BOOK REVIEW – HANG DO
As a reader of the book “Who Cares? Covid-19 Social Protection Response in Southeast Asia”, I would like to share some reviews that spark my insights about the situation of the pandemic regionally.
First, the book highlights the importance of social protection for countries. It is of importance for Southeast Asia nations with the growth of market economy because a market economy without considering social protection is more likely to face the opposition from the poor. Especially, in times of COVID-19 pandemic which is considered as covariate shocks (both natural and economic shocks), the livelihood of different types of the marginalized in society is getting more vulnerable. Social protection response for those disadvantaged groups is urgent to take into account as well as pave the way for subsequent and appropriate policies after the pandemic ends.
Second, the book provides a comprehensive picture of a diversity of the vulnerable people in society. For example, when I read the chapter about Vietnamese context, I have better understanding about different socially excluded people in my country, ranging from the working poor, the population group who are technically above the poverty line but also not economically secure, de facto excluded domestic migrant workers to gender-based violence victims who are in need of psychosocial support. By having the most truthful and thorough views about the real situation of those people, I become more compassionate about the diverse aspects of my country, thus driving me to think about how to take responsible and helpful actions.
Third, it is also the part that touches me the most which is the answer for the title of the book “Who Cares?”. The book reveals the most supportive, responsive and widespead support during COVID-19 were from ordinary people in the society – the one who did not have previous history of activism before. By understanding the difficulties of people during the pandemic, those ordinary people were willing to donate and sacrifice whatever they have to help others as much as they can such as “sharing pantries” providing basic neccessities in Thailand, community pantries with the motto “Give according to your means, take according to your need” in Philippines, communities established to transport sick people to hospitals. Along with the efforts from formal organizations and government, those beautiful acts from the ordinary people in society lighted up the dark of the COVID-19, thus becoming the relentless hope for everyone that kindness is rooted from the ordinary things.
I highly recommend the book “Who Cares? Covid-19 Social Protection Response in Southeast Asia” to every reader. With the understandable expression, the book is user-friendly to a wide range of readers. If you want to grasp full comprehesion on the real situation of COVID-19 in Southeast Asia regions as well as how the lives of people from marginalized groups in society is in this period of time. The book is definitely the good choice for you.
Reader: Hang Do – a Vietnamese reader and a Master student in Demography, at College of Population Studies, Chulalongkorn University.