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Taiwan natives provide help during the pandemic

By Zhang Yi | China Daily | Updated: 2020-11-25 09:37
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Three people from the island recall the roles they played in the Chinese mainland as the nation battled to beat the outbreak. 

The outbreak of COVID-19 in the Chinese mainland earlier this year touched the hearts of people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits.

In their own way, many people in Taiwan were involved in the prevention and control work, helping to deal with the difficulties alongside mainland residents.

To learn more, China Daily spoke with three people from Taiwan about their experiences during the outbreak.

Hsueh Ying-tung, a movie director from Tainan, Taiwan, discusses shooting techniques with a colleague in Wuhan, Hubei province. [Provided to China Daily]

Hsueh Ying-tung, 46, from Tainan, Taiwan, movie director in Wuhan, Hubei province

When I attended a cross-Straits activity in Wuhan in 2017, I decided that the city would be a suitable place to pursue my career as a video director because it had a potentially large cultural market that was ripe for development.

The following year, I moved to Wuhan to try my luck and I met my business partner, a local resident.

Last year, we registered a company in the city to make promotional videos and microfilms for clients. I am in charge of innovation and production, while my partner does the marketing work.

The sudden outbreak of the novel coronavirus meant we had to cancel plans to shoot our first feature film-a love story set in the 1980s-in March, after a whole year of preparation.

There was a lot of pressure. For example, some sponsors wanted to pull out, but even during the most difficult time, we insisted on continuing the project and waiting for the outbreak to end.

After Wuhan was locked down (on Jan 23), local authorities arranged for Taiwan residents in Hubei to leave via designated flights.

I chose to stay in the place I had started my own business because I had confidence in the mainland's ability to combat the outbreak.

I stayed home, in line with the government's instructions, but I frequently contacted my family in Taiwan via the internet to keep them informed about my situation.

People in Wuhan stayed home for 76 days. The isolation made me realize how precious freedom is. It was extremely hard to stay home for so long without knowing when the lockdown would be lifted and while hearing about deaths in the news.

I thought people in quarantine should not only protect themselves from the virus, but also from negative emotions. Those feelings are also contagious and a different kind of "virus".

Instead, we had to do something positive to distract ourselves, such as writing songs, reading books or watching movies.

I enjoy playing ukulele and singing, so I wrote four songs to record my thoughts and moods during the period of isolation.

I made videos of myself playing and singing, and shared them with other people. My songs were not very professional or complex, but they were catchy and had simple lyrics, so my viewers liked them.

In the first song, I called on people not to spread rumors, but to stay home and stick together.

The second one praised the brave people who came to Wuhan from different places to fight the disease, including medical workers, bus drivers and many strangers who provided assistance.

The third piece was written after the death of Li Wenliang, the eye doctor in Wuhan, to express my respect for him.

I wrote the fourth song ahead of the lockdown being lifted.

At the time, I saw on the TV that the number of new confirmed cases was falling every day, and everyone was very excited to witness success in the battle.

From time to time, people shouted "Come on, Wuhan!" from their windows. They did it instinctively, and I was greatly inspired and moved. It was a really complicated feeling.

In the lyrics of the fourth song, I wrote:

Although the Yangtze River has its ebb and flow/

And the cherry blossoms may fade/

Spring will finally come here.

I was lucky to stay in Wuhan to experience the whole process like other locals.

After the city had recovered, we started shooting our movie in June.

We still encountered a lot of problems, though. For example, the rainy season in the province brought difficulties. Also, one of the main elements in the movie is the rhododendron, but we missed its flowering season.

Nevertheless, we finished the shoot and are now in postproduction. The film's premiere has been postponed until next year.

The actors and production team all come from Wuhan. Having been shot in the city after the outbreak, the movie is very meaningful.

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