MANY would have woken up on Sunday to more bad news from the global onslaught 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak.
There was a huge single day jump in mortality – 45 on the last count bringing the death toll to over 300 in China.
There’s also first death reported overseas – in the Philippines.
The talk is now about securing borders, allowing non-Chinese nationals to return home and keeping Chinese travellers away.
But let us peek eastwards towards the United States-Mexico border first, where Donald Trump is actually putting up walls to - `keep `em out!’.
He is determined to keep his 2016 campaign promise to build a beautiful wall and for the Mexicans to pay for it.
January 2020 and his vision is still not fully fulfilled – instead, one section in the Californian town of Calexico actually nearly tumbled over by high winds, leaving it tilting at a precarious angle.
The day before Trump thumped his chest and boasted at a Republican rally in New Jersey that his wall was sprouting up all along the border like clockwork.
How deliciously ironic if he were to have been sitting on the wall a la humpty dumpty – what a great fall for all the world’s glee!
Only the most rabid `Trumpette’ – those amongst his chorus-line of diehard cheerleaders see no fault in their President. But those at the receiving end of his divisive policies deem his misfortune as well-deserved.
Take your pick from amongst Latinos, Hispanics, Mexicans – and to be sure, Democrats, who relish such comeuppance from someone whose boastful pronouncements and boorish hectoring seems so at odds with the office of Potus #45.
Yet he looks odds on, quite confident he will hang on to become POTUS #46. With all the machinations and connivance of emasculated senators, he looks set to sail emerge unscathed from ongoing impeachment. We’ll know the size of the Republican travesty on Wednesday.
Enough of Trump’s tribulations. Spare a thought for the hordes of China passport holders who are viewed with suspicious minds at museums, theme parks or shopping counters the world over.
Welcome to the world of ethnophobia. Where once – and there still is, Islamophobia, welcome to the world of Sinophobia.
With each passing day, when surging numbers are announced in the number of new infections and increasing death toll caused by what sprang from the Wuhan wildlife market, the internet is becoming fertile ground for unfettered vitriol.
Trolls and fake news are liberally employed – none more widespread than blaming the Chinese for anything from poor hygiene to their exotic range of quarry to satisfy their adventurous culinary craving.
Some from two sets of `etnicities’; – the Uighurs in Xinjiang and the youthful pro-democracy protestors of Hong Kong (ostensibly just as Chinese as those from Beijing, Shanghai or even Wuhan) would understandably not spare much sympathy for China.
Here in Malaysia, there exists a certain dissonance from groups or individuals who claim what is happening is divine retribution for China’s muzzling of Xinjiang muslims.
Making such connections is quite understandable but in times of global catastrophe, surely, it is help that should be extended. Magnanimity is not the sole preserve of saints and this is time for humanity to show some measure of saintliness.
* Razak Chik is Astro AWANI's Executive Editor.
** The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of Astro AWANI