Gerald Goh with his daughter reminding us to 'STAY AT HOME'.

Malaysia is another country not spared from the Covid-19 pandemic, the spread of which is being fought against the backdrop of a movement control order (MCO), imposed since 18 March and just recently extended to 14 April 2020. Hence, Malaysians have, for more than a week to date, been brooding indoors and hoping for a swift solution.

How some Malaysians are making the most of time at home

Francis Yip, a copy writer, lecturer and entertainer from Kuala Lumpur is now doing online teaching at home.

Many like me are raking our minds as to how to cope best in the present scenario. With four weeks and a total of 672 hours within the parameters of one’s home, what options are there (besides work) for dealing with such excess of time?

I chatted with three individuals to find out what they have been up to. They are Francis Yip, a copy writer, lecturer and entertainer (Kuala Lumpur); Gerald Goh, a businessman, an artist and a single parent (Kuching); and Elita Amin, the principal of a preschool (Kuching).

Keeping his friends happy, Francis Yip presents his comedic show on Facebook live.

According to Francis, one can turn boredom into fun by going live on social media. He says that “Although I am not in the frontline to fight the virus, I want to contribute my part by keeping everyone happy by doing standup comedy on Facebook live. All of us are bored at home. Some are feeling the stress of not working. We need to calm down and one way is through standup. I am known as ‘Shopping Diva’, a feisty and witty character seen on commercials and on stage. As a STYLO Fashionista of the Year 2019 Award winner, I will be making use of my skills to do a unique solo fashion show online — “Fashion on the Coronaway.” To join in the laughter, you can search for ‘shoppingdiva’ on Facebook.

Jokes aside, Francis is also adapting to a new style of work. As a guest lecturer at The One Academy, he had to begin conducting online classes and admits that while feeling unusual at first, he is definitely getting the hang of this method of teaching.

Gerald Goh, a businessman, an artist and a single parent from Kuching is sketching to help poor families.

Whereas for Gerald Goh, the MCO was followed by excitement that he would be spending more time with his children, albeit not without challenge. “As a single father to two amazing but demanding little monsters, I realised that I need to roar at them to get things in order around the house. It can get unbearable at times and with the extension of another 14 days, I am feeling much like the father of Alvin & The Chipmunks. There’s also the stress of having to provide three meals solely by myself. Cooking is a passion but with four weeks, that’s 84 meals in total! I even have to find new recipes online so that the kids would not frown at the same food served,” he admits. Nonetheless, by sharing videos of his dishes online to encourage others with their home menus while his young daughter browses for recipes, Goh is still keeping spirits high.

Turkish bread made by Gerald Goh.

As an artist, he also invited friends to send him their own photos and he produces sketches of the same to kill time. Within minutes of posting a request on Facebook, Goh received around 50 photos and is applying his talents as a vehicle for charity.

“I have been keeping abreast with our energetic Kuching South City Mayor, Datuk Wee Hong Seng, on the current issues that he is working to suppress within the council’s borders due to MCO. He is particularly concerned with 12 urban poor families who are currently deprived of income. Thus, I decided last night that I will sketch to raise funds for these families,” explains Goh as he seeks to generate relief for the needy through the positive responses to his sketches.

Elita Amin, a pre-school principal in Kuching, has plenty of time to dust and tidy her kitchen drawers.

Being stuck at home is no concern for the ever-homely Elita Amin. “Last couple of days I have picked up a book, tidied my garden and kept in touch with friends and relatives via WhatsApp and other forms of social media. I have cleaned out closets and rearranged wardrobes. This is one of the things I’m proud of during this lockdown, having cleaned and dusted out the cutlery drawers. Yes, drawers. I have not one but two cutlery drawers. Not including the ones which are hidden away till Raya. As for work, I am literally working from home, answering to the kids’ parents and of course to my boss,” she ended.