Happy MCO-nniversary

We started in March 2019 and we’ve now completed a full circle around the sun, so cheers to that.

Anniversaries are usually happy occasions and a reason to celebrate (unless there was death involved). This on the other hand you could say had death involved but it doesn’t cover the usual scope of it. It is not as clear cut as the 9/11 attack where people lost their lives because as a result but it also doesn’t fit into any happy celebratory moments.

A year ago, on the 18th of March 2020, Malaysia went into its first lockdown of many to come. Like many, I’ve never experienced anything like this before and it was impossible to even think about a scenario where we must be locked up at home for the coming months ahead for our safety. It almost feels like there’s a war out there, except not visible to naked eyes.

I still remember, how people around me started to panic once the Prime Minster made his announcement on the 16th of March 2020. Bare in mind, I was still in the office at this point and on this day. Colleagues started making plans of rushing off to the grocery after work and some even thought about stocking up on food from the restaurant in case nothing opens LOL. Imagine being in a room filled with millennials and boomers aged 40 and below who have never experienced anything close to war time, it was chaos as we were all preparing for the worst.

I recall being in the midst of preparing weekly in-room dining menus for my hotel guests (who were just a handful) for fear they would be sick of eating the same food for breakfast, lunch and dinner for however long they had to be stuck in the hotel (not by choice). At this point, all menus had to be single-use only and we were not even certain we could get our weekly produce like before.

Fast forward one year later, we’ve now adjusted to the new normal although the virus is still out there. People have generally become more aware of personal space unlike before.. In the past, not a single person cared about this in public areas, especially during peak hours in the train. I recall commute being a nightmare during rush hours because the trains used to be jam-packed with people and everyone was pushing themselves and forcing their way into the train. Nowadays, no one would care to even sit beside you on the train.

The concept of working from home is still a work in progress although I think it has been somewhat normalized thanks to the government’s directive. While recommended, not all companies follow because it’s still a misconception that you can’t be ‘really’ working if your boss doesn’t see you work. This in itself is a whole story for another day but let’s leave it at this. Ironically, the more I work from home the more I miss going into the office and having a routine. It’s more than just being able to complete a given task but also having a change in scenery and having conversations outside of home which makes me feel more alive.

I guess every cloud has its silver lining. While we are no where near completely defeating the microscopic virus, at least the first batch of vaccine has arrived our shores. This journey is far from over but this too shall past. I can’t wait for normalcy again when 2030 roll around, hopefully without an outbreak.

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