Celebrate but not with a devil-may-care attitude
The world is battling one of the worst economic crises in living memory. Despite the blows dealt by the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s, the Sept 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, the SARS outbreak in 2002-03 and the 2008-09 global financial crisis, the globalization curve more or less maintained its northward trend, albeit with hiccups.
But the present economic crisis is different, different because economic solutions, no matter how theoretically foolproof and effective they are, cannot lift what appears to be a veil of omnipresent gloom on almost all levels of the economy and society.
Yet amid the apparent global gloom, life finds its own trajectory. Not because humans by nature are in the habit of denying or defying reality, but because despite the reality, no matter how ominous and threatening it is, human spirit refuses to be subdued. It seeks freedom, it seeks love, it seeks joy. It longs for the warmth of relationships. It yearns to encounter the unknown, it seeks to explore, even if it leads to failure.
Given the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic, which has been different on different countries, the response of the different members of the international community has not been uniform. Some countries did not take the pandemic as seriously as they should have and are now facing the consequences of their folly. Some have tried their best to contain the virus and yet failed to do so for various reasons, including but not limited to faulty policies, poor implementation of seemingly effective policies, and weak healthcare systems.
Yet others have performed well, and managed to contain the epidemic. As one such country, China, after having virtually contained the virus, has not only resumed almost normal production but also promoted other economic activities, although with due caution.
It is with such due caution, accompanied by strict rules and constant vigilance, that one of the most important holidays, the National Day Golden Week holiday, is about to kick off. More than 550 million trips are expected to be made during the eight-day holiday. And it is with due caution that the government expects the hospitality industry, including the tourism sector, hotels, restaurants and tourist sites, to recover some of its lost ground and inject new vitality into the national economy.
After months of being confined mostly to their homes, or cautiously commuting between office and home, the Chinese people are looking forward to a week of normal activities－traveling to places of their choice, relaxing outdoors, visiting tourist attractions, enjoying the embrace of nature, or basking in the lap of historical sites. Spending some quality time with family and friends.
Certainly, they are not asking for much. Except that it is not yet time to drink indiscretion and let the devil do the rest, for the coronavirus is yet to be effectively contained in the rest of the world, and as long as all countries are not free of the threat of the virus, no country can be totally safe.
Of course, there is a time to everything, a season to everything, a time to every purpose under heaven. And this is a season for holiday. A time to travel, a time to explore, a time to enjoy, but not the time t to adopt a devil-may-care attitude. It is a time to celebrate, but also a time for restraint, a time to "refrain from embracing" everything.
Let us travel. Indeed, let us enjoy. But let us also be cautious while doing so. For this is not the time to be hoisted by your petard and be left to twist in the wind.
As a colleague said a long time ago: Life is wonderful, life is beautiful, but be careful.
The author is a writer with China Daily. The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.