It seemed like the sky was the limit. In a matter of weeks, we descended into a land plunged into a sea ruffled with anxiety and uncertainty. The novel coronavirus turned our lives inside out, with far-reaching repercussions that one cannot estimate accurately at this stage.
Let's be honest. We were not prepared to face this. It is therefore a time of resistance and resilience. And the biggest test is yet to come. As mentioned by the Chief Executive, Ho Iat Seng, in the open letter he sent to the population this week, preventing and fighting the epidemic "is now entering an even tougher and more difficult phase". The unprecedented and courageous decision to temporarily shut down the casinos was inevitable given the worsening of the crisis, and it could even have been taken some days before. Generally speaking, Macau authorities - starting with Ho Iat Seng - have been swift and firm in their responsiveness to these unprecedented challenges paving to the way to the much-cherished climate of trust.
Nevertheless one needs to thoroughly and seriously the risks posed by frequent border crossings. The situation across the Border Gate is sounding the alarm given the number of people infected in Zhuhai, which is almost twice that of some other neighboring cities in the Greater Bay Area.
It is time for solidarity, science, transparency, compassion, responsiveness from the authorities and true sense of citizen and corporate social responsibility. It is time of refusal of stigma and xenophobia and rejection of ignorance, intolerance and prejudice.
The recently announced first batch of measures by the Government aimed at lending support to families and businesses are surely only a first step. More, much more is to come. As Macau has been saving for the rainy day, time has come to allocate part of the over 500 billion pataca reserve fund that has been piling up thanks to a windfall of budget surpluses.
On top of that, companies, namely large scale corporations who profited millions and billions during the nearly two decades of economic boom, have the duty to rise to the challenge and give back to the society by protecting their labor force (residents and migrant workers) who are quite often the first casualties of these crises.
The city that has been flying high splendidly must now rise energized by the strength that stems from being humble before life.