PETALING JAYA, Dec 31 ― 2020 has been an unprecedented year.
The Covid-19 pandemic drastically affected our lives in many ways, mainly because we had to restrain ourselves from going out and staying at home for most of the year.
While the movement control order (MCO) kept all of us cooped up at home, Malaysians found many different and creative ways to keep themselves sane while adjusting to the “new normal”.
Trying Dalgona coffee
The first of many “lockdown trends”, Dalgona coffee caught on like wildfire as soon as the MCO was put in place.
Dalgona coffee videos first appeared on social media shortly, with many Malaysian trying their hand at recreating this sweet Korean beverage, and Google Malaysia even revealed that it was the most-searched-for recipe in the country this year.
Everyone who got a look at the rather appealing drink just had to try their luck at recreating it, especially because the steps to make it are really easy (albeit a little tiring).
All you need is a 1:1:1 ratio of instant coffee, sugar and hot water (for example, two tablespoons of each), and some cold milk.
Then you whip the coffee, sugar and hot water together -- which is pretty tiring -- until it becomes thick, frothy and utterly beautiful to look at.
Fill a glass with about two-thirds of cold milk, add some ice cubes if you’d like and top it with your whipped coffee.
When the first MCO was put in place, everyone panicked.
And that led to a lot of panic buying, as bread, just like toilet paper, suddenly became the most sought after commodity, with store shelves being wiped clean in an instant.
Bread is a staple here, especially for breakfast, and as many were unable to find a loaf of bread literally anywhere, Malaysians took matters into their own hands and made their own instead -- with some even trying to make the more complicated sourdough bread as well.
It may sound simple but baking bread definitely requires a little trial and error, especially if you’ve never done it before.
After a lot of practice, it’s fair to say that Malaysians did get the hang of it and produced some crisp--looking bread loaves too.
While it was still probably no match for our home-favourite Gardenia bread, it definitely made do.
With more emphasis on keeping ourselves at home, many Malaysians also spent more time tending to their gardens to keep themselves occupied, with some even starting their own home garden projects.
Whether it was just potted plants around their porch or a full-scale garden with vegetable plants and fruit trees, Malaysians all over the country were trying their luck at becoming urban gardeners.
Living in small spaces didn’t stop anyone either as “vertical farms” became all the rage during the MCO.
Many even managed to yield decent crops from their gardens as well, as home gardens turned out to be a great source of additional food, which also meant that you didn’t have to go out for groceries as often.
After a couple of months of staying at home, and undoubtedly stuffing ourselves with food, it was a pretty sure thing that weighing scales were tested.
That kicked many Malaysians into gear, as they got off the couch and started working out to trim a few pounds after initially leading a sedentary lockdown lifestyle.
From using regular stuff around the house as a substitute for gym equipment to hosting virtual workout or marathon sessions, many Malaysians around the country channelled their inner fitness buffs to keep themselves occupied.
One local runner, Yim Heng Fatt, wowed people all over the country back in April as he proved that it was possible to complete a full marathon indoors by running a total of 263 kilometres at home, in 50-kilometre intervals, in under 36 hours.
Spending a lot of time at home also gave Malaysians the opportunity to do a bit of “spring cleaning”.
And while most people kept it simple, by decluttering and getting rid of a few things they no longer needed, some took it to the next level by transforming various rooms in their homes with more time on their hands.
Malaysian artist Ahmad Fathil Zakaria, for example, went viral on social media as he unleashed his creativity and turned his quaint 68 square foot room into an intergalactic vessel.
Ahmad took five days to completely transform his room into the visually-stunning masterpiece you see, as he sketched and painted everything by hand.
He even focused on the little details like mimicking high-tech spaceship doors and cockpit control panels, painting a starry galaxy in the background and even adding some LED lights to complete the sci-fi effect.