Joe Rogan fan and local skeptic, Derek, believes that people have the right and the free will to do anything towards their body. And personally, I agree with this. It’s a completely fair and just statement.
But context matters.
I had the chance to interview Derek on his thoughts about the vaccine, and here’s how it went:
Unvaccinated, the 27 year old Penangite justifies this with the fact that there have been many “red flags in the pharmaceutical making of it, such as the short time it took to develop and certain vaccines, Pfizer specifically, not being approved by the FDA until recently.”
He also comments on the origin of the virus, saying that it was “shady.” This is in reference to the speculation behind the origin of the virus itself.
The lab-leak theory is a suspicion that the virus may have escaped, accidentally or otherwise, from a laboratory in the central Chinese city of Wuhan where the virus was first recorded.
Those who support the theory say it could have leaked from a WIV lab and spread to the wet market. Most argue it would have been an unaltered virus collected from the wild, rather than engineered.
Just to clarify, Derek thinks that the term “anti-vaxxer” is a terrible way to define himself. He’d like to make it clear that he’s not an anti-vaxxer, and that he does believe that vaccines work.
“They do work, I guess a lot of people have no faith in the current government and authorities and I don’t blame them. We’ve been lied to for so long about so many things that people are beginning to rebel and unfortunately that comes with a price,” he says.
At this point I started doubting myself, I get where he’s coming from and I can empathise with the situation. But that takes a turn when Derek mentions his next justification.
I asked him what he thought of the new SOPs, that allow fully vaccinated individuals to do certain things that people who aren’t, can’t. This is where it gets interesting.
“I don’t want to get heavy on this but we need to go back in history and look at what the Nazis did to the Jewish people and their community in Germany back in the early 1940s.”
Derek further explained this with the control the Nazis had on Jews; they controlled who could and couldn’t own a business, who was allowed to go to certain places, referencing the Night of Broken Glass.
Here’s a short lesson on the events from an amateur history enthusiast and sleep-deprived journalist.
The Night of Broken Glass, also known as Kristallnacht, happened on November 9, 1938 when the Nazis in Germany and Austria torched synagogues, vandalised Jewish homes, schools and businesses, and killed nearly 100 Jews that night.
In the aftermath of these events, some 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to Nazi concentration camps. German Jews had been subjected to repressive policies since 1933, when Nazi Party leader Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany; however, prior to Kristallnacht, these Nazi policies had been primarily nonviolent.
After Kristallnacht, conditions for German Jews grew increasingly worse. The events of Kristallnacht are seen as a turning point in Nazi Germany’s persecution of Jews, which culminated in the attempt to annihilate Europe’s Jews.
“Small laws were established leading to the persecution of Jewish people and slowly and eventually, to a genocide with 6 millions Jews and others dying in the war because of people ignoring the small red flags,” continues Derek.
“Control by a group/authority figure/political party always leads to people losing their freedom and rights and eventually to death. Don’t take my word for it, do your homework and you will know what I’m talking about.”
Alright, enough of history. We all had enough of that in school.
I proceeded to dig a little deeper and proposed a different scenario in regards to his original rejection of the vaccine. Given proper time to develop, say 2 years, would he be more open to taking the vaccine?
“I see it as a last resort, not as my first line of defence.”
Derek believes that the outdated notion of just washing his hands and taking vitamins and supplements would be enough to combat this worldwide pandemic. He says that this is “hard work” and because it “requires effort”, people would rather book an appointment and get vaccinated.
“My first line of defence is taking care of my health, building and making my immunity stronger by exercising and taking vitamins and supplements. Don’t be surprised when people in this country get Covid and die because we have the largest obesity problem in Southeast Asia compared to other countries.”
His solution to this is to urge the public to track individual body fat, to eat healthy and go on diets while exercising.
He claims that the people he knows who caught the virus passed away because they were unhealthy in many ways and had serious diseases like diabetes and heart problems.
“And the numbers don’t really matter, do they?”
Derek started comparing the obesity and diabetic rates in Malaysia to the number of Covid cases as an analogy to offer us some “perspective” on how lenient his approach is to this worldwide pandemic.
“Compared to the millions of people in this country, it was a very small percentage of people who got infected in the first place. Roughly about 1% of the whole population in Malaysia got infected.”
“If I track the obesity and diabetes problem or other serious illness or disease in this country and display it for everyone to see, every day for the past 2 years, will you be surprised if those numbers are even worse than Covid itself? Sometimes a little perspective might help us.”
“Do not be afraid, the virus has a low chance of killing a person.”
I thought about all the lives lost over the past year and a half since this deadly virus crossed international waters to invade our homeland.
I thought about all the families who were still suffering from their losses, the exorbitant hospital bills, the lack of essential supplies.
And I thought about how ill-humoured this statement was.
So I decided to push a little further. I asked him what he thought about the death rates and the virus causing deaths even in young people who are perfectly healthy and asymptomatic.
“To be honest I have no idea, that’s the thing. This hit us out of the blue and unfortunately we were not prepared. That’s what happens when men try to play God and tamper with something we don’t fully understand. If it was true that this virus did accidentally break out from a lab – it’s a biological weapon.
“And the virus scares the living crap out of me.”
Is this hypocrisy or simply a hindrance to the truth? You tell me.
“Fear can make people do irrational things and we are all humans and death is certain to us. It may sound harsh but that’s the brutal truth, today Covid, tomorrow a flood and maybe someday a meteor. We are mortals and we should not be afraid and fearful but rather spend time with our loved ones.”
So I asked for his advice. What then, should we do? How would he curb the fear and what would he like to bring attention to?
“Turn off the news and stop scrolling through social media.”
His mistrust in news publications and media stems from misinformation and bias. He instead suggests we do our own research and critical thinking, to refrain from following crowds and listening to what the government says.
“You know authorities are run by humans and humans can be wrong and incompetent.”
Derek’s main source of information is Joe Rogan’s podcasts, where he says the public figure is “reliable and invites real people with real expertise to have conversations with them.”
He’s also an avid reader of the New York Post and commended the journalists for having “come forth and wrote many articles about the issues we face.”
At this point I was perplexed, to say the least. From what I was getting from his answers, he was basically saying to not trust humans positioned in a high authority, yet to trust humans who aren’t.
Didn’t his so-called research and critical thinking also come from humans leading their own agendas and driven by different motivations?
“You’re absolutely right, it always comes from humans. But I believe in truth and pursuing truth. We need to think deeply and decide for ourselves what’s true or not true. Don’t let others decide what you shall say or hear or accept.”
As for the infamous, sometimes mind-boggling theories we’ve all been hearing, Derek rejects them through his method of “critical thinking and common sense,” yet asks us to question why they’re being ridiculed.
“We need to pay attention to people whose voice has been completely taken away from them and ask ourselves why their voice was taken away. Were they spreading rumours, lies or misinformation?
“Or were they silenced because they were telling the truth and there are some people who don’t want it to come out? The worst thing we can do is call people crazy or conspiracy nuts or just outright dismiss them.”
To each their own, I guess.
So, what do you think? Do you agree with Derek, or did you just read this for the holocaust headline and found yourself questioning your beliefs?
Personally, I’m gonna pour myself a drink and wait for my second vaccination date.