Go into Suspended Animation to Survive

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Following Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s disclosure that the Economic Action Council (EAC) had predicted that the local tourism industry will need four years to recover from the effects of Covid-19.

Suspended animation is the temporary cessation of most vital functions without death, as in a hibernating animal or dormant seed. While some mammals hibernate over winter to survive, certain seeds can delay germination for more than 50 years.

One of the most interesting aquatic animals must surely be the African lungfish that can sleep out of water for three to five years without any sustenance, only to wake up after heavy rain when water floods their burrows in the mud.

This has allowed them to survive for 400 million years, long before dinosaurs roamed the earth and later went extinct. Human beings have much to learn from nature, especially now on the survival of their business and retention of jobs.

With Malaysia now under Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) until August 31, many businesses are eager to get back on their feet after suffering loss of income while continuing to bear overheads such as salaries, rentals, utilities and depreciation.

Most industries are expected to recover slowly in the second half of this year with hygiene, safety and security protocols in place, but travel agents and tour operators will have to wait much longer.

Those optimistic that their business will fully recover by next year have taken loans or injected capital to tide over this year, and tour bus operators had been vocal in asking for six-month moratoriums on bus leasing, confident that they could start repayments thereafter.

However, those who faced reality have either closed or scaled down their travel and tour business and wait until good times are back. They are as clever as the lungfish by conserving what they have and would make a triumphant return.

On Monday, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin disclosed that the Economic Action Council (EAC) had predicted that the local tourism industry will need four years to recover from the effects of Covid-19.

He also said within the four-year timeframe, new industry players would be entering the hard-hit sector because the old ones are suffering losses, and this will give birth to new industry players.

Earlier, I have urged travel agents and tour operators to surrender instead of allowing their business to slowly bleed to death by carrying on regardless.

With applications for Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) now frozen until end of the year, the perception is Malaysia is no longer welcoming foreigners as before. There influx of tourists would have to play second fiddle to the health of Malaysians.

But things will quickly change when a highly effective treatment or vaccine is found for Covid-19. It is well-known that a strategic retreat in a battle can win a war. And just like lungfish and dinosaurs have proven, it is not the strongest of the species that survive but one most adaptable to change.

The views expressed here are strictly those of The True Net reader CY Ming of Kuala Lumpur.