KUCHING: Suddenly people now have so much time that they do not know what to do with it. Parents are forced to spend time with their kids; work is no longer a priority, nor is traveling or social life.
Also, people suddenly understand (and even experienced) the value of solidarity, love, strength, empathy and faith.
All these are happening because of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting movement control order (MCO) imposed by the government to check the spread of the disease.
Different people respond differently to the above with some working women finding the sudden change to their daily routines giving them new (sometimes odd) experiences and some unusual perspectives of life.
Businesswoman Agatha Charlotte Gerek, who turned full time house keeper during the MCO period, said she had been cooking daily for her two children.
“My family now has fresh home-cooked food every day. I clean my home daily… mopping and disinfecting the kitchen and bathroom regularly and my children help with the chores, especially with rubbish and dishes,” she said.
Regarding working from home, she said it was a bit challenging because her children did not understand the right timing to ask for food and so on.
“I also make sure they revise their school lessons,” he said.
Agatha admitted that she did not enjoy doing house work as she was so used to doing office work.
However, being confined to her home 24 hours a day with her children for the past two weeks has taught her to be patient.
On business, Agatha said she lost a few jobs over the last two months but was optimistic that things would return to normal soon.
Agatha, who is the director of her own company, AC Interactive Solutions, mentioned some business hiccups due to late payments by clients and postponement of training courses. The company trains people who pursue IT certification programmes and those who want to acquire soft skills.
“I will resume the business probably in June,” Agatha said.
A school teacher and a mother to five children, Lauretta Lee Apuk, said the partial lockdown period was an opportunity for her and her husband to spend more time with their children at home.
“It is like making up for time lost due to work commitment,” said Lauretta.
“My time is spent on cooking, washing clothes, house cleaning, guiding my children to revise their lessons, and doing other school work.”
Another plus side of the MCO is that she and her husband have saved a lot in petrol and food costs.
“My husband and I usually have lunch together with our children outside as we are both working. We did not have time to cook lunch at home, but during the MCO period, we have been eating at home which is much cheaper.
“Our petrol cost is also down by half our usual spending as I travel only four kilometres to buy food,” she said.
Spiritually, she said the semi-curfew period also presented an opportunity for her family to pray more.
Hilda A Voon, a clerk with a private firm in Kuching, said she was anxiously waiting for the MCO to cease so that she could return to work.
Her daily routine is cooking, baking cakes, washing clothes, cleaning the house, watching movies and sleeping.
Voon said only she and her husband were at home as her children and grandchildren were in Kuala Lumpur.
A senior manager of a private financial services company in Kuala Lumpur, who preferred anonymity, said her company’s workers were allowed to work from home.
She said her company took Covid-19 seriously, so the safety of the staff was a top priority.
“There is no problem with discussions, meetings and access to documents. We are able to do all these online,” she said.
Regarding working from home, the Sarawak-born officer said it was fine.
“To me, one must have the discipline to segregate work and home duties.”
On food, she said so far everything was alright as she had access to a nearby supermarket where she just bought what were necessary.