BELIEVE me, I waited for days looking for something more cheerful to write about, without having to spread Covid-19 further, it was a pointless attempt. Our lives and existence have been revolving around nothing else but the virus for weeks now, leaving us discomposed. The staple of bad news in the air is probably more toxic than the virus itself.
Frankly, the conscious attempt to move away from the incipient devastation by projecting the number of people who have recovered is timely and a brilliant play on human psychology.
As I was looking for more windows of optimism, a good Samaritan sent me a video on the celebration in Wuhan where the lockdown was lifted in a countdown at midnight on April 8.
It was an array of lights and sounds that greeted the parched souls of Wuhan, who had gone through the horrendous experience of being under curfew, beyond what we can even imagine, with many surviving and others who didn’t.
At the countdown, barricades were removed and people were happily queuing to drive out of the city, a simple freedom of movement which has been curtailed for months now.
Ebullient crowds gathered across the city to celebrate, after months of social distancing where people became people’s worst enemies. The colourfully lit skyscrapers danced and pranced in agreement that the worst was over and there is a new beginning waiting to unfold. Watching the video, I was lifted into optimism that “this too will pass” and we will be able to come together in festivity and celebration. I know for sure, then, we will value our family, friends, colleagues and people better. It may take us a long time to build the confidence that it is all right to touch and be touched but till then we will invent and innovate to show our love to family, friends and people around us.
We will learn to understand, appreciate each other’s culture and sensitise ourselves that in the face of adversity, the perceived differences are too small and insignificant, what’s important are coming and working together for a single purpose – which is mutual survival. We will start adopting a “live and let live” attitude and knowing that tomorrow is always a gamble, we will live in the present, making the most of what we have.
Beyond Covid-19, there are resilience, recovery and renewal greeting us in anticipation, in our personal lives, work and with business. Even politicians who thought they were above the Maker, will realise that money, power and authority are worthless in the face of the unknown. When the “enemy” does not differentiate and decides to wage a war on humans, all we have amassed is worthless. The power of the unknown is always greater but the power of togetherness is ever more forceful.
This is, perhaps, the time for us to rethink how we have mercilessly plundered the earth for our gains, the gains that will not save us another day on earth.
Homo sapiens world over will ponder, many times now, when they suppress and interfere with nature to live beyond their means. When we predate on nature destroying the life cycle, there are many ways the nature shows her fury. The virus is a wake-up call, earth’s cries for help were probably heard.
For our future, we have to mend our ways or perish. The virus has shown how vulnerable we can be despite all the glory humans have claimed. The vaccine is reportedly at least a year away and till then human lives will be the collateral damage.
The silver lining, if we are looking for one in the midst of MCO worldwide is that as the economic activity has slowed down or come to a halt, air quality in Europe and China is said to have temporarily improved. For climate champions, this shows that positive climate change is possible only if human behaviours change.
Satellite imagery is said to show a reduction in the levels of nitrogen dioxide – caused by cars, power plants and industrial facilities and some experts say the reduction in pollution may have even saved more lives than the death toll caused by the deadly virus in China.
Just late last year, Delhi was choking in smog for weeks, an annual phenomenon, which sees the city’s millions falling ill or losing their lives due to air pollution. There was nothing the country could do to stop the threat which returns to claims its place.
The apocalyptic haze left millions helpless and crying for reprieve and life went on, haze or otherwise people have to live and they continued to be exposed to the noxiousness in the air. We would remember similar haze threatening us with shut down.
The government has extended the MCO till the end of April with some sectors allowed to function. Till then, it is a game of endurance against the plot to enfeeble us.
While I remain positive, aligning my inner wisdom, my fear remains if it will be an uphill task for the government to get the people to see the point of social distancing for long. When festivals come around, all the guidelines may see no relevance in the minds of Malaysians who will start to disport themselves in full glory.