Disclaimer : The images used in the accompanying text are, otherwise stated, drawn from the social media. Some may be considered inappropriate and for that, I offer my sincere apologies. That said, we are living in trying times.
Its April 2, 2020 and we Malaysians were supposed to be enjoying our second day of ‘liberation’, if the MCO (Movement Control Order) as initially announced for March 18 -31 by the Government were to play out unchanged.
But as we approached the end of the MCO, we Malaysians, after being introduced and getting used to the many analytical reports and charts related to the topic of COVID-19 as well as the daily briefings from the Ministry of Health (MoH), expected the MCO to be extended.
Hence, it came not as a surprise when the Prime Minister announced that the MCO was extended for another two weeks but rather, it was expected. If there were any protestations to the announcement, it was either muted or non- existent.
After all, this is a pandemic and there is nothing like a pandemic to scare the daylights of every living soul on this planet. Especially when the end game is death at the hands of unseen little beings and the number of deaths already number in the thousands.
An epidemic on a global scale. Not your average everyday flu, as some are wont to say. Or fever.
Truth be told, if somebody were to tell you that you will be cooped up in your home for weeks on end, some of us will say, ‘Yeah, bring it on’.
And why not? To be given the opportunity and time to stop and stay in one place, relax and catch up on all your favourite TV programs and movies, catch up and renew family ties, do all the things that you had planned to do and even maybe read a book or two : yeah, why not.
I would love to say that I have made good use of the ‘lockdown’ time. I mean, catch up on TV? Check on that, re-runs included.
Catch up on my list of wanna-see movies? Check. Just love the VoD feature on the service provider.
House chores? Always have helped around the house, so that’s a non-starter. Except for cooking. That’s my wife’s domain and I have been banished from that domain along, long time ago. Literally and figuratively. Not that I am complaining. Never have.
Family? Well, there are five of us cooped up together, with the youngest two being in Kuala Lumpur and Cyberjaya respectively. So far, so good. Daily roll calls help reassure the parents that the boys are doing A-OK and so far, we are reassured.
Working from home? Or to use the currently so trending a term, WFH. Not much of an issue as my approach to working in the new millennium is now proving me right, especially when you have been a member of the self-employed community for almost a third of your total working life.
A notebook, a mobile with a hotspot and voila, you are wired in.
Nevertheless, I have yet to catch up, to my satisfaction, on my reading as well as my writing. Mind you, the reading and writing is not confined to my personal blogs as well as the blogs that I follow. A fair share of the reading involves reading some technical write-ups and naturally, what I have read I will write my summaries in my little purple notebook.
Yes, its purple in colour and my penmanship is still good, I think. Its legible still.
However, to be realistic. Despite the many benefits to the MCO being extended, the one thing that nobody can ignore or dismiss is the economic effect of being locked down. Even those in the highest offices of the country.
With the MCO extended to the 14th of April, that will mean that we have been economically inactive for almost a month. Granted that WFH can help to drive economic activities but its only up to a point. Its ok if you are an employee but for they who are either self employed or physical business owners, a day without economic returns is a day too long, never mind 28 days.
The stimulus and aid package announced by the Prime Minister was very much welcomed, especially if the bureaucracy before aid can be dispensed is minimized to the barest of minimum.
Naturally, there will always be pockets of the community who think they know better how to extend and package the aid, but then again, they have been found profoundly wanting when the opportunity was available to them. Enough said.
Despite the MCO Phase Two is just a few days in, several statements and developments have indicated to what will possibly happen in the next few days.
The conversion of a major exhibition centre into a makeshift recovery centre for the affected is in line with the statement that the worst has yet to come point to a further extension of the MCO. The health authorities expect the local chapter of the pandemic to peak in mid-April.
If that is the case, no one should expect the MCO to be lifted on the 14th April as announced. In fact, we should consider ourselves lucky if the MCO can be lifted by May. That’s the way I read the situation.
Whether I read the situation rightly or wrongly, one thing can be sure. Life, as we know it before this, will not be the same. The air will be fresher with carbon footprints greatly reduced, the environment will have recovered for the better, the waterways will have been cleaner.
Its also time to take stock about a lot of things : about life as well as our contribution to the betterment and conduct of humanity as a whole. Maybe this is the new world order that we should all strive to realise.
Not because you can flex more muscles than the other or have more plastics displaying either Visa or Mastercard or AMEX or JCB or whatever credit card scheme there may be, compared to the next person or whatever other materialistic criteria people impose to measure one’s perceived worth.
There was a video that made its rounds on social media recently, about the world’s button being put on Re-Set. Makes a lot of sense when I viewed it.
Definitely something to ponder