Empower people in new norm

The onus should be on the public to decide whether or not to exercise in parks during any period of restricted movement. — Filepic

These days, I try to look on the bright side to keep my mind, body and soul happy when an unfortunate event takes place.

This is easier said than done, but I try.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been nothing short of a test of physical, emotional and mental endurance for the 7.8 billion humans populating the world.

No one has been spared but some may have better financial, emotional and social support to cope with the pandemic.

Prior to the pandemic, I used to procrastinate about exercising regularly because I was lazy and overlooked the benefits.

However, since the movement control order came into effect in March last year, I have been making it a point to wake up early and walk within my condo block for at least 20 minutes.

Let me be honest, the release of endorphins works wonders.

I am more tolerant of the countless daily antics of both my children, aged five and nine.

The neighbourhood parks, such as Astaka field in Petaling Jaya and Bukit Kiara Park, have become my spots to seek solace in the mornings and evenings.

I would put my headphones on, listen as The Star ePaper is read to me and just walk.

If I have not completed listening to the ePaper, I would continue in the late evening, once I am done with work and family matters.

These public parks are so important to me that I dreaded it when Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the facilities would be closed during the MCO.

I understand the need to stop any large gatherings and I am all for it.

I understand the need to close some hiking trails because they are narrow and people are bound to accidentally bump into one another. Practising physical distancing may be impossible at some spots.

But most parks are spacious and people can observe physical distancing.

When I am on the ground reporting, people always compare the malls to the parks.

“If the malls can be reopened, why not the parks?” they ask.

After a year of fighting this pandemic, I believe we have some understanding about

how to avoid contracting the virus.

The authorities should empower the public to make their own decisions on whether to exercise in public parks.

The onus should be on us.

I also believe that if we have family members who are in the high-risk group, we cannot jeopardise their health by being careless.

We have to limit our trips and travel only when necessary.

Those in the low-risk category should be able to make sound decisions for themselves, such

as whether to go to a park or mall.

I do hope that in the future, under any form of restricted movement, public amenities such as parks will be kept open.

It is extremely important to ensure that our mental health is maintained too.

Almost daily, I see people breaking down, either in public places or among family members and friends.

Once the pandemic is under control, I hope for more social and sporting activities to resume.

We are social beings and we need to be out and about in the safest manner possible, armed with our hand sanitiser and face mask.

This should be the new norm.

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