Social resilience key to pandemic recovery


HAVING lived with the restrictions and repercussions brought forth by the Covid-19 pandemic for almost two years, life post-pandemic is certainly something that everyone is hoping to experience soon.

Apart from abiding by the government policies and the standard operating procedures (SOPs) put in place by the Health Ministry and the National Security Council, how can we deal with the effects and consequences that Covid-19 has inflicted on higher education, social activity and human civilisation?

How can we address the new normal, especially where cultural norms challenge the rules and regulations outlined in the SOPs?

The answer is social resilience. There is a need to be mindful at individual and community levels.

In multicultural Malaysia, where numerous festivities and traditions usually involve social gatherings, food sharing and so forth, the greatest challenge is making sure everyone stays vigilant while practising cultural and religious norms.

It is time we learned from neighbouring countries like Japan, which has managed to coexist with Covid-19 since the middle of last year by being mindful, rational and socially resilient.

Social resilience is about individuals and communities having the ability to cope with threats or challenges in their daily lives with their knowledge, skills and values.

Since the enforcement of the first movement control order, Malaysians have been made aware of the coronavirus, its risks and the ways we can protect ourselves from it.

As Covid-19 becomes endemic, it is essential that everyone takes the steps necessary for recovery.

Cultural adaptability will enable the cultivation of social resilience. In that way, we will be able to move forward stronger and wiser.

It takes a lot of effort to cultivate social resilience.

And it all starts from young, through education, and that’s where preschool teachers must do their part. If children are taught the right coping methods, they will be able to hold their own in any circumstance.

ASSOC PROF DR VISHALACHE BALAKRISHNAN

Director , Centre for Research in International and Comparative Education Universiti Malaya

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