To be completely honest, I never thought I would experience living through a pandemic that will completely change how I live, how we all live.
I'm sure all of us across the world, want things to go back to normal quickly. But what most of us have probably not yet realized—yet will soon—is that things won’t go back to normal after a few weeks, or even a few months. Some things never will.
We will ALL have a new kind of "normal" in terms of how we work, how we deal with our finances, how we relate to others, and most importantly what we value in life.
1. Better Governance
With the situation in the Philippines, I picture that more and more Filipinos will demand for an honest, fair and responsive government: this means that governments should be effective, transparent, accountable and not corrupt. People should have a say on what the government’s priorities should be, and confidence that they will implement those priorities competently. Governments should agree and implement standards for making information available to all people on how public money is spent.
I also HOPE that come the next election, people will be more critical of who they vote for. And for those who will run for office, that they will be more mindful of the "servant" in public servant. Sadly in our country, a government position is seen as a status or privileged position, and not one of serving the public good.
2. Implementation of TeleMedicine
Originally, health professionals in the United States developed Telemedicine (practice of caring for patients remotely when the provider and patient are not physically present with each other) to reach remote patients living in the rural areas.
But, given what happened to our health care system recently (including the deaths of several doctors and the lack of frontliners in ALL hospitals), this should be the new norm. Imagine the potential to reach urban populations with healthcare shortages, and to respond to medical emergencies by sharing medical consults and patient health records without delay. It's just a matter of building a safe and secure system to protect patient records.
3. The Rise of E-Commerce and Work From Home Opportunities
For businesses who CAN offer digital services, they can definitely run their entire operation staffed by workers who work from home. No need to lease large office spaces. No need for long commutes. With telecommuting, they can hire a geographically diverse group of employees without worrying about where to house them or relocate them.
For those that rely on foot traffic like the Food & Beverage industry, they will have to build ONLINE PRESENCE (E-commerce websites) and partner with Logistics services to create a sustainable and efficient food delivery system. This is also an opportunity for new businesses to sprout and for the current delivery platforms like Grab and LalaMove to further innovate. More people may also start patronizing local businesses instead of importing goods. This can give that much needed boost in our economy.
You can watch the replay of my webinar with Dean Pax Lapid here.
4. Transition to E-Learning and Online Streaming
My 4 year old goes to a Montessori school which means, they do hands-on learning. We do have a "Prepared Environment" at home but it has a challenge given that we don't have the equivalent classroom materials. We just work with what we have and on a weekly basis, my daughter's teacher would conduct an online "Circle Time" via Zoom.
As a parent, I now fully understand what Dr. Montesori meant when she said, we should not prepare our children for school, but for life.
It's not about helping our children pass exams or find a job later on, it's about raising children as critical thinkers, problem solvers, and life-long learners. It's about teaching kids, that it doesn't matter how intelligent you are, or how much money you have. At the end of the day, if you are not kind, you will not survive. We all need other people.
Anyway, for those using the traditional method of teaching, transitioning to e-learning is going to be easier.
For a long time though, schools and universities have resisted online instruction, and institutions that do have been regarded as inferior. Well, given how rapidly the virus has been spreading, schools have no choice but to turn to online classes as an alternative, albeit temporary, solution. A good benefit with online learning is that schools can allow more students to take the same class simultaneously, while students who missed lectures for any reason can make up with video streaming.
4. Managing Finances and Transitioning to a Cashless Society
Let me also ask you this question: How many years do we spend learning how to earn a living? How come we don't also spend time to learn what to do with our earnings? I had a meeting with BSP last year (for my e-Payments project) and was browsing through the past studies they've done. It was alarming to see the % of Filipinos who don't have formal savings accounts or prepare for their immediate and future needs, and the % of businesses who still do bulk of their transactions in cash (versus electronic means). What's more, only 18% of us have insurance or investments.
Here's the thing, it really doesn't matter what income bracket you're in; it matters how you manage your money and where you put it. Being poor is not an excuse if you really want to manage your finances properly and face whatever challenges you are facing. My grandparents were poor, but it didn't stop them from providing the needs of 7 children, all of whom earned bachelor degrees. Again, this is a wake-up call for us. And given that the virus is more dangerous to people who are at a retirement age in the Philippines (60 yrs old and up), all the more that people should have emergency funds (equivalent to at least 6 months of their salary) and prepare for their retirement needs.
5. Priorities & Basic Needs
I'm sure a lot of us are still wondering why people in other countries hoarded toilet paper. In a life or death situation, I can't think of one way I could survive using a toilet paper (or maybe, I'm just not that creative).
Kidding aside, what we need to survive is EACH OTHER. If we panic-buy and hoard, then we prevent others from protecting themselves. Each of our actions affect EVERYTHING around us.
This outbreak is unprecedented in terms of its nature of uncertainty and associated social and economic impact, and the only way we can go through it ALIVE, is to take care of each other.
We all have a Social Responsibility and let's be good role models to the next generation. Whatever we do NOW affects the kind of future our children will live in.
Stay safe everyone!
~ Mommy K
We really miss the outdoors.