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AsiaGlobal Voices

Trending Opinions From Across the Region

AsiaGlobal Voices is a curated feed of summaries of opinion articles, columns and editorials published in local languages in media from across Asia.

The publication of AsiaGlobal Voices summaries does not indicate any endorsement by the Asia Global Institute or AsiaGlobal Online of the opinions expressed in them.

Because Of The Pandemic, People Have Tough Decisions To Make
Tuesday, July 6, 2021
Because Of The Pandemic, People Have Tough Decisions To Make

Tay Boon Suat, consultant and member of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry, in Lianhe Zaobao (January 29, 2021)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory

Because Of The Pandemic, People Have Tough Decisions To Make

The Covid-19 pandemic has not only created the biggest economic crisis Singapore has ever faced, but it has also severely affected the lives of all Singaporeans. Under this new normal, citizens have several decisions to make.

First, businesses. The government has allocated nearly funds to rescue companies, restructure bank loans, and provide additional credit financing. This is only a short-term fix and companies must ultimately rely on their own abilities to survive. If the situation deteriorates, more than half of local retail companies may collapse within six months. The lack of foreign tourists, high rent and operating expenses are additional pressures. In this era of the Internet of Things, business owners will need to decide how to adapt and transform to survive. The pressure created by the pandemic can be seen as a good opportunity for business owners to change their way of operating.

Second, family financial planning. According to a recent survey, Singaporeans’ basic financial planning performance worsened in 2020 from the previous year. Passive income fell while the amount of borrowing from relatives and friends has risen. The number of people having difficulties in repaying their mortgages has also increased. Restrictions on international travel, however, mean that households are spending less on expensive habits such as taking holidays abroad.

Educating children on the nature of money and making wise financial decisions should be the main goal of Singaporeans today particularly as young people are facing adversity. College students may be unemployed after graduation, and those currently working could be laid off. Everyone will need to be prepared be ready to enter new fields of work at any time.

How the government, companies and citizens make these decisions amid the challenges of the pandemic will ultimately determine Singapore’s future.


The Flood Season Begins – And The Budget for Drainage Is Insufficient
Monday, July 5, 2021
The Flood Season Begins – And The Budget for Drainage Is Insufficient

Misheel Lkhasuren, columnist, in The UB Post (June 14, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Michael Eisenriegler)

The Flood Season Begins – And The Budget for Drainage Is Insufficient

After heavy rain in Ulaanbaatar, roads and road tunnels are flooded every summer, causing inconvenience to pedestrians and drivers. Due to insufficient of storm drainage system, residents have no choice but to jump over and tread the puddles and pools that form after rain. In some cases, floods make it impossible for people or even cars to travel.

This shows that the surface drainage system is not well developed in Ulaanbaatar. Moreover, there are not enough drainage and drainage wells. An estimated 180 billion MNT (US$63.2 million) is needed to rehabilitate 1,100 km of roads in Ulaanbaatar and install drainage lines and wells. With such a budget, the city’s roads will not have water-related problems.

This year, however, only 1 billion MNT (US$351,000) was budgeted. In other words, as the budget was halved, it is clear that the construction of drainage pipes this year will be less than last year. Furthermore, it is unclear when the city will get rid of flood issues.

Roads are being repaired every year, and new roads are being built, but no drainages are being built with them. In any case, roads with drainage pipes are very rare in Ulaanbaatar. This summer has once again reminded us of the need to build more drainages. If it is not possible to build additional drainages on existing roads, it is important not to repeat the previous mistakes when building new roads.


In This Civilized Age, Superstition Should Be Wiped Out
Monday, June 28, 2021
In This Civilized Age, Superstition Should Be Wiped Out

Bùi Hoài Sơn, professor and Director of the Vietnam National Institute of Culture and Arts, in Viet Nam News (April 19, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Wagner T Cassimiro “Aranha”)

In This Civilized Age, Superstition Should Be Wiped Out

Social development leads to a number of consequences that make many people feel insecure, anxious and turn to religious beliefs as a consolation. Many individuals and organizations have built spiritual tourist sites, creating spiritual activities to fill that need. Also increasing this need is the impact of new media (social networks) in disseminating information and creating online communities to connect religious and spiritual practices. 

This practice has both positive and negative consequences. The positive thing is that the spiritual beliefs and practices help people be more determined in their work. Practicing religion is also part of traditional culture. Traditional cultural values are thereby maintained and strengthened by Vietnamese society as the country integrates into the global system. 

There are some negative consequences, as it leads to the restoration of unsound customs and pushes some people to superstition, adversely affecting the spiritual and material life of each individual and family. A lot of scammers take advantage of beliefs and spirituality for profit, and many highly educated people still believe in superstition. 

The boundary between religious practice, belief and superstition is quite fragile. Religion and belief contain many good values. Each person's life will become happier and more worthy of living by pursuing the values that religion and beliefs bring. To properly practice religions or a belief, we need to first understand the nature of it.

Religion or belief teaches people to think well, live well, and do good things for others. When we do that, society will certainly be good. When we practice the right religion and belief, we will create a lifestyle that respects the traditions in the family. Other factors, without scientific basis, are not the nature of religion or belief, and therefore, are not conducive to individual personal development and should be removed from social life.


The Vaccine Divide and Economic Recovery: Public and Private Sectors Should Work Together
Monday, June 28, 2021
The Vaccine Divide and Economic Recovery: Public and Private Sectors Should Work Together

Jo Ha-hyun, Professor of Economics at Yonsei University, in Munhwa Ilbo (April 30, 2021)

Summary by Soomi Hong (Photo credit: Yonhap)

The Vaccine Divide and Economic Recovery: Public and Private Sectors Should Work Together

Despite the South Korean government’s initially ambitious target to achieve herd immunity from Covid-19 by November 2021, the many delivery issues have made it impossible to meet that goal. It will be impossible to secure the needed quantity of Moderna vaccine, the top choice among Koreans, in the first half of the year. As for Pfizer, it is unclear that the additional 20 million doses which the government claims to have secured will be delivered.

Korea currently has a very low vaccination rate of 4.7 percent which is 35th out of the 37 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. Compared to vaccine leaders such as Israel and now the US and the UK, both of which have attained around 50 percent of their populations, the vaccination-rate divide in the world is widening. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted that the economic growth of the US and the UK will be 6.4 percent and 5.3 percent, respectively. It does not take a scholar to see a clear link between the vaccination rate and economic recovery.

An analysis of the data from the 37 OECD countries data reveals that a one percent increase in vaccination rate is closely followed by around a 0.021 percent boost to economic growth. For both the national health and the economy’s sake, maximum effort must be put on securing more vaccine doses. This should include increased cooperation with the private sector to do so. When the country faced a similar challenge during the oil crisis, private companies actively did their part to secure the petroleum for the country. This is a time for the private and the public sectors to work hand in hand to save lives and put the economy back on the fast track to recovery.


With Great Power Comes Greater Irresponsibility: Big Tech Needs Regulation
Wednesday, June 23, 2021
With Great Power Comes Greater Irresponsibility: Big Tech Needs Regulation

Ram Madhav, Member of National Executive, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu nationalist volunteer organization, and Member, Board of Governors, India Foundation, in India Today (June 4, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes

With Great Power Comes Greater Irresponsibility: Big Tech Needs Regulation

Big Tech companies including social media giants have grown big and powerful. With size grew their indifference and intransigence too. Governments are increasingly finding it untenable. Countries like China, Russia and North Korea used their authoritarian regimes to take a hard-line against the tech giants. Several European countries have taken steps to limit the power of these Big Tech companies and protect the privacy of their citizens. Having experienced the unprecedented power of these companies including the audacity to ban the Twitter handle of the president of the country, the US has initiated hearings to look into the possible power abuse committed by Google, Facebook and Amazon.

The Government of India's response can be described as mild and moderate. Twitter should understand this from the fact that instead of dismissing its self-righteous statement accusing the Indian police of "use of intimidation tactics" and a "potential threat to freedom of expression for the people we serve", the IT Ministry thought it necessary to issue a lengthy three-page rebuttal.

We are living in a technology-intensive world. The 21st Century world has moved on from multipolarity to “heteropolarity”. A heteropolitan world is one in which international power is no longer limited to national governments. We are passing through a transition into the heteropolar world. There will be debates over actions of the governments. Tech giants controlling social media platforms stubbornly resist any regulatory efforts.

It is important to build a national consensus over the need for a rational regulation that would not affect free speech but helps protect the privacy and dignity of the individuals. Big Tech companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter cannot continue to resist these moves claiming self-regulation.


The President Must Welcome Full Investigation For Crimes Against Humanity
Tuesday, June 22, 2021
The President Must Welcome Full Investigation For Crimes Against Humanity

Mel Sta. Maria, Dean of the Far Eastern University (FEU) Institute of Law, in Rappler (June 17, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Greger Ravik)

The President Must Welcome Full Investigation For Crimes Against Humanity

The report of the International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda “that there is a reasonable basis to believe that the crime against humanity of murder was committed” in the conduct of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, prompting her to finally ask the ICC to conduct a full investigation, is news in many parts of the world.

If ever it proceeds, President Duterte and all those named in the request for full investigation will be given due process. As the president’s followers would say, “You have nothing to fear, if you have nothing to hide.”

President Duterte must welcome this full investigation not only for the sake of his own name but for the country. Because if he is truly innocent, he will be rightfully vindicated and the country’s tarnished reputation corrected. He should not evade the process utilizing technical grounds. The investigation is good for the country.

There is a saying that justice must be done though the heavens fall. The case of a Philippine president as the subject of a request by an international prosecutor for full investigation for crimes against humanity is historic. Whether or not you are for it, let us all monitor this unprecedented development.


The Terrifying Cost of Enforced Modesty
Tuesday, June 22, 2021
The Terrifying Cost of Enforced Modesty

Pervez Hoodbhoy, physicist and writer, in Dawn (June 19, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: brewbooks)

The Terrifying Cost of Enforced Modesty

Implementation of the government’s Single National Curriculum (SNC) has started in Islamabad’s schools and for students the human body is to become a dark mystery, darker than ever before. Religious scholars appointed as members of the SNC Committee are supervising the content of schoolbooks in all subjects including science. In the name of Islamic morality they have warned publishers not to print any diagram or sketch in biology textbooks that show human figures without clothes.

For the teaching of biology this surpasses existing de facto prohibitions on teaching evolution, the foundational principle of biological sciences. Illustrations are crucial to explain the digestive system and human reproduction, as well as the mammary gland. Diagrams, sketches and human skeletal forms cannot be draped. Excluding these from schoolbooks reduces the teaching of biology to a farce.

Inhibitions about the human body, of course, have been around for much longer than SNC. It is just that henceforth there will be still more. When enforced, clerical interpretations of modesty cause people to suffer grievously. For example, ex-senator Maulana Gul Naseeb Khan roundly condemned diagnostic devices that can look inside women’s bodies because, “we think that men could derive sexual pleasure from women’s bodies while conducting electrocardiogram (ECG) or ultrasound”. Claiming that women would lure men under the pretext of medical procedures, the maulana’s party banned ECG and ultrasound for women by male technicians and doctors when in power in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Trained females, however, were not to be found.

By inviting mullahs to regulate biology textbooks the government has put Pakistan in reverse gear. Pakistan is not just in reverse gear; it is hell-bent upon moving backward as fast as possible. The kind of mixed-up, confused and ignorant generations the curriculum changes will produce in times ahead is absolutely terrifying.


Young Executives are Transforming the Corporate World
Monday, June 21, 2021
Young Executives are Transforming the Corporate World

Kim Yong-sub, director of Trend Insight & Business Creativity, in Hankyoreh (April 18. 2021)

Summary by Soomi Hong (Photo credit: Jeon Han/Korean Culture and Information Service)

Young Executives are Transforming the Corporate World

In an office, those with about four years of work experience are in their late 20s or early 30s. They typically oversee the operation but do not traditionally hold much power in the organization. A recent performance-evaluation scandal, however, shows that this traditional power structure might be in for a great shake-up.

The spark at semiconductor conglomerate SK hynix was started by a member of the junior staff who boldly sent an open email demanding transparency in the performance matrix system. Traditionally, such a “revolt” would have been easily dismissed, but as other young staff joined in applying pressure on management, dismissal was no longer possible. Despite their relatively insignificant individual power, this group collectively had clear leverage because of their numbers and their tactics.

The movement quickly spread to other conglomerates, including Samsung, LG and Hyundai. Young executives all over are now making collective demands for greater transparency and reforms. At LG Electronics, they set up the first-ever office worker union headed by somebody with only four years of experience. This movement is likely to continue and lead to an overdue transformation of the top-down management structure in most Korean companies, starting with demands for a greater transparency and the dismantling of the performance-matrix system that traditionally rewarded employees based on years of service and not merit.

The world is changing, and 20- and 30-year-olds are driving that transformation. They did not appear out of nowhere, but their impact will grow as they discover the bargaining power they have as a group in a traditional corporate world that for too long simply dismissed them.


The Government Is Taking A Risk Of Olympic Proportions
Monday, June 21, 2021
The Government Is Taking A Risk Of Olympic Proportions

Ito Takatoshi, deputy vice minister for international affairs at the Ministry of Finance of Japan (1999–2001), Professor of International and Public Affairs at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University, and Adjunct Professor and Professor Emeritus at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), in The Japan Times (June 18, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Dick Thomas Johnson)

The Government Is Taking A Risk Of Olympic Proportions

As of June 15, Japan had the second worst vaccination record among the 38 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, with 20.9 doses per 100 people. Contrast that with the United Kingdom’s 106.1 doses per 100 people and the US rate of 93.3 doses per 100.

Why is Japan lagging so far behind the rest of the OECD? For starters, the government was late in securing purchase agreements with vaccine producers, not least because the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare was reluctant to provide rapid emergency approval for the new vaccines.

Japan has a history of controversy over vaccine side effects. During the Covid-19 crisis, the authorities insisted that a clinical trial for vaccines be conducted in Japan before approval, even though large-scale randomized controlled trials had already been undertaken elsewhere. Another obstacle for Japan’s vaccination program is the rule that only medical doctors and nurses may administer doses.

Even if the state of emergency in Tokyo and Osaka is lifted as expected, there is no guarantee that another wave will not demand new lockdowns soon. With the Olympic Games scheduled to be held from July 23 to August 8, and the Paralympic Games from August 24 to September 5, such a wave could be more like a tsunami.

Without herd immunity (or something close to it) in Japan, hosting the Tokyo Games is a risky bet. Suga could win big: If the games are a success, and infections do not rise, he is more likely to be re-elected as the leader of his Liberal Democratic Party, at which point he might even call a snap general election. But that does not change the fact that he is willing to gamble with people’s health, livelihoods and lives.


Why It Is Necessary To Prohibit “Anti-Communism"
Monday, June 21, 2021
Why It Is Necessary To Prohibit “Anti-Communism"

Lo Man-tuen, Chairman of Wing Li Group (International) Ltd, Vice Chairman of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, and Executive Director of the Hong Kong Association for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China, in Ming Pao (February 22, 2021)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: David Dennis)

Why It Is Necessary To Prohibit “Anti-Communism"

Since the implementation of the National Security Law (NSL), the issue of “anti-communism” in Hong Kong has again garnered attention. The term specifically refers to those who deny the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) leadership. There are at least two reasons on why anti-communism must be prohibited in Hong Kong.

First, anti-communism poses significant harm to "one country, two systems". Opposing the basic system of the country led by the CCP is against "one country, two systems". If Hong Kong does not prohibit anti-communism, "one country, two systems" will not be able to guarantee stability or long-term development.

Second, on a practical level, the introduction of the NSL means that the issue of anti- communism can no longer avoided. This is because Article 1 of China’s Constitution clearly stipulates that “the socialist system is the fundamental system of the People’s Republic of China (PRC)." Articles 22 and 23 of the NSL state that "overthrowing and undermining the fundamental system of the PRC established by the Constitution" is a crime of subverting state power. As a result, anti-communist speech and actions are illegal and must be investigated in accordance with the law. Against this backdrop, “anti-communists” will no longer be eligible to run for elections or to enter the establishment of the Hong Kong. This will become political law, according to Article 6, paragraph 3, of the NSL.

Finally, school education in Hong Kong is Westernized and full of anti-communist content. The school system must therefore also prohibit anti-communism by eliminating relevant courses and ensuring that national education courses cultivate respect for the leadership of the Communist Party and are compatible with "one country, two systems". This is the basic premise of prohibiting anti-communism in Hong Kong and the Special Administrative Region government should attach great importance to it.


The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Globalization
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Globalization

Jung Jae-hwan, Professor of International Relations at University of Ulsan, in Asia Business Daily (April 6, 2021)

Summary by Soomi Hong (Photo credit: @bts_bighit)

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Globalization

It is no secret that Covid-19 is accentuating many pre-existing economic and social problems. Especially in the West, the racism problem is on the rise with the upsurge in violence against Asians. In the US state of North Carolina, an African-American man is reported to have shouted that “Chinese should go home”, while wielding an iron rod. In Atlanta, a white American man shot eight women, four of whom were of ethnic Korean.

On the other hand, only two days before the shooting incident, the boy band BTS gave a performance at the Grammy Awards and, the year before, a South Korean movie Parasite surprised the world by winning in four categories at the Academy Awards, or Oscars. Evidently, globalization is bringing more diversity but is also causing terrible side effects such as racism and nationalism.

While some reckon that the recent surge in violence against Asians is due to the pandemic and some efforts to blame China and Asians in general, it would be more accurate to say that the pandemic magnified existing problems rather than caused them. Prior to the pandemic, the world observed the rise of “Trumpism” in the US and Brexit, both of which were driven by xenophobia and anti-globalization rhetoric.

BTS and other popular phenomena that foster diversity and inclusiveness keep in check racism, xenophobia and nationalism. We would need to look after the people who are “left out” from the benefits of the globalization movement. These are the people who have lost their economic and social competitiveness and are most vulnerable to fall into the dark side of globalization. Without providing appropriate safety nets for this minority, the world will not recover from the negative side effects of globalization even after it overcomes the pandemic crisis.


Senior Ministers in the Government Now Seem to Believe Their Own Lies
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
Senior Ministers in the Government Now Seem to Believe Their Own Lies

Tavleen Singh, columnist, in The Indian Express (June 6, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Government of India)

Senior Ministers in the Government Now Seem to Believe Their Own Lies

It is time that Prime Minister Narendra Modi realized that when his ministers tell barefaced lies, they reduce his personal credibility. The home minister was not seen or heard during the worst days of Covid-19’s catastrophic second wave. He surfaced to declare that we “controlled the second wave in a very short time” and that India has “set a record in the world for fastest vaccination”. Does he know that out of 100 Indians only 15 are vaccinated, compared to 88 in the United States and 96 in the United Kingdom?

When it comes to shameless lies, the master is the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. He says his state is now a “Covid-safe zone”. Has he noticed the number of people dying in villages of fever and breathlessness without ever being tested for Covid-19? Has he noticed that his officials conceal Covid-19 deaths by handing people death certificates that simply state that they died of pneumonia or a heart attack?

The most tragic irony of all is that senior ministers in the Government of India seem now to believe their own lies. So, they appear routinely on television to declare that it is state governments who are to blame for the grim shortage of vaccines.

India is facing a health crisis bigger than any we have seen in more than a century and the only way to move forward is by rebuilding rural health facilities at supersonic speed. The prime minister needs the help of every chief minister to do this. When it comes to procuring vaccines, though, it is solely his job and he needs to do this with ultimate transparency. The one thing we do not need are for his most trusted lieutenants to be trying to erase the truth. It cannot be erased.


The Advantages of the Greater Bay Area National Strategy
Wednesday, June 9, 2021
The Advantages of the Greater Bay Area National Strategy

James Wang, Research Director at the Bay Area Hong Kong Centre, in Ming Pao (March 8, 2021)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: johnlsl)

The Advantages of the Greater Bay Area National Strategy

At the beginning of 2019, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) proposed that China actively promote the expansion of metropolitan areas including the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area. This national strategy will have a significant long-term impact on Hong Kong for several reasons.

First, Hong Kong will continue to be favored as an important area for the overall prosperity of China. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has recognized Hong Kong and Shenzhen jointly as the world's second largest city cluster in terms of innovation capabilities, further illustrating the important role Hong Kong plays in the region.

Second, as Hong Kong and Shenzhen are neighbours, this supports the development of a twin-city metropolitan area. At the end of 2019, Shenzhen’s population density was about 6,725 people per square kilometer, while Hong Kong’s was approximately 6,800 people per square kilometre. When combined, the two are the most densely populated metropolitan area in the world, surpassing even Tokyo with 6,100 people per square kilometre. Both cities therefore have a great deal to learn from each other in terms of city planning.

Third, Hong Kong will be able to cooperate closely with the other parts of the Greater Bay Area (particularly Shenzhen, Dongguan and Guangzhou) in addressing issues relating to environmental safety and carbon emissions. In addition, there will be a strengthening of collaboration in other important areas such as public health and epidemic control. Regional issues require successful cooperation. The many advantages of this national strategy will clearly outweigh the disadvantages.


Why Doesn't The UK Grant The Rohingya The Right Of Abode?
Tuesday, June 1, 2021
Why Doesn't The UK Grant The Rohingya The Right Of Abode?

Shih Wing-ching, Chief Executive, Centaline Group, and owner of the am730 newspaper, in am730 (February 26, 2021)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: KM Asad/European Union)

Why Doesn't The UK Grant The Rohingya The Right Of Abode?

On the grounds that Hong Kong people have been unfairly treated politically and are not granted their political rights, the UK government decided to allow those who hold or have the right to hold British National (Overseas) passports to qualify for right of abode in the UK. The British view this as a moral commitment to the people of a former colony.

The persecution that the Rohingya in Myanmar suffer is far more serious than that of Hong Kong people. If the UK is to perform its moral duties towards the people of Hong Kong, why not do so for the Rohingya, too? In fact, the British are more responsible for their situation. The British moved them from what is now Bangladesh to the northwest of Myanmar. Because the Rohingya are different from the Burmese in appearance, culture and religion, they have been unable to integrate successfully into Myanmar society. Ethnic conflicts have persisted. When it comes to the Rohingya issue, the British were the initiators.

Recently, the problems of the Rohingya have intensified. Myanmar’s government has sent troops to suppress them. Villages have been burned down and citizens killed. Their situation is far worse than that of the dissidents in Hong Kong. While dissidents in Hong Kong have lost their right to stand for election, the Rohingya do not even have the right to citizenship or survival.

The reason why the UK is unwilling to assist the Rohingya is simple: They have no assets to bring to the UK. Most of them have limited skills to earn a living and may become burden to the state. Hong Kong citizens who intend to immigrate to Britain must understand that the UK’s willingness to accept them is not based on morality or responsibility, but merely on political and economic calculations.


Own That Pain And Anger – Why Turn Away?
Tuesday, June 1, 2021
Own That Pain And Anger – Why Turn Away?

Vinita Dawra Nangia, Executive Editor, in The Times of India (May 16, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: PradeepGaurs / Shutterstock.com)

Own That Pain And Anger – Why Turn Away?

As the Covid battle roars unabated, all around is the sound of fading faith and breaking hearts. On social media – which in these times has fast transformed from the scourge of humanity to its greatest savior – you hear faint voices of hope gradually turn into doubt, fear and panic before quietly fading away, victims of this insidious virus that taunts humanity and mocks our bastions of security.

Helpless gazes turn to one another, but who amongst us knows any better than the next? Not even the most optimistic any longer hold out a glimmer of positivity. We have been defeated. What is gone is lost forever, and with it is gone our belief of invincibility and the arrogance of knowing all. We thought science and technology had all answers and were infallible predictors of future menaces, ready with antidotes. But of course, that was before an invisible virus taught us better. We debated whether we are the makers of our own destiny or mere puppets in the hands of Nature “red in tooth and claw”. As we helplessly wait for the scourge to end its torment – when it will – there is little left to speculation.

Sadness and desolation are all around, deeply entrenched in our hearts and souls. But at least it proves that we still feel – we feel for each other. As “the sea of faith” retreats with a last “melancholy, long, withdrawing roar”, we still hang on to our humanity, our empathy, pain and anger. And of course, we must! Let us own that pain and anger rather than turning our eyes away – why deny it with talk of positivity and hope, when we can clearly see hope retch and gasp for breath, miserably curled up in a dark corner?