Seniors and the virus
BUSINESS MATTERS (BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE) - Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - March 21, 2020 - 12:00am

New norms are now being established because of the current situation. The virus is causing the whole world to do a reboot. The long debate, whether to work from home should be allowed, has become clear and evident. Remote work is not here to stay because remote work is where the world will be heading.

Economists all over the world are taking stock of this “Black Swan” event. A “Black Swan” according to Google is identified as an “unpredictable or unforeseen event, typically one with extreme consequences.” You begin to hear words like “Economics of Stop.” “Economics of fear.”

Not so much with certain seniors in the metropolis. At the start of the quarantine, a strange thing was happening. Many young kids are obeying the government’s recommendation of staying at home, behaving themselves. At the same time, they complain about their parents as being delinquent, hard-headed, and refusing to follow the directives. My friend Gerald Evangelista asks a question in his FB account: “What about a whole day curfew for seniors?” You should see the number of comments he generated from his post. Gerald says, these senior citizens are still seen in restos, coffee shops, and malls as if everything is normal. Look at the replies and you cannot help but give out a hearty laugh even in the midst of these tense times:

“These senior citizens are so hardheaded and when you tell them to stay home, they get mad at the kids.”

“My father refuses to wear face mask.”

“These seniors are behaving like rebellious teenagers.”

“Our parents usually play mahjong on Sundays and because there is a curfew imposed, they have decided to play mahjong earlier in the morning – as if it would make any difference!”

Playing mahjong earlier does not serve as a deterrent for the spread of germs yet these seniors do not mind. And this comment is my personal favorite as the person waxed philosophical and historical:

“Perhaps these seniors think that they have survived world wars, calamities and other turmoils they can easily survive this one too.”

This is what I have been presenting in my leadership seminars. Baby boomers and traditionalists think in terms of life as being a “Zero-Sum Game.” Either you win, or you lose. You live, or you die. Life longevity is on the rise. Seniors are getting healthier and are still productive. If you would compare the way the seniors behave today to their predecessors, there would be a remarkable difference. Seniors today are fashionable, and many of them live and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle. But the virus is not just your run-of-the-mill trial or adversity that comes into your life. It is dangerous, and it is deadly. It is not something you can easily brush aside with your strong will power convincing yourself that you are healthy and can withstand its attack.

So take all precautionary measures, do what the authority says. Many seniors may have the extra time and (in many cases) the extra cash to lounge around and to kill time. But this virus kills. Live your lives as examples for your children to follow. Do not be pig-headed. This is not the time for it. In other words, obey your children.

(Connect with Francis Kong in Or listen to “Business Matters” Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. over 98.7 DZFE-FM ‘The Master’s Touch’, the classical music station.)

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