Trying to Grow

By Anthony Dylan

The MCO / CMCO / RMCO and back to CMCO again situation seems to never end. What began on 18th March 2020 was well on the way to the end of the RMCO (end December 2020). However, suddenly it reverted into the CMCO for Sabah, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya. Yes, this CMCO 2.0 which began on 14th October 2020 is scheduled to end on 9th November 2020. This is further subject to the analysis of the R-naught which is at the time of writing is still 1.

The cases in Malaysia have grown to a crazy number of over 600 cases a day in the past weeks of which the bulk are in Sabah. In Selangor, we are now back again at the Red Zone for many districts. Thankfully, the MCO did not return but the CMCO made a comeback with some enhanced measures (I call it the CMCO 2.0).

Over in Singapore, their circuit breakers seem to work quite well for the kiasu nation up till now. Have we learnt from the past events of MCO/CMCO and RMCO before the CMCO 2.0 came about? The answer is no. We still have the same problems of unclear and indecisive announcements. We still have the same problems with getting the test kits affordable and accessible. These are not cheap. As you can easily go through all the advertisements from various medical houses; you would note it ranges between RM200 to RM300 for the RT-PCR tests. Then again, you cannot jump for joy if you have a negative test now as it does not mean negative forever. It is only for that moment. What determine the need for another test are the infectious contacts which we may not even realize.

The Private Sector has a role to play in keeping tests affordable and accessible to the common people. It is important to note each person’s capability to pay. It is a basic right to allow the general public the option to participate in flattening the curve. The front liners need each one of us to make efforts to tackle the infection. Many do not need public relations stunts. Such efforts should be focussed on helping the education and enforcement of the 3Cs and 3Ws as recommended by the DG of Health instead.

Businesses have suffered and this is very real today as Covid-19 is relentless in ensuring we change the way we do things. From retail to shopping centres to eateries, all have suffered with low patronage and depressed shopping. This is the reality. Many are trying new ways to be prepared to ride the surf when things get better as people become less fearful to come out once again. Nothing would be the same but businesses would evolve as they remain resilient and adaptable.

The key would be to once again connect with people and understand their needs and separate these form their wants. Cinemas are having a hard time with nearly no content coming out globally. It does not help that people are getting used to streaming from Netflix or even catching limited timed free concerts via websites and YouTube. It is a fact that some would provide free content for up to 48 hours after the live telecast.

But then again, there are many other things discovered during this time.  One would definitely find out that cooking is not that hard. Many have found Facebook or YouTube videos good enough to take you through the basics. Getting ingredients and supplies are not difficult now for the urban population as you would just be a click away. E-Wallets are a norm now. That saves you time and give you the time for other things to do. Things which were taken for granted. Family time would be abundant.

Of course, some would complain about home troubles due to too much time. Or how it affected their “Work From Home Regime”. Then again, it is just an excuse to cover selfishness. You just need to organize yourself and agree with your employers on expectations. Employers too, must be empathetic to make this work.

The main stress usually comes from the deprived addiction of going somewhere to work and the excuse to socialise. Did you socialise more before this? We are not stuck at home but we can still go about freely with the SOPs in place. We now talk to our neighbours more. We also share online grocery orders. I see children interacting with other kids playing badminton or cycling up and down. I hear laughter and actually see more friendlier demeanours compared to before.

I have tried to grow during this period. Throughout March this year up till now, I have tried my hand in many things. The first period of 18th March till 3rd May was basically trying to figure out how to work from home. Heading for scheduled and limited supermarket runs along with getting to the neighbourhood convenience shops became a norm. I also tried cooking and baking and also experimented in growing edibles.

It has been a good experience and the real resilience comes from oneself. I have managed to grow via trial and error a curry leaf plant, pandan, serai, ginger, turmeric, spinach, sweet potato whose leaves are edible and a mulberry plant. The only one I could not seem to be able to grow is a chilli plant.  I am still trying though.

The Kopitiams have been a good place to see how things are. The stall vendors eke out a living daily at still the same prices. They never complained. When you ask them how life is, they would say what you would expect anyone to say. Of how hard and challenging this Covid19 has befallen all. But they would always say that they need to work. They would say that anything has a risk and they need to be careful. They know the Covid-19 tests are expensive.

I think of a story long ago told to me. As hard as a stone can be but when the weak drips of water incessantly hits the stone over time, a hole would appear and eventually go through. Life is the same. The stall owners reminded me of this. You would have to keep on working whatever it is. Only then would one succeed.

God Bless and remember; #kitajagakita