Pandemic perspectives: Views from around the world

By Harry Hodge and Ariel Ian Clarito

The world is under varying degrees of lockdown owing to the threat posed by Covid-19. The pandemic is currently spreading across the planet, with some countries having been given early exposure and others in the early hours of the situation.

My counterpart at the Manila Times, Ariel Ian Clarito, and I have reached out to various connections around the world to understand how they’ve been affected. Clarito first compiled some of these in an online form dubbed Tales of Lockdown (TOLD) and some of those quoted have been added to this multi-part series. Here are some of the replies we received from across the globe.

The articulate, thoughtful replies that have been shared so far have been thoroughly gratifying and uplifting, in spite of the turmoil we’re all dealing with right now.

building architecture historical tower

Photo by Splash of Rain on

Joel Mader – Ottawa, Canada 🇨🇦

We have planned for the assumption that we could be home-schooling (our teenage son) for the next year. Enforcing the idea that your home is now also your school and a workplace requires a lot of adjustment and a conscious effort to be respectful to each other’s space while enforcing time management regarding classes.

There is a conscious effort to be more active, we are very lucky to have a backyard. There is a conscious effort to conserve more which has had me cutting firewood, growing vegetables, investing more for the the future and pivoting our life goals for a what-if scenario.

I don’t have any fears, I think if we are smart and adapt for the future we have very little to worry about. If I lose my job, then I’ll move to self -mployment. I am an at-risk individual who is overweight with high blood pressure, so I stay safe and plan around my family’s exposure while striving to be in the best shape of my life so that I am no longer an at-risk individual. I don’t rely on hope, I rely on action and accountability.

australia traveling travelling travel

Photo by Catarina Sousa on

Andy Marr – Cairns, Australia 🇦🇺

As a family we have definitely been more productive in the garden. We are lucky to be living in a house that is surrounded by grass, trees and all manner of tropical shrubs. Before lockdown we had a whole bunch of stones and rocks delivered, we have been landscaping ever since. A cactus rock garden. A new area for a future garden. We have even managed to grow grass from store bought seed. That would definitely not have happened if we had the usual things to occupy us.

Hope comes in the form of how, as humans, we have overcome many perils before (some of our own doing). As a species, this time will be no different. It’s just that there may not be members of our friendship group or family near or far that will be there to celebrate with us.

photo of a white muslim mosque

Photo by Mohamad on

Wira Pori – Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates 🇦🇪

I am online pretty much from the moment I wake up until I go to sleep, unless I go out for grocery runs.

I’m sure all sports junkies like me are going through some sort of withdrawal symptoms. I happen to miss seeing new clips, reading up on features and dramas, and taking a social media pitchfork to debate with some random keyboard warrior. I can withstand not being able to play (basketball). I just dribble the basketball with my left hand as I type away on my notebook. Got to have that dribbling sound echoing to sate my innate desire to run free.

Thanks to YouTube, I have learned to cook more advanced, sophisticated recipes. My wife has taken a backseat from kitchen chores now that I am the one wearing the apron.

When all this is over, I hope to see a world changed for the better. We have learned how essential personal hygiene is. I have also realized that I do not need junk food nor incessant retail splurges to survive. With that said, I cannot wait to see how world governments will move forward from this pandemic unless there is a global amnesia that will also afflict everyone after.

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Photo by Pixabay on

Josh Lee, Singapore 🇸🇬

My wife and I have been working from home for a month now, so it’s been pretty interesting times. I guess on a positive note, it’s nice to spend so much family time together. Singapore is on restrictions until June 1 – so no open restaurants, gyms or parks. Cabin fever is a worry. But at least the government is getting on top of new cases.

About hodgedude

I'm a Canadian journalist and teacher, most recently living in Edmonton and Toronto, now located in Ho Chi Minh City. Graduate of Concordia University in Montreal. I've taught English in S. Korea, pulled rickshaws in Canada, taught at a Taiwanese language boot camp, edited newspapers in China and played a French-speaking Spanish colonel on Vietnamese TV. I also play Australian football. Pick up a copy of issue one of my independent comic, "Getting Lucky," at Happy Harbor Comics in Edmonton, the Comic Hunter in Moncton, New Brunswick, and the Spotted Cow Pub, 111 Bui Vien, District 1, Saigon.
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