A time for self-reflection


  • Heart Talk
  • Sunday, 22 Mar 2020

Do it for our doctors: And all our healthworkers and frontliners... Comply with the MCO and get a new perspective on life. – Dr Gee Teak Sheng/Facebook

STAYING home under the movement control order (MCO) does many things to your mind. It wanders everywhere, from trying to find fault in the government to questioning everything to talking to God. And also the wife tends to spot our little omissions a tad too easily! Many men who used to malinger are now “faking work” to get away from home, I am told.

Coming to the Almighty to whom most us turn to in these difficult moments, many are wondering why has this Superpower taken over the world, partially locking down earth. I guess not many of us are questioning this state of affairs, taking it as it comes instead of cracking our heads. It’s a dangerous virus that is spreading easily, period.

But to me personally, and I suppose to many others too, I construe this as hitting the pause button to many of our lifestyles. A brief interlude from the hustle and bustle of our lives which is often too preoccupied with feeding and massaging our egos. Although this is only momentary, I can bet that life for all will go back to normal in matter of months.

And we would have forgotten the close brush we had with a near disaster for the world. Most of us would continue with our daily grind of trying to work hard, make quick money, use money for gratification or to grease palms.

Because besides being home and annoying our spouses or being driven nuts by our children, life was pretty normal, right? We got our meals right on time, water and electricity supplies were normal. We were also saving a lot of money by not spending on fuel and public transport to travel to work or eating.

Or is it going to be different this time? In the process of getting back to our families, books and movies, will we have the strength to do an introspection? I run the risk of moralising here but if trying to make sense is misconstrued as moralising, so be it.

I know of someone who has the hobby of collecting luxury cars which he hardly uses. I had always asked him in the past what all this was for and he said it was to satisfy his childhood passion of owning these vehicles. For simple folks like most of us, this may not make sense but to each, his own I suppose.

However, he was a different man a few days ago. The Covid-19, he says, has made him realise what was he going to do with his prized possessions when he cannot even take a drive out at the moment. He confessed that it was his ego that made him “amass” these cars which he now says are just pieces of metal with wheels. I would certainly like to hear what he has to say once the situation returns to normal.

For some, all the money stashed up in their savings whether from hard work or get-rich-quick schemes and actions, can get you nowhere. You cannot fly to any part of the world for now. And it could last for months in some cases.

You tend to wander what the envious postings of pictures taken during your vacation in exotic parts of the world were for. Were they merely to inform your friends that you are alive and ticking or were they merely an attempt at one-upmanship? Did you not know the envy and frustration you cause with some of those who cannot even travel to another state in Malaysia losing their self-esteem? Reflect, my friends, it’s a time to reflect.

I wonder how Malaysians who are used to living beyond their means are going to honour their financial commitments now that work and trade has come to a standstill. And those personnel who allegedly receive fixed bribes from illegal activities, can they continue with their expensive lifestyles?

I could not help thinking of the many “Ah Longs” who took advantage of many Malaysians who were in financial distress by charging them exorbitant interest rates, forcing some of them into suicide or making them give up their hard-earned properties to settle their dues.

The agents of these loan sharks used to harass them by splashing red paint or use other forms of threats if they default in their payments. Under the current MCO, these unscrupulous people will not be able to terrorise their clients anymore. But I am sure they will be back to their nefarious life once everything gets back to normal. I do hope they will do some soul searching now.

In this moment of solitude, I recall some of the trivial reasons for some of the quarrels with family, friends and colleagues that had caused much heartache. I am sure many of you out there also cringe with shame recollecting the angry and senseless arguments which seem so trivial in the wake of the Covid-19 attack.

To the racists and bigots of all religions, let us close our eyes and speak to the Almighty. Has Covid-19 a class, caste, race, religion, nationality or ethnicity? Of course not! It transcends all barriers. It is staring into our eyes to tell us we are mere mortals who have no right to classify your fellow human beings to what you think they are.

I know this is not going to be permanent or it is the end of the world and our lives will be changed forever. What I know is that the impact of Covid-19 will have a telling economical effect for all. But it will do us a world of good to reflect on our past and future actions. We have lots to learn but if we refuse to learn, there may not be another chance.

In the meantime, sit back, relax and enjoy this solitude. But use your phones to reconnect with your relatives and friends whom you have been ignoring or avoiding. Love can conquer everything.

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