Friday, January 22

What do you miss most during these days of MCO?


MY usual morning rituals involve waking up at around 7am, neither too early nor too late. I could never sleep beyond 8am unless I overindulged the night before, which isn’t often nowadays. This is after a normal bedtime between 11pm and 1.30am.

After the normal routine stuff everyone attends to in the bathroom, shower, and toilet; I go downstairs and open up the sliding doors, windows, put the kettle on, and make breakfast. I have a simple breakfast of two soft boiled kampung eggs, a big cup of black coffee, and wholemeal bread with butter. I read the morning papers, The Borneo Post, and scroll through my messages, texts, and posts on my WhatsApp chat groups, emails, and Facebook. I am not active on WeChat, Telegram, Instagram, Messenger, and Twitter, although I have accounts there too. I attend to the usual personal and urgent ones; KIV the rest for later.

On a normal day, I would be on the road by around 9.30am. Since March 18, when the MCO started, it means that at around that time I start going through my emails, WhatsApp groups, and Facebook, and respond to what needs my attention; and then I continue to proceed to catch up on the latest news, editorials, views, and special features that interest me.

I would then share by forwarding whatever had caught my interest and what I personally feel would interest others – to my usual external links – on my personal Facebook newsfeed/timeline would go all those items that are more personal; to my public forum for those which I feel would interest the world at large; and WhatsApp groups for mixed stuff.

By then it would usually be noon or what is lunch time for most. I normally skip lunch, but if hunger pangs hit me I’ll have a quick snack – under MCO, whatever is convenient, a ham and cheese sandwich, a bowl of soup and bread, or something quick.

Then I’d read a book or some lengthy articles on online news portals while listening to music in the background. I’d have a nap right after …

The evenings are easier as one could make dinners go on longer for family bonding time. There’s no rush to go anywhere else after. The nights are easier too, so many movies and TV series to watch on the telly; so much music to listen to; so many books and magazines to read and browse. For now at least, you actually do have time on your hands!

It would be interesting to know what you all do and what you miss most?

For those who exercise every morning, especially if you go outdoors to a specific location; be it for a jog, a brisk walk, some taichi, line-dance, or just the gym, I’m sure it’s a huge disruption to your lives. Firstly by now, Day 17 – you should be feeling really restless, unfit, and, most of all, slightly unsettled. Unless you are like me, someone who seldom exercises other than walking from the car park to the shops and the occasional longer walks – I too feel like my leg muscles are slowly atrophying away as I can actually feel my heartbeats slowing down! Or you can just blame the hypochondriac in me!

I admire those family members and friends who have remained cheery and are keeping themselves busy with projects and stuff aplenty to do. I see friends posting about new dishes they’ve managed to rustle up in the kitchens, baking away appetising looking goodies, sharing recipes, and happily eating away! That’s the spirit.

Talking about spirits, I have seen photos of friends who organised and arranged for cyber-conferencing their Happy Hours, using Google, Skype, or Zoom to share a pre-arranged time to drink together in a group; all that’s missing from such affairs are their physical selves – their spirit and souls are there – as they raise their glass of beer, wine, or spirit to each other! Cheers, yam seng, kempai!

What do I miss most myself?

First of all, I do miss the family time; the visits I get or going to my grandson’s to play with him and going out together. I also miss the breakfast dates with the usual Thursday gang (we’ve done it for more than three years!), other irregular meal dates for lunch or dinners with other friends too. I miss the camaraderie time with former work colleagues and the happy hours we used to have at various drinking holes with two or three other groups of good friends.

I also miss the regular shopping excursions – to the wet markets for meat, vegetables and seafood; the dry stores and supermarkets for other provisions. Bumping ever so often into other family and friends doing the same rounds – at our age stuff like this are no longer considered ‘chores’ but rather fun things to do!

Having seen and read about what’s going on around us all, I take my hat off,  salute, and say bravo to other family and friends who are taking all this in good stead, spending their time to offer their personal help and assistance, and indeed their time and effort to lessen the load and to help those in need – of food, face masks, sanitiser, and medical care – the lonely, aged, abject poor, and homeless man in the street.

I would specifically mention a few whom I know on a personal basis – the Rt Revd Bishop Datuk Danald Jute of the Anglican Church; Datuk Richard LC Wee of the Federation of Chinese Chambers; the many NGOs out there who have silently and earnestly gone about doing their work on the ground – most without any publicity.

I thought it most abhorrent when I saw postings of politicians who had put on their personal stickers onto bags of rice and other donated foodstuff as they are being distributed to the poor and needy in the rural areas. Now is not the time for politicking!

There’s another 10 days left to go – and who knows if the MCO would actually be lifted by April 14? What if it’s extended again?

Only God and the Ministry of Health would know.

In the meantime, please keep safe, stay home, be healthy, and do pray to God.


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