A virtual Holy Week, crisis leadership and a post-COVID-19 scenario

Published April 10, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin



Dr. Florangel Rosario Braid
Dr. Florangel Rosario Braid

How did you celebrate the Holy Week during the COVID-19 era?, our great grandchildren may be eager to know.

As everyone during that period soon realized, the lockdown period which initially lasted for a month, did  transform everyone’s  lifestyles, workstyles, mindsets, in many unexpected  ways as stories would  recount – how our means of sustenance was sourced and delivered, how we sought various forms of recreation as well as modes of  survival.

As I write this, after breakfast, ona  quietMaundy Thursday morning (as deathly quiet as in the past three weeks following lockdown),  and after listening for an hour or soto our favorite hymns, “How Great Thou Art,” “Abide with Me, “etc.  that we had downloaded from You Tube, we retired to our individual rooms to continue with our reflection. How surreal, how different it is from years past when we would celebrate the Holy Season through the traditional practices – attending mass or service in ourchurches,  listening  to the Cantata  and other sacred and liturgical music of Handel and Mendelssson,  do a Visita Iglesia to 7 churches, and later, with the family to the nearest beaches or the like.  On Good Friday, it would be listening to the 7 last words of Jesus on the Cross, and for me and Andy, rising up early for the 5:30 morning Easter Sunrise service.

Among others, there were special features, especially in the  provinces such as staging of Cenaculos and the Passion and the “self-flagellation” in some Pampanga towns, intended primarily for foreign tourists.

This year, celebration was “virtual” for those with access to the technology of Internet and other forms of technology.

Thus, we can unequivocally say that no event had disrupted the lives of people all over the world than the rapid spread of this deadly virus which to date had claimed the lives of several hundreds of thousands all over the world.  But it demonstrated how nations responded to the challenge, showing, among others, how  the crisis brought about the emergence of leadership.  Adding to the list of attributes from management gurus such as  “engaging the hearts and minds,” “prescience, or foresight,” consistency in word and action,” “taking quick action despite disruption,”  “skill in unlocking people’s potential and mobilize them to collective action,” and “transparency,” analysts who examined the response of various leaders to the pandemic, praised Germany’s Angela Merkel for her “candid assessment and consensual  and “science-based” approach to the problem,  New  Zealand’s Jacinta Ardern’s  “meaning-making” style or  allowing people to make sense of what was happening,  instead of merely giving directions or exacting compliance,  and a policy of “elimination”rather than mere “containment.” New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo for his ability to  “balance calm with drastic measures,  and for a communication style which inspires and encourages.”  Ontario Canada’s Premier Doug Ford is praised for his “transparent, calm, and honest” leadership,” a transformation from earlier image.

It was times like these, when leaders who inspired confidence rather than fear, are much more appreciated. This brought  to mind past leaders like US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt,  who, in his regular fireside radio chats inspired the nation to unite during the most difficult depression years. UK’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill, during World War II’s “darkest hours,” who demonstrated  honesty and openness and remarkable oratory  with his “blood, toil, sweat and tears”  rhetoric to win the hearts of the people.The teams of Cuban doctors who travelled to various countries including the United States, to provide medical assistance have been commended for breaking barriers of ideology to share their expertise.

At the local scene, we cite several town and city mayors whodemonstrated noteworthy dedication.  Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong for zero cases

in 10 days,  and consistency in his advocacy for good governance.  Our “frontliner heroes,” at least 27 doctors to date,  and hundreds of other medical personnel who had succumbed to the virus, and hundreds of thousands of  others who continue to brave the frontlines through various ways – to deliver health services, and information, an equally critical commodity during this crisis.  A most meaningful Easter to all!  (To be continued)

My e-mail, [email protected]