Christianity, Donald Trump, and Telegram groups are the key elements that encapsulate the latest interview I had with 52-year old Penangite, Judy.
Judy strongly believes that it is within her rights as a human being to make calculated choices on whether a medical treatment is for her or not. She has applied this philosophy during the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic that has since globally infected over 225.2 million people and killed more than 4.6 million as of 14 September this year.
I don’t know about you, but that sounds like ignorance to me.
However, quick to settle the argument, one of the first things Judy mentioned to me was, “Let me get this out of the way – I am not an anti-vaxxer.”
“This is what society is good at, labelling people.”
“What they do not see is the plank in their eye, rather trying to take out the speck in my eyes,” Judy wrote in her message.
She then went on to explain her reasoning behind the hesitation of getting vaccinated. She brought up issues with the short time it took to develop the vaccine, the fact that she has a right to deny what goes into her body, and the general fear of what it might do to her.
But we’ve all heard this before. At the risk of opening up a can of worms on a highly disputed topic, I’ll narrow down the focus of this portion to what sparks riots and wars in our world, and what became the main narrative of the interview: religion.
“I prayed and asked God and I still do not have the peace in my heart to get vaccinated. Will I leave this Earth one day? Maybe, when the right time comes. But as for now I stand on this fact and I should not be judged by this choice that I made,” she said.
To be clear, I’m not looking to offend anyone and I personally hold respect to all religious beliefs. You do you. But she mentioned a few things that made me scratch my head and dust off my old Bible for some quick fact-checking.
She quoted Psalm 91 and Matthew 5:45 with the explanation that she believes God will keep her safe, while defending her beliefs and reassured this by saying that her faith will not be shaken if she “goes home” to God due to Covid.
“My faith does not stem from external things but from God Himself. My life is in His hands and if/when He decides that I will go home to Him, I would gladly do so because I am so looking forward to meeting Him,” she said.
Judy believes that if she had contracted the virus, God is in control and He will take care of her. However, she acknowledges that the notion stating Christians will be immune to the virus is, in her words, “purely preposterous.”
“It is not a theory, but it is faith.”
I commend her for her devoutness, I really do. But to decline modern medicine and accept the fact that she might get Covid as a means to “go home” to God, that to me sounds, well… purely preposterous.
In relation to government conspiracies and self-motivated agendas, she says, “I do not want to get into this rabbit hole of conspiracy theories, only God knows what is really happening in this world now.
“And as I prayed and asked God for discernment, I felt it is as much a spiritual event as it is a physical event.”
Said agendas refer to her seeing the virus as a form of propaganda and an engineered weapon to “kill and destroy lives.” It is also a tool to shed light on the separation between those who can and cannot adapt to the changes that came about the pandemic.
She saw a pattern emerging that she couldn’t pass off as a coincidence.
“You are seeing the consequences of that agenda. The societal gap gets better and inequality at all levels grows bigger. Do not take lock, stock and barrel from what is being fed to you.”
“Those who cannot adapt are left behind.”
When I asked Judy where she gets her sources from, believe it or not, she told me to shut off the news and sent me a link to a Telegram group.
“I get my updates from word of mouth and personal experiences. Nothing beats seeing it first hand through what is happening to my circle of friends,” she explains.
Judy follows this up with an anecdote of a friend’s recent passing after getting vaccinated. She made claims that the day after her second dose of the vaccine, her whole body was blue and black and she started vomiting profusely.
She was then admitted to the hospital and her doctor found increased intracranial pressure in her brain and wheeled her off to surgery at 3 in the morning. They removed a blood clot and a portion of her cranial to relieve the pressure.
What Judy failed to initially mention was that her friend was a thalassemia patient, which is a blood disorder caused when the body doesn’t produce enough haemoglobin, resulting in an increased risk of thrombosis, a.k.a blood clots.
This came up when I countered her reluctance to the effectiveness of the vaccine with the fact that spaces in hospital ICUs have been clearing up due to higher rates of vaccine distribution. Surely, that would be enough to prove that the vaccines work.
I spoke too soon.
Judy rebutted with, “My question to you is how do you know? On which statistic are you basing this assumption upon? What KKM is telling us daily? Or what is really happening in the ground zeros? How sure are you that the daily deaths that were reported were all due to Covid?”
“Vaccination is not the answer.”
So, we already know about the incredulous “alternative” that is Ivermectin, but Judy added on something I hadn’t heard of yet that’s apparently popular enough for her to farm in her own garden. Then again, I might be uninformed because I’m not in the Telegram group.
The former mentioned is a prescribed medication used to treat malaria patients, and sometimes rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, and has been proven by studies that it is ineffective in treating Covid-19. That apparently isn’t enough to stop people from consuming it though…
Judy claims that Donald Trump himself was given this medicine when he contracted the virus, and he recovered. Boastful and true to his character, the former US president started releasing a list of things “they are now admitting I was right about” that included, with no qualification, hydroxychloroquine.
Andrographis Paniculata, more commonly known as creat or green chiretta, is a herb long used in traditional Chinese medicine. Judy proudly said that she has taken to “growing [it] in my garden.”
“People just need to raise their heads to look around what is happening in India and Thailand and ask the appropriate questions: why are the rising numbers declining? What are they doing right?”
My response to this was to send her this article, which proves that India’s numbers are declining due to higher vaccine distribution rates, as well as this one, that shows Thailand withdrawing the approval for the herb being used to treat Covid patients.
‘Til this day, I still haven’t received a response from Judy on this.
She did, however, get arguably defensive when I continued urging the efficacy of the vaccine.
“This is an interesting assumption that you and everyone else made. What makes you think those unvaccinated like me are carriers? Where did you get these thoughts from? If I can give you my immunoglobulin test to show that my immune system is capable of handling the virus and less likely to spread, is it not better than a vaccination certificate?”
Judy’s further disinclination to get vaccinated prompted me to ask her about what she thought about the economical situation. Should there not be an urgency to tame things and return back to ‘normal’ as soon as possible?
“This virus tainted every perspective of how we view our world and there is no going back to ‘normal.’ It magnifies cracks that were already there. Individuals should have emergency funds available, that is why a financial health check is important in all situations.”
“Yet how many dare to face the truth about their money management?”
Well, not all of us have the privilege to save up for an emergency fund or have the means to. But that’s another article to write about and go into detail with. I’m sure most of us are already familiar with the woes of living off of minimum wage and a fresh graduate salary.
“I think Malaysia lacks financial knowledge to get people out of debts. My niece was 80k in debt last year and with some guidance we turned her bad debts into good debts. Fast forward to today, not only did she clear her debts, she was able to buy 2 properties during the pandemic.”
Yeah, good for her. But the failure to recognise her privilege and belittle everyday problems for the majority of the population, passing it off as something easily solved by just “guidance,” left a bad taste in my mouth.
But let’s not get sidetracked, I’ll wrap this up with the one thing Judy said that I can fully agree on.
“The Bible says that people perish due to lack of knowledge.”
Whether or not you classify yourself as misinformed, uninformed, or even over-informed, I strongly urge everyone reading this to look out for themselves and do what’s best for, not only us, but for those around us.
Take care and stay safe.