EDITORIAL: Have Our Lives Returned to Normalcy?

MANY have claimed that their lives have returned to normalcy. They can go out; carry out their work or business and go anywhere they want, even travel overseas for business or for work.

But I beg to differ. Life is no longer the same as it was before the pandemic hit the world. Bad habits have remained the same but our lives going back to when it was pre-pandemic? No would be my answer.

Many of us are finding it tougher to sustain our businesses. While certain sectors may be experiencing a boom, the majority of us are facing challenging times just to stay afloat. Rising cost of materials and import of food items (raw or processed) have sent a rippling effect across the board. Businesses which had thrived for decades have closed down while newer enterprises are just skimming the surface to stay afloat.

Even as a publication, SJECHO is facing an uphill battle to maintain its printed edition. Rising paper costs and ink have made printing our monthly edition more and more difficult. Most of the materials are imported and with the dipping of our currency, the problem gets worse. Revenue from advertising has almost been halved; with many advertisers hesitating to invest. Many have gone silent while others are trying to strike a deal to get more freebies and paying less in return.

I guess everyone is facing a hard time. Everyone has a return of investment to take care of; just like we do too. The community paper is available free for readers but the underlying costs to put it together is definitely not free.

But just like everyone else, we will endeavor to keep going to bring the paper back to better days. This September marks the 15th year since we established and printed our first copy in Subang Jaya. We continue to improve our services and coverage. On top of the printed copy, we now have a thriving website and Facebook on social media; while we have also established Whatsapp and Telegram groups to flash out significant news to those who come on board these two platforms. To date, we have almost 8,000 people on our Whatsapp and Telegram groups; and the number continues to grow.

Sometime this week, the Ministry of Health will be announcing its decision on whether it will lift the requirement for people to unmask when indoors. This decision will be based on several criteria according to the Minister. Personally, I will continue to keep my mask on in areas or places I consider high risk. I still keep a safe distance from the person beside me if he or she is a stranger. I continue to sanitise my hands whenever I come across a handshake (yeah, handshakes are back). My own paranoia is to ensure my own safety and I believe every individual will have their own criteria before masking up or unmasking.

What disgusts me (and I have to get it off my chest) is the sight of people still spitting in public areas. Despite the fact that Covid-19 is still within our community, people have gone back to the bad habit of spitting out their phlegm as they walk around in public or worse still, out the car window while driving. Personal hygiene and practices will help reduce the risk of catching anything infectious. But how do we tell the disgusting people out there who spit like they breathe?

The pace of life in Subang Jaya (and I am sure in every part of the country) is picking up. In the month of August itself, community activities and celebrations were probably at its highest post-pandemic. This is expected to continue till the end of the year and probably even pick up more speed with talks about the next general elections being just around the corner.

Well….this is what we had hoped for when we were cooped up at home for two years doing nothing but eating kuaci while watching TV. Let’s pull up our socks and go!

Here’s wishing you a good month ahead and HAPPY MALAYSIA DAY.