How We Can Thrive Over the 2019-nCoV Outbreak
How should we respond to the current 2019-nCoV situation in our country and community? Can we really thrive over this virus? Here are 3 things I have come to realise as I reflected upon our current uncomfortable situation this morning:
A Time to Reset
The city of Wuhan, where it all started with the current 2019-nCoV situation, is on lockdown. And images of the city in lockdown reveals a ghost town, as people opt to stay home in the interest of public health and for the fear of being infected. You can see a video of the locked-down Wuhan posted by the South Morning China Post a few days ago:
Imagine Singapore on lockdown because of the same virus. Now, take a good look around at your surrounding and realise that we are nowhere near there as yet. Even with the announcement of new cases of confirmed 2019-nCoV cases every 1-2 days, let’s be thankful that we can largely go about our lives in a “business almost as usual” manner. We are not living in lock-down.
Yes, meetings and events got cancelled and these may affect our work and livelihood. This feeling is not unfamiliar with me as I too have had 3 learning events cancelled as a result of the DORSCON level being raised to orange. While these disruptions have brought with them its share of frustration, I have come to realise how the unanticipated disruptions may also afford us the rare opportunity and bandwidth to slow down, take stock, take care of ourselves and our loved ones, refocus and restrategize. It afforded me the opportunity to look at things that I have taken for granted, when things were in the status quo, and allows me to look at how I can do things better. For example, the cancellation of my learning events has given me the chance to work on a long-overdue project on my to-do list- exploring webinars. Indeed, as I took time out to reflect on this this morning, I am aptly reminded:
Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.“ ~ The Bible (Proverbs 27:1, ESV)
A Time to be Thankful
While we may become aware of socially undesirable behaviours amidst the current situation (e.g. of creating and spreading fake news, of taking advantage of the situation to make a quick buck out of selling items such as masks and hand sanitizers, of hoarding daily necessities which causes panic and deprives those who might truly need the items, of playing inconsiderate pranks, shunning our healthcare workers or making critical and xenophobic comments and so on), we can also turn our eyes to notice the people who are dedicated to their work and causes so our lives can simply go on.
We remember the frontline healthcare workers who are in their various stations to ensure people who are infected are healed and also to ensure that the virus is contained. We also remember the other people who continue in their line of duty so we can travel from place to place, have food to eat, have a clean environment to be in etc.
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” ~ The Bible (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ESV)
This morning, as I ate at the hawker centre, I conversed with a 70-year-old uncle who was working there as a cleaner. He shared with me how it is a back-breaking job trying to clear the tables and carry the heavy load of used utensils to the cleaning points for washing. Since coronavirus spreads via respiratory droplets, I have come to appreciate that not only is his job physically demanding but it is also risky as they clear the cutlery and trash left by diners. As I finished my meal, I made it a point to utter a simple thank you to him in appreciation of his efforts.
Let’s not take for granted these people who continue in their line of duty so our lives can go on as usual. Appreciate them by simply mouthing a verbal thank you, send an electronic thank you card or vote, suggest and be engaged in an initiative to thank these people at https://TransmitThanks.emmaus.sg.
We want to also be thankful for all the do-gooders amidst us who are keeping the vibes up. Whether it is the father-and-daughter tag team in sending encouragement and breakfast to healthcare workers, the good samaritans who blessed SCDF paramedics and staff with milo, families handing out masks, business owners doing good, or the go-gooders who are starting ground-up initiatives, companies sponsoring lunch for healthcare workers or raising funds so healthcare workers can be ferried to and from their duty, we appreciate you for going the extra mile during this critical period when you do not have to.
A Time to Rally Together & Act
Besides being thankful, we can also help our communities to thrive over this virus by being a caring neighbour to everyone. There is a Chinese saying that goes “远亲不如近邻” which translates to mean that (especially in times of need), a nearby neighbour might be able to respond and help more promptly than a relative who is far away. As I did my quiet time this morning, I am reminded of this same thing through Our Daily Bread; “relatives might care deeply for their family members and desire to be of help in such circumstances. But if they’re far away, there’s little they can do in the moments when calamity strikes. Neighbours, however, because they’re close by, are likely to know of the need quickly and can assist more readily.”
… better a neighbor nearby than a relative far away” ~ The Bible (Proverbs 27:10b, NIV)
We can be that neighbour to someone and someone can be that neighbour to us as we look out for one another. And remember, our neighbours are not defined by geographical proximity but it can be anyone (even people who persecute us), as Jesus taught in Luke 10:25-37. For parents, this would also be a good time for children to see and learn the right values, just as Mr Tong’s and Jennifer’s children did.
And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” ~ The Bible (Ecclesiastes 4:12, ESV)
You can volunteer with some charities to make sure that the underprivileged are not forgotten as people go into preservation mode in response to the threat. You can also start or join a meaningful movement or campaign at https://TransmitThanks.emmaus.sg or https://tinyurl.com/tq57cwv. Do remember to go about being a neighbour effectively and safely.
You can also pray for them and here are some prayer pointers shared by Thir.st.
It will take some time until we find a cure or an antiviral drug to treat the virus. But in the meantime, we can thrive over the virus as a person and as a collective community. So, as a community, let’s reset, be thankful and rally and act…
Before I go, here’s a simple infographic I did up to remind how we can be socially responsible:
Take care there.