Agnes Carlier has been attending Formula One races since 1981 but her ‘perfect record’ is likely to end this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Although she was in Australia for the aborted start to the season in March, she isn’t counting it since the race didn’t happen.
And with cross-border travel severely restricted and quarantine measures in several countries, including Malaysia, the Swiss national reckons she will not be travelling to any race any time soon.
“I was lucky to return to Malaysia two days before the Movement Control Order (MCO) took effect on March 18,” said Carlier, who is living here on a Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) visa.
“I don’t know what would have happened if I had booked a later flight.”
She knows of several people who were stuck overseas when Malaysia closed its border while a friend, a South Korean, has not seen his wife and children who were visiting his in-laws in Japan.
“There are many people in similar situations. I was just lucky.”
Known in the media circle as a ‘motorsports guru’, Carlier, 70, followed her late husband (Renaud de Laborderie) who was a journalist with Le Parisien a daily newspaper in France to races from 1981-83.
She then became head of communications for Philip Morris Europe (Marlboro) and stayed until 1998.
“It was amazing as I got to work with drivers such as Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher, Mika Hakkinen and Kimi Raikkonen.
“In 1999, I became a freelancer and found myself in Malaysia as a communication adviser and trainer for Sepang. I was also head of communication for Sauber Petronas for three years.
“I fell in love with the country and have come back here ever since. I’m glad I managed to get the MM2H visa.”
Carlier has also done public relations work for several F1 teams and drivers while contributing to Japan’s Kyodo News Agency. She has kept busy writing about Formula One.
“I was planning a trip to Europe later this month but the latest decision to quarantine incoming passengers made me change my mind.
“I don’t understand why some people broke their home quarantine. I have no qualms being quarantined at home as I’m moving to my new apartment.
“I don’t feel comfortable at the centre plus I would have to pay for the stay on top of paying rent for the new place. It will be too expensive.
“I just hope they find a vaccine soon,” added Carlier, who has been closely watching the rising number of cases in Malaysia.
Today is the 130th day since the MCO started and here is how the rest of the week unfolded.
There have been 106 new cases in Malaysia in the past week with the total now 8,861. The number of deaths is 123.
Worldwide, we are likely to surpass 16 million cases by the end of the day – that’s two million more than last week.
Malaysia will also introduce mandatory wearing of face masks on Aug 1.
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RICE TO WEDNESDAY ON THURSDAY
Nasi Kerabu often jokingly called ‘rice to Wednesday’ is a dish in which blue-coloured rice is eaten with dried fish or fried chicken, crackers, pickles and other salads. The blue comes from the petals of Clitoria ternatea flowers, which are used as a natural food colouring.
It is one of Carlier’s favourite foods. We met up on Thursday at a place called Kafe Kuning Kunyit in Desa Sri Hartamas and I have to say, it is one of the best I’ve eaten.
The meet-up was supposed to be a farewell for Carlier who was planning to return to Europe but she has since changed her mind about going.
We will be meeting up again for ‘rice to Wednesday’.
H-APP-Y LIVERPOOL FANS
Here’s an app for Liverpool fans who want to commemorate their team lifting the Premier League title.
There was more good news for Reds fans as Jordan Henderson was named Football Writers Association Player of the Year yesterday.
Have always enjoyed this classic from the Beatles. If you don’t know the lyrics, here is a handy guide.
And here’s a video to sing along to.