There are a lot of similarities between the Covid-19 pandemic and the earthquake-tsunami-nuclear-meltdown that struck these parts in 2011. The feelings of shared uncertainty, the sudden need to be knowledgeable about highly technical scientific matters (remember heated online discussions about how many sieverts of potassium radiation a banana contains? Happy days…) and the confident voices of the ignorant , preferring to bury their heads in the contaminated sand, rather than have to change one iota of their behaviour…
But there are differences this time round.
For one, the shit is hitting the whole world’s fan, and this time, I harbour no illusion that the internet will save us all. At lease, not like we unreasonably thought it might.
So, I haven’t felt any compunction to do an online charity project a la Quakebook, or stay glued to the antisocial media feeds to be reminded of just how inept x government’s response is or what y Covidiot is or isn’t doing. Don’t get me started on Trump.
I figure the world (maybe quite rightly) stopped listening a long time ago to whatever puny me might be able to suggest to fix it. Instead, since March, I’ve concentrated my efforts on doing what I can for those closest to me. I’m very proud that by the end of this week I’ll have posted more than 540 video lessons so that even if I bite the corona dust tomorrow, my students will be able to access English instruction to take them all the way from mewling infant ,via stroppy teen, to second (English) childhood, should they so desire (with the healthy byproduct of providing an income to my wife and daughters should the worst happen to me).
Have my actions since Corona helped anyone other than me? Yes, I can sincerely say my students and my family will benefit from my actions since March. Could I do more to help more people who are in far more need than I?
More, more, more, more?
Yes, of course. I must do more. We all must. This is just the beginning.
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Patrick Sherriff, an Englishman who survived 13 years working for newspapers in the US, UK and Japan. Between teaching English lessons at his conversation school in Abiko, Japan, with his wife, he writes and illustrates textbooks for non-native speakers of English, releases Hana Walker mystery novels, short stories, essays and a monthly newsletter highlighting good fiction published in English about Japan. Saku’s Random Book Club is his latest project to spend more time with books.