Medical expert Dr Adeeba uses 'pantun' on social media to get people to stay home during Covid-19 shutdown

Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman said that using pantun was a uniquely Malaysian way of educating people. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman said that using pantun was a uniquely Malaysian way of educating people. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

PETALING JAYA, March 19 — Infectious diseases specialist Prof Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman is using pantun to hammer home the message of getting people to stay at home during Malaysia’s Covid-19 shutdown period. 

Dr Adeeba, who was among the first to sound the warning to people not to “balik kampung” when Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced the lockdown on Monday night, took to social media late last night to start a thread using the traditional pantun

Pantun is typically a four-line poem written in Malay where the first two lines are figurative and the next two are more direct. 

“I wanted to find a way of educating Malaysians on Covid,” the International AIDS Society president told Malay Mail.

Pantun has this naturally beautiful process of getting people to berbalas (respond).”

The University of Malaya medical faculty dean added that using pantun was a uniquely Malaysian way of educating people.

“It is using something old (pantun) and something new (social media) to spread the message.”

People have gamely replied to her post and written their own pantun

While some kept to the four lines, others limited themselves to two and Mercy Malaysia founder Tan Sri Dr Jemilah Mahmood wowed everyone by using six lines adding that it was because her husband had challenged her to do so. 

She also shared the post on her Facebook for others to join in. 

Muhyiddin had announced that Malaysia would be under a nationwide movement control order until March 31 due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

He said the “restriction of movement order” would be implemented under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 and the Police Act 1967.

He had also made another announcement last night asking people to stay home and warned that the 14-day movement control order could be extended if its objective to contain the Covid-19 outbreak was not achieved.

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