Scary times are upon us, and things have only gotten worse as each day starts with an update from our director-general regarding the status of Covid-19 patients in the country. I suppose this is a good a time as any to say that ignorance indeed is bliss.
Ever since the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO), families have been separated, people are fearing for their job security, their businesses, while students and education-providers are trying their level best to adapt to online learning. As each day passes, there seems to be no end in sight to this pandemic. No light at the end of the tunnel.
And when times are desperate, people turn desperate. People allow fear to overcome them, unintentionally, unwillingly. Some are better at hiding it, while some are struggling to contain their heightened anxieties.
There was a letter written by a “concerned father” directed towards the government, expressing what is probably within the hearts of many parents who have been separated from their children since the start of this crisis.
Long story short, he has written in as an appeal to the government to allow his child to return home, and it has caused quite a stir on social media, with many netizens giving their two cents as to why this sacrifice has to be made.
Now, I understand his plight. Truly. He isn’t the only parent worried sick over his child. Studying away from your home state/country is no longer a rare instance in Malaysia. I myself am currently stuck in West Malaysia, just another Sarawakian stranded here because of this pandemic.
However, I had the opportunity to fly home just before the announcement of the MCO two weeks ago, but I didn’t. I didn’t because I have family back home, and at the time, I was paranoid of bringing back the virus, if I actually had it. Sarawak had no reported cases at the time, and I wanted to keep it that way. Sadly, that isn’t the case now.
I also have an ailing mother at home and a father who only has his own two hands to care for her, and I’m sure that both of them would love to have their only child home during this scary, uncertain period in Malaysia’s history. I was afraid to go home because I didn’t want to potentially infect my mother, who’s past the age of 70 now.
And we all know that the highest mortality rate is among those with advanced age and history of chronic illness, both of which apply to my mother.
Even once the Movement Control period is over, I have my doubts of returning home so soon. I don’t know when I can safely see my parents again. My father’s birthday is coming up soon, and I had wanted to fly home for the occasion, but alas that hope was dashed when the MCO was extended.
But there really is no point to be bitter about it. All we can do is try to be positive because worrying about it, wishing that things were better isn’t going to help. What will help is for us, as a nation, to cooperate with the government, trust our leaders and the frontliners, trust that they are doing everything within their power to curb this disaster.
I understand that as a parent, you will never stop worrying about your child’s safety. No matter how old they are. My mother once told me that I will forever be their little baby girl no matter how old I am. And I get it. It’s natural.
But look at it this way: your child has to learn how to care for themselves sooner or later. The fact that they have to learn through this pandemic is unfortunate, but better now than never.
We also need to remember that we are fortunate to only be asked to stay home. Others are not so lucky.
Yes, we students can’t return home during this period, but have we thought about the frontliners who go home to their families, putting their own families’ health at stake, not knowing what they brought home with them?
Have we thought about the homeless on the streets, with no one to care for them except the Good Samaritan Grab drivers who all contributed their own money to feed them?
Have we thought about the patients who passed away due to this virus, alone in the chaos, who didn’t have a chance to say goodbye to their families because it was too dangerous for them to visit the hospital?
To lessen and hopefully prevent these circumstances, we need to remember that whatever we do affects those around us. We have to break the chain of infection, and to do that, we just need to stay put and have patience.
My mother would say, “This too shall pass.” And I think it’s a good mantra to keep close to heart.