Celebrating the new year has certainly taken a different turn since the Covid-19 pandemic. The typical upbeat feeling and excitement we often associate with starting the year were at odds with the reality around us, which was of uncertainty, hardship, and the unexpected.
It has been 21 months since Malaysia started its first lockdown in March 2020. While we have made some progress to inch ourselves out of this global health crisis, we are still not yet out of the woods.
Many have used the word ‘unprecedented’ to describe life during the pandemic. It is true that there has been nothing like it in recent times (the last worldwide pandemic being 100 years ago). It has also been striking how much the pandemic has changed how we live our lives – from schooling to work, to commerce and how we communicate. The world as we know it has been disrupted and turned upside down.
For many, there has been suffering, pain, and loss. There has been grief and anguish. But we have also witnessed unprecedented fortitude, especially here in Malaysia. We have seen our medical frontliners working tirelessly and selflessly, and ordinary Malaysians helping each other in times of need.
As we begin the new year, I look ahead with unprecedented hope, and I would like to encourage you to do the same. Unprecedented times call for unprecedented response.
“It is my hope to see an increase in accessibility to education for all.”
That no one gets left behind because of socio-economic circumstances, or geographical location. With the increase of virtual learning spaces and opportunities, more people will be able to learn and harness it to improve their prospects in life.
The potential education has to change lives cannot be denied. The pandemic has created even more urgency in addressing this issue, as many children have fallen behind on education due to school closures, and the lack of access to gadgets, such as laptops, and internet connection.
“It is my hope to see the inequality gap increasingly become smaller.”
Inequality caused by discrimination, poverty, gender – all of its forms become diminished through education and employment opportunities.
The huge loss of jobs due to the pandemic has also seen many become unemployable, or their jobs becoming obsolete. Many struggled to cope with technology and digital literacy when work became virtual. This is where training and retraining are essential, but many do not have access to these.
It is my hope to see renewable energy moving more to the forefront. In the coming year, and days, we will see renewable energy as not just a lofty ideal reserved for the elite, but something that is available, affordable, and within reach for all.
“It is my hope to see more countries, corporations, and individuals make changes to address the climate change crisis.”
Changes on a policy level, but also changes on a grassroot level. Sometimes all it takes is for us to make that change first, with ourselves.
But to merely hope, in itself, is futile – hope needs to also be followed with tangible actions. So, I hope, but I am also resolved to do what I can to bring these hopes to realisation, by continuing and multiplying the good work we have started here at SOLS 24/7.
And I hope that you will join me too. Let us make this world a better place, one day at a time.
Here’s to 2022 – a year of unprecedented hope and resolve for all of us.
Wishing you a Happy New Year, and may your days ahead be brighter.