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COVID-19 Oral Histories – Li Ma

For the past few weeks, Packer’s Upper School History Club has been working on an oral history project that documents the Packer community’s experience with COVID-19. Through 30 minute interviews with various people in the community, we have been recording people’s feelings, thoughts, and stories about this global pandemic. In addition to posting select parts of the interviews to the Prism website in both transcript and video form, we are also archiving these interviews at the Brooklyn Historical Society so that we can keep a visual and written record of these testimonies for the future generations. As for now, we hope this project is a way for people to stay connected and share their unique personal stories. Each week, new interviews will be posted, so keep coming back to learn more about your classmates’, teachers’, and colleagues’ experiences during this difficult and unusual time. We hope you enjoy! 

-The Leaders of History Club: Sadie Sadler, Amelia Killackey, and Nick Yohn

Li Ma: Upper School Mandarin Teacher

Interviewed by: Nathalie Pridgen

Q: Have you come up with creative ways to stay in touch with others?

A: Um [pause] because most my all my family has to stay there, back in China, so everyday especially my mom, she cares so much about what happens uh in the US. I don’t watch the news anymore, but she watches uh everyday and she just tells me how many cases are in here in the US. So I and then talk uh over the phone over the um uh social media. I think that social media is the only way that uh we can get in touch with families and also sometimes I talk with my colleagues. Hm, so [pause] so that’s a thing. 

Q: What advice would you give to someone if they had to go into a lockdown?

A: Uh, I think just um have a good like a [pause] just like a peaceful like mind. Don’t worry too much, because at the beginning I did the same thing. Every day watching the news and count how many cases. Nowadays I just drop it, ju-just a live your life for the best, and then don’t think about the worst what will happen. And try to think about other people, be considerate, don’t if there is social distance try to do that so. 

Q: Have you read anything new during this lockdown?

A: Oh just, oh yeah because uh at the beginning I’m so bad uh with everyday news, so I watch the news 24 hours, and then I got so tired I said uh okay I’m not going to do anything like that I’m starting uh reading. So now I pick up a book to read because I did I’m I didn’t grow up in the US. I never read uh Harry Potter, so my kids suggest you should read books. So I started to read uh Har-Harry Potter and I’m almost uh done soo I think it’s uh good time. I can read books [laugh] 

See more of Dr. Ma’s interview in the video below:

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