Three Major Mental Effects of this Pandemic and How to Counter Them!

By now, it should be a solid year Cambodia has declared the attack by the current pandemic. The first outbreak was detected in Siem Reap last year. For some reason, we survived a few outbreaks. Still, the new wave, dating February 20th, proves stronger than ever, taking a few Cambodian lives already. As a result, I had the time to reflect on the mental effects COVID-19 might have caused us, even non-patients. Brace yourself as the next paragraphs may transcend your realities!

1- Procrastination is Real

We have come to tolerate the tardiness of our work. When we reached a stable phase and looked back, we go, “Why shouldn’t this have been done earlier?” Oddly enough, we forgot we were the one to allow it to happen that late! Despite this unwanted procrastination, I’d say we need to update each other of our commitments, no matter how late they may be. Better still is to keep ourselves busy with online education, as mentioned in this previous post!

2- Moral Injury Affects us all

As elaborated in this article, moral jury would have rather affected war veterans, who could have other saved their fellows. In this modern time, due to fast infection, we couldn’t even stay by our loved ones in the last minute. Worse is our inability to bury the deceased, discomforting some religions. I believe if any measure is taken by our medical authorities, this rather means well to us, the living. This compliance will not only keep us alive, but also other lives safe – physically and morally.

3- The New Normal is More Virtual than Physical

This part feels unfamiliar to some, when one has been so used to face-to-face interactions. Although a previous post of mine addressed online interactions, until now, I realize these have not benefited my works that much. How many of you have gone on Zoom, disabling your video feature and acting as if you care about your colleague(s)?! I understand that muting yourself in such conversations may keep them from hearing unnecessary noise. Still, for an “empathic” compromise, I’d suggest the callers show their faces – if not videos – in the beginning and end of such e-meetings.

To sum up, we are still facing some uncertainty of this pandemic and its long-lasting trauma. As we are spiritual beings, virtuality does not seem that bad, especially when we still care about our causes: family and work 🙂 After all, let us bear in mind to not use COVID-19 as an excuse to stop moving forward in life.

PS: Sorry I have no bonus video for this post. But you may feel energized again after reading this article. It covers mindfulness at workplace shared with me by Narin from MastermindClub 🙂

Nation. Religion. King. – A Cambodian View

You may wonder why I’m writing about such a generic topic – Cambodian national motto. The truth is, the motto is generic not just to Cambodia, but also to other countries. Yet, here, I’d like to highlight how this motto personally impacts me, especially after the cremation of our late King Sihanouk. And I hope you join me on this journey of interconnection between a personal view and a national motto.

My Nation – Cambodia
Without doubt, a foreigner would know my country for Angkor Wat, which has become the national emblem in virtually all historical eras. They also know us for the Khmer Rouge genocidal regime from 1975 to 1979. We’ve also been known for our rich history since before Christ. The saddest part was that, from a regional empire, Cambodia has shrunk to an 181,035 km2 piece of land. Shall we regret our past? In a sense, I do. In the other, I know I could never get back the lost parts. We can only take care of what we still have left. I admit some Cambodians prefer to go or live abroad for their security and prosperity. Yet, the many challenges this Kingdom face seem to give me a sense of meaning to fight to make it better. What’s the point to live in a comfort zone with little personal growth? I’m not saying that Cambodia should remain underdeveloped for the rest of time. But I just feel it has more room for me to develop my full potential and eventually, benefit my fellows.

My Religion – Buddhism
Buddhism is by the Constitution Cambodia’s religion as more than 90% of us are Buddhists. Which mean not less than 10% others are Christians, Muslims and more. I’m not sure if Buddha’s teachings have been instilled in me since my birth. But I remember spending some intensive time reading about Mohamed before college and attending church services in my twenties. Still, the idea of “God” has little affected me. To me, “God” is just another name for Karma. We are what we think and do repeatedly. No God imposes anything on us. If He ever existed, He would ignore us anyway! Without religious disrespect, I’ve chosen to remain Buddhist as I’ve been and even went on to become ordained. The principles, like simplicity, humility and compassion, I’ve learned from my monkhood has impacted my life to date.

My King – Norodom Sihanouk*
Without disrespect to the current and previous kings of Cambodia, King Father Sihanouk is the only one I’ve learned most about. His Majesty was for me probably the most controversial in Cambodian History. From the one who claimed the Independence of Cambodia from France to the one who masterminded what we call later “Khmer Rouge”, you can’t get all Cambodians to love Him. To me, His Majesty is like any father. Out of love, He may have made some mistakes. But His intention is still to protect His subjects or kids and the integrity of the Home. I’m not sure if His reconciliation in 1993 could make up for the mistakes He made. Here’s the analogy to best describe this scenario. A metallurgist comes up with the idea to create a knife to chop vegetables. But his friends use it to kill people without his knowledge. Should we sentence the metallurgist? Now His Majesty went to the other world, should we still argue about this case? Anyway, I believe there are times we need to let Nature take care of what turns out later.

Towards the future
Cambodia went through ups and downs in History. Presently, most would agree that we’re still in down times, compared to His Sangkum regime. Is it because of Buddhism that things have slowed down and we’ve forgiven the Khmer Rouge leaders so easily? Of course, I cherish the past lessons. But how long should I stick to them? I guess I’m now busier preparing for my future and how Cambodian next generations will remember me as a person. Am I yet another Cambodian?

* His Majesty was himself one of the greatest filmmakers/artists of the 1960s!