Categories
Musings

This is not a drill

Farouk Gulsara from Malaysia

 People, mainly the theistic type, are in a dilemma now. They are currently undergoing a test of faith of sorts. On the one hand, they feel they should not have been subjected through such a trial. Whoever had heard of man-made laws preventing believers from performing their daily mandatory salutations of the Divine Forces? Furthermore, at this time of calamity, if they cannot turn to the Divine for help, what else can they do?

 But wait…

Why did the Divine Forces ‘send’ such a test to us? Does He not love us so much? After all the cajoling over generations, and the importance that humankind had accorded to the divine forces all times, why are we continuously put to the test? Is it some kind of Divine Mirth for the amusement of the Maker and a testbed to gauge our devotion?

Why are the first spaces to be emptied all the places of worship? How can they be hotbeds for infection? Are they justified is asking, “My Lord, why hast thou forsaken me?”

Has God ditched his followers stricken with COVID-19 by shutting down religious centres with no prayer meetings? Social distancing seems to be the only panacea for the pandemic. Perhaps He is telling us that blind faith does not work.

 Above all, intelligence and cognitive power would make us stronger as a race. Perhaps the answer would be, “I am here just for your solace. I cannot possibly change the trajectory of the Universe just because you cajoled me in prayers. Imagine the catastrophe that could cause to the others. I have other requests too, you know!”

 It has happened many times before…

 There was a time when worshippers were contented when their scriptures protected them from dangers of the pleasure of the forbidden fruit. They thought it was only the deviants who were at the receiving end of God’s wrath. So, when people like Paul Ehrlich came up with his magic bullet, Salvarsan, to treat syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease willed to punish the wayward, he received no accolades but instead, Ehrlich was pelted with stones, and his home was torched. He was scorned for siding with the sinners and going against the overpowering might of God.

All through our civilisation, believers took it upon themselves to symbolise the omnipotence of Divinity by constructing grandiose erections in the name of His splendour. True — these abodes have been useful to house believers and non-believers at times of crises before. These robust megalithic structures are of limited use as they are of restricted use to care for the homeless. They have been labelled as sites of super-spreaders and is out of bounds to worshippers and asylum seekers alike…

 We are left with the power of human intellect and science to overcome this as we have done many times. In years to come, this current episode would be just a fleeting moment in the annals of human history. Catastrophes, one after another, we have bowled over. Floods, famines, earthquakes, tsunamis, world wars — we have defeated all. This will add another feather to our cap.

We did not attain the status of the de facto spokesperson of the planet for nothing.

We shall overcome.

Farouk Gulsara is a daytime healer and a writer by night. After developing his left side of his brain almost half his lifetime, this johnny-come-lately decides to stimulate his non-dominant part on his remaining half. An author of two non-fiction books, ‘Inside the twisted mind of Rifle Range Boy’ and ‘Real Lessons from Reel Life’, he writes regularly in his blog ‘Rifle Range Boy’.

Categories
Musings

Not our crowning glory

By Farouk Gulsara

Is it funny that every time Man thinks that he has it all figured out, Nature (or fate if you like to call it) just jolts him back to reality? Like Will E Coyote and his spanking new latest invention from ACME Corporation, it just falls flat and blows right on his face again and again, and Roadrunner always goes scot-free, scooting off yet again, screeching “beep..beeep!”

The latest viral scare of COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) just opens up our vulnerability. All the so-called foolproof systems that we had installed are just scribblings on the sand – they cannot withstand the test of time. And they are so porous. We thought we had all the arsenal that could not only not annihilate our enemies but ourselves in the process too. All these are useless in combating our electron-microscopic size enemy. We are literally crippled by an unseen offending foe. All the King’s horses and the King’s men cannot put our peace of mind together at least for now. 

In the 1990s, our leaders were hellbent on embracing globalisation. They argued that we were heading to a borderless world where physical borders were an illusion. Commerce transcended boundaries, and we should welcome it with open arms. No one could live in isolation. Now, see what is happening. Countries are scurrying to close the borders as not only diseases spread like wildfire, refugees who bungled up their own nation are clawing through the immigration gates displaying their victim card. Many have opted for self-isolation to keep their people safe.

Over-dependence on particular countries for supplies and over-concentration of the supply chain from a specific region has not a smart move after all. It looks like when China sneezes, the whole world may get pneumonia.

The democratisation of flying made travelling no more an activity of the bourgeois. Now, everyone could fly. With it came secondary industries and opening of new regions and tourists attractions. Unfortunately, the concept of open skies also opened the Pandora box of international subversive activities and seamless flow of problems. At the time of writing the tagline of one of the most popular low-cost airlines have changed from ‘Everyone can Fly’ to ‘No one wants to Fly’ or ‘Nowhere to Fly’.

We thought the world wide web of interconnectivity was going to transform the world into a utopia of a knowledge-based society,  well-informed consumers and broad-thinking creative communities. How naive we were. What we have are fake news of questionable authenticity and a band of fist thumping keyboard warriors who type away their hate speeches under the cloak of anonymity without a thought of the effects of their actions. 

Generations before us grew up without any exchange of physical touch or public display of affection. In some societies, physical touch between unmarriageable kins was frowned upon. With open-mindedness, bodily contacts by handshakes, hugging and pecking became the norm. Come SARS, MERS-CoV and now COVID-19, and we are back to our traditional ways of salutations – bowing and placing of own palms together; fear of transmission of pathogens.

Just a thought…

The mighty Chinese armada used to travel to the four corners of the globe. They are said to have ‘discovered’ the Americas even before Columbus’ alternate route to India. But then everything stopped. The Ming Dynasty decided to opt for a closed-door policy of the world. Even the Japanese kingdoms underwent a similar transformation. Was the spread of disease the reason for this move?

(Nerd Alert: Corona is Latin for Crown. Corona also refers to the gaseous accumulation around the Sun (which looks like a crown enveloping the Sun), mainly around its equator. Did you know that there is a field of study dedicated to studying the Sun called Solar Science (Helioseismology)? The suffix ‘seismology’ is used here because Solar Scientists principally study it via the oscillations of sound waves (?Om –  etc.) that are continuously driven and damped by convection near the Sun’s surface. One of the puzzling thing about the Sun is that the Corona is hotter than the Sun surface by a factor of 150 to 400. The Corona can reach temperatures of 1 to 3 million Kelvin.)

Farouk Gulsara is a daytime healer and a writer by night. After developing his left side of his brain almost half his lifetime, this johnny-come-lately decides to stimulate his non-dominant part on his remaining half. An author of two non-fiction books, ‘Inside the twisted mind of Rifle Range Boy’ and ‘Real Lessons from Reel Life’, he writes regularly in his blog ‘Rifle Range Boy’.