Wednesday, January 20, 2021

2020’s lesson ~ 2021’s test

The fourth day of the New Year has already dawned upon us and we are looking at 2021 with cheerful and hopeful eyes ~ with the thought that it would be kinder and gentler to us. This is the collective global prayer ~ for it is human nature to be optimistic. It is also human knowledge that a new day brings more clarity than the night. And, 2020 was indeed one long terrible night. However, while we know that each day brings with it new opportunities, we also see things better in the light of the day ~ so, if anything else, besides the opportunities, we must also look to see the cracks and dirt of our lives. As the New Year was approaching, vaccines against the novel Coronavirus were already administered to a few people in some countries ~ so we are placing much hope on these vaccines. However at the cost of sounding a spoilsport, let us also remember that nobody has guaranteed that these vaccines are full-proof. So, we must ask ourselves whether the 2020 night is actually over. This basically means that the threat of the virus has not disappeared completely hence we cannot return to the pre-COVID days in a hurry, which translates to continuing with all safety measures. The whole world concedes that 2020 has brought one too many ugly truths home ~ and social media went viral with all kinds of “be good” messages and videos. But how much impact these ugly truths about us has had on us is debatable ~ seeing the way we have conducted ourselves as the lockdown was being eased and then during the festive season. We are already back in the rat race, and being the dogs in the dog-eat-dog world. This then definitely underscores the numerous viruses we need to battle against, other than the novel Coronavirus, which are the viruses of pandemic proportions that afflict our hearts, minds, souls and spirit. According to some experts and researchers of Sciences and Humanities, these are the viruses that have spawned the novel Coronavirus. In simple terms, the human race is now grappling with the Frankensteins we have created. So, while 2020 is over, will 2021 be any different as long as these other viruses remain unaddressed and unchallenged? One of the viruses that have entered deep into our souls is the utter disregard for our environment through what we believe is “modern living”. This virus alone is enough to destroy us ~ in fact, it has already destroyed so much of us and we don’t even notice it. When we cannot walk in our compounds without breathing in lungful of fumes and other pollutants of non-stop traffic round the clock, we are killing ourselves and our future. Pollution adversely affects our health, which affect our activities and capacity to be productive, which in turn affect our economy ~ and the cycle goes on and on. This virus also underscores the virus of human greed, which creates unhealthy competition, ill-will and animosities ~ all leading to alienated lives and fragmented communities and societies. Our “modern living”, our “development” is making our lives nastier, shorter and more brutish but we don’t know that, do we? We only know that we must always come up on top and never mind how. As long as these numerous viruses afflicting our minds, hearts, souls and spirit remain unaddressed and unchallenged, 2021 may well be worse than 2020. God forbid but let us also be prepared to face the consequences of our decisions and actions ~ for it is not God, who has poured His ire against the human race. It is the human race turning against ourselves. 2021 is an opportunity to ask ourselves why we have turned against ourselves and resolve how we can stop being our worst foe. Surely, we need to give ourselves another chance? Surely, we need to be kinder to ourselves? Surely, we also deserve to give ourselves a break from the harshness that we have incurred on ourselves? What, in any case, would a new day or a new year mean if we do not make the best of it? To most, making the best of a new day or a new year has come to mean making a bigger pot of gold but 2020’s main lesson was exactly that ~ that pot of gold is not life. 2021 will now reveal whether we have learnt that lesson.