When is our nation going to start healing?

·4-min read

OCTOBER 6 — I am on another mental health break, also called “clearing my leave because it's not following me to the grave.”

The first day started with me being woken up by angry texts from a housemate having a meltdown over my accidentally tossing RM5 vegetables that I thought were mine.

You could have asked me, she shrieked, while calling me a crazy freak and making horrible ableist slurs.

She seemed to have forgotten she had blocked me on WhatsApp, mostly for nagging her for using the rental house as a free storage locker and moving her boyfriend in without asking.

Two decades ago I might have gotten angry and also laid in with my own colourful language. Instead I asked if her caps lock button was stuck and also forwarded screencaps of the exchange so other people, too, could point and laugh.

Considering priorities

These days I do not have as much energy to be enraged. Instead, I spend a lot of time doing yoga, working out or meditating.

Yelling at strangers on the internet or at my housemate for growing sentient colonies of mold in the crisper (and taking my not-cheap steam iron, the audacity) is not productive.

I also think the frequent addresses by our politicians are also not very beneficial.

It is funny and almost sad that I almost miss our last prime minister's tendency to announce everything via PDF, including his health issues.

I know we are still navigating pandemic realities but I wish, really, that we were working towards healing.

The pandemic didn't break Malaysia.

Instead it magnified the deep-set fractures and the many divides that run along so many lines.

Every year, doctors and health professionals have asked for more funding and contract doctors asked for better deals.

I know some people think it is a bad time to bring up these things since we are living in a sort of wartime ― a never ending, it seems, battle with an invisible foe.

When is it ever going to be a good time? If we're still fighting Covid for years to come, does it mean they sit down and be quiet, and quite literally die for the cause?

Are we ever ready?

The pandemic should have taught us just how fragile and uncertain this thing we call life is.

All those people who had bought health insurance policies thinking they would be safe but finding they weren't covered for a pandemic ― such a nasty shock.

Then there were the people who lost jobs overnight or suddenly found themselves sick with cancer or other maladies that could not be treated immediately because hospitals were too busy fighting the pandemic.

We have come face-to-face with the weaknesses in both the public and private healthcare systems, as well as how many people, whatever income level classification, are just a hair away from destitution.

The good news is that Malaysians have proven to be capable of so much more than we thought but at the same time, we still refuse to reject our silos and push back against the status quo. — Reuters pic
The good news is that Malaysians have proven to be capable of so much more than we thought but at the same time, we still refuse to reject our silos and push back against the status quo. — Reuters pic

The good news is that Malaysians have proven to be capable of so much more than we thought but at the same time, we still refuse to reject our silos and push back against the status quo.

Malaysia is a lot like this rental house I live in ― over the many years living here, I have had to fix the roof, replace the gate and do many minor repairs, all coming out of the rent because the landlord isn't keen on actually spending money.

In the same vein, rather than actually spend money, we had the government suggest we pilfer our retirement savings or let the banks prolong our commitment periods and pay them more interest.

While more money actually given to folks would be nice, I wish there was more attention given to comfort and console.

Instead we have a party rep calling a national shuttler a racial slur and yet another attempt to change a state government.

Really, Melaka reps, really? You couldn't wait for the next election?

I want to see efforts to confront our hurts and pains, genuine empathy and acknowledgement of how much so many of us have suffered.

Why did it have to take a media portal to build a memorial for our Covid dead, instead of our government?

How much support are we giving those still suffering from side effects and dealing with Long Covid.

The pandemic isn't over, really and it's too soon to just move on from our losses.

Honour the dead, comfort the grieving and maybe, just maybe find better ways to help our country heal instead of trying to play Melaka MB musical chairs.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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