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LETTER | MCOs gave me new insights into the pandemic

LETTER | I am in my mid-life and am gainfully employed. I head a family of four and manage my household singlehandedly. Since March 2020, when the first movement control order (MCO) was announced, I have been working from home and was still in my WFH mode when MCO 3.0 regressed into enhanced MCO.

MCO 1.0 was a new experience: it gave me some interesting insights into facing a pandemic that threatened my otherwise uneventful life.

The idea of wearing a mask when I go out for groceries was exciting. I wanted black cloth-masks. The colour black spells mystery, intrigue, and danger; the dramatic me took over the sensible me. So, I go grocery shopping/marketing once a week. Of course, there was a whole cocktail of emotions running in me each time I ventured out but the mask masked all those emotions.

But soon the excitement of wearing the mask wore off and my interest shifted from fantasy to baking, drawing and colouring, gardening, cooking healthy meals, working out or taking long brisk walks, rummaging through my storage boxes, and pulling out odds and ends of yester-years - old photos and letters (found a stack of letters I received 25 years ago), relived fond memories, cried over some, for the writer of the letter had since passed on.

The lockdown is a curious phenomenon this time around since the terms “essential” and “non-essential businesses” have taken on new definitions; lawyers’ offices were allowed to open for business, perhaps due to too many laypersons being arrested for flouting SOP and for stealing milk and diapers. They probably needed legal representation, hence, the very kind people in the government decided to allow them access to legal services, not that it would help in any way since the offenders are arrested and fined or jailed instantly; no investigation papers, no investigation and definitely no further action.

I have been forced to work non-stop from morning to night to put food on the table. The family must be fed, their clothes washed and house cleaned. Surprisingly, I find myself running out of ideas to cook. For the past 17 months, I cooked, experimented with new dishes, surfed the net for recipes, I tried very hard till cooking decided to desert me.

Seventeen months and three MCOs later, grass looks more appetising and appealing than any dish that I could spend hours cooking. What used to be an activity done with love is now a tedious, stressful chore!

Ask any mother who’s been working from home, and she will tell you. On average, a working mother does a minimum of four times the amount of work now than she used to during the pre-Covid-19 era. Any doubt why cases of mental disorder, child abuse, domestic violence and divorce are on the rise?

There is a complex pandemic which is made more complex by clueless and self-engrossed operators of the state security apparatuses. There is an ample body of literature on SOPs and operating manuals for various units and departments available on the internet but strangely, there are no lists of those helming and managing the security apparatuses involved in Covid-19 management; none on National Security Council and the National Covid 19 Taskforce and the latest taskforce to handle Covid-19 crisis in Selangor.

So, I understand that membership to these operational units is a secret. In fact, the taskforces are heard of for the first and last time when they are formed and nothing of them afterward. Clearly, taskforces in Malaysia are quite like the magic in the Harry Porter series: there are the prequels, sequels and the instalments and they disappear the very day they are formed.

Perhaps, the people should form a taskforce to find out what these taskforces have been up to and what they have accomplished thus far.

There is another epidemic plaguing this country: accountability and humility deficiency among those paid fat salaries by taxpayers to govern this country.

As much as I can remember and as far back in time I can recall, accountability and humility have never been in the lexicon of the public servants elected to office (in the current context, they helped themselves to it). As arrogant as they are in their disposition, they never fail to make fools of themselves in public and they do it repeatedly.

While a handful shows their faces in public with their publicity stunts, albeit comically, the majority have vanished into thin air.

Will the missing ministers and deputies turn up when Parliament reconvenes on July 26, or do we need another taskforce to round them up and bring them back? Perhaps they should present detailed reports of their activities pertaining to their job scope within the last 17 months.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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