Articles, Opinions & Views: PN's business as usual, even in a worst-case Covid scenario - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy


 
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In A Foxhole
“When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,

for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God


Which must always come to pass

Photobucket
He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?


Have you always turned the other cheek?


To My Church have you been true?"


"No, Lord, I guess I ain't


Because those of us who carry guns


Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around


Except to calm their fears.


If you've a place for me here,


Lord, It needn't be so grand,


I never expected or had too much,


But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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PN's business as usual, even in a worst-case Covid scenario - Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Monday, February 01, 2021


Malaysiakini : “Why are we really implementing an MCO when Covid-19 cases are rising but restrictions are getting looser. If that is the case, just stop the MCO to be fair to everyone.” -  Najib Abdul Razak

COMMENT | Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz said the government would not implement a total lockdown even if a worst-case scenario comes true.  This begs the question: what is the worst-case scenario? What happens if the healthcare system breaks down? What happens if the majority of the frontliners get Covid-19 and a sizeable majority of them perish? 

What happens if the businesses collapse because the rakyat, in the grip of an unattended pandemic, imposes a lockdown on themselves for fear of spreading the virus to high-risk groups in their families? Why did this government declare an emergency and claim that this pandemic was the cause for such an action if it is not treating this as war, a war I might add that this government is losing? 

Already the federal government’s response to this pandemic has been scaling down testing and loosening restrictions, even as the numbers climb. Hence we get an inkling of what may happen when it comes to "tightening SOPs" in a worst-case scenario. Najib is right when he asked why the need for this MCO when everything seems to be open and superspreader situations like night markets and the like are given the green light to open while the government continues to harp on the efficacy of the MCO and the need for an emergency posture.

This half-past-six MCO, like the faux emergency, is making this country a tragic lesson in what not to do in a pandemic and the public is rightly confused every time Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob issues his nonsensical diktats and feuds with Pakatan Harapan political operatives on Twitter because of his xenophobic statements.

Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob

Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) chairperson Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj, as usual, wrote a coherent piece on herd immunity and vaccinating foreign workers, which is completely different from the government stance of demonising foreign workers and attempting to make them the focus of the federal governments failed response.

One point that stands out in his piece is this: “Are they (foreign workers) waiting with bated breath for the vaccine? I seriously doubt it. Because for them, Covid-19 isn’t as serious a threat as it is for Malaysians. Migrant workers are, on the whole, fairly healthy adults between the age of 20 and 50 years. The chance of them dying of Covid-19 is very low.”

This is the problem right here. No, not the foreign workers, but rather the response of the federal government to this reality. While the pandemic may not be a health problem for them, it is a serious economic problem for them and this, in turn, results in an unwitting spreading of the virus through local communities for various reasons, none of which remotely coincides with the anti-foreigner narratives of the state.

When the rakyat sees political operatives breaking SOPs, or when the government rolls back on restrictions, it makes the pandemic less serious and it becomes a partisan issue, rather than a health emergency. 

There is a strong mistrust for what the government is doing and the statements and strategy coming out from the occupants of Putrajaya do nothing to allay those fears and mistrust. Take the issue of testing. The Health director-general claims that the system is under such a burden and that the Health Ministry has decided to scale down on testing. 

Therefore, when groups representing private hospitals and practitioners ask the government not to threaten them because of slow test results, what we have is a toxic brew of government incompetence that bleeds into the private sector that is already struggling with the economic effects of the pandemic.  As the numbers go up, state administrators scramble to find excuses and blame shifts while the federal government, embroiled in political machinations, attempts to paint a picture of competency. 

Meanwhile the rakyat, jaded and fatigued, go about dismantling the new normal in creative ways because neither the MCO nor the emergency makes any sense, beyond putting up hurdles to supporting their families.

I still want an answer from Harapan as to what their policies would be when it comes to handling this pandemic. State-run Harapan governments like Selangor and Penang are as incompetent as the federal government, embroiled in petty national politics – which only does to further the safety of their populace.  I still want to know how Harapan would deal with enforcement and outreach programmes because this present government has proved that it is not up to the task.

The vaccine issue is a mess, with nobody in the government attempting to formulate a strategy of vaccination beyond the numerous scandals involving vaccines and the companies aiming to distribute them.

As I argued in another piece, this “emergency”, and we can add the current MCO, is a complete mess. As the numbers go up and the excuses pile up, the people who are suffering are those who are the most economically disenfranchised and those whose job security are at the whims of a federal bureaucracy that is more interested in saving its own behind than formulating a cohesive federal level strategy to battle this pandemic. 

And let us not even discuss the frontliners, who we are told are at a breaking point – but which do not warrant serious mitigation policies to ease the burden on them. I spoke to a Harapan political operative who favoured a targeted approach to the MCO, which she hopes would include stricter enforcement, and to another Harapan political operative who was in favour of a total lockdown for two weeks to get a handle on the situation before easing up on restrictions. 

Both place the health safety of frontliners first because both have been involved in the health security issue for years and have seen, first hand in other Third World countries, what happens when the healthcare system breaks down. They fear the same could happen here. It should make you wonder: if the worst-case scenario ever materialises, what would be PN's response?

We are dealing with a pandemic, the aftermath of which would have major implications on the way we live and work. Business as usual in this case could be crippling.
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 12:48 PM  
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