Starting today, Malaysians are asked to coop ourselves inside our houses due to the Movement Control Order that officially commences from 18th March 2020 until 31st March 2020. Luckily, it is school holiday and I am now at Jitra, Kedah to spend the supposed school holiday. Nonetheless since COVID-19 pandemic is getting worse in Malaysia with spike in the number of infected persons reaching 790 cases and two deaths (a “tabligh” attending the mass get-together in Sri Petaling and a Sarawakian priest), government has issued the order yesterday to curb the spread of the viral infection.
Yesterday was really an eventful day for Malaysians. First, there was the panic-buying fever as people thronged the supermarkets to get themselves enough food ration for the next 2 weeks! You could see pictures of Malaysians “attacking” groceries and racks of breads, vegetables, biscuits and even condoms (lol!) were empty! Seemed funny because a month ago, a lot of Malaysians were trolling Singaporeans for doing that, labeling the Singaporean counterparts as the “insufferable Kiasu” – but now, it looks like Malaysians are licking their own spits, no? Second, people were thronging in police stations to get the “balik kampung” and inter-state movement permission from the policemen as Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador, the Malaysian IGP has made it compulsory for Malaysians to get the permission for anyone who aspires to travel. So naturally, the police stations were so packed with people (as well as the bus stations) that the IGP finally “surrendered” to the situation by retracting the policy! Phew!
Malaysians were thronging the police stations to get the permission for inter-state travelling. Unfortunately, this increases the physical contact between people!
As for me, luckily Rifqi and I arrived at Jitra on Sunday, 15th March 2020. Usually, I would go out with him venturing the rustic ambiance of Kedah but this time around, I have decided to coop ourselves in the house. True enough 3 days later, this Movement Control Order was issued. My parents’ Jitra house is a decent terrace house with a self-made attic (I stay here whenever I am in Jitra!) and three rooms. By right, it would be a comfortable one for my father, mother, nephew and I but now, my grandmother (Tok) who is turning into semi-senile is staying with us as the other uncles and aunts did not voice any interest to take care of her – so my mom being a devoted Malay Muslim bound with filial piety had decided to take care of Tok although my mother’s own health is somewhat fluctuates due to her diabetes! So, we give Tok the Master Bedroom as there is also a toilet specially for her inside it. Mak has to move to the third room where usually Kakak and her family stay whenever they come to Jitra whereas Rifqi and Ayah sleep at the second room which used to be my room. On the other hand, I usually coop myself up on the attic and sometimes Rifqi would come up to tease me and all. Personally, I am an ambivalent person (I am a Social Butterfly but I also prefer a hermit’s life!) so naturally this 2 weeks Movement Control Order is not a big deal for me as long as there is Internet and books! Haha!
I took the opportunity to do my morning jog on the 17th March 2020, a day prior to the Movement Control Order. I plan to continue the health-regime routine during the 2 weeks Order. I did tabata today! Hopefully it would last till the end of the Order. Haha!
My grandmother, Tok. She is now experiencing the semi-senile (dementia) phase or in Bahasa Malaysia we call it “nyanyuk”. She now sees people who were already dead (my grandfather, her parents, her relatives, etc) and also creepy images like clock turns into devilish-looking snakes or vases turn into little boys. Apparently, this is the normal phase of dementia where the person would start to experience hallucination. It has been quite challenging as suddenly in the middle of the night, she would open the door and claims that people were coming to visit us or in the afternoon, she would don her Hijab and sits at the door “bickering with someone” she claims has been badmouthing her. I salute Mak for willing to take care of Tok although deep down, Mak is annoyed and angry that her other siblings are turning deaf ears on this. Well, I guess like other typical Malays, they would come back to kampung instantaneously when news that “Tok is terminally ill” or “it’s time to divide the inheritance via Faraid”? I hope I won’t be like that. As the male heir, it is my duty to take care of both my parents. Amin.
On whole, I should be grateful as a teacher that this happens during school holiday and I do not have the dilemma as my other friends who are working in banking, medical or telecommunication lines as they still have to work throughout this two weeks period of the Order. Sometimes, I do get annoyed reading the complaints that some of my teacher friends and colleagues write in social media about this Order. It is time to stop complaining and reflect how lucky we are – we don’t have to work 24 hours attending the sick people at the hospitals; we don’t have to patrol around to disperse the ignorant Malaysians from flocking an area. I also aim to expedite my thesis writing and perhaps this 2 weeks Order is a bless in disguise? Amin YRA.