‘The north remembers’ and will prevail

Recent reports of new Covid-19 cases were enough to shake the northern region of Malaysia.

Aug 11, 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: Recent reports of new Covid-19 cases were enough to shake the northern region of Malaysia.

The adage “There’s no such thing as being too safe” would apply more than ever now, as one cannot help but worry upon hearing eyebrow-raising news that Penang, Kedah and Perlis were no longer green states.

Sure enough, my friends and family were among those concerned with the reports, and reminded me to be safe and vigilant at all times.

The Sivagangga cluster has made us ponder the prospect of a second wave of transmission or another lockdown.

I began reflecting on how things were like when Malaysians had to quarantine themselves at home during the movement control order (MCO) period that began in March.

I knew at that time that things were starting to get serious as, for starters, my parish stopped distributing communion wafers during mass.

About a week before the MCO, the Catholic Church of Malaysia suspended mass in

peninsular Malaysia for two weeks as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of Covid-19.

We were told to attend mass streamed online and practise an act called the spiritual communion as we could no longer physically receive the sacrament of Holy Communion.

Such was my first taste of the new normal.

While I am not the most religious person, it felt strange but somewhat interesting because we could now literally ‘attend’ mass in any part of the world and right in the comforts of our own homes.

We were also taught to socially distance ourselves and face masks slowly became part of our daily attire.

Work from home arrangements were made and it was during the MCO period that I found myself being more productive and efficient at home.

I guess it was because working remotely eliminated my daily commutes to and from work.

I did miss being in the office but it was more important to be socially responsible for the sake of safety and health.

In all, the MCO period was a blessing in disguise for me.

Being an outdoorsy and adventurous person by nature, I thought I would find it difficult to stay still at home.

But as the weeks went by, I found myself enjoying the comforts of home, albeit a little too much.

Ironically, I forged even deeper bonds with friends and family despite not being able to see each other.

Thanks to technology, I’d have video call sessions almost every day via different

platforms such as Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams or Google Hangouts with different groups of friends and family.

We’d even send food and care packages to each other via our trusted food delivery services.

The time spent being in quarantine has opened my eyes to the little things that

matter.

I started paying more attention to the often overlooked groups such as the security guards at my residential area and those at work.

Being quarantined at home would be less effective if they weren’t there to keep us safe.

They were the ones who took our temperatures diligently and made sure visitors put down their particulars as part of the standard operating procedures.

Then there were the food delivery riders whose roles were vital. Because of them, we could enjoy a warm and delicious meal without having to step ouside our homes.

Looking back on these experiences, I can’t help but feel dismayed at the lackadaisical attitude of those who broke their home quarantine upon returning from overseas.

The index case of the Patient Under Investigation (PUI) Sivagangga cluster in Kedah was one of the examples, just as we were doing well with recovery.

Penang and the entire country have worked so hard to flatten the curve.

It would be back to square one just because of several individuals who did not seem to take their quarantine and Covid-19 screenings seriously.

Let’s not put the efforts of those who helped fight this pandemic in vain.

As Arya Stark in the Game of Thrones so eloquently put it, “The north remembers” and indeed, we do remember and appreciate the efforts of frontliners and others to keep the virus at bay.

We will continue doing all we can to ensure that we see this crisis through.––The Star

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