Cari Makan: General Observations on Building Forward Better from COVID-19

Oct 20, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has set back progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Globally, between 119 to 124 million people dropped back into extreme poverty in 2020. Key drivers of human development — health, education, and economic opportunities — have been impacted. In Malaysia, over 26,000 lives were lost directly to COVID-19 by the end of September 2021, while the economy contracted by 5.6 percent in 2020. These and other statistics are devastating. They can also be mind-numbing, putting distance between ourselves and the impacts of the pandemic. Drawing on surveys, studies, observations, and interviews, Cari Makan puts faces to these statistics, highlighting how struggles and hopes intersected — and continue to intersect — in the lives of ordinary Malaysians during this crisis. In doing so, the publication crafts a narrative about our world, showing not only its present imperfections, but also the aspirations we share to improve it. After all, this is what the SDGs are about. 

Part I: Stranger Skies explores the evolving nature of home and work — with consequent impacts to life and livelihood — accelerated by the pandemic.

Part II: Kita Jaga Kita (‘We Take Care of Us’) explores the lives of our most vulnerable, interrogating inclusion and exclusion in the spaces and systems that have been our default engines of economic growth.

Part III: Them/Us reflects on themes of identity across rural-urban interactions and present-future horizons.

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