It’s now 34 days since we’ve all stayed home in the joint efforts to fight Covid-19. The Movement Control Order which was first implemented on March 18 2020 has restricted our movement in a bid to bring down the curve of infection from the “invisible” virus.

UNCLE Chan is finding more time to meddle in his garden and kitchen during the MCO. Apart from giving his garden a makeover and cleanup, he is learning to make salted fish from the variety of fish his son has been bringing home from his catches out at sea. There obviously isn’t a moment of boredom for Uncle Chan during this trying period. Here’s his story:

How are you coping with the MCO? What are you doing to keep your time occupied?

I am doing catch up in my garden, weeding the grass; cutting hedges, pruning plants and trimming the rambutan & durian trees. Time passes very fast. I made myself a DIY cutter fixed onto a special pole to remove the overripe coconuts from the tall tree. Some are given away and some I eat myself. I’ve also been harvesting my sugar cane to make drinks and to eat raw. The grass in the garden grows very fast. Since I can’t get a gardener to come in during the MCO, I fixed rollers underneath a used gas tray to hold the grass cutter motor. With this I don’t have to sling it on my back and get the vibration from the unit when I turn it on. I’ve been harvesting my own homemade compost and packed it into bags for use later. There’s also fruits to be harvested from the papaya tree. All these activities keep me busy daily from 8am to 11 am with breakfast and a break in between.

Are you happy to get more time to spend with the family? Tell us how you are doing this?

I am only home with my wife as my children are not around with us. So we keep in touch with them via WhatsApp daily. As I am active before the lockdown the MCO gives me more time to catch up with my garden and housework.

Have you found new hobbies while staying at home? Have you discovered you (or your spouse) can cook too?

As I have many hobbies I don’t think I need to look for one or two more. As we have fish from my son I am now learning how to make salted fish. I use two types of fish – Tualang for hard meat salted fish and Tenggiri for moi heong han yue. We do not order any food for home delivery as my wife goes to the market once a week. She cooks many varieties which are good by Cantonese standards. I am also learning to cook for myself as my wife will be spending some time with my grandchild in Sitiawan once the MCO is lifted and I will be home alone then.

How are you keeping fit and alert at home? Have you gained weight?

With my daily activities in my garden for more than 2 hours I think I think that’s good enough and I do not need extra exercise. I do about 6,000 steps per day walking around doing gardening which is below the 10,000 standard which is good enough for me. My weight remains the same with all these activities.

How are you keeping abreast with the news on Covid-19 and MCO?

I watch the local news, ABC as my children are in Australia, CAN, Euro news, DW from Germany NHK from Japan, Al Jazeera and BBC. I also read online local news from Star newspaper and SJ Echo, Asean online newspapers, Thailand The Nation and Indonesia The Jakarta Post. Off course all news on the WhatsApp too.

What’s your advise to everyone?

All should stay home and learn a new skill like cooking or others. This is a good opportunity to know and do networking with your loved ones. Do some gardening if you have one and like it. Good time to do some spring cleaning at home. Stay home and stay safe for you and all your friends & people.