Since February 27 2020, mass anxiety about the Coronavirus now dubbed Covid-19 has spread like wildfire. The thick emotion of fear has escalated sharply in the past few weeks, and it has become a burden for many to offer reassuring news without conveying false hopes that may put vulnerable people at risk.
But in these times of uncertainty, we also need to pause and celebrate some of the positive changes that have already occurred on an unprecedented scale.
Despite the isolation, we find meaning and connections
With the recent events of restrictions, lockdowns and cancellation – finding that balance between slowness and isolation will continue to be a challenge in the weeks to come. We will need to stay alert with our local public health authorities on the degrees of physical connectivity that are advisable in our communities to help protect the most vulnerable.
For the moment, our thoughts and prayers must go to those who must remain away from being their loved ones. We must interpret the longing we may feel for more connections as a reminder and celebration of the importance of these connections.
The sun will rise again.
Illnesses and accidents always trigger an avalanche of unexpected positive events – they tend to channel our attention toward things we usually take for granted. The harsh truth behind it, it is not until things break down that we start appreciating them – or even remembering that they exist.
The mass anxiety, extreme measures, and manic media coverage around the COVID-19 pandemic have drastically restructured our attention towards many crucial aspects of our lives.
In remembering that our lives are intrinsically connected, and in taking note of the fragility of the world we took for granted, we are also reminded of how precious we are to one another.
Co-operation is spreading on a global scale
Before the panic around COVID-19 mobilised our attention, the world was already facing an epidemic of rising uncertainty about the future. From politics gone mad to climate change, the symptoms of rampant individualism were already ravaging our lives.
The COVID-19 epidemic is providing a timely antidote to all of this – the vital importance of coordination and cooperation has become a reality again.
What we forget to notice, and what never gets reported on or shared on social media, is the cooperative business of life, as usual, such as people patiently waiting their turn and taking precautions to protect the weak, families spending time together, volunteers delivering food to elders.
On a much bigger scale, world governments are now coordinating preventive measures with a degree of cooperation never seen before such as implementing economic measures to assist the economically vulnerable.
We as a busy community in 2020 are finally slowing down
From poor mental health to pollution and increased polarization, the societies’ addiction to over-production, over-consumption, and individual achievements has been categorised as public health, political, and environmental disaster.
As social distancing measures are being implemented around the world, a sharp increase in life-saving air quality has already been documented from China to Italy, with carbon emissions reaching new lows each day because of reduced air travel.
At this point, most of us are already living in conditions of enforced slowness and distancing that are finally allowing us to work less, spend time with loved ones, and find the time to chat, read, play music, cook, go for long walks, and engage in all the pleasures we had forgotten to cultivate as we were chasing the futile goals of our accelerated, anxious lives.
Remember, it is times like these where need we keep our heads above the water for the sake of ourselves, our loved ones and our community. Keep calm and carry on the Malaysian spirit as high as you can! #StayHopefulWithIQI