THE military is out because we asked for it. The Movement Control Order is based on a simple logic: Covid-19 spreads when people mingle and mix. Stay at home, the prime minister called on the people.
Some turned deaf ears to the call and headed for a walk in the park and “kari kepala kambing”. When the police stopped people to ask where they were headed on the first day of the MCO, one even had the audacity to say that he was going to pick up his girlfriend.
Such frivolity is neither good for him nor others. If we don’t watch it, there will be levelling up of measures. We do not want Malaysia to be an Italy or a Spain, but our indiscipline is asking for precisely that.
Perhaps we should not be surprised. When traffic lights are red, buses, taxis, and cars accelerate past them, with little concern for the lives of pedestrians. Because the police aren’t looking.
Some park their wheels — don’t be surprised, Bentleys and Maseratis are there too — on bicycle lanes (ah, how perversion equalises). They rather park free than pay RM5 per hour. This is the way to the Forbes rich men’s list, they seem to teach the 99 percenters. Misers and manumission don’t mix. People are really stubborn learners.
But even the stubborn have examples to learn from. Look at China, where it all started. They just locked down and brought the numbers drastically low. There is a science there: melding and merging with the crowd will circulate the infection exponentially.
Drastic though the measure is, some of us seem to be asking for the Chinese treatment. Malaysia did not go for it because there is a “softer” way. Working from home, avoiding crowds when going out for essentials, with isolation and quarantine for the infected, have brought down Covid-19 infections in several countries.
But as some Malaysians have shown the authorities, we are too indisciplined for such “soft” treatment. Now the best has passed, just settle for less than that: the MCO, with a little help from the military.
The MCO is about little things. Stay put at home and be heavy on hygiene. If you underestimated water and soap before, this is the time to respect them. They save lives. Leave home only when replenishment is needed, and that, too, do not go into the crowd.
For there lurks the danger to your life and the lives of others in virus-filled droplets. One who appears asymptomatic may be an unsuspecting carrier. You may just be bringing home an unwelcome visitor.
Covid-19 virus is teaching us an old lesson: be good. To ourselves, others and everything around us.
But people are a forgetting kind. We break rules, regulations and restrictions, even if it means more of these. Perhaps things things will change when they inadvertently infect their loved ones.
Perhaps they will mend their ways when infection numbers spike and Covid-19 patients fill hospitals up. Some people’s threshold of fear may be high, but death has a way of changing bad behaviours.
But let’s hope that we don’t have to come to that. The deployment of our military may just stop us from paying that heavy a price.