At the writing of this blog post, the entire world is gripped by the fear of COVID-19. Malaysia announced a lock-down just 2 days ago, and everyone is still reeling from the impact of that announcement. As my staff observed, it is near impossible to write about anything without mentioning the virus.
One person I know posted a comment on social media that this virus demonstrated that we are all part of humanity, as it affects us regardless of race, language, religion or nationality; that this virus is a great equalizer. Actually my friend was wrong. COVID-19 is not the great equalizer. We will beat it for certain one day, and another virus will probably take its place. Also, most people will not be affected by the virus.
The great equalizer for humanity is death. Now this one, no one is able to beat; and no one will be able to beat for sure.
No matter who you are, no matter how rich or poor you are, more beautiful or ugly you are, how smart or stupid you are, or how many COVID-19's you can escape from, you are going to die. So will I. But we do not like to think about this taboo subject, especially in Asia where some buildings do not have 4th floor because the number 4's pronunciation in Chinese sounds like "death". COVID-19 simply brought that reality up to our face, and the resulting responses from us have been dismal. Panic-buying, racism, deliberate flouting of official health guidelines and other ugliness all surfaced quickly. And we all know that after this crisis dies down, people will likely go back to the old lifestyle of pretending they will never die.
The wiser thing to do is to take this opportunity to take stock of one's life and mortality. So at the end of your life, what do you think you can say to yourself? Would it be the standard answer of having regrets that there are many things you wanted to do but you did not; and many things you should not have done but you did?
The earlier you think about this taboo subject, the more you can ensure that your life is lived for significance. Life is indeed fragile, vulnerable and even short. So make the most of it by doing things that have impact and significance. Live for a cause greater than self. It is not as difficult as it sounds actually. Join us (or other charities of your choice) and start changing the world positively right now. Do not wait for a crisis or worse, death to come before thinking about significance. When the great equalizer comes, may we all be able to say that we have lived a life without regret.