Updated: Mar 31
[Work From Home, Day 7]
My daily routine when I am home is to watch the BBC news at 7am, followed by reading the day’s newspapers. And the news has been bleak and depressing. In the last few weeks, mainstream and social media have fed us a daily dose of spirit dampening reports on the COVID-19 and how it has adversely affected facets of our lives; be it in terms of health, social interactions, mobility as well as our livelihood; as in our jobs and income.
Only this morning, the BBC reported that in the last 24 hours, 800 people passed away in Italy due to COVID-19. Italy is not the only country that suffers fatalities; many other countries report daily casualties as well. In ASEAN, while Malaysia has the highest number of the infected, 1306 as of today, Indonesia suffers the highest number of deaths. It is so sad to note that people die alone without seeing their family members. When death happens, no funeral rituals can be carried out. The dead are unceremoniously buried or cremated. No loved ones to bid them goodbye. How heart-wrenching for those left behind.
The news regarding the world economy is just as depressing. The stock markets everywhere tumbled to unprecedented lows. Businesses in all industries are badly affected; needing stimulus packages from governments to stay afloat. The lockdowns, closure of borders, controls on travels and social distancing are having negative impacts on the world economy. Millions of people may find themselves jobless if this pandemic continues for months to come. As it is now, many employees are working from home, some are on no-pay leave while some are requested to take annual leave.
Amidst this depressing scenario, there are some reports and stories in the mainstream as well as in social media that warms my heart. These are some heartwarming stories about appreciation:
1. In today’s Sunday Star, there is a report entitled ‘Gestures from the Heart’; about a caterer, Haslinda Rahman who is providing free food for hospital staff. She does this because hospital staff faces difficulties in getting food from outside due to the Movement Control Order. When she shared about her initial effort of sending 60 packed meals to the hospitals on social media, friends and strangers expressed their intention to chip in financially.
Now she prepares 300 packed meals consisting of rice and three dishes to be distributed to hospitals nearby. She has received many messages of appreciation from the hospital staff for her kind deeds. And it all began due to her appreciation of the hospital staffs’ sacrifice and hard work. Bravo to Haslinda and other kind souls who have shown their appreciation to fellow Malaysians, especially to the frontline personnel.
2. In Singapore, ‘Appreciation Zones’ have been set up across the island, where Singaporeans can pen notes of support for frontline workers and stick them on appreciation boards. Places with these zones include Jewel Changi Airport, Westgate and Novena MRT. What a beautiful way of showing appreciation!
3. In January, when China was badly hit by the COVID-19, Malaysia sent 18 million pairs of gloves as a show of sympathy and solidarity. China has recently reciprocated by sending medical supplies to Sungai Buloh Hospital. On the labels were these Malay proverbs; ‘berat sama dipikul, ringan sama dijinjing’ and ‘bukit sama didaki, lurah sama dituruni’. The proverbs are about supporting each other when the going gets tough.
When China sent medical masks to Italy, written on the boxes was a quote by the Roman philosopher Seneca: ‘we are waves from the same sea, leaves from the same tree, flowers of the same garden’. The use of local proverbs and quotations is probably China’s way of showing appreciation to the peoples of Malaysia and Italy. And we appreciate the small, lovely details.
4. Three weeks ago, there was a recording of Italians applauding the doctors and nurses in front of a hospital. They stood in a group and clapped their hands. The doctors and nurses, in turn, took a few minutes to go out to the front of the hospital and clapped their hands. They too applauded the people who came to show their appreciation. Heartwarming!
Truly, there are thousands of frontline personnel; doctors, nurses, hospital assistants, ambulance drivers, the police, the army, the immigration staff, the airport workers, etc. these are persons putting their health at stake in order to ensure that we are safe and all our travels and daily needs can be fulfilled.
I am sure many of us are dumbfounded at the attitude of some Malaysians with regards to the Movement Control Order. I do not know what to call it:
But all the above attitudes would result in our frontline personnel to be negatively impacted or worse, be infected by the COVID-19. This is so unfair! As it is, there is already medical personnel who have been infected by the ailment. The Director General of Health has warned us of the possibility of the third wave. If it happens, he used the word TSUNAMI to describe the severity of the impact on us Malaysians.
How should we show our appreciation towards our frontline personnel especially our doctors and nurses at the hospitals? Simple! By observing the Movement Control Order. STAY HOME. Let’s help our medical personnel to be safe and healthy so that they can help us stay safe and healthy. That’s the best way to show our APPRECIATION.
GIVE HONEST, SINCERE APPRECIATION
MASHITAH DATO MOHAMAD SHARIFF
Senior Trainer, Dale Carnegie Malaysia