In Ipoh, some find ways to keep busy during Covid-19 shutdown

A general view of some apartment blocks in Tambun during the movement control order by the government to curb the Covid-19 outbreak. — Picture by Farhan Najib
A general view of some apartment blocks in Tambun during the movement control order by the government to curb the Covid-19 outbreak. — Picture by Farhan Najib

IPOH, March 22 — People in parts of Ipoh are adjusting to life with the two-week movement control order (MCO) to contain the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

A check by Malay Mail in Ipoh town, Klebang and Tambun here found people adapting to the order to remain home, but eagerly hoping that things would go back to normal soon. 

Public relations executive Tan Ong Siew, 32, who lives with his wife in an apartment along the Jalan Raja Dr Nazrin Shah here, said he is planning to learn new things after staring at his television and phone for the past two days. 

“It’s okay so far, but you can see how it might get quite boring after a week or so. Already some of the shows we loved watching are starting to get dull. 

“I’ll start exercising and learning some new things. Always wanted to figure out Photoshop and search engine optimisation (SEO),” he told Malay Mail when met at the apartment here. 

Tan said that there is not much activity at the apartment as the management has closed all the facilities following the MCO.

“The management immediately closed all the facilities that were open to the public once the restriction order was given, including gym, swimming pool, multipurpose hall and so on. And I haven’t seen anyone breaking the rules,” he said. 

“Living in an apartment means you don’t really talk to your neighbour or see them, even without a restriction order. So social distancing is observed impeccably here,” he added. 

Nor Hanis Ahmad Shamsi, 29, and her husband Mohd Zulfadhli Zulkarnain, 27, together with their child 10-month-old Nur Zara Zalikha, spend their time at home following the movement control order to curb Covid-19 infection. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Nor Hanis Ahmad Shamsi, 29, and her husband Mohd Zulfadhli Zulkarnain, 27, together with their child 10-month-old Nur Zara Zalikha, spend their time at home following the movement control order to curb Covid-19 infection. — Picture by Farhan Najib

For housewife Nor Hanis Ahmad Shamsi, 29, who lives in Tambun, baking cakes and pastries is the best way to beat the boredom following the Covid-19 lockdown. 

“It was not much different for me as I was at home all this while taking care of my 10-month-old daughter Nur Zara Zalikha. 

“But at some point you need to do something extra, can’t just sit and stare at my family all day. So I’m putting my baking skills to work. I was a baking tutor before,” she said. 

For her husband, Mohd Zulfadhli Zulkarnain, 27, his new hobby of fish rearing was keeping him occupied.

“I just started to collect Betta fish (or also known as fighting fish) about a month ago. I have about 50 fish at the moment. 

“Feeding, taking care of them and cleaning the aquariums have helped me to fill up my free time,” he said. 

Gouri Sivananthan, 34, a housewife, and her husband Dinesh Kumar Purusoithman, 35, doing chores at their home in Bandar Baru Sri Klebang in Ipoh. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Gouri Sivananthan, 34, a housewife, and her husband Dinesh Kumar Purusoithman, 35, doing chores at their home in Bandar Baru Sri Klebang in Ipoh. — Picture by Farhan Najib

Meanwhile, Gouri Sivananthan, 34, a housewife from Bandar Baru Sri Klebang, took the MCO positively and said she now has more family bonding time.

“There are pros and cons in this restriction. The good thing is that we can spend time as a family together, while the disadvantage is that we are too afraid to go out with our children as cases of the Covid-19 infection have been increasing rapidly,” said the mother of three aged between one and six. 

“We can’t leave them at home when we want to go buy the essential goods as they are too young to take care of themselves. Plus, the children also don’t have much activity at home. 

“We hope everyone will follow the order and that things would go back to normal by next week,” she added.

For full-time home tuition tutor Shalny Gunasekaran, 32, said that the ban has hurt her business. 

“Following the ban, parents are not sending their children for tuition and I have to cancel all the classes. 

“I have already suffered a big loss and I hope that the government will not extend the ban any longer,” she said. 

A security guard from SK Panglima Bukit Gantang Ipoh closes the school gate under a nationwide Movement Control Order from March 18 until March 31 due to the Covid-19 outbreak, March 17, 2020. — Picture by Farhan Najib
A security guard from SK Panglima Bukit Gantang Ipoh closes the school gate under a nationwide Movement Control Order from March 18 until March 31 due to the Covid-19 outbreak, March 17, 2020. — Picture by Farhan Najib

On Monday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced the MCO lasting from March 18 until March 31 to try and contain the Covid-19 outbreak.

All non-essential activities must cease during this period and Malaysians are not to leave their homes except to resupply or in the event of emergencies.

Yesterday, 153 new cases were reported, bringing the total number to 1,183 nationwide so far.

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