There are many theories circulating around the web about how Covid-19 is a method of either China or the US to “reset” the global economy. Within the first quarter of this year, we have seen the devastating effects of a global pandemic, how it has crippled economies, and how it has taken the lives of thousands. This virus has also “manipulated” others into doing the absurdest of things like hoarding toilet paper and selling overpriced face masks. Whether or not it is true that Covid-19 is a plot to change the geopolitical situation (and it probably isn’t), one thing is for sure: this global pandemic has created time for societies to reset, reflect, and rebuild as one.
This extended community quarantine in Metro Manila and Luzon has sent many of us back home to our families and loved ones. Being quarantined at home gives us time for our loved ones. Some would say it’s a way to be forced to make time for their families, while others cherish it as an opportunity to bond. This whole mess has created a chance for families to be together—rich or poor, roofed or seeking shelter through the shadows of nature’s trees. There are families separated physically by the different checkpoints, boundaries, and even miles seas, but now that the whole world has slowed down, we have time to message each other, call each other, and worry about each other. Before the world returns into regular programing, let’s make sure we reset our relationships at home with our families and loved ones.
It doesn’t just end with families. We have seen efforts by different communities working hard in order to uplift the less fortunate in ways as simple as social media meme posting, or something as grand and generous as privately owned enterprises starting movements for minimum wage earners—or simply donating. After so many years of anti-poor policies, crab mentality, and an apparent great divide between the rich and the poor, we are starting to see ourselves united as one. We are all reminded that in a crisis like this, there is no rich company CEO or poor gas station boy. No Filipino is more privileged or entitled than the other. We are all the same, human, frail, fragile. In the words of Cristina Javillonar Burbon, a Filipina diagnosed with Covid-19 in the US, “Virus ka lang. Fighter ako.” Just like her, I see that we should fight this virus together as a people. We won as one during the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. We helped each other as one during Taal volcano’s recent eruption. For sure we can conquer this global epidemic as one.
This chaos we see today should be regarded as a way to shake mankind. We have been awakened into a reality that we may have gone a bit too fast, and it’s about time we pause for a while and rediscover what being human is truly about. We ask ourselves who we truly are, beyond just men and women trying to earn money. We slow down and realize how great our planet is. For once we see blue skies, empty streets, and every nook and cranny in our homes.
A mother might realize her daughter has been in a relationship for the past three months, which she never really discovered because she used to be too busy to care about that. A father working in Dubai finally spends more hours to “meet” his son in Manila on video calls because they never expected to miss each other—and never feared the idea of losing each other this much—before this epidemic happened. An employer becomes reminded that her hardest working employee, who is currently six months pregnant, has been working endlessly even with the enhanced community quarantine because she supports her parents and her family in the province.
In a crisis like this, we are all reminded that we are not mere individuals who live for ourselves. We have been given a wake-up call. We serve a greater purpose on earth as a parent, a child, a brother or sister, an employee, an employer, a stakeholder, a member of society.
With all that’s happening now, perhaps this can be a time to change and reflect. We can be great human beings helping each other during a crisis, so for sure we can do the same in our ordinary lives. When this crisis is over, which I truly believe would be very soon, I hope society has fully reset and reflected. Then we can rebuild.