Saturday, August 22, 2009

Of Bandits and Masks

Growing up, one of the many games I used to play with my friends were cowboy and bandits. We put on a cowboy hat and ran around the yard with toy guns, shooting at one another (yea, yea, I was a bit of a tomboy, so sue me!). Some of us would be the sheriff and his deputies, and the others, the bandits. Truthfully, being the bandit was so much more fun. We get to ‘borrow’ our Moms’ scarves and tie it around our faces like masks. We felt like real bank robbers in the wild wild west.

It was a lot of fun. It was cool!

This morning, as I was walking down the aisle at Carrefour, doing my weekly grocery shopping, I was transported back to those times. I remembered how much fun I used to have playing that and before I knew it, I was grinning from ear to ear and chuckling to myself.

I immediately stopped when I realized that people might think I’m crazy for grinning like a donkey and laughing all by myself. But then I realized another thing, nobody could see me grinning behind the mask I was wearing…

…and that, ladies and gentlemen, is another benefit of the face masks that are the current fashion trend these days. It hides your syok sendiri moments.

Wear it.

H1N1 is on the rise. So many cases are recorded daily around the country. The numbers are alarming, yet the authorities doesn’t seem to be too concerned about enforcing the preventive measures.

I don’t know what yardstick they are using to measure the level of seriousness for this matter, but I think that when there are more than 500 new cases being recorded in a day, it’s looks pretty damn serious to me. Something needs to be done and it needs to be done fast. But in typical Malaysian fashion, the powers that be are probably studying the need to enforce a curfew, or impose ruling on wearing face masks, or to take other measures, and this studies may take months, mind you.

And as always, they leave it to us to take our own preventive measures, like they do in a lot of other matters, like, snatch theft- ladies shouldn’t carry handbags, rape – ladies shouldn’t wear short skirts, car-jacking – you shouldn’t drive alone, etc etc. In the meantime, crimes are on the rise and the authorities doesn’t do anything until something happens. And then they’ll start blaming you for not doing enough to prevent that from happening.

Stupid dum-dum.

Anyway, wearing the masks does not guarantee our safety from H1N1, but it does help to reduce the risk of infection by a huge percentage. Just like the use of the rubber thingy for prevention of AIDS, the use of face masks too does not protect us 100%. So, other preventive measures must be taken, preferably by law, so that those people who are still not alarmed by all this would do their bit to help reduce the spread of this infection.

In the beginning, when people started wearing face masks everywhere they go, I thought it looked completely and utterly ridiculous (I still do actually, which was why I resorted to imagining being in a game of cowboys and bandits this morning to ease down my discomfort). But as more and more people wear masks, those who are not cannot help but feel a wee bit alarmed at seeing all that.

I have to admit, I wear it now not so much because of the news I kept reading in the newspaper, but because everywhere I go, I see concerned citizens taking their preventive measures, leaving me feeling exposed and vulnerable and a bit left out. As much as I am always a non-conformist in a lot of ways, I am not planning to risk my health and my life, just to be different from everybody else. So I decided to join the crowd, even if I have to pretend to be in a game of my childhood years to do it.

And once I started wearing it, it was kinda fun actually, so much so that this morning, I didn’t take it off when I get into my car, and was still wearing it until I got home.

It’s not that bad really, these masks. It just takes getting used to. And if it helps to protect your life, why not? Why risk anything at all?

Join the crowd, be responsible. Help yourself and help everybody reduce the spread of this virus. It’s for our own good.