28 November 2020

What is Your One Word for 2020?

My 1-Word is Expose. What is yours?
Every year-end, the media play the game of "One Word that captures the events for the year". This year is a very special year, Too Much Happened In 2020 For Oxford Languages To Pick Only 1 Word of the Year.  The Chinese Newspaper ZaoBao runs a competition for people to pick the word. The choices are 罩 Mask. 命 Fate. 瘟 Pandemic. 宅 Stay-Home. 惶 Fear. 灾 Disaster. 封 Lockdown. 误 Misleading. 囤 Surrounded. 关 Locked. What is your choice? 

For me, the One-Word is "Expose曝.

The COVID-19 virus exposed the character, the values, the strengths and weaknesses of people, culture, and systems. It is a stress-test to see how are strong and who are weak. 

It shines the light to reveal the defects, the selfishness of people, and also the courage and the self-sacrificing frontline workers, especially the doctors, nurses, and other operation staff. 

There are a few shocking exposures:

1. The better medically equipped and more hygienic countries like the US and Europe did not fare any better than the Asian countries like China, and Southeast Asia. In fact, they are much worse off. It has to do with their culture and values.

2. Those that value human rights and freedom that deems lockdown and wearing masks as violations of their rights are worse off.  Such values place self above the community. 

3. Those that value wealth more than human lives and go against lockdown are worse off. Such democratic systems that are supposed to value human rights and lives do not achieve their original purpose. There needs to be a relook at such democratic systems.

4. Those who study the behavior of the COVID virus and then adopt practices that stop the spreads win. Those that ignore the facts and go by their subjective values, beliefs, and prejudices lose. 

The biggest lesson learned is that we must study and find the facts and then let the facts drive decision making. The COVID virus is, on one hand, dangerous and yet on the other hand not, because their behavior is fixed and we can control and fight it.

So, it reveals the importance of scientific thinking. It also reveals the importance of following the teaching of the Great Learning --- Learning the facts and following them. See Understanding The Great Learning DaXue in One Minute.

What is your 1-Word for 2020? More importantly, what have you learned from the pandemic?

Lim Liat (C) 28 Nov 2020