Short-lived period of watchfulness


  • Metro News
  • Saturday, 11 Jul 2020

Some people’s careless disposal of their used face mask is worrying. — Filepic

THE human race has learned little since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world.

The realisation of the fragility of life or the “new normal” in Malaysia and other countries was so short-lived that people are back to their bad habits once the movement control order (MCO) evolved into the recovery phase.

The bad habits include throwing their rubbish anywhere and everywhere, not practising good hygiene, as well as being a nuisance and bullies, on and off social media.

The dawn of Covid-19 was scary at the beginning of the MCO here on March 18, when we saw next-to-no cars on the road, businesses shut down and schools closed.

I remember looking out my bedroom window at night, in my apartment building, for weeks on end and feeling the stillness around, where there was barely any human movement outside because everyone had to stay home.

I felt extremely sad and anxious, because the eeriness of this unprecedented global crisis was a reflection of the invisible killer, the virus itself, making us humans dispensable at any second.

So, we as upstanding citizens dutifully followed the government’s rules and guidelines to manage our lives in facing Covid-19 — from strict social distancing, wearing face masks and working from home to adhering to regimented self-care and hygiene standards in and out of our home.

Life slowed down and people started to realise this was no joke.

And while the air became cleaner, the skies bluer and traffic jams were non-existent for almost a good three months, the downside was that thousands of people in Malaysia lost their jobs.

This thing called life was indeed fragile, and people were toeing the line, staying clean and helping others in need.

In the media, kind and noble acts of humans helping the poor with food and essentials were daily highlights.

The roads were cleaner too, and indiscriminate rubbish dumping was kept at bay, which was a relief for local authorities.

StarMetro also reported in May that for the first 20 days of Ramadan this year, Alam Flora Sdn Bhd recorded an 18% drop in domestic waste collection, with 27,000 tonnes of domestic waste in Kuala Lumpur compared to the 33,000 tonnes collected during the same period last year.

This was due to the absence of bazaars and buffets. It was also because people were cooking their own meals at home.

At one point, some public toilets were cleaner as people finally realised that cleanliness could save lives.

But I had also noticed that people started dumping their used face masks on the road outside my place of residence, despite the fact that health experts had warned us that those need to be disposed off properly in a waste bin.

I cannot understand the sheer laziness of these irresponsible people.

We are now in the recovery phase and people’s nastiness is starting to show once again.

A few days ago, in France, a bus driver was declared brain dead after being attacked for refusing to let aboard passengers without face masks as per the rules imposed to combat the coronavirus.

In a California restaurant, a Caucasian tech company chief

executive officer was caught on camera spewing horrible and hurtful comments to an Asian family while they were having a birthday dinner, which he later apologised for.

Since the pandemic began, Asian Americans have faced tremendous racist and xenophobic abuse.

On social media, keyboard warriors behave like fighting dogs separated by a security gate (the gate here being the online platform), arguing over mostly trivial matters that have nothing to do with them.

And worst, the toilets are filthy again.

Why can’t some people remember the fragility of life and learn to be decent human beings?

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