Living Well

Dealing with fear with logic and humour

Read up about the facts of the coronavirus so that you can minimise uncertainty, instead of giving in to paranoia

It's been a winter of Little Women, a tender film about sisters which is based on a book that was part of the idyllic journeys of our youth. Deep into the text, Amy, one of the four sisters, utters a beautiful line: "... I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning how to sail my ship." As fear creeps like a thief into our heads and homes, we must learn from Louisa May Alcott's words. Fight this intruder with knowledge, manage this storm by learning.

The coronavirus is like the monster lying under our childhood bed, an invisible beast whose reputation might be somewhat greater than its reality, but who wants to test that? The unseen is unsettling, it can make us feel under siege, and our imaginations gallop faster than a Kenyan in the morning. As the tagline for the 2011 film Contagion put it: "Nothing spreads like fear."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 17, 2020, with the headline 'Dealing with fear with logic and humour'. Subscribe