Sarawak celebrates Hari Raya and Gawai soon, but the tradition of visiting each other will have to change, Efy Evita Chalilina writes.
The number of Covid-19-positive cases in Sarawak continues to rise, reaching 546 today.
Although the number of daily fresh cases has tapered off slightly, it is not a sign for us to stop fighting. Remember, the number of people under investigation has hit 5,515.
Yet, even while contact tracing is ongoing, we can still see a significant number of vehicles on the road. The number of arrests has risen too.
There are many who think it is fine to violate the movement control order. (Sarawak is not implementing the federal government’s conditional movement control order, which is aimed at easing the nationwide lockdown.)
Some are going out for groceries in crowded places while not practising proper social distancing. Some are getting too comfortable, even bringing their children along.
We have seen many being infected by the virus and many affected by current circumstances. With the extended movement control order, most people are having a hard time coping. These are tough times for most people, especially daily-wage earners. No work, no income.
Some local vendors, though, can still earn an income by running their small businesses using social media apps like Facebook and Instagram. But it is a different scenario for other vendors – especially the older generation – who earn their daily income by selling goods at the markets.
Fortunately, apart from relief funds provided by the federal and the state governments, grassroots leaders have come up with their own initiatives to ease the burden of communities by providing necessities to each family. The aid may not be much, but it will at least reduce the burden of some households that face difficulty in getting enough food.
This is a critical time for leaders to show their support for the community despite their different political beliefs and allegiances.
At times like this, we are all just trying to survive the pandemic.
As Hari Raya (24-26 May) and Gawai (1-2 June) approaches, most of us wish the coronavirus will stop spreading so we can celebrate this festive season merrily.
If only it was as easy as that. We still need to observe social distancing even after the movement control order is lifted later. There is still no clear evidence to show that the spread of the coronavirus will stop once all infected patients are treated.
So we may not be able to keep the festive visiting tradition going this time. That said, if the spirit is in us, we can still keep the Raya-Gawai mood alive by celebrating the occasion at home with our loved ones.
We will have to adhere to the ‘new normal’, as the PM mentioned, even after the government lifts the movement control order. We should not compromise our future just because we are ‘bored’ at home.
Let’s fill our stomachs with home-cooked food and home-baked cakes and cookies while our frontline personnel are doing the best they can to fight Covid-19.
The voices of these frontline personnel have mostly remained unheard – perhaps because they are too tired to scream, too tired to explain themselves to the public.
Just because we are not responsible for treating infected patients, does not mean we should be less helpful by not staying at home.
Just because we do not need to do what the police have to do to enforce the rules, does not mean we should break the rules.
Just because we do not need to clean hospitals or deliver food to customers, does not mean we have to be socially ignorant.
Do not flout the rules because we cannot bear staying at home. We are not the only ones. In fact, we are not alone in this whole saga. The whole world is in the same boat.
So, stop the ignorance, and become more aware of the current situation. We are almost there….
This is a critical time to obey the law if we want the virus to reach its endgame. It will only be over if we show unity in fighting this together.
Remember, everything else, including ngabang, can wait.
Efy Evita Chalilina from Kuching is a postgraduate student currently studying at a local university. She is passionate about sustainable development and youth empowerment