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February 23, 2021

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Migrants’ home away from home holidayPolice

Railway police Yi Shan cooked steamed Wuchang fish, a typical dish in Wuhan, the Chinese city hardest-hit by COVID-19 last year, during the Spring Festival holiday to relieve homesickness and to celebrate the Year of the Ox.

It’s not the first year for the Shanghai Railway Station police officer to have spent the Spring Festival in the city. But it’s definitely one of the most memorable.

“We’ve gone through so much over the past year,” she said.

Besides fish, she also made popular Wuhan snacks like doupi for her husband and daughter. In a video chat with her family, she showed them the food she made.

Just a year ago, it was a totally different story. She was busy at work, while her family in Wuhan was trapped at home.

“The pandemic hit the pause button for Wuhan,” she said. “I had been so worried when I heard about the lack of supplies. My father’s stock of medicines to lower his blood pressure soon exhausted.

“My grandfather and my aunt were receiving chemotherapy to treat cancer but hospitals suspended the service. My classmate’s mother got infected with coronavirus but was refused by overwhelming hospitals.”

Her worries were soon eased as the whole nation offered a helping hand to Wuhan.

“Difficulties were solved one by one. It’s a great nation,” she said.

“Due to recent outbreaks of new locally transmitted cases, the nation called for a stay-put holiday. Though I couldn’t go home, we felt like we were together. I hope next year everyone can reunite with their families.”

Yi’s colleague Yongdanlamu from the remote Tibet Autonomous Region has been a railway police for three years, and for her, it’s the third year she has spent the Spring Festival holiday in Shanghai.

Every year she had nianyefan, Lunar New Year Eve’s dinner, with her colleagues.

“Usually, we had it at noon because we had to be on duty at night. The meal was simple but I enjoyed it, especially the vegetarian dishes,” she said.

Her duty was to patrol around the exit of Shanghai Railway Station.

She clocked off duty and left at 8:30pm. After she returned to the dorm, she changed in to traditional Tibetan clothes and recorded a video of her greetings to send to her parents and siblings back in Tibet.

“I want them to know that I’m fine in Shanghai,” she said. “I feel happy to safeguard the station and secure safe trips of passengers.”

She said, in Tibet, people also celebrate the Spring Festival.

“We usually eat wheat-made food such as bun and porridge. We also eat beef and Tibetan renshenguo tuber — from a wild perennial plant. But we rarely eat lobster and crab,” she said.

“Also, we will chant scriptures. And we believe that we can be prettier if we wash our faces by using water taken at midnight because the stars shine at night.

“The one who gets up the earliest in the morning of the Spring Festival is regarded as the luckiest one.”


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