Whence a caring humanity? — Gurdial Singh Nijar | What You Think

MARCH 20 — I am feting myself to a continuous medley of fantastic songs. Somehow the lyrics resonate. Reaching the inner cockles of the heart. The words flying out as if to address the present dire problem.

Simon Garfunkel asking where have all the flowers gone. John Lennon asking us to imagine a world without war and disease.

You see, I have been placed under a supervision and observation order under section 15(1) of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988.

The opening paragraph reads: “You have been identified as contact to a confirmed case of 2019-nCoV infection and there’s possibility that you have been exposed to 2019-nCoV…”

My chambering student tested positive to the virus and is presently quarantined in hospital.

There are numerous conditions I have to abide by. And if any of the listed symptoms show up, I have to report this immediately to a given number.

Mercifully this is day 7 of the 14 days’ confinement; and no symptoms have emerged.

I guess this inconvenience is nothing very much compared to the threat now to the seemingly resilient global system. It’s crumbling fast. Brought to its knees by a microscopic element — too tiny to be picked up by our sensory qualities.

Social media (what else to access?) is brimming with an outpouring of gestures not usually seen. Of caring and love. And this touching stanza from an anonymous poet:

When the whole world seemed divided

And no one could see eye to eye

We needed a tiny virus

To show where our connection lies

A timely message from the Nutmeg Verses column in The Sun: That the dreaded virus reminds us that there is another healing to take place.

The near shutdown giving fractured Mother Earth a respite from the hurt of human activity.

A new BBC video recording sounds a new-found revival: In this contrived quiet once again we hear the unison melody of birds; people singing across the square.

Yes, there is fear but it does not have to be hate, sickness but no disease of the soul. And rebirth of love amidst the death.

Will these cherished feelings of caring, reaching out to touch each other, outlast this present malady? Brothers and sisters, soul mates really, bonded in common humanity? And remain when all this is over? The scourge of race and religious divisiveness preached by political bigots swiped into the bin alongside this Covid-19 nightmare?

I wonder. And can only hope.

Back to my self-isolation. Nat King Cole’s sonorous melody wafts in. Perhaps for my student isolated in quarantine awaiting a favourable result from her final test:

Smile though your heart is aching

Smile even though its breaking

When there are clouds in the sky

You’ll get by

If you smile through your fear and sorrow

And maybe tomorrow

You see the sun come shining through

For you!

* Gurdial Singh Nijar is president of Hakam

** This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.

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