By Naomi Yura
As an Indonesian, I have lived my whole life in a country that is considered poor and developing.
I was always led to believe that the USA is the haven of good possibilities. When the pandemic first started, I remember feeling a massive relief that I was nowhere near where COVID-19 could reach me. But I was very wrong. It looks like the superiority complex of the West played a significant role in the country’s downfall. Somehow, the land of opportunity where dreams come true has turned into a chaotic mess in a few short months.
I have always been an admirer of how outspoken and opinionated people are around here. As Asian-Americans, we were always taught to listen and just accept the situation.
I have never seen a group of people in my entire life turns extremely hostile just because they are asked to follow a solitary simple rule: wear a mask. I have never seen this many adults seem to genuinely believe hocus-pocus conspiracy theories and refuse to accept the value or effectiveness of vaccines.
I have seen so many children die in Indonesia whose families could not for not being able to afford a vaccine or one not being available. I have seen families who would do anything for the opportunity to get a vaccine for a child or a loved one.
The USA is one of the most populated countries in the world. So, of course, the numbers of virus cases are higher. While that is true, Indonesia is also one of the top 5 most populated countries in the world. The number of cases there is nowhere near a million.
Fair to say, we are not doing that well there, either. We don’t have the most advanced technologies. Still, our number of dead now is about around 10,300. Meanwhile, in the United States, the number of cases is more than seven million. I find that ridiculous. My biggest bewilderment is how the virus is being used as a political tool and weapon, even though it is supposed to have nothing to do with politics. Propaganda about the virus has caused chaos among international students and other VISA holders.
I remember when South Korea led in the number of COVID-19 cases around the world. They were able to contain it within a few weeks because the government was fast to react.
My friends who were quarantining told me how they received free hotels, free food, water, and accessible healthcare. Currently, they have just 61 new cases, and more than 23,500 cumulative
I believe we, as human beings, should prioritize the health and safety of others and not compromise our humanity for pointless, temporary entertainment. The only way to overcome this pandemic is to unite and wear a mask.