Monineath Seang won the People’s Choice Award of the 2020 Melbourne Writers Festival's storytelling competition 'Bold New World'.

My Opportunity

By Monineath Seang

Our fascinating world, once full of cutting-edge technology, cities that buzzle every night, with huge crowds of people roaming around and enjoying their life. Scarily, an unknown virus that is so tiny, yet so powerful had put a halt to the whole world. The world suddenly becomes silent. Borders are closed and cities are under lockdown. Everything rapidly shut after one another, in a blink of an eye, it didn’t seem surreal. However, while all of the unprecedented events took place, something miraculous occurred in the sky. A clear blue sky that’s haven’t been seen in centuries slowly becomes visible to the whole world. Our airs suddenly become cleaner and lovelier to breathe in. The ozone layers started healing, and animals started returning to their loss habitat. It’s unbelievable how much impact this virus can have on us human and the Earth.

I was also impacted by this sudden change. I can no longer meet my friends, families and enjoy my favourite activities. I can’t go to school anymore.

We all dislike the changes; but instead of wasting my time, I told myself that it’s an opportunity given to me. My opportunity to experience online class. My opportunity to sleep more. My opportunity to spend more time with my cousins and sister. My opportunity to learn a new language. My opportunity to learn how to cook. My opportunity to rethink and plan for myself. My opportunity to take care of my health. My opportunity to understand the moral of this lockdown. My opportunity to tell myself that ‘I either come out from this lockdown barehand or be a better version of myself!’

Video calling my families became more important to me. My mental health was impacted, I sometimes feel isolated and lonely, from time to time, the workload gave me a lot of pressure. But my sister would always be there for me. When I have too much work to complete, I always tell myself that ‘I’m almost there, let’s finish it and get it out of the way!’

Music, books, YouTube, podcasts.

They are the important friends of mine that get me through this tough time. I listen to music when I am working, I read books when I’m free, I watch YouTube when I’m bored, and I listen to the podcast when I am curious or wants to hear something new. They might be simple, but they are perfect in helping us cope with our boredoms and stress. I always have 5 minutes get-away with music whenever I’m stuck with work.

We should tackle these challenges and learn from it because there’s always light at the end of a tunnel. We just need time and patient to get there. Rob Dial once said, ‘Instead of asking why it happens to us, we should say that it happens for us.’ Because everything happens for a reason, and its mainly for us to learn from it. Another great quote I came across online says, ‘When we apply pressure to pure carbon, we get diamonds. It works the same with humans. When we work under pressure, we come out stronger and better.’ Our lives will look very different when we return, but the world will be very bold and stronger. Therefore, we should enjoy our time at home and spend it wisely.​