Soaring Through the Sky: the Coronavirus Pandemic Limited Our Sympathy Towards the Aviation Industry

Coronavirus cases have spiked recently in my hometown, Taiwan.

Complacent, they say, is the reason why Taiwan has failed miserably to block off the virus in this current wave. Reading articles from Bloomberg and BBC about the outbreak, I can barely recognize the subject of the report is where I live.

Since when has the country everyone had praised as the model of the world had fallen?

Drones capture the city under lockdown — I had never seen Taipei in such a quiet, peaceful, yet dangerous way. I had always imagined the image of the empty city to be soothing when the robust streets have become quiet, and motorcycles no longer roared around the corners of the city. But it wasn’t true.

The city is hollow, even cold, under the sunshine of May.

Wanhua District in May, the center of this pandemic outbreak. ©TVBS 2021

Emotions perished. The lady at the nearby breakfast stand that smiles at you every morning is gone; the dog that barks every time you pass your neighborhood is gone; the group of friends that chats with you every day on your way back home is gone. Everything that has emotions is gone. In addition, the sense of security that had awaited me and my family is gone, just because we are related to the aviation industry that was deemed to be the causation of this severe pandemic. What is deteriorating is not locking ourselves in our rooms, but being criticized for something we should not be accounted for.

I started traveling at a very young age. The aviation industry connects me to the world, providing me the ability to see it from a different perspective. I have been grateful to my experience and everyone who works in the industry. Behind the curtains, behind the countless eyes that envied their opportunities to travel around the world, flight attendants are just like us. They have families to feed. They have chores to do. They have people and friends to love. Contributing their lives in order to enhance our traveling quality, many suffered from jet lags, long-haul flights that kept them and their families apart, and many other emergencies at work.

At normal times, we thanked them for providing us wonderful traveling experiences; At normal times, we envied their ability to travel. But the COVID-19 pandemic took all of that away. People resent them. People hate them for bringing coronavirus back to our community. People think they should simply stop working for the sake of our country and our increasing confirmed cases.

People believe they are the ones who should take up the responsibilities of so many lives.

Photo by Jerry Zhang on Unsplash

When the news first talked about the unknown pneumonia that was found in China back in 2019, I thought the pandemic is just another seasonal flu that would be gone by the end of winter.

It simply didn’t.

Slowly, people talked about depression: isolation, stuck with their family, and racist sentiments that steadily kill our mental health. I wonder if all of that is true. In Taiwan, thanks to our quarantine policies that are implemented right at the beginning of the pandemic, we haven’t faced those hardships until now.

“Why is it so hard for them to be like everybody else?”

“Why do they have to earn this money–sacrificing all the lives here back in Taiwan? Why do we get to clean up the mess?”

“Why does the government never learn?”

Those were the questions people have commented on.
But I think the question should be,
“Why can’t we all sympathize?”

People working in the aviation industry are just like us. They try their best to earn a living, striving, to survive through this critical time. Many of us have experienced the pain the pandemic and the following lockdown brought to us. So what is stopping us from sympathizing? Coronavirus is not a reason for us to stop caring for our community. The government policies are not important — but the emotions missing from my people are what we should work on.

We need the support. We shouldn’t fear: The virus may be inevitable, but we should unite and stay strong, working against it together.

A high school student finding a place to improve his writing and share his world to the public. Writing on social issues and mental health :)