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LIM WING HOOI is a Corporate Communications practitioner with one of the top tier banks in Malaysia. With experience and passion in the written word, old fashion as he may sound, still believes that “the Pen is Mightier than the Sword.” Started out in the banking industry to understand how “money makes the world go round,” the author believes that having in-depth knowledge about the world around us is the key to living sustainably. Going back to the publishing world after three years in the banking industry, he gathered vast experience in the publication world, having been Managing Editor of a book publishing firm and Chief Reporter of the Leading English Daily in Malaysia. The author is recently married to his childhood sweet heart and stays with their two dogs in Selangor, Malaysia.
Worried. Anxious. Unsettling. This is the 20th century, where modern medicine has an answer to everything. Well, almost. As the number of COVID-19 patients and death cases continue to rise, most of the governments around the world are taking preventive measures by limiting human interactions and likewise in Malaysia, Movement Control Order (MCO) was instituted. Since early June, this blessed nation is in the recovery phase where the experiences of being in a state of lockdown was no longer apparent. In fact, the concern is no longer about the pandemic but rather, the state of the economy which came to a standstill since the lockdown began. Reflecting on what happened three months back, where the streets in major cities were quiet and similarly with shopping malls where only essential service providers such as groceries and pharmacies were opened, and the light rail transit – which people complained about being ‘sandwiched' in their daily commute previously – was simply empty. As I experienced working between being in the office and working from home on alternate weeks, I have the best of both worlds, having the ability to enjoy the serenity of working from home as well as being able to experience the world out there on my way to the office during that period. Outside home, I experienced the ghostly neighbourhood feeling – parks were empty as joggers stayed home to abide by the laws related to the lockdown and the roads which were usually congested during the rush hour was even quieter than during the major festive seasons when many had left for their hometowns. During those weeks where I got to work from home, I experienced the additional time that was previously allocated for being stuck in traffic jams. Time that was saved from not travelling from point A to B – and this included not having to go through congestions, traffic lights, looking for parking, stopping at toll gates and other miscellaneous braking that will add time to a journey has allowed me to appreciate the environment around me more than before, and I was astonished with how beautiful life is when I am given time to look at the varieties of flowers I have in my garden, to listen to the birds chirping, to breathe the fresh air and yes, hold my wife's hand. All this under the roof that we have committed to grow old together in. Another change: I agreed with my wife to order our groceries online. Again, we saved time by efficiently selecting what we wanted online instead of hanging out in grocery stores and subsequently not needing to queue at the cashier as well as to wait for the lift! The next activity may not involve much time saving but has greatly enhanced our quality of life where my wife has cooked more often than before. While watching my wife cook, I visualised myself being the hardworking farmer, toiling in the farms from dawn till dusk, all sweaty and muscular at the end of the day. Plans are underway to incorporate some farming activities in my gardening routines. As much as I appreciated the new sense of quiet and the fresh air, as a dog lover, I am not allowed to leave my home, let alone walk the dogs! From this lockdown, I learnt that apart from walks, what they enjoyed most is me being around them. They enjoy pats (and massages too!) on their forehead, being groomed, or being talked to. It is no wonder that they are man's best friend – they simply mirror and adapt to my lifestyle and moods. Apart from time in the garden with my dogs, I managed to enjoy television series and movies from my living room television. One of them was Zoo, an American drama television series based on the 2012 novel of the same name by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge. Premiered on June 30, 2015, I can't help but feel the goosebumps while pondering about how interconnected the current pandemic is with what I am watching in front of me. With theories about the COVID-19 virus originating from animals and infecting humans, Zoo encapsulates all that, and more. In the television series, animals were infected with a virus that made them aware of their hierarchy in the planet and they have the intelligence to coordinate with various species from various levels of the food chain to put human ‘in their place', reversing their fate as a subservient species to be a dominant one. This reminded me of the meme of how animals started roaming free during lockdowns around the world while humans remained ‘locked-up' in their own homes. This pandemic has been an eye-opening experience. Not many thought such an event could happen in their lifetime. Unlike any crisis that the world has seen before, say, perhaps the major world wars, everybody was affected, regardless of race, creed or religion. The question that loomed ahead is: How did we get into this mess? And how are we going to get out of this? I don't have the answer. Perhaps Mahatma Gandhi did. “The world has enough for everyone's need, but not enough for everyone's greed.”
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