Let us recap. The first case in Malaysia was recorded on 24th January 2020. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this was the start of the 1st wave. The 2nd wave began on 27th February 2020 and as of their last Malaysia Situation Report on 23rd July 2020, the 2nd wave is still ongoing.
Sarawak first acted with travel bans and restrictions on 1st February 2020. Wuhan locked down on 23rd January 2020. Malaysia began the MCO (Movement Control Order) on 18th March 2020 up till 3rd May 2020. Then the CMCO (Conditional MCO) from 4th May till 9th June came into force. Some trepid jubilation began when the RMCO (Recovery MCO) went underway from 10th June and expected to end on 31st August 2020. A total of 167 days from 18th March 2020.
We are in August now. What have we learnt? Sad to say, ever since the CMCO began, people in Malaysia have gradually forgotten the real danger of the disease. Many have become bolder and challenge the need for self discipline in adhering to the advice of staying away from the 3 Cs (Crowded places, Confined spaces and Close conversations). It is even obvious no one puts real zeal in following the 3 Ws (Wash your hands with soap and water, Wear a mask and Heed MOH Warnings).
It is really glaring that many businesses have not adhered strictly to this requirement or SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) provided by the government. For instance, have you been to all the shopping centres around Subang Jaya? You would be surprised that some do not have temperature checks coming up from the carpark area, especially with elevators. Some have even locked their fire doors where the elevators are.
Social distancing is even less remembered when you wait for elevators as people cannot wait to get where they need to. You can still see many without masks or wearing masks below their noses. Of course the only exception is when you need to eat. In many eateries in shopping centres, you would see the tables less than 2 metres apart and each table stuffed with many people. Only fashion stores seem to be complying most.
When compared with kopitiams, you would see that most of them seem stricter than even those in shopping centres but then again, at some nasi kandar and roti canai places, it is hard to say the same. It is a mix of marbles. It seems that the enforcers have laid back and the self discipline of business owners has created a nonchalant lackadaisical attitude with the general populace who would be patrons and visitors. People follow examples set.
Recently, you saw political followers setting a brilliant example with mass gatherings without care of the social distancing requirement. You can even forget about them following the 3Cs or the 3 Ws. There were hundreds in those gatherings. Imagine an exponential growth from that? What effort made with the countless campaigns and advisory by the Health Ministry seems to come to naught. It is indeed sad to see how Malaysians forget. People seem to think that it is alright to test their fate and challenge the risks involved.
Sarawak seems to have seen a sudden spike from both the community and imported cases. Sabah recently saw the first school going child infected. This is the first case since school re-opened. In shopping centres, people bring children and elderly in tow. Some even challenged the need to wear a mask as it is not mandatory. People tend to forget that any shopping centre can make a requirement of entry as they are considered a private property.
Cinemas have since re-opened but it would an extremely difficult time for them as there are no content to watch even when they open. The last one they had was “Peninsula : Train to Busan 2”. Thereafter, it does not look good as many titles have been postponed to mid 2021 next year. Many of us would have our own Android Boxes and Netflix. Some would even subscribe to content from Dim Sum, Viu, HBO Go or even purchase from Google Play Movies or Apple TV. Home entertainment would definitely challenge the big screen. This is evident when you see many start to adopt this as a value for money option which gives you great content at affordable pricing in the comforts of your home.
An interesting fact is when you compare the acts of watching a movie in a cinema and taking a flight in an aeroplane. With the possibility of travelling domestic, some flights are as long a duration as a movie. However, the SOPs are bewildering. There is no such thing as seating arrangements for flights but there are restrictions for cinemas. The National Security Council or MKN as of the update of 22nd June 2020 provided an exemption for social distancing in flights. We are sure that an aeroplane has more confined space with possibilities of crowds and close conversations compared to a cinema.
The only certainty now is that many would still rebel against given advice until it is too late. We can only hope for the worst not to come true as in life there are those who are optimistic and others who are pessimistic. Many more are on the fence following and risking as they please.
In the meantime, it is suggested that we should be cautious and follow the 3Cs and 3 Ws diligently. We cannot afford another MCO as the economic impact has already started to hit us.
God Bless Malaysia.