By : Syed Fadzil Alhabshi
After 2 years of living with the unprecedented pandemic, most of the countries are still struggling to fight this ‘monster’ contagion. The poor countries are the ones that are severely affected by the current situation as the slow vaccination program, leading towards a terrible turn of events.
In Malaysia, this pandemic really comes to our attention when the ‘Tabligh Cluster’ emerged in March last year. The number of cases of people who were admitted to hospitals increased exponentially, which was something new where everybody starts living in fear. As a result, the new Prime Minister, Tan Sri Mahiaddin Md Yasin announced a full lockdown across the country in the hopes that this pandemic could be curb or at least, under control.
As the clock ticks down, our situation once improved last July. However, the sky is not always blue. State general election in Sabah took place just after the situation got better. As expected, that was the turning point of how the Covid-19 cases boomed dramatically shortly afterward, just before everybody managed to contain it where the number of cases once dropped to zero cases per day.
Now, the situation gets worse and worse. Our daily cases approximately reach 20 thousand cases per day, especially in Klang Valley and several states, such as Kedah and Johor which are severely affected as most of the factories do not seize their operations during the lockdowns. Malls, certain categories of shops, schools, and universities are forced to shut down which resulted in dire consequences for the economy. The people are burning out. They are now mentally and physically exhausted.
So, with the current situation, what could we learn from this pandemic? I would like to stress out two important segments which shift the world when Covid-19 hits us all: economy and technology and science.
The surge of E-Commerce
Undeniably speaking, this pandemic negatively affects our country and even all the countries around the world. Thousands of people are getting laid off, numerous shops and malls do not have the ability to survive. People could not put food on the table anymore. Such a harsh reality that we must accept.
When most of the economic sectors struggle to keep going, but E-Commerce is a different story. As people are instructed to stay at home, the inclination of spending time with smartphones is high. During this pandemic, the E-Commerce companies such as Amazon, Lazada, and Shopee find their pace at a great momentum.
For instance, Amazon continued to hire despite widespread unemployment and economic crisis in the United States. Between March and mid-April, the company hired around 175,000 new warehouse and delivery workers to help fulfill consumer orders. In the three months ending June 30, Amazon hired 36,400 new employees, increasing its total headcount to 876,800, up 34% year over year.
Likewise, the situation is much similar in Malaysia. Based on the reports, the online shopping application such as Shoppee is used by 4 in 5 buyers. As for Lazada, there are already millions of orders that have been requested and the numbers rise by almost 80%.
Obviously, the pandemic has completely changed the retailing industry especially the e-commerce sector. This is something that people should ponder upon, and it may be the case for those struggling with ideas to start a business. Perhaps, start off with e-commerce. Why not?
The Role of Science and Technology
When lockdowns are imposed across the world, science and technology help us to continue our life even it would not be the same as before. The university students are asked to go back home and continue their studies remotely.
Online platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams are the medium for students to continue their studies as they cannot go back to campus. Although they may be not as effective as face-to-face classes where students interact with each other, at least, the learning can be resumed despite a few drawbacks such as slow internet connectivity and less motivation.
Nevertheless, we have to accept this destiny as a part of our challenges that must be encountered as much as we can.
More than that, science and technology help us to heal and curb this pandemic slowly. With the rapid development in the pharmaceuticals industry, the vaccines such as Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Sinovac manage to emerge amid this crisis. Without them, we would not have been able to continue to the same extent throughout the pandemic. To sum up, there is always a silver lining in every cloud. Although many of us would think that this catastrophic is a total disaster, it is not as we think. Had it not been for Covid-19, the surge of e-commerce and the rapid development of Science and Technology might not take place.
Syed Fadzil Alhabshi, Coordinator Programme of Lestari Hikmah is from Batu Pahat, Johor. He is currently pursuing his Degree studies in English in Professional Communication at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UITM) Shah Alam, Selangor.