makikita Ang kaaway mo. So para makasiguradong walang virus na makuha sa labas mas pinili Kong manatili na lang sa room mo at sa kaligtasan narin nang mga amo mo.”

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M.L.C., 28, a teacher in Mexico, the Philippines

“They have these policy No Work No Pay! indeed Poverty was just around the corner! These Pandemic make me realize that in just a second everything will change! everything will disappear! You cannot control what is happening in our lives…”

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L.M., 68, a retired special ed. administrator in Normal, IL

“…I was able to continue my exercise class three times a week via ZOOM. I’m a voracious reader and quickly ran out of books. I’ve spent a few hundred dollars buying books and even got my husband reading instead of watching tv. After my projects I kind of spiraled spiritually and felt anxious and depressed…”

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R.O., 69, a retired imports adviser in Cypress, CA

“In Japan, it is very common to see people wearing face masks especially if they are sick or with a cough or sneeze a mask is worn out of respect for others. Why pollute another’s air? But, in the America, the wearing of a mask gave a negative denotation. Suddenly, because you are Asian, you became suspected of being a carrier, a cause of the disease and the change of life. The ugly side of even the most God-fearing person exuded nasty and hateful comments to Asians with activity of people coughing into the Asian face…”

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E.C., 70, a Shin Buddhist minister in Irvine, CA

“This has been a time of deep self reflection and […] has made the Buddhist teaching of impermanence immediate and ever present. The dharma has allowed me to be open to what is the evolving and ever fluid circumstance. The recent protests over the George Floyd murder are just another aspect of this truth…”

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Life in Quarantine: Witnessing Global Pandemic is an initiative sponsored by the Poetic Media Lab and the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis at Stanford University.

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