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 🙂

Chaos and characters

Now that most of us are home quarantined, come with me on this journey of self-reflection through this unexpected chaos: Coronavirus or COVID19. Well, I guess this topic seems so sexy and trendy. Yet, what you’ll follow here is my personal stand – if not character – on what has happened to us lately. Of course, as usual, I’d like to shed positive light of this current chaos anyway.

What is it?

According to International SOS, COVID19 or SARS-CoV-2 is a new virus, first identified in people with pneumonia in Wuhan, China, in late December 2019. It probably started in animals, but is now spreading between people.

How is it spread?

It probably spreads the same way as colds and flu – through droplets created when we talk, cough and sneeze. People can get infected when these droplets enter the nose, eyes or mouth. Touching contaminated objects puts the droplets onto your hands. If you touch your face the droplets can enter your nose / eyes / mouth.

How have we coped with it?

Here comes the most critical issue when I first heard of COVID19. Even my healthy-looking friends became the first ones to panic! They kept sharing the increasing cases in other countries and, of course, in Cambodia with us. The flow of information got so unbearable that I had to ask some of them to stop spreading it. Funnily enough, I have found 4 main types of people reacting differently to such a pandemic.

1- Covidiots -01

This newly coined term designates someone who resists to the social distancing protocol, thus leading to further spread of this disease. Although I personally spot only a bunch of this type, I believe this indifference has contributed to swift contamination, especially in the case of Italy. In order to contour this effect, the Italian government has even issued the law to fine those who refuse to self-isolate under such critical circumstances.

2- Covidiots -02

We still call these people “idiots” in the sense that they needlessly bombard stores or markets, fearing COVID19 might deprive them of vital supplies. As a result, others would lack these necessities, which should be fairly stocked at home! Should I say they would cause a next global recession?!

3- “Covidramatists” *

These social media users can be still covidiots, while all they do every day is to update everyone in their networks about how terrible the situation can go, from day to day. It amazed me how they seem to do “better”, yet dramatic reporting jobs than professional journalists, without filtering such content!

4- “Sane”

I’d call this group “rare gems”. They study everything about Coronavirus and assess its spread and impact before they accept any related update or news. Eventually, they tend to keep their network positive and abreast of only reliable news. They can always react like a covidiot or a reporter! Yet, they know when or how to jump in as to not stir the dirt even further.

After reading and following all the insight and updates so far, I would recommend, above all, to you personal hygiene and social distancing. With the increasing cases spotted all over the globe, staying home with you family is the best prevention you can take right now.

Physical care aside, keep our mind clear like water. If a stain drops in it, let it be. Over time, the stain will go away or sink down. Ultimately, our spirit will remain clear and accept new – better experiences. Most importantly, you are now given the choice of your character to cope with this “temporary” crisis.

PS: If you fear COVID19 befalling you, consider buying a health or life insurance policy already, for the sake of your family! Which I already did, not necessarily for this particular cause!

PPS: If you opt for the sane way, click here for your spiritual gift, of course, besides medical protection.

*This term is just nicely coined by my poet-filmmaker friend, LY Polen!

The hair that attaches…

If you come back from an overnight trip, what will you do? Most of you would say, “Go to bed for a big rest.” Well, I didn’t stand such a chance, nor did I want to! Why? Because I was called in the afternoon of the day after Pchum Ben, to attend the premiere screening of “Tangled” in the evening. I thought our mini-van travelling from Kampot would be arriving to Phnom Penh, late for this animated film. Luckily, I had one hour to take a bath and get changed before the session started. As usual, I was allowed to bring a friend with me for such a screening. So the only guy I found most available was Rithea (again)!

Before the movie began, I had to take the tickets from Socheat, Marketing Executive of the cinema. It was my first time to meet him in person as, so far, I had contacted him only by email, phone or SMS. But I feel he’s a caring guy. I remembered, when I missed the tickets for “Glee”, he came all the way to the cinema just to get me those! But by chance, I met his colleagues, who passed me the tickets on his behalf. Nor for “Tangled”, with the tickets in hand, I still needed to wait another 15 minutes after 6:30 pm because an usher said the hall needed cleaning up after the previous session. Well, I just killed my time by buying Coke in exchange for a lucky draw. But, then, I learned a lesson when I was convinced to buy what didn’t entitle me to such a draw: one big Coke and one small pop corn! Oh, my goodness: how careless I was! Anyway, I never win anything when it comes to lucky draws. So I might as well enjoy those two items, with my friend (without a chance to win prizes!).
Although I once saw a part of this cartoon once shown by Rithea and watched it in a version non-produced by Walt Disney, I found this entire story very entertaining and inspirational. So here’s how it goes roughly:
“After receiving the healing powers from a magical flower, the baby Princess Rapunzel is kidnapped from the palace in the middle of the night by Mother Gothel. Mother Gothel knows that the flower’s magical powers are now growing within the golden hair of Rapunzel, and to stay young, she must lock Rapunzel in her hidden tower. Rapunzel is now a teenager and her hair has grown to a length of 70-feet. The beautiful Rapunzel has been in the tower her entire life, and she is curious of the outside world. One day, the bandit Flynn Ryder scales the tower and is taken captive by Rapunzel. Rapunzel strikes a deal with the charming thief to act as her guide to travel to the place where the floating lights come from that she has seen every year on her birthday. Rapunzel is about to have the most exciting and magnificent journey of her life.” (Source:
And here’s what I’ve learned from this 3D movie.
Everybody has a dream. A businessman I admire even stated, “Even a moron has a dream.” This is really the case in this cartoon. Rapunzel is sent by Flynn to a thug inn, where he expects her to give up her dream of watching “lanterns”. Yet, she doesn’t, and even goes on to influence them about dreams. No matter how “violent” the thugs are, they respectively want to be a pianist, a circus artist and so on. The more she talks about her dream, the more they get inspired to express their respective dreams.
Comfort Zone
I’d say, without being “jailed” in her “comfort zone”, she would not dare to dream to go off the tower. Yet, over there, she learns some basic hobbies, which serves her later in the story. This also reminds me of how traditional Cambodian women are closed or close themselves at home. Like Mother Gothel, their parents tend to tell them about insecurity of the outside world and even dissuade them from trying new ways of life. But very few would have the courage of Rapunzel to get out of this comfort zone. In a sense, she sets a bold model for other women. Of course, she has to take the risks and accept the consequences!
Rapunzel’s integrity not only wins the thugs’ hearts, but also that of Flynn, who, at first, wants to get away from her. Yet, the more time he spends with this princess, the more he discovers her inner beauty. He ends up unconsciously in love with her and eventually, changes his mind about keeping the crown he stole. Of course, when you change your mind or attitude, you’re changing your life.
Generosity or Hypocrisy
This is more about Mother Gothel. Sometimes, in life, I must admit that it’s hard to determine if one does good to us out of generosity or hypocrisy. But, as experience has it, time will tell the truth between these two horizons. Like in this cartoon, this lady ends up showing Rapunzel the real reason why she raises Rapunzel. Then, I realize that generosity is unconditional and hypocrisy isn’t. One is selfless and the other is selfish.
Only after I searched did I learn that “Tangled” is the biggest investment of all animated films. I believe they deserve their tremendously emotional and financial returns. Especially, when the story keeps us laughing all the way till the end and inspiring even adults!