Back to nature…

After all, we’ve come quite far in our efforts to break the chain of Covid-19 infection

Pic by AFP

IT’S a mad world. The animals are running free, and we are all stuck in our little boxes that we call home.

A video of monkeys taking over a swimming pool at a condominium in Tanjung Bungah, Penang, says quite a lot actually.

The same thing is happening all over the world. There are videos of peacocks relaxing in a schoolyard in India, while a few mountain goats have taken over a small town in Wales.

Deer are exploring several cities, and young camels are seen frolicking at an empty beach in another country, while thousands of monkeys seem to have taken over Lopburi, a popular tourist spot in Thailand.

There are also reports that wild boars have descended from the hills around Barcelona, while sika deer are roaming freely around the deserted metro stations of Nara, Japan.

Footages that show gangs of wild turkeys strutting the streets of Oakland, California, are making its round on the Internet. Oh yes, a puma decided to pay a visit in the centre of the Chilean capital Santiago, which is under curfew. Yup, it’s their turn and there’s nothing much we can do about it.

Everything seems to be returning to the wild. Including our appearance.

After almost four weeks of being cooped up at home, vanity is certainly out of the window.

Now, would you rather look your best (with nowhere to go) or risk being infected by this wretched coronavirus, or unknowingly passing it to another?

In Mississippi, a well-known barber Eugene Thompson died from Covid-19 after he didn’t shut down and continued to accept clients.

Imagine the number of clients that Thompson might have styled prior to his diagnosis.

And here we are, wondering if we should allow barbershops and salons to operate in the midst of a rather critical time when the Movement Control Order (MCO) seems to be showing great results.

Apparently, Malaysia’s Covid-19 response, particularly with the introduction of the MCO, has been ranked the fourth strictest among

South-East Asian countries. According to the University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government, Malaysia is behind Laos, Vietnam and the Philippines. As of yesterday, our country has shown much progress with the recovery of almost half of the reported 4,817 positive cases.

Even the US, which is supposedly among the biggest economies in the world, is still grappling with the situation with over 20,000 deaths reported so far. The UK, another advanced country, has reported over 10,000 deaths.

One has to thank Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for making the decision to not allow barber services, hair salons, optical shops and Ramadhan bazaars to be reopened, even in Covid-19 green zones, throughout Phase 3 of the MCO.

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yakoob said the blanket ban was imposed after further deliberation and taking into consideration feedback from various quarters, including health experts and non-governmental organisations.

Not allowing university students to leave their campuses during the period is also a wise move.

After all, we’ve come quite far in our efforts to break the chain of Covid-19 infection by preventing mass movements that could create new clusters. For the time being, just look hard in the mirror and ask yourself what is more important — your vanity or your life.

So sit back, relax, and well, let nature take its course. Just saying…

  • Zainal Alam Kadir is the executive editor at The Malaysian Reserve.