Opinion | The human nature unfolded in COVID era

Opinion | The human nature unfolded in COVID era

In the pandemic era, we have to set to a new Norm of living. Photo: AFP

By Dr Kacey HAU

I’m walking in Nan Lian Garden next to Chi Lin Nunnery in one hot summer evening just after sunset. The sky is still blue and bright above, it compliments nicely with the orange hue lighting in the garden, in keeping with the candle lighting atmosphere as in the monastery of the old days.

Established in 1934 and renovated in Tang dynasty style (AD 618–907), the Nunnery is a large temple complex of elegant wooden architecture, treasured Buddhist relics and soul-soothing lotus ponds. The scenic garden is meticulously landscaped over an area of 3.5 hectares, in which every hill, rock, body of water, plant and timber structure has been placed according to specific rules and methods of Tang architecture.

This is a tranquil place to walk alone and I often invite all my friends from elsewhere in the world to visit there when they come to our city. This is home for serenity, and it contrasts right from the moment one steps inside, with bird singing, with wind breezes through the trees. It’s quiet and close to nature, and more importantly it brings your awareness close to yourself. After a 20 minutes’ walk, one can enjoy a descent vegetarian meal in the restaurant or teahouse.

This is truly an oasis amidst the city bustle. Here I come to reset my troubled mind. I remember every small moment that I spent here with my mom. Those were the intimacies between mother and son that would stay in my memory. Life journey is like a train, the beloved gets on and we enjoy a journey together. At certain moment there’s always a time we’ve to say goodbye to each other and get off. I realize that life and death are some of the important moments that we cannot get away.

Civilizations creates pride and arrogance, we indulge into affluence with rise in economy. As a mortal man, biological properties and physical rules still prevail above all human knowledge, technological advancement, individual emotions and our wish lists. COVID pandemic surely reveal the same principle. Nature still dictates and we are still mortal. We have to clean up our own mess arising from greed and ignorance.

Nothing’s new under the sun. As the stories of any epidemics unfolded in human history, two things always happen for sure. One is the new emerging infection model, with the new arisen germ that creates massive kill; and second is the pertaining fear factor. During any pandemic, anxiety is endemic. The ongoing threat of a potentially fatal viral infection causes panic, anxiety, and an exaggerated fear of illness and death. The relentless spread of COVID-19 is spawning widespread worry about one’s health and the health of loved ones. In other words, the viral pandemic has triggered a parallel fear epidemic.

The public has channeled its fear into frantic buying and hoarding of food, masks, sanitizers, soap, disinfectants and toilet paper. Human activities have come to a lockdown with restrictions of activities and movements like flights, group activities and self-isolation or, medical quarantine. Anxiety is palpable and no easy to get away. It’s all about survival. The pandemic is damaging social structures and obliterating the fabric of global human relations. Fear unfolds the ugly part of human nature underneath: inconsideration, selfishness, protectionism, scapegoating, lying in order to get away.

Living in the era of pandemic is perhaps a good time to take reflections of our lives, some of the aspects that are often forgotten and take it for granted: to earn in prosperity and to learn in adversity. We see the limits of individuals, whilst we see one society or a community can’t be overshadowed by an individual. One of the very important steps we all learn from this COVID or in any epidemic is society has to move as a whole. In the era of YOLO or You Only Live Once, individuals are highly praised and freedom is the utmost life quality thing that one has to maintain. It can’t be compromised, others can’t intervene. It is true that individual is to be respected, but for the survival of human beings, we have to learn to respect our nature mother and to get united and move together. For example, the disciplines of hygiene care, masking and self-isolation mean so much for one individual as well as for entire society. That is exactly what health professionals once share the best weapon fighting COVID-19: “We stayed at work for you. You stay at home for us.”

Unfortunately, COVID is not easily going away. It will persist. This is something we as Hong Kong citizens or people in elsewhere must learn to adapt to. Unless we give up, step down or retire, we still have to fight. In the pandemic era, we have to set to a new Norm of living. We can only restore our spirit through a harmonious society, where people are stretching out hands to help and support to one another. Be a Good Samaritan, you will be blessed by helping, regardless of ethnic, religion, social classes and political standpoint. As a physician, we are trained how to save lives regardless of their background without having a selfish judgment. Remember, the merit of restoring our society’s faith starts from you.

Some says there is a karma from what we have done in the past, and what we receive or face as today. On the other hand, Carpe Diem, live at the moment or one can certainly take it further by enjoying the pleasures of the moment without concern for the future is not only irresponsible but also a form of ignorance. Respect the rules of nature, save the earthly resources from today and understand that all living creatures get a right to dwell on this planet perhaps are not something new, but worth a lifetime to learn as well as timely keep reminding ourselves: how to be a truly homo sapiens, or patron saint of mother earth.

The author is Program Director of Asian Medical Experts Academy.

The views don't necessarily reflect those of Orange News.




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