These days I’m finding so many apps, but so little common sense. That describes the new normal we’re living in—ubiquitous technology but vanishing common sense.
Never have I downloaded so many apps on my phone than now—Google Hangouts, Meet, Sheets, Zoom, Otter, Repost—and that’s to add to the already existing ones.
And you mustn’t forget InquirerPlus so you get to read the broadsheet, and more pages of the various sections not found in print. It’s a big add-on, where you swipe pages, and more important, you see the stories ranked according to importance so that you don’t have to get lost in the news clutter.
People have no choice but to go to the App Store—which reminds me of this funny scene in “Goblin” where his millennial nephew (Yook Sung-jae) is briefing Gong Yoo (as the ancient Guardian) and Lee Dong-wook (Grim Reaper) on the features of their mobile phone, and asks them to go to the App Store. Nontechie Goblin/Gong Yoo picks up his overcoat ready to walk to the “store.”
I’m proud of the fact that even our Senior section columnists have learned to download InquirerPlus from their App Store.
Just keeping tabs of your IDs, passwords, passcodes is enough to keep your brain cells jogging.Yet this pandemic in a high-tech age has shown us how decision-making could be bereft of common sense. For example: locking up senior citizens at home.
While the rule is well intentioned—to protect the seniors in the pandemic—still, how do you make this doable in a world where decision-makers, managers and leaders belong to that demographic—in short, are high-functioning human beings? (See “Why ageism is vicious stereotype” by Felipe M. de Leon Jr., May 17, 2020, Lifestyle C1) But don’t let me get started on ageism…
Means to an end
As has been said repeatedly, lockdown is not the end, but a means to an end. While society is in quarantine, the wheel must be in motion to set up medical and health-care infrastructures and systems to fight the pandemic and pave the way for the new normal to resume the economy.
People—not only the seniors—feel unprotected and insecure without these measures in place, unprotected even in their homes (family members themselves could be carriers).
If only there was a modicum of common sense, we wouldn’t have been made to choose between health and livelihood, between life and work. No-brainer—who wants to die?
Yet we’ve been seeing the push-and-pull between business that wants to reopen if only to keep jobs, and the decision-makers. Society shouldn’t be made to choose between earning and living. It is hoped that the calibrated reopening of the economy proceeds well without sacrificing lives.
At least it is noteworthy how the mall developers stepped up to the plate and prepared thoroughly for the reopening of malls, considering that malling has become an indispensable feature of Filipino lifestyle. As usual, the private sector leads the way in coping with this pandemic.
We hope that the ingenuity and thoroughness in reopening the malls can be applied as well to efficient testing all over the country, and in that the private sector, it is hoped, must again come to the rescue. Countries such as South Korea have shown that testing-tracing-treating (quarantine and isolation) is the way to go, to flatten the curve. That—and continued social distancing to avoid what happened in Itaewon.
While the Filipino may not exhibit the rigor and discipline, he is very intuitive, creative and ingenious. One only has to note how the arts, food and fashion sectors have lost no time in devising ways to ride out this pandemic. The need to survive has yet again spurred their creativity.
Therefore, national and local governance can take it from there—with some common sense.
For instance, the garment and fashion design industries, like all sectors, are in their death throes. Yet they are ready to make personal protective equipment (PPE) and face masks, and can follow the specs given them. Our designers and garment makers have not limited themselves to decorative design all these years—their workshops have skilled labor.
Instead of importing all these PPE and safety garb from China, why can’t our garment factories and designer workshops be mobilized to manufacture the impermeable suits according to medical specifications? The fabrics (there’s shortage of fabrics for PPE, we heard) and template can be supplied them. The Department of Trade and Industry or the private sector can give them access to raw material supply and to know-how, and tap this creative sector while saving jobs.
The demand for PPE, face shields and masks and other safety garb will continue to grow. Why shouldn’t we manufacture them, instead of importing them? This pandemic could yet force us into rediscovering manufacturing (the ’70s even had Filipino car manufacturers). In fact, designers like Rajo Laurel and Rhett Eala are already going in that direction, even in limited capacity. During World War II, the French fashion industry was tapped to supply uniforms.
The fashion design sector, like other sectors, has accepted the fact that its market would not jump out of isolation, literally, tomorrow, so it’s scrambling for ways to put its sewers to good use.
Our performing arts sector has also sprung into action to save its art, craft and livelihood. It has been streaming shows. The Department of Tourism (DOT), led by an indefatigable and highly resourceful Berna Romula-Puyat, could supply our artists the technology and platform to promote them to the world. After all, with (physical) travel on hold and tourism unable to sell physical destinations, the DOT can work with our culture and performing arts sector to sell Filipino talent and creativity to the world—virtual entertainment in this pandemic. It’s more fun with Filipino talent!
It’s impressive how, as the world screeches to a halt, K-drama and K-pop continue to rule digital content. It didn’t skip a beat. Lifestyle contributor and BTS diehard Nikko Dizon noted how last week, BTS’ J-Hope got 7 million views—the “Army” watching him beading a bracelet. (I wasn’t one of them—not yet.)
Common sense, intuitive sense—let’s mine it, as we use technology and struggle for good governance in this pandemic.
Thanks to extended quarantine, I can already name each BTS member and match the name with the moves—and hair color. (Takes some skill. Eye roll.)