Relief goods

About a week ago, my landlord gave their tenants relief goods. I got rice, eggs, munggo, kamote, onions, and white sugar.

They didn’t suspend rent (I wish they did), but this is a nice gesture all the same. This means that I don’t have to do groceries for a while, at least.

This morning, we were informed that we were getting relief goods from the city government. I decided to decline my share because I figured there were other people who needed more than I did.

I may be on a very tight budget, but I think I have enough just as long as I keep expenses to the absolute minimum. Also, friends have been dropping off randomly (you’ll see them in my future posts), and for that, I’m very grateful.

Pop culture has led us to believe that the apocalypse will be a dog-eat-dog world (unless you’ve read the Harlan Ellison story, where this is decidedly not the case) and I’m glad that as horrible as this pandemic is for the world and how difficult it is for a lot of people, it seems to inspire kindness in many. I’m lucky to be in the receiving end of such kindnesses.

Yes, there are people who are taking advantage of the situation. Yes, there are people who don’t think that this affects them at all. And yes, there are people who, even in the middle of a pandemic, even after being helped themselves, refuse to be accountable for their actions.

But for the most part, people have been generous and kind. People have organised donation drives, making sure that the vulnerable do not go without. Many have used the quarantine as an opportunity to learn new skills, discover new things about themselves, and check up on their friends and loved ones, making sure that they’re safe.

There’s no point system on how ‘good’ or ‘productive’ one has to be. During a time like this, when nerves are frayed and the only thing that’s certain is that we don’t know what’s going to happen next, we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves. We should be able to give what we can, whether that’s organising a feeding program for front liners, or simply staying at home. Because at this point in time, being able to do anything for oneself, even if it’s not having to worry about one less thing, is a gift.


Yvette Tan is a multi-awarded author of horror fiction and a lifestyle writer for major local and international titles.