This week has been tough. The news from pretty much everywhere has been awful and I don’t think I’ve ever received more messages in a week from stressed-out friends worried sick. And not from Hong Kong . I think we can all agree that it feels like we’ve been living in a disaster movie lately. But unlike in the frighteningly prescient 2009 film Contagion or TV series Survivors , in which most of the world’s population is wiped out by a virus, the real-life impact of our current health crisis is limited. Covid-19 has upended our day-to-day lives and been the cause of much tragedy, but the effects of the pandemic are diminishing rapidly around the world and, in some places, are now almost negligible – as they will be one day in Hong Kong. Using the standard three-act structure for a movie script, I believe we have reached the peak of the second act: when the storyline reaches a crescendo. We are now heading into the final act and the story’s resolution, at the end of which we will all get on with our lives again. So, what should we all do with ourselves while we wait? Omicron has brought Hong Kong to its knees. How did it all go wrong? I would start by watching the 2014 movie Stand by Me Doraemon , a quirky, lighthearted Japanese animation that will not only lift your mood but perhaps also offer some food for thought – and instructions on how to snap out of the criticism and pain of the pandemic. This lighthearted animated film shows how our actions now and in the coming months will dictate how we emerge from the current mess, resume our lives and have a better future. In other words, it shows that we need to take matters into our own hands to shape our futures through the actions we take in the present. For those unfamiliar with the character or the plot, Doraemon is a cat-shaped robot sent from the future by the great-great grandson of the main character, Nobita, to live among humans. The prospect of seeing humans and robots living together is something we often talk about, and the film gives a humorous window on what everyday life might be like with a mechanical friend who is artificially intelligent. Nobita is struggling to make a success of anything in the present and if he continues on the same course, he will fail to get a job after graduation, go bankrupt after his company fails, and his descendants will be burdened with inherited debt. Worse than that, he will miss out on getting together with the young girl he adores. Doraemon – a somewhat selfish, substandard robot whose ears were gnawed off by a future robot rat – has his own set of issues, too. But he is all that Nobita’s descendants, under a heavy debt burden, could afford in the future. As the story starts, Doraemon is sent back to the past, unable to return until he sorts Nobita out and changes the future for the better. So he reluctantly embarks on this difficult task, ultimately bringing the film to its resolution and a happy conclusion in the third act – as you would expect. Fans know all about Doraemon’s 4D hyperspace pocket, where he keeps the hundreds of gadgets he uses in his many adventures – many of which backfire. The best known and most beloved of these include the “Anywhere Door”, which looks like a normal door but when opened leads to a completely new location – appealing to our love of travel, as all will hopefully be able to again soon; and the “Hopter”, which gives a wonderful escapist feeling of flying in remarkable 3D, as we all imagined doing when we were kids. Then there is the “Dictator Switch”, also known as the delete button, which I’ll leave for you to discover on your own. To me, Stand by Me Doraemon gives a sense of how precious everyday life is, despite the horribly tedious distractions around us. Sit the kids, the family, or your better half down to watch it. It’s on Netflix. We might not be able to change the world around us quite so easily as Doraemon and his fantastic gadgets, but we can still focus on the things we enjoy – even with the current temporary limitations on our freedoms. Use the extra time you currently have on your hands to nurture a hobby, learn something new online or read a good book. More than ever, now is the time to reconnect with those you care about, who you might have been too busy to pick up the phone and call over the past two years. That means in business as well as in your private life, to lay the groundwork for relationships and invest in the future. Dig out those old business cards, or open your contacts list, and start dialling! People don’t call each other enough any more. I have been, and I promise you I am starting to see the rewards – I even landed a new job! New dinosaur species found in China named after a Doraemon character For me and, I hope, most of you readers, all we have lost in the past few weeks are some personal freedoms. If that’s all, we should count ourselves lucky, as others are much worse off. Those freedoms will return, eventually, and in the meantime we can either choose to focus on the good in life and live happily, or moan about what we lack. Reality, after all, mostly consists of our perceptions of where we are and what we have. I believe you can change your reality by shifting your focus away from the present during difficult times. Anyone can do it, I’m sure – especially with the help of an animated blue cat from the future to make you laugh.