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Staying upbeat on day 14 of the circuit-breaker

Saturday, April 18, 2020
  • Writer's pictureK

Days like these make you think a lot about how adaptable humans can be. You can keep us at home and restrict our movements, but some way or another, we will find the means to make do with what we have and some times even improvise - like I've come to learn that you don't need to go to Yoshinoya for a beef bowl, you can easily make one at home with a gyudon packet from Donki.

And instead of my usual cup of magic, my mornings are spent by the window with a butter cookies dipped with a strong dose of Nespresso.

Surely productivity across companies must have gone down during the last two months. Not solely because people are confined to working from their homes and are distracted by other chores, but largely because most of everywhere else in the world has basically come to a standstill. It's hard to say which is which but I think one drives the other.

Where do we go from here? I don't think we will stay this way for long. Peer-to-peer interaction is still very much the core of civilisation. I was watching a property webinar today on how the real estate market has basically weathered every known recession since 2000. One of the anecdotes that was shared was:

Do car accidents deter people from driving on roads forever? No. People don't stop driving just because of one or a few accidents. Humans are adaptable. We invent traffic lights, implement anti-lock braking systems, we impose harsher penalties on errant traffic offenders and we educate the general public on road safety - but we certainly won't ban people from driving.

If life throws us a curve ball, we adapt. If the virus takes away in-person meetings, we use Zoom. So we can't eat outdoors, we just call for food deliveries. Businesses will find a way to re-purpose themselves e.g. makers of luxury goods will make masks; airlines will continue to operate by transporting cargo and private car drivers will do step up to fill any additional demand for food deliveries during this period. Doctors around the world continue to test and treat patients everyday.


So maybe the optimism in markets these days isn't so much about whether stocks have 'bottomed out' or if scientists around the world are on track to find a cure for the virus. There is just too much we can learn about these pathogens. They evolve and even if we suppress them today, who knows what lies in store for the next few decades.

But for now, the world looks hinged on the confidence of our survivability. Such is the adaptability of human beings. And in days like these where people are dying by the thousands everyday from the virus, rather than be a sourpuss, sometimes all we need is just a little optimism.

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