FOOD FOR THOUGHT As the nation observes a lockdown until at least 30 August, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s address to the citizenry a few hours before the imposition of ‘quarantine curfew’ 10 days earlier shed some light on what could eventuate, should the spiralling caseloads and deaths continue to head north: “If in the near future, we have to close down the country for a longer period of time, be prepared to make sacrifices…” This statement put those who have clamoured for a nationwide shutdown for many weeks – for all intents and purposes, the ‘health is wealth brigade’ – on notice even if the very same people are likely to cry foul when the necessary sacrifices kick in! It may also have been a message that the economy and livelihoods are as important as a nation’s health – in that the two are intertwined. What he didn’t say however, is that we would not be in this predicament if corruption hadn’t spread its tentacles over the decades – model nations such as Singapore have reached the first world because they’re clean, which means they can afford to minimise the belt tightening the pandemic has forced upon them. To this end, let it be said that corruption has become endemic in our little world not only because of crooked politicians; it is very much a result of the citizenry’s habit of aiding and abetting the rogues – and let it be said too that this includes the business community. This deadly pandemic has taught us many lessons; let’s hope that this is one of them.