Blessings in disguise amidst hardships


CORONAVIRUS disease 2019 or Covid-19 pandemic has brought many unintended benefits — family members now enjoy better ties; personal hygiene is better; money is saved; new talents are discovered and many more.

Wesley shows his Barbie dolls.

Wesley Juntan, for instance, didn’t expect the pandemic to be a blessing; it has unexpectedly turned his hobby into a moneymaking business.

The Malaysia Airlines flight attendant said he had a lot of free time at home  because many flights were cancelled following the implementation of the movement control order (MCO) since March last year.

“I came up with the idea of dressing up Barbie dolls in various traditional costumes complete with their accessories.

“At first, it was just a hobby.  Before this, I had dressed up Barbie dolls in the Malaysia Airlines, Air Asia, Qatar Airways as well as Malindo Air uniforms.

“After these dolls went viral on social media, many of my friends and members of the public wanted me to personalise Barbie dolls for them. That was where it all started — my hobby is now a business!” he explained, adding that he would dress up dolls as requested by customers.

Wesley’s Barbie doll adorned by Miss Universe Malaysia Francisca Luhong James.

“I hope my story can inspire those affected by the stress of coping with the current situation. Now is the perfect time to explore things you love doing and maybe turn it into something that can help you generate an income.”

Wesley, a 34-year-old Iban from Sekuau, Sibu, is currently working with Kraftangan Malaysia, organising workshops to help rural entrepreneurs increase their incomes.

This young man is also one of the sponsors for the Miss Universe Malaysia’s traditional costumes recently.

Valarie Peter Chee said the Covid-19 pandemic had helped improve her family’s personal hygiene.

The Prudential Unit manager explained all her family members now washed their hands with water and soap regularly.


“Because it is mandatory to wear a face mask, everyone in the family rarely has a fever, cough or cold. They have better health now.

“Wearing a face mask also makes me more confident in going out without any make-up. My skin now looks healthier and I am able to save money because I don’t have to buy makeup,” she said.

Valarie added working from home had also taught her to maximise the use of technology, especially to conduct meetings and training.

She said the pandemic had also made more people aware of the importance of buying insurance. 

“I used to travel almost every week due to work purposes at my own expenses. Since all appointments are now done virtually, I am spending less on flight tickets and accommodation.

“Since I gave birth during the pandemic, my husband and I are able to spend more time with our baby. Both of us are working from home,” she explained.

Siti has more time now to organise her cooking and baking ingredients.

 Siti Azurina Yahidi said the pandemic had allowed her to spend  more time with her children.

“My kids and I have been doing a lot of indoor activities together and these have strengthened our ties.

“Since I’m just at home, I have a lot of time to pack and organise things at home. I purposely buy storage containers to organise my cooking and baking ingredients. My house is now more organised, “she explained.

Siti’s son helping her to bake.

The 34-year-old Sarawakian, who now lives in Penang, added she also had time to cook new dishes.

“I even bake desserts for my family members. I also record videos and upload them on my Facebook page to make it easier for other Facebook users to try the recipes,” said the businesswoman, adding that she didn’t expect her Nasi Arab (King of Arabian) video to attract 16,000 viewers.

Siti, who owns printing and souvenir shops as well as restaurants, said the pandemic had taught her to use technology to market her products.

“Even though the store had to close, the business was still running as orders were being received through the Shopee ecommerce platform,” she said.

Meanwhile, Grace Gadung pointed out that Covid-19 had made her realise the importance of her family.


Grace, who is from Lawas, is currently in Kuching.

“I miss my parents and I want to go back but I am also worried I might spread the virus to my family members. Therefore, for their safety, I choose to stay in Kuching only.

“I spend a lot of time at home now. I have enough rest. I read more historical books and articles and I do more home workouts. My cooking skills are also improving.

“As I travel less, I can save petrol and money,” explained the 26-year-old.

Even though the Covid-19 brought a lot of negative impacts, there are also blessings in disguise, which we must find, learn from and cherish in the midst of our hardships.

Most importantly, many people are now more aware that nothing really matters when health is poor and this may be the driving force towards healthier habits.

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