Not Visiting Home Today or Not Visiting Home Forever: Tradition vs. Public Health

What used to be a face-to-face discussion at the Café, Samnang and Sothie have had to adapt to the virtual medium of Telegram in order to continue their updates on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). By enlarging their perspective in looking at multiple sides, the two men both show compassion to the government and at the very same time they do not really want to put blame on the citizens. 

Samnang: It looks like the campaign toward combating that COVID-19 is being done quite well, eh Sothie! Along the streets, large billboards, which once upon a time were filled with all sort of advertisements, have been replaced by informative pictures and texts in describing hand hygiene. LED panels at many road intersections is now displaying short video clips in raising the awareness of COVID-19 instead of other fashion products. Posters are raised and tied around schools and public places. I have not even began talking about the cyber realm where educational contents regarding the pandemic are being made and shared virally across platforms.  

Sothie: This is called a combined force or a total resource usage. The government is doing very well right now, and it satisfied me. From measures to implementation, the efforts are executed like a well-oiled machine from top to bottom. Unity is seen between Cambodian people. The private sector has allocated some of their resources for humanitarian donations in term of finances, equipment and food as part of their own campaigns or as a helping hand toward the government. The governing system has produced analysis on preserving financial capital, healthcare supplies and food to tackle any surprises that may pop up in the pandemic. All in all, the government is very integrated and dynamic on the concern of public health security. 

Samnang: I guess the government is still feeling anxious about the situation. No-one knows will this end. I feel like a war between human beings is pretty much easier than a war between human beings and microscopic objects. They are impossible to detect by your naked eyes. It is like fighting a shadow. They are viruses! It is uncertain to know for sure their location. I have been applying hand sanitizer until my skin became wrinkled.  

Sothie: Now, besides from making phone calls to avoid physical contact, the importance of wearing masks and washing hands has come to everyone’s attention. Despite all these actions, some people just do not get it. Sometimes it made me very angry, but I tried to cool down. I know that those people are irrational. I just want to yell my questions at them and ask why they cannot refrain from traveling to their hometown? Between “Not visiting them today” and “Not visiting them forever”, which one do you prefer?  


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