Paradigm Shift

10 May 2020 by Cho-wai Cheung in: Looking Out

Stepping into May, Australians are looking forward to the easing of social distancing rules enforced in March as a result of a spike in Coronavirus cases. In just a few days’ time, we have modified the way we conduct our lives and businesses 

What made us change so drastically? Undoubtedly, the order came top down with the might of the federal and state powers, but few of us whined as we saw the huge loss of lives in the U.S. and Europe. We accepted this short-term pain was necessary.

Now that some of the restrictions are being lifted, we may ask: will we ever return to the normality we used to know? Probably not. I think we will still be conscious of the ideas of social distancing and personal hygiene. We’ll still hug and kiss and shake hands but not when we have coughs and sneezes. Very likely the plastic shields at supermarket checkouts will stay to protect both the staff and customers. By the same token the wearing of masks will be an acceptable sight around the world. There will be a more intense use of IT in all types of organizations to connect and to grow. Working from home will be a more common occurrence. When the pandemic is over, many governments will take a hard look at their domestic manufacturing industries to ensure self-sufficiency in the next national crisis---what our PM Scott Morrison called ‘economic sovereignty’.

Whether we’re ready or not, Covid-19 has forced upon us a paradigm shift. It has caused us all to change, and changed quickly. In the gospels, a rich young man who observed all the commandments asked Jesus what he should do to inherit eternal life. Jesus asked him to sell all his possessions, gave to the poor and follow Him. At these words, the young man felt sad and left. This story shows even if we have a noble aspiration, we wouldn’t be motivated to make a move if we aren’t in dire circumstances. Change doesn’t come naturally and easily.  And until we have made the change, very likely we’ll still be blind to the fault lines in our present reality.