Being in the opposition is hard

Politics: A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.

– Ambrose Bierce, American short story writer, journalist and Civil War veteran

The social media is abuzz with Covid-19 related news. It’s where you can get the most exciting stuff that you don’t get to see in the mainstream media.

In the social media, you get to see video clips of young people all of a sudden falling down and rolling and turning in the streets and looking possessed. You saw them vomiting and fighting convulsion like as if some aliens had got into them.

Then somewhere in the background, you heard someone mentioning coronavirus or Covid-19, which convinced you Indonesians were left to die on roadsides and in the streets.

What a way to die, you told yourself, and you switched on the 8 o’clock prime news, hoping to see the same but all you got was some ministers and officials giving you the run-down of the day’s business and some analysts discussing how best to steer the country to mitigate losses, both economic and in terms of human lives.

So dull and boring, and so you went back to your laptop or handphone to surf the internet yet again, still believing in the scary and horrible street deaths of people still in their prime.

The problem is you are not the only one who take line and sinker what the social media has to offer; there are so many others just like you who love drama and care not a wee bit about being fed with fake news. More unfortunate is the fact that too many people out there can’t differentiate between what is fake and what isn’t, in the belief that if these aren’t true, why do they look so real!

In the case of Indonesia, there were 218 confirmed new Covid-19 cases as of Monday, taking the national tally to 2,491 while the death toll rose by 11 to 209.

Like anywhere else around the world, including in Malaysia, the Indonesians died after being cared for by health workers over a period. No one died after being struck in the streets, then falling down, then vomiting, then convulsing, then foaming in the mouth, then screaming for the last time, grasping at thin air and breathing his last.

Didn’t that occur to you like someone in a fit of epilepsy? Or a drug addict on a ‘high’?
Covid-19 does not strike like epilepsy; neither does it make its victim behave like an overdosed junkie.

People with Covid-19 generally develop signs and symptoms, including mild respiratory symptoms and fever, on an average of 5-6 days after infection (meaning incubation period 5-6 days, ranging from 1-14 days). People infected with Covid-19 virus have problems breathing, so they have enough time to seek medical help. They don’t just get struck and throw tantrums while enjoying their breakfast at a restaurant!

But don’t get me wrong, though. I am all for surfing the internet for anything and everything when it comes to information gathering.

Like everybody else, I, too, spend a hell lot of time interacting on Facebook and WhatsApp…yes, Telegram, too.

That’s how I got to see the former domestic trade and consumer affairs minister Chong Chieng Jen carrying bags of rice on a shoulder not quite used to rough labour. Of course, one doubts if he would have done the same if he were still deputy minister.

Somewhere in the upper reaches of Sarawak, elected reps were also doing the same thing but carrying a 10kg bag of rice is like carrying a 50kg bag of cement because you have to balance yourself and your load to step out of the boat, then walk the wooden plank, walk up the bank, cover the distance between there and the longhouse and finally climb the high single trunk ladder to the longhouse ruai.

The social media is all about fast news too. It was quick to carry the news of Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) being unhappy that Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) was so taken up by the Covid-19 pandemic and failing to address the issue of getting back the state’s lost or eroded rights as enshrined in MA63.

Oh, but how netizens bashed Datuk Seri Wong Soon Koh’s party calling its leaders insensitive to the plight of Malaysia and Malaysians — Sarawakians in particular.

I can’t help seeing the uncaring and shortsightedness of that party as well when the country has just rolled out RM250 billion plus RM10 billion more in hope of riding through the crisis; and here we have a political party that is lost in its own little world of scoring some cheap brownie points.

From Chong carrying some rice bags to PSB totally out of sync with the rest of Malaysians, life is hard being in the opposition when the government of the day seems to be on a cruise.