By Ho Lee Peing, Sin Chew Daily
The number of coronavirus cases in the country is steadily climbing, and the two-week movement control order will very likely be extended if it fails to effectively cuts the infection link.
Quoting a Taiwanese friend of mine, Malaysia did not go through the SARS ordeal and couldn't imagine an outbreak that is going to be many times more terrible than SARS. As such, many Malaysians were seen roaming about freely on the first day of MCO, thinking the 14-day control period was a windfall of extra days off, as people packed their luggage and traveled outstation, balik kampung or even enjoyed protracted tea breaks with friends.
Indeed, too many people -- from senior government officials all the way to people in the street -- have acted too carelessly in the face of such a terrible outbreak. To be honest, many people don't see the seriousness of this whole issue. At a time the third wave of outbreak is about to erupt any time, what we need most is not nonsensical remarks by irresponsible politicians, less so rumors like "someone gets infected somewhere", "someone has just died...", "petrol stations are shutting down" or a certain supermarket has become high-risk infection area.
When people get tensed up because of the viral outbreak, we don't want to read unverified fake information pouring in from all sides. All we want is a calm heart, and stay at home for these two weeks to tackle the disaster.
During such trying times, can all our politicians please put politics aside. In a society inundated with negative energy today, we yearn from some spirit-lifting positive energy which in its essence has always been existent right in our midst.
My friend's daughter is a nurse, a profession used to be pridefully called "angels in white" or the exalted title of "Nightingale". Today, she and many others are seen as frontline warriors in the uphill battle against the coronavirus, engaging in a job that put their lives in grave risks.
I was reading the message of my friend's eldest daughter who feels sorry for the utterly challenging job her younger sibling is now taking up, having to bear tremendous workload every single day and only having the luxury of cheering with her fellow healthcare workers when they get exhausted and hungry. It has past twelve midnight when they finally manage to finish their work for the day and take their dinner.
I was thinking, when many people are still complaining that the authorities have not done enough to contain the outbreak, or question the healthcare personnel's reluctance to carry out COVID-19 tests on members of the public who are excessively worried about their own health, how many are actually grateful to what these fighters have done for us?
Perhaps some healthcare workers might say in a self-scoffing manner that their parents might regret now they let their daughters become nurses, but my friend told me she never regretted the least even though she was very worried about he right at this moment. In fact, she said she was proud her daughter was part of this momentous war against the virus. All she wanted was for Malaysians to stay at home and not to create more patients for the country's healthcare system.
In Kuching, we have a team of volunteers put up by Kuching Life Care Society quietly collecting essentials needed by the frontline personnel even before the MCO was put into implementation, with the help of a group of good Samaritans who insist to remain anonymous. All they want to see is that when the frontline fighters are hungry, thirsty or tired, there is always a cup of hot drink or several pieces of heart-warming cookies for them, or a mattress they can lie down for a short rest so that they will be energized after the break to go on battling the deadly unseen enemy.
Despite the skeptic attitude of outsiders, including some who disdainfully questioned their ulterior motive, these kind-hearted people don't get defeated so easily. Someone in the team has said, "As long as we are doing the right thing, we won't bother what others think about us." If we stay away just because we care what others think about us, then the frontline healthcare workers and patients at hospitals will suffer. It strikes me that it takes such a powerful belief for a group of people to charge ahead steadfastly towards a noble purpose.
When COVID-19 outbreak first erupted in China, we could read from the social media that many healthcare personnel opted to leave their families behind to dedicate themselves to such a highly dangerous life-saving mission.
What I now come to understand is that such a noble aspiration transcends geographic boundaries and nationalities and has nothing to do at all with skin color. I heard that in Sarawak, there is a nurse who leaves her seven children to join the war against the virus and take care of infected patients.
Be it the Kuching Life Care Society members or frontline healthcare workers, these are all heroic individuals contributing quietly and selflessly out of the public limelight. While we are not fighting the war in the battlefront, at least we can do our part in more ways than one to help, be it a few words of encouragement, well wishes or prayers, even to stop the senseless quarrels or forwarding unverified information in order not to add to the trouble our society is now shouldering.
Please, my earnest plea to all Malaysians, show more love, and create less trouble.