Coronavirus diaries: Misplaced priorities, missing essentials

APRIL 1 — These are strange times we are living in and many people I know are keeping journals.

I tried but gave up after a few days, wrapped up in a malaise that made it hard to do anything besides crawl into bed and only leave it for basic needs.

There is after all this column where I can reminisce about being in a state of mandated self-isolation, along with so many other Malaysians.

It's been an exercise in frustration and of all the things I've been fixated on, it's been doing my laundry.

Laundromat blues

Laundromats are closed thanks to the movement control order (MCO) and I had two choices: hand washing or buying a washing machine.

I tire easily thanks to my chronic anemia so getting a machine it was. But I didn't have long enough hoses and needed a new tap, things I didn't factor into the equation.

If this was before the MCO, I could have walked to one of many nearby hardware stores, got what I needed and called a plumber (or bribe a friend) to sort it out.

Unfortunately, hardware and home repairs are not considered "essentials" by the government.

I have no issue with the order; I agree it is necessary. Yet I am incensed at what little thought those who planned it had about day-to-day hardships.

Roofs aren't going to stop leaking because of viruses; toilets aren't going to stop getting clogged.

I asked friends and acquaintances what they thought and suddenly I was getting stories about broken bulbs, malfunctioning air-conditioning compressors and many other household issues.

Perhaps I was lucky that right before the partial lockdown, my creaky old rental decided to malfunction in various ways — a leaky roof, broken toilet, malfunctioning sinks, a gate rusting off its hinges.

In hindsight if all those were happening now, I would be thoroughly miserable.

They probably are happening to other people.

Politicians too removed

I often decry the lack of imagination displayed by our politicians.

Perhaps it's not so much of a lack of imagination as it is foresight or an ability to grasp the bigger picture.

Why, during a global pandemic, does the Women's Minister need to fire Syed Azmi along with the whole board? Why was this so important to do?

Another question: despite the transportation and logistics sector being classified as essential, why then do I hear that apart from food and designated essential products, nothing else can be shipped through.

The whole state of affairs is maddening.

Sometimes I even daydream about one of our new Cabinet members having a burst pipe, and it gloriously flooding their living room.

Good luck calling a plumber then.

I wonder then if in the coming months after the order ends, the government will continue to bumble along, and if someone will give our prime minister a working watch since his seems to be a few minutes behind.

The rest of this darned semi-quarantine I will spend dreaming of my favourite Russian cake cafe in Puchong, of the skies of my home state and finally being able to give someone other than my pets a hug.

To better days, and a cure in sight.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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