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I BELIEVE it was during the height of rising cases of Covid in 2020 when an article by Eleanor Cummins appeared on Vox.com entitled “I’LL DO WHAT I WANT: Why the people ignoring social distancing orders just won’t listen”. 

In this, her treatise she had hinted that “…our judgment (in refusing to heed the quarantine protocol) could be clouded by Optimism Bias, the tendency to believe you are less likely than others to experience something negative.” It should then be remembered that during the time (still is) in the US, large groups of people had vehemently refused to wear the recommended protective face masks meant as a deterrent against the virus. Sadly nowadays, this attitude has lingered and even advanced, accounting for a growing number among them being anti-vaccine. 

Optimism Bias whatever, it has reminded me of an old 71 flick “It only happens to others” and true indeed, we always hope deep inside that the lightning of bad things always strikes somewhere else other than home.

There likewise exists another complex, this time common among teenagers but rampant among the rest of us. Called the Invincibility Fable, it is “characterized by a belief of indestructibility; that they won’t get caught when doing wrong and that they won’t be hurt (or killed) by engaging in risky behaviors.” Call that what you will, arrogance, ignorance, even innocence or what, this false armor that assures us we can hack anything, has precisely been the dominant trait among some people nowadays. Citing the freedom to practice one’s personal choice, they have even gone beyond ignoring social distancing and mask-wearing, now graduating to refusing to be vaccinated as well. 

So, Quo Vadis Davao? Where do we go from here? Is there an end in sight? While on one hand, a significant number of the population has gone the way of earnestly heeding protocol so that we can finally return back to normal (whatever that is), others have remained stubborn and immovable on the opposite side. As it is, data has revealed that this alone is the reason for the continued and fluctuating presence of positive cases in the city.

To end, there’s a Visayan word or meme/descriptive of such an attitude which I have constantly heard, as it’s expressed sarcastically when referring to related types of people. The word is “Kusgan” (strong). As the Visayan language is wonderfully rich and colorful, gifted with multiple interpretations to most words in its vocabulary, leaving Kusgan, therefore, to be as doggone too strong, as in odorous sometimes, yet therefore not pleasant.


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