EDITORIAL: A Journey of a Thousand Miles Starts with a Single Step

THE next phase of our journey has begun; from pandemic to endemic. After almost 19 months of wading through treacherous waters, things appear to be ready for us to sail towards a better and hopefully safer environment.

The worst appears to have passed and if we look carefully, we might actually see a rainbow in the horizon. Everyone’s looking forward to a better tomorrow I am sure. But we must tread carefully like walking on a tray of eggs. The days ahead are fragile; everything we do will determine if we successfully pull ourselves out of the gutter.

I must admit it has been a painful and sometimes depressing journey in 2021. When Covid-19 numbers hit an all-time high, I often wondered if it was the end of the world. Being one of the people manning the community ambulance walkie-talkies, there were days every emergency call we heard was Covid-19 related. It didn’t matter what time of the day or night it was, calls kept coming in for medical assistance for those who encountered difficulties in breathing and other complications.

But that is thankfully over now. I’ve had people asking me how the situation has been for Covid-19 cases in recent weeks. I am personally relieved to be able to say that cases have drastically dropped to merely a handful in a week.

Efforts must now focus on recovery. We need to get back a semblance of our lives pre-pandemic. No doubt, things will never be the same again but efforts must still continue to pick up our lives and move on to better days. It is easier said than done I am sure you will agree as efforts do not just fall on our shoulders as individuals but as a nation.

I have started dining out whenever I feel it is safe for me to do so. I make ad hoc decisions on where I should take the bold step to remove my face mask to dine in public. For me, all the SOPs required for dining in must be strictly adhered to by the shop operator. What happens if I encounter one which isn’t right? I would stop frequenting that shop to dine in.

The easing up on inter-district travel and being able to commute freely between Selangor-Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur has brought some relief to my state of mind. I am sure it has provided that same effect on many others. Being cooped up at home for too long has made us all “angry, disgruntled, disillusioned and depressive” and rounder. But being able to move around in a bigger radius doesn’t mean I will throw all precautions out the window.

These days I move around with a smaller circle of friends when we go out for some social activities. I recently went down to Kuala Lumpur to have a look at some murals in Bukit Bintang and I must say it was fun just being able to walk around and break a sweat. I have started birdwatching again with my circle of friends and we have purposely chosen places which are less frequented by others. Whenever we encounter a group, we keep our safe distance although it is nice to catch up with familiar faces in the group whom we have not seen face-to-face since the pandemic began.

Inter-state travel is expected to be given the green light by the government very soon. I am anxious about this. Firstly, how will people react to this? Are we going to see massive movement of people on the highways? Is this good or bad?

Secondly, will I decide to travel once the ban is lifted? Or should I wait awhile before deciding to do so? These are tough questions which I have no answer to. Like many others, I am longing for a break too. Is jumping on the bandwagon going to be a grave mistake? I have more questions than answers on this matter.

I have decided however that whatever decisions I make in the following weeks and months, the priority is my own safety and those of my loved ones. Abiding by the SOPs to keep safe will be my priority before deciding on anything else.

Let’s put our own safety at the top of our priorities. We have come this far. Let’s not waste it. Let’s take the next step carefully together. Have a safe October everyone and stay safe as always.