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Notes from Myanmar: Humans versus Viruses

A reflection on Covid-19 virus outbreak by San Lin Tun

Deserted roads in Yangon

Birds are at ease, showing no worries, looking down at the helter-skelter of humans, struggling and striving to survive under this ruthless virus’ attack. Before that, birds caused flu and migratory birds could not be seen easily. That time, people hated birds; they stopped bird watching for the fear posed by the threat of bird flu. Birds migrated from one end of the world to another, crossing boundaries, as was their natural tendency. Now, the Covid-19 virus is traveling almost throughout the world.

We normally tend to look for experts to resolve emergencies or crisis. Why are the experts silent while human’s freedom has been attacked by the pandemic outbreak? Have humans transgressed the territories of the virus or their liberty? Or is it retaliation for human follies? People think that their lives are cosy and fine within the contexts of capitalism and democracy. They have, however, in their complacent existence, forgotten to think of emergencies like pandemics, the outbreak of anti-heroes and antithesis to blissful living.

Governments only set regulations to restrict human traffic and impose lockdowns on cities, poured funds to regain faltering economies after earlier crises. Now, people are at a loss and they do not know to whom they should turn to. They are realising they have to rely on themselves. They might wonder where their heroes are. They feel repentant for having done nothing, only things to destroy or to jeopardize world harmony, pouring budgets to manufacture hazardous equipment.

The outbreak of virus has restricted all-inclusive human activities, moving freely within the compass of the world and even posing a threat to human rights. We have been attacked by unknown and unseen enemies which are too small to see but powerful enough to cause a havoc in the whole human population. Scientists are now racing to search for the vaccines to combat its outbreak. What about other professions and creative industry? They should also join in fighting against this virus outbreak. Food, clothes and shelter are the three necessary things for humans daily needs. Maybe they can think of ways to provide these.

Professionals worldwide should form a think tank to come up with good and genuine ideas to combat this existing threat. There might be some ways to curb or contain the spread.

People-to-people contact carries virus which transmit person to person. In sci-fi movies or novels, we will find these alternatives and the creative minds will think up the following:

  1. Why not design virus repellent/protective outfits to wear when you go out?
  2. Why not create self- air purifying masks?
  3. Why not invent virus scanning goggles?
  4. Why not produce virus detecting devices?
  5. Why not manufacturing super-booster pills?
  6. Why not . . .?
  7. Why not . . .?
  8. . . .?

All these gadgets are only available in Sci-fi movies or fiction.  If we have those in real world, our lives would not have been disrupted to this level. All solutions tend to prevent virus containment in food, clothes and shelter. The blue planet belongs to the human race. Viruses have only one purpose that is to destroy. They cannot travel, only humans carry them.

Humans do not know the number of them. But they know they are lethal. So, people fear. Fear deters human intelligence to think or create properly, causing panic in people’s minds. Then, it will be hard to be in touch with witticisms under these trying circumstances where so many are petrified by the fear and horror of it.

They know that their liberty is disturbed, and they lose their freedom. Then, they are looking for the stable system to cope with their crises. They know that the only way to end this crisis is to get vaccines.

As for a miracle, men like to look for philosopher stones or magic wands to alter the circumstances and create a virus free world. You can say fantasies can ring a note of hope that will lighten anxious minds and bring a sense of cheer to the depressed. As we ponder realistically or miraculously, we will definitely find a solution to wage the counter-attack on viruses. And, the virus crisis will end.

San Lin Tun is a freelance writer of essays, poetry, short stories and novels from Myanmar and English. Sometimes, he draws cartoons for fun. His writings has appeared in Asia Literary Review, Kitaab, Mad in Asia Pacific, Mekong Review, NAW, PIX, Ponder Savant, South East of Now, Strukturriss and several others. He has authored ten books including ‘‘An English Writer’’. He lives in Yangon, Myanmar.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed are solely that of the author and not of Borderless Journal.

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