For the greater part of 2020, we were a nation concerned with numbers.
We religiously followed the daily announcements on Covid-19 figures: how many new cases and where, how many recoveries and – perhaps the most serious number of all – how many deaths.
But while we were preoccupied with pandemic-related numbers, our politicians were doing the math with other figures.
And when their numbers were settled after a royal headcount, we went back to following the grim presentation of Covid-19 numbers by Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, arguably the most well-known face for Malaysians in this year of the pandemic.
By October, the numbers had begun to creep up, topping 600, and then 1,000, and then 2000.
Yesterday, the last day of 2020, Covid-19 cases hit an all-time high of 2,525.
Instead of reaching the state of self-sufficiency envisioned by Dr Mahathir Mohamad in his Wawasan 2020, Malaysia was brought to its knees along with the rest of the world.
But the pandemic is not the only one to blame. Politicians, from all sides, entrusted with protecting the best interests of the people, have lived up to their notorious reputation as well.
But that was 2020.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Not an apt motivation in the midst of a pandemic that has so far killed 1.8 million people worldwide – but the human race has survived worse catastrophes before.
As we enter another year in which the pandemic and all that it represents – lockdowns and loss of income and mobility, to name a few – are likely to linger on, we can still hope.
We are hopeful for a year of recovery, both physically and economically – a year in which the unfulfilled dreams of the past 12 months can be belatedly achieved.
And for Malaysia, a year in which Malaysians are no longer compelled to join the obsession over numbers that bring no benefit except to our politicians.