MCO 2.0 Day 1 - Here we go again

— 5 minute read

2021 is wasting no time and getting down to business immediately. Second week of the new year and we've been handed another MCO (Movement Control Order - strict lockdown), as we hit a record daily cases of 3,300+. Malaysia declared a state of emergency, from yesterday until 1 August. I reacted to the news first with anxiety and then with meh. 2020 did a good job of preparing us for eventualities like these. Just gotta roll with it man - up and down the confines of the 1100 sq feet that we have.

I was just reflecting on the differences between the first MCO (announced end of March last year, and lasted for three months) and now. In the last MCO the house was in a huge mess due to our never being at home, so there was a period of cleaning and decluttering and making the space nice. This time around, we have a nice setup ready. The garden is well-maintained and teeming with life, with my army of seedlings awaiting the coming of the sun in a couple of weeks, when the angle of the sun will finally get to the point where the building stops casting a full shadow on the balconies. We got nice speakers for the study, and rearranged the storage spaces in the house to make more sense. There's still some decluttering in preparation for hunkering down, but most things have been done incrementally over the last year.

In terms of the global state of affairs, the first MCO filled me up with wonder and cautious optimism that it could be the hard brakes that we needed to reassess our priorities in society. That hasn't worked out so well. The rich got much richer, and the poor and already marginalised suffered disproportionately. Democracy is seeing its darkest days with the insurrection at the US Capitol and Trump is being impeached the second time, haha. I'm at the point where I am able to pat my younger self on the shoulder and find her idealism endearing. Most of the anger (at the world) has dissipated. It is what it is. If we don't learn from this lesson we will learn from another. It's not ideal but it is what it is.

For this MCO, we can see an end to the pandemic - now we have vaccines! Malaysia has secured about 25 million doses of the one by Pfizer and that will take care of about 40% of the population. The target is to innoculate about 80%, with vaccines from other companies. The vaccination drive will start only towards the end of February, and the outbreak this time is much worse (more than tenfold in number of daily cases) than the last time, so the lockdown will probably last much longer than the proposed two weeks. Again - it is what it is. "Whattodo?" says the average Malaysian. It's a rhetorical question. But said in different tones it could mean resignation or stoicism. We continue soldiering on.

Going back to comparing the last MCO and this one, I think that experience definitely makes the ride smoother. We didn't participate in the (much smaller scale) panic buying this time because, well, there will be fewer people in the shops during the lockdown and we have enough for a few days yet. Instead, before the roadblocks were put in place I went to visit my best friend Komeil and we exchanged books and said our temporary goodbyes and promised each other that we would have creative and productive lockdowns. That set my head in a good place. Peace and calm. All the time in the world to read and make things.

In fact, I'm now looking forward to building on the foundation that the last MCO laid - I learnt the basics of guitar playing, started learning Farsi, and learnt a ton about gardening. As the restrictions eased last year I found myself going out more and there was less time and mind space to do things. I'm contemplating regular blogging again, since I did enjoy it the last time - and I want to draw much more. Last year I picked up yoga again and it has been instrumental in keeping my body and mind limber. It looks like Adriene (Yoga with) will again be my good friend after the yoga studio closed. It's all good. Anxiety will not take me by surprise again - I'm better equipped to deal with it this MCO. Oh and this thing about being diagnosed with asthma? It's great to be able to breathe again!

So, in short - waiting for the sun to come back in, building on the work done last year, grateful for the space to learn and to create again. Feeling resilient. AnnenMayKantereit is my playlist now. This young man's deep voice is strangely soothing, even though I've no idea what he's singing in German.

Will start working now :) Life goes on. I'll enjoy the ride as I enjoy it.