ABANDON your plans, if there’s any left to head back to your hometown for the coming Chinese New Year. The rising Covid-19 numbers in the past month should be a clear sign of the need for us to curb and reduce our movement, even more so for inter-state travel to help flatten the pandemic curve.

As responsible Malaysians, we should all heed our own inner instincts to put off any travel plans we may be harbouring to celebrate the Lunar New Year back in our hometown. We should also resist any temptation by family members back in our hometown who put tradition above safety, urging us to return home. We can all adapt and make do with preparations to usher the New Year where we are now. Think of the risk we bring upon ourselves and our loved ones back in the hometown if we were to travel this season.

Sacrifices no doubt have to be made by everyone of us. All we have to do is to STAY HOME, to STAY SAFE and protect the health and sanctity of our homes here in Subang Jaya and also back in our hometowns. The situation we are in now is no time for us to be selfish. In challenging times like this, we have to be selfless and think of our loved ones too. Our parents back in our hometown may be having their reunion dinner alone without the usual festive mood; but the consolation we have is that they are safe on their own.

I have abandoned any plans to go anywhere this Chinese New Year. Subang Jaya will be THE place to usher in the Ox in the sanctity of my home. There is no doubt that it will be a quieter New Year spent having a modest and simple meal at home followed by watching movies online while sending our greetings to family and friends via social media.

We have started stocking up on Chinese New Year goodies that are abundantly available online and from regular suppliers. The must have Bak Kua, Kuih Bang Kek, Kuah Kah Pek, Peanut Cookies and Mandarin Oranges will help cheer us up this season. Planning our meals for this New Year have also started, starting with a list of what we need to buy to cook ourselves meals throughout the Lunar holidays. Our favourite dishes go on the top of our list – Jiu Hu Char, Tau Eu Bak, Kari Kapitan Chicken, Loh Bak, Sambal Prawns are among the dishes we have in mind.

This year’s Loh Sang can still be done but perhaps with a smaller number of chopsticks to toss the platter for good health, prosperity and happiness. See….it is not all gloom and doom staying back in Subang Jaya. We make our own environment and if we choose to make this New Year a happy occasion, we can do it by just being where we are.

In January, we see the pandemic moving closer and closer into the community. Friends and acquaintances have not escaped Covid-19. Many were infected and they had to self-quarantine. The symptoms started with fever and sore throat; and the loss of taste when eating. Thankfully many of them recovered from those initial symptoms and did not have to be rushed to hospital for life-support assistance. For those without underlying medical conditions, it appears like a common flu and fever.

At the time of writing, Kluster Jalan Kewajipan has emerged (Jan 31 2021).

The Subang Jaya community has to accept the fact that we cannot run or hide from Covid-19. There isn’t any full-proof way to avoid the virus except to keep our physical distance when out in public areas; to don your face masks and to keep your hands clean all the time. This is not the time to be selfish or to ostracise those who have fallen ill. Refrain from shaming people who have been tested positive; remember you could be next and you wouldn’t want people to shame and shun you too.

Your wealth does not make you more protected from the poor man who is peddling his wares on the streets. We are all in this together #kitajagakita. It is in unity and strength in numbers that we can turn the tide on this pandemic.

Here’s wishing everyone KEONG HEE HUAT CHYE! May the Metal Ox bring us good health, safety and unity this time around.