To China, with love.
A large batch reached their homeland before Oman Post imposed a temporary ban on shipments to China as a precautionary measure under international guidelines. The restriction has now been lifted.
Huge stocks of face masks were procured from reputed pharmacy chains in Muscat, packaged and despatched to China as a charitable measure to meet the dire shortage that all regions in China are currently facing.
"We are overseas Chinese, but our hearts and minds are with our brethren who are either suffering or undergoing tremendous hardships due to the current spread of coronavirus in China as well as in some other countries," said He Lihong, who has been an Oman resident for the past 15 years and has been involved in charitable social work from time to time.
Known popularly as Jenny, she and her husband, Lyu Zhi Li got together with a few like-minded Chinese in Muscat, pooled their resources and sent stocks of face masks for their relatives and for distribution as charity to deserving persons in their hometown -- Shanghang county in Fujian province. They were quick in taking this decision, spending their own money and sending the stocks as soon as possible and right in time before a global ban on movement of goods and on flights came into effect.
"We are trying our best to support our people in China," says Jenny. "It's a gesture straight from our hearts. We are also thankful to many of our friends in Muscat -- Indian and Omani -- who have helped us a lot in getting stocks of masks from different pharmacies.
"Till my country gets over this threat by coronavirus, we all are in the same position and pray that it is brought under control soon."
Jenny's family in China is safe, but she did have some worried moments. Her mother and grandmother did not know the gravity of the threat until they were told to get hold of stocks of masks to safeguard themselves.
Many households in China still need to be educated about the threat, Jenny said, adding that unless people around the world don't reach out with a helping hand, their sufferings won't end.
Jenny and her family, which includes school-going children, could not fly home for the Chinese New Year a week ago. Jenny is now thanking her stars because had they flown home, they would not have been able to return to join school in Oman.
She, however, stressed that this is not a time to feel happy or lucky, but to express solidarity with the people of China.
Upholding the sincerity and dedication of teams in China which are selflessly devoting their time for the welfare of the people, Jenny says, "As overseas Chinese, it is our responsibility to fight against the virus and contribute towards the safety of our people."
Jenny and her husband are investors in Venus International. Her husband is also the general secretary of the Chinese Community Club of Oman. Together, they are also trying to impress upon all members of the Chinese community in Oman to get together to collect funds, which could be mobilised through pro-per channels.
Jenny is happy that Oman Post has resumed services to China as this gives boost to her efforts.
She also called upon people in Oman not to believe in or spread rumours that may give a wrong impression of the ground reality in China, but to join the Chinese community in its efforts towards sending medical relief material.
Janice Coutinho, another Chinese expatriate who has been in Oman for well over two decades, says, "The situation in China is worrisome, but the government is taking all possible steps to control the virus from spreading, while Chinese citizens are cooperating well."
Janice, whose family members in China have confined themselves to their homes, considers herself lucky to be in Oman at a time when being in China is risky.
"I am safe from the risks in Oman and I strongly believe that China will overcome this unexpected problem soon."
Dr Shao Longnan, a Chinese businessman in Oman, too has expressed immense trust in the Chinese government's efforts.
"Life is normal in most other parts of China by far, with only a few cities like Wuhan affected. I believe, it will all return to normal soon," he hopes.
Jin Xiao Liang, another Chinese expatriate, says, "My family and all my friends in China are safe as most other cities, except Wuhan, are safe. All Chinese people trust the government and hope that everything will be fine soon. I don't feel lucky that I am now in Oman, I would like to help those people who live in Wuhan. We are all one family and we must contribute for each other's welfare."
Various members of the Chin-ese community in Oman have also individually begun drives to procure masks and other medical accessories which can be sent to China as stocks are fast depleting and being rationed to citizens.
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