By Pat Nunis
Management and futurist gurus have decided to call this period a post-pandemic time. I’m not surprised – after all, where most of them live, vaccinations are easily accessible , and their societies and economies are opening up and recovering.
However, where I live, in Malaysia, South-East Asia, the situation is not as rosy. Our Covid numbers continue to rise due to an ongoing political instability – it looks like we are a long way from recovery and being “post pandemic”, whatever that may be for us.
So here I am, a trainer, facilitator, and house-bound social activist, or so I like to think – living in a time of pandemic. I work on training projects most of the day – either to develop my skills or to earn a fee from a corporate or non-profit client. For the non- profits – often the fee is secondary to the work – which I see as a give back for all that I have gained in my life and career. All projects are virtual – delivered online. My work contacts are from Sarawak, Taiwan, India, Nepal, the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, Rwanda and occasionally the UK, USA, and Canada.
This is my average day survival-story during a pandemic.
Everyday, in the midst of meeting preparation or delivery, I artfully navigate through the tons of information and the distractions of fake news and bias, online, so that I may retain a calm and balanced view of recent developments – and what I can do to move forward.
I share these perspectives – either WhatsApp or Zoom – with family, friends, and acquaintances and, where necessary, clarify if others are sharing points of view that are doubtful, and not based on logic and real facts. You might find me challenging those views on social media and WhatsApp groups!
An ongoing project that I’m involved in is the MyCerita Rakyat project – collecting stories and narratives of Malaysia from Malaysians of diverse faiths, ethnicities, and interests. I work with an equally diverse team and am grateful for their active participation. Through this project, we want to present a positive view of the Malaysia I would like to live in – that I would love to emerge from these changing times.
There’s just me and my companion and domestic worker at home, and we worry about the health and safety of her family in far-off Sumba Island, Indonesia. She’s constantly on the phone with them. If her children get ill – there is no way she can get home in time. A few of her friends and contacts working here in Malaysia, have contracted Covid. Recently, someone from her village, working here in Malaysia, passed away during the night – and was buried with minimal ceremonies. The family in Sumba were only informed of the death and burial after the fact. Both communities here in Malaysia and Sumba, Indonesia, suffer the loss and pain of separation. We do not speak of it; we pray that all our families stay healthy and safe. What else can we do?
I exercise at least 30 minutes a day. Eat in moderation. Start and end the day with some quiet time and meditation – and sometimes in-between the day.
I believe I am content.
Pat on 5 Aug 2021
About the Author – Patricia Nunis is a facilitator specialised in participatory processes. She collaborates with colleagues from the Institute of Cultural Affairs Taiwan to develop facilitators for Asian communities. In Malaysia, Patricia navigates the space of inter-ethnic and inter-faith dialogue bringing her participatory skills to building bridges across communities. More on www.harmonywks.com