Editorial | Imagine

Paulo Coutinho

Imagine a world without Covid. And no “religion” too.

Lennon’s hopeful words echo strongly in my mind more than ever four decades after I first heard “Imagine.” Not hard to understand or explain why. We live in a kind of a dystopian world, the polar opposite of John’s utopia, which is the kind of planet humans should aim for. A note about “no religion”; Lennon meant no disrespect for the believers and faithful – he was aiming at the conflicts generated by religions over the times: His song was a hymn to peace and harmony.

The Covidian era is far from over and everywhere commoners, scientists and politicians are realizing that a world without the contagious virus and its army of variants is not foreseeable in near future.

The remedy? 

Aside from therapeutic medicines being developed and used in emergency cases, the “cure” is high vaccination rates and herd immunity. There are theories, from scientists in several countries, that Omicron – the uber-contagious variant of the novel coronavirus – may be part of the solution too, if, as it is asserted, that Omicron really is predominantly asymptomatic and/or mild, due to the very low cases of hospitalization in people infected by this latest variant discovered somewhere in South Africa. 

That is the news that has come as a relief by the year end, just as the vaccines brought the sigh of relief in Christmas 2020.

And while the world is being affected by the millions, isolated Macau registered three “outbreaks” of less than ten people infected in the community and three instances of mass testing following the contagions – which was seen as a draconian measure of dubious benefit by experts outside government quarters.

In the balance of losses and gains, I would elect three events that marked 2021: 

– The arrest of the “king of junkets,” Suncity Group’s Alvin Chau, and the collapse of an operation involving over 3,000 workers and dozens of companies which led to the closure of most VIP rooms in the city’s casinos.

-The arrest of a former senior government official and two prominent businessmen involved in a web of corruption that embroiled a total of eight individuals so far. Land deals, construction and suspicious donations are in the mix.

– Last but not the least, the announcement of the Intensive Cooperation Zone Macau-Guangdong in Hengqin.

I visited there in early December. There’s not much going on yet, except for formidable infrastructure built in little more than ten years. Also, the pleasant and healthy urban landscape with a striking resemblance to our tiny territory: nothing stands more than a 10 to 15-minute ride away. Is this the key to Macau’s end of the proverbial over-reliance of MSAR’s economy on gaming?

It remains to be seen which of these events, or a combination of them all, will help shape Macau 2022 and beyond.


Categories Editorial Macau Opinion