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Poignant Covid19 Reminder

Soap box time! This is an area very few would voluntarily go  – the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, dubbed the poorest postal code in Canada. Consider yourself very lucky indeed, (and I do, every day) if you do not have a loved one, or know of someone ravaged by addiction, the grind of abject poverty, and a system that seems geared to sweep you and your kind under the carpet.

Tent cities crop up, and are summarily evicted, only to pop up elsewhere in the city – a result of no affordable housing infrastructure, nor any incentive for developers to undergo such a project. Sound familiar? Perhaps you have an equivalent issue in your own city.

Because I pass by this neighbourhood, on a daily commute, I am keenly aware of this ever-widening gulf between the affluent and the very poor. This has led to attitudes of contempt and revulsion towards the poor and damaged, as if their lifestyle was a choice. I am hardly among the affluent, who have the luxury to insulate themselves from this reality by either complete avoidance or making unhelpful blanket statements, such as ‘they’re animals’, in effect, dehumanizing them.

I do render ‘assistance’ to those in need in the community – this boils down to listening to their story, donating some food and sustenance. My family is not overly pleased that I do this (because of potential danger, especially when in those especially stricken areas of the inner city), though I do hope it will rub off on them, any compassion shown. They are human beings.

Thanks for reading my soap box interlude, the cartoons will be resuming (It’s what you get for visiting here!)


I am a Sansei, with two teens, and a hamster. This blog is a repository for ideas and observations, expressed in cartoon form, by and large. A bit of a journal too. Feel free to follow me on INSTAGRAM @ WILTOONS, (the Twitter for people who like to go out) where I post a journal comic. Thanks for dropping by! The pic is of me and my boy Peter Noone of Herman's Hermits. (not really a fan but he wanted his pic with me) © Wilton Sugiyama and Wiltoons, 2009 to 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Wilton Sugiyama and Wiltoons with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. So there.

4 thoughts on “Poignant Covid19 Reminder

  1. Thank you for this! I have never done any kind of drug, but I have had those close to me who did and do struggle with addiction. It’s absolutely devastating to watch, and I feel fortunate that they still have a home to live in. It’s sadly not the reality for many. Thank you for doing for those who can’t do for themselves! Stay healthy and safe!

    1. Thx for commenting, Jay. You’ve unleashed a monster topic. It is an issue that needs attention, and not just when someone rich is ‘inconvenienced’ or ‘offended’. Though things are unravelling in the States, Canada has an equally shameful record in its treatment of minority groups. Historically, south Asians (from India mostly), mainland Chinese, and the indigenous populations have been marginalized. Racism is an issue that has had considerable sway in my, and my father’s, life. The fact of the matter, in the US, Blacks are systematically kept down and treated as second-class citizens (as is our indigenous pop up here) with the result that, addiction and poverty are rampant. The Black community is largely hit hard by Covid -19 due to 3 big reasons – 1) a lot of them are in front-line work (ie service industry, so-called minimum wage jobs), 2) they are already saddled with pre-existing health issues (diabetes, heart disease) thanks to those financial limitations. 3) Lastly, there is a systemic racism (conscious and unconscious) in the police and medical professions (paramedics, doctors) that contributes to preconceived notions about their health issues that would never occur with a White person. Ok rant’s over. Enjoy good health, and yes, stay safe.

      1. Sometimes we need to poke the bear, can’t just let it stay asleep. Those topics must be touched, because, proportions aside, these issues are rampant in every country. Here in Brazil, most indigenous people are not literate because they are chased out of schools due to prejudice. They either build their own schools or they have no education as children, when they are more vulnerable. And of course, alcohol and drug abuse are rampant in there communities, as well as homelessness and severe health problems. Racism is a terrible wound in every society, and we (general we) do so, so little to help it heal. We all need to do much, much better in all aspects.

  2. I was driven through this area when staying in Vancouver some years ago, it is indeed shocking. We have our share of homeless, now ‘homed’ as a result of covid 19, but visible before, but not in the way it happens here. If governments can find the money to deal with our present plague they should look at finding ways to deal with the plague of homelessness.

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