Tuesday, March 31, 2020


Am writing this on the last day of the Movement Control Order (MCO) in Malaysia from 18 March to 31 March 2020. It has been extended for another fortnight from 1 April to 14 April. I am not complaining. Better safe than sorry. We should be thankful that we are staying at home in relative comfort, with food in our fridge and pantry, and activities to keep us occupied. There are many others who are not so fortunate.

What to take note of during the MCO
For the past month, there has been a continuous stream of Covid-19 news coming to us via social media and on telly. Let's not overdose on it. Most of it is depressing and causing viewers undue fear and anxiety, especially for senior citizens like us. We belong to what the health authorities call 'the vulnerable group'.

My mom is 94 years ago and in a nursing home. Strictly no visitors allowed since 18 March. The staff keep me updated on whatsapp and send me instant photos of her so I know she is eating well and sleeping well.
I feel we should instead look at the positive side for a change. Even in times of sadness and pain, there is always something to learn, and I daresay we have many lessons to learn from this experience. We will all come out of it wiser and more appreciative of the things we have always taken for granted. Our values will change and the world will be a better place to live in. Hopefully we will learn to live in peace and harmony, helping one another across the borders as countries are doing now.

The stay-home order has kept us apart from our families. I am self-isolating. It will be at least a month before I can see my grandchildren, especially Ryder, 6, the livewire of the family. My last two big family gatherings were my niece's wedding on 7 March and my aunt's 90th birthday dinner on 14 March, both before the MCO was imposed. But it's ok. We will get together again and celebrate when the outbreak is over.

It is important that we remain active physically and mentally at home. Can't go jogging in the park or workout at the gym? No problem. Here's all we need for some exercise at home: yoga mat, weights, stretch band and a grip ball. Oh, and a pair of sneakers. Don't have dumbbells? Be creative. Fill two 1.5-litre bottles wirh water and use them as weights. With the condo gym closed, my grandson lifts 5kg rice bags placed in tote bags for muscle exercises.

There are also plenty of online videos on keeping fit: yoga, taichi, qigong, chair exercise, aerobics and dance. I enjoy brisk walking. Only now I have to do it in  my room to this video below. I can work up a sweat just keeping up with the instructions.

This is the best time to learn something online. There are many free classes and tutorials on practically anything you want to learn. Just do a Google search. I would recommend learning a new language, or some art and craft. Try out some new recipes or start on a project. I finally have time to do some decluttering and it's such a joy to find things that I have long forgotten I had, like old photos and mementos.

A typical day begins with me at my laptop after breakfast, going through my email and checking out whatsapp and facebook. Meals are simple and homecooked. I have only been out briefly twice in the past two weeks to get groceries and other necessities from the supermarket nearby. I walk there so this means I can't buy much. Just enough for a few days. After dinner it's either watching the news on telly, enjoying music videos on Youtube or entertainment on Netflix. I wonder how older folks without internet spend the evenings. 

I made the above to show my gratitude to the courageous medical and healthcare professionals for taking care of the sick, to the police and security personnel for maintaining order, to the NGOs and volunteers who make sure that food and supplies reach those in need, to the drivers, delivery workers, refuse collectors, cleaners and so many more, THANK YOU, for your services during these trying times.

We are all in this together, and together we will pull through. Everything will be alright. We need a song like this to comfort and reassure us. Do view. Stay safe and positive.

I am writing this so I can remember what it was like when I had to stay home and had only myself for company for four weeks. No visitors. No one to talk to. It will give me a better understanding of why older people living alone often complain of loneliness and isolation. This will be a social experiment. Well, another two weeks to go. Let's see how I feel by then.