Disclaimer : The images used in the accompanying text are, otherwise stated, drawn from the social media. Some may be considered inappropriate and for that, I offer my sincere apologies. That said, we are living in trying times.

Its April the 11th and it marks the 25th day of the the Movement Control Order (MCO), the Malaysian version of the Lockdown, which had been extended, under Phase 2 of the MCO, from March 31st to April 14th.

One of the designated faces in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, the DG of Health, Dato’ Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah. A trained and practicing doctor himself, his daily briefings to the media helped the people understand the medical aspects of the fight against Covid-19 : numbers of people tested positive, recovered and discharged as well as. unfortunately, deaths.

However, as announced by the Prime Minister on Day 24, the MCO has been further extended for another two weeks, til April 28th. The announcement did not come as a surprise, for not only was it anticipated but rather it was supported by almost all and sundry except for a few.

Yes, we do have them as well. But we will leave politics aside for the duration of the pandemic.

Staying indoors meant not only a lot of the time can be spent catching up on the news from almost all the major news networks but also on the more-than-the-usually-active social media as well. After all there can be no mistaking, all the news nowadays are Covid-19 related.

As soon as we open our eyes, grim news greet us every morning, be it from the local news networks or from the social media. The usual fare being the number of newly tested positive cases and of those who succumbed to the virus are made known every day. In addition, numerous charts tracking all kinds of data and trends and analyses are released every day without fail.

But as all things of this world, where there is a ‘Ying’, there is a ‘Yang’. For all the grim news that have greeted us, there are also good news. Well, at least for Malaysians anyway. The number of those who recovered and got discharged on a daily basis makes for encouraging news. It shows there is still hope even when you are tested positive for the virus, and hope is very much in demand during these worrisome times.

Being cooped up at home 24/7 and for weeks in a row can drive some of us ‘crazy’, if it hasn’t yet. The inactivity and the boredom does, admittedly, get to you especially when there is no form of distraction. All large forms of gathering have been banned until further notice and as a result, all forms of sports have been suspended.

All football games in the English Premier League (EPL), the Malaysian Super League (MSL), the UEFA Champions’ League (UCL) and other leagues of note have been suspended. When these leagues get back into action is anyone’s guess.

Therefore, no Johor Darul Takzim (JDT) FC and no Liverpool FC, especially the latter. Its cold turkey treatment and its cruel, that’s what it is. For someone who gets his weekly fix of adrenalin waiting for the game to come on live via satellite, discussing everything and sundry about the team line-up for the week with my sons (we support the same teams, by the way), who’s injured and who’s not, the strengths and weaknesses of the opposing team, withdrawal symptoms can be vicious. Re-runs or repeat telecasts are nowhere near as good as the live broadcasts of these games.

Especially true in today’s Covid-19 environment. However, some food growers’ prefer to destroy the produce rather than pass them out to the less fortunate. For what? All in the name of money.

Not only were the football leagues around the world that came to a halt. The rugby season too, and so no rugby games as well, come to that. So no All Blacks and no Wales and no Seven Nations.

Luckily for us, the Rugby World Cup was over and done with in late 2019. We had so looked forward to the Rugby World Cup and when it came to pass, we were so disappointed that it was not the All Blacks who got their hands on the Webb Ellis trophy.

Rather, it was South Africa, the team that beat them in the semi final who ultimately triumphed. Which is in line with the saying in the world of rugby, if you want to be world champions, you have to get pass the All Blacks first.

But then again, it is only fair that these sports suspend all activities and games as part of their contribution to stop the spread of the virus. So no complaints from me. Cold turkey it may be, but so be it.

But I guess its also human nature to seek for ways to ‘lighten the mood’, judging from all the parodies and jokes that have found their way into social media. All in good fun and it does help keep any forms of depression away from entering that front door.

But as most of us have found out, some are truly funny, some are truly disturbing, with most eliciting just a smile and a quiet laugh. However, as it is with the mass media, laughing at yourselves can cause you grief.

Like the one about Malaysian men having problems doing the shopping for household groceries and mixing up the different greens there are. It was all good clean fun with Malaysian men taking the mickey at themselves but lo and behold, it became international news. It is as if men from other countries have no problem with household groceries and that all women do not have that problem at all. Its like saying all men can’t cook whilst all women can. Seriously!?

Having a sense of humour and be able to laugh at oneself should not be a problem. Rather, its an admission that men are not perfect and also not presumptuous enough to know everything about everything. Well, most of us anyway.

With the MCO being extended for another two weeks, came also the announcement that Malaysian government is considering to allow certain businesses to start operating. Under certain conditions naturally. One of them was to allow barbershops to open for business.

This came as a surprise to many who opined that with the decision to allow barbershops to operate, all the good work done to come to grips and somewhat control the spread of the virus would have gone to waste.

To lend weight to the argument against allowing the barbershops to start operating again were not only the health authorities themselves, who I think, was also caught by surprise with the announcement, but also the barbershops operators themselves.

For some of us men, we have started to let our facial hair have the freedom of the day, and I guess for many of us who went to college in the 70s and in the 80s, growing our hair long do bring back fond memories when we were young and carefree. Now only if they can grow as fast as they did back then.

Each phase of the MCO had presented a different set of challenges. Phase 1 (18 March – 31 March) had its own set of challenges and Phase 2 (1 April – 14 April) had another.

With a few more days before Phase 3 (15 April – 28 April) kicks in, I wonder what set of challenges will the MCO bring this time around?