Today we have a small and strange Youth Day celebration – no parades, but much singing and there were deliveries of food to the occupation, some official, some not. There is a lot of pride and gratitude in what the Quarantine Movement have achieved. Young soldiers and emergency volunteers are also celebrated on public newsnets, and this makes us angry, though I do not think our new leaders will say anything. Zhen wants to criticise them, but he has to think of the party members – he needs their support, to keep us working together.
We are in a difficult place. Students have been talking to soldiers, from a distance, since the end of the quarantine. They are mostly young people like us, and we have the same worries about our families and our future. We know that communications with their commanders are less often and less reliable the last few weeks, and their supplies are not always so reliable, too. They still bring food when it arrives, and when it is low we sometimes give some back to them if we have enough, but we always refuse them to come into the occupation because we know that they have taken the anti-viral drugs. Now we are worried about running low on food for ourselves, and our relation with the soldiers here becomes less friendly. They say we must feed them, because they keep infected people out of our quarantine. We did not ask them to do this, we are always prepared to defend ourselves, but of course if we tell them to stop, they will come in and we will have to have another full quarantine. Requests and favours become threats and demands. We have a safe place and power from our sun, water and bicycle generators, but they have guns and bullets. It is a terrible thing to hope, but I hope they will run out of anti-virals before we run out of food.
Food is very much on my mind now, and I cannot help thinking of food all the time. This meme for the month is also for Elaine, always calling people by food names. Tell me, what food are you like, and why. Not “what food do you like to eat” but what is the food that is most like you. Elaine always calls me “Sugarsnap” or “Beansprout” because she thinks of me and she thinks young, sweet and Chinese. I do not see myself this way. I have discovered, since the quarantine, that I am a mango – yes, there is sweetness in me, but I have a thick skin and hard at the core. I am tougher than I knew. I think, when this is over, when we meet again, I will be a very different person than you knew in Vietnam.