CULTURE

Love in the time of quarantine

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Artist and comic book creator Rob Cham talks about the different ways love manifests in the time of pandemic. Illustrations by ROB CHAM

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — “We're all going a bit mad,” says artist and comic book creator Rob Cham on his inspiration for his webcomic “Love in the time of quarantine.” Like anyone who’s been stuck at home since the community quarantine began, Cham took inspiration from the lack of intimacy that is vital in forming connections.

He says, “Couples who live apart are now all in long distance relationships, and it is driving them crazy. People who were in long distance relationships are probably going to try and see each other as soon as possible. Single folks are rabid for some sort of landi. As for those who are living together or married, or have a family, it's a strange new situation to find themselves in that might cause friction.”

The webcomic is also inspired by the relationships of our frontliners and how they’re carrying on these days. “[I] wanted to discuss how I saw my friends who are nurses just have difficulty trying to maintain relationships and connect in these times. Doctors, health workers, frontliners. Their interpersonal relationships are affected.”

Though “Love in the time of quarantine” may have a seemingly ‘light’ take on the situation, there’s an undercurrent of disappointment that runs through it. There’s the unforeseeable end of the lockdown and the toll from the prolonged period of isolation in relationships.

Some of Cham’s works have always had strong social realist overtones in them and “Love in the time of quarantine” is no exception. He says, “My sisters are frontliners so it's just been on my mind. I worry about them constantly. I keep thinking about my family, I'm based in Manila while they are in Baguio. I've been working and trying to earn money despite the circumstances. It's been very difficult. I'm angry and disappointed at how the government [administration] has been handling things.”

When asked about whether he’s hopeful about the situation, he says, “Not very. I wish it were better but our fate is up in the air, and we can only do so much.”

Read the webcomic below.