Great achievements despite challenging 2020

Happy New Year everyone.

What a year we had in 2020 and here’s hoping 2021 will treat us better – although we have three more months of the Recovery Movement Control Order after it was extended to March 31.

Despite all the hardship we went through, I managed to do several things I never thought I would before Covid-19 came into our lives.

I present here my top five accomplishments (I use this word loosely) which happened because of Covid-19.

ONLINE BOOT CAMP: Joining a boot camp was an achievement but to shift to online classes because of the Movement Control Order (MCO)?

Never would I have entertained thoughts but here I am, happily joining the classes in the comfort of my own home.

The advantage? I can cheat and take longer breaks with only the home minister – who is way fitter – glaring at me.

Sorry coaches.

WALK MORE THAN A HALF MARATHON: This is ‘sort of’ related to the above. I have done fun runs (or in my case, more walking than running) but never more than 7km.

As such, walking 10km was already a challenge but to actually finish a 25km walk to raise awareness and funds for the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) was something I never thought I would ever be able to do (main image).

Forget the timing (it was embarrassing) but it was for a good cause.

Although I hardly trained for the walk, the physical and online boot camp classes made me believe I could do it.

After all, if I could endure those torture sessions, what’s a long walk! Thank you coaches.

Because we were under Conditional MCO at the time of the walk, it meant it was just family and friends who took part so there was plenty of support to finish the distance – no matter how long it took.

GUEST ON A TALK SHOW: Before we entered MCO on March 18, Twentytwo13 editor Haresh Deol and actor-comedian and sports commentator Rashid Salleh started a sports talk show called The RSS with HD, first on Saturdays, then on Sundays.

But during MCO, they had an extended version on Wednesdays which touched on general news. I was given the honour of appearing on the show several times.

I had done radio and television interviews before but this was a different experience. I need to brush up or learn to speak more measuredly on camera.

GROWING MY HAIR OUT: Okay, not really a big deal in the big scheme of things but having always had short hair – the product of a La Salle education at St Paul’s Institution – not cutting my hair for nearly 10 months is huge to me.

Initially, the fear of going to the barber was because of Covid-19 but then I decided ‘what the heck’ and let it grow.

Sadly, with the number of new cases climbing and climbing, I don’t know when I will next visit the barber.

One downside. I miss the ayurvedic head massages the barbers used to give me after each haircut – even if they did use my head as at tabla!

The home minister has observed I’m more conceited now as I keep touching my hair, making sure everything is in place.

That’s a change as there were days I didn’t have to comb my hair as it was usually so short!

HOSTING CHRISTMAS IN SUBANG: I usually spend Christmas in Bau, Sarawak and occasionally in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan.

This year was different as we didn’t travel anywhere.

So, we hosted a Christmas party for the neighbours.

We have had birthday parties before and there was one Christmas Eve I made dinner for some relatives but this was a new experience as it was our first ‘halal’ Christmas as nearly everything was made with chicken and/or fish.

Anyway, today is the 291st day of the Movement Control Order and this is the 29th weekly edition of ‘The MCO Diaries’.


The alarming rise in Covid-19 cases saw Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah say on Monday that “asymptomatic people have to self-isolate at home if they have the coronavirus”.

On the final day of 2020, Malaysia recorded its highest single-day tally of new cases with 2,525 new infections.

That means five of the six highest daily cases happened in December. To recap, they are Dec 26 (2,335), Dec 10 (2,234), Dec 21 (2,018) and Dec 22 (2,062).

The fourth-highest was on Nov 24 (2,188).

In the past week, there were 13,513 new infections which took the tally to 115,078.

There were 25 fatalities in the last seven days, meaning Malaysia has had 474 Covid-19-related deaths. Three of those occurred on New Year’s Day.

The good news is there were 2,230 recoveries yesterday, the third-highest in a single day. Only Nov 26 (2,555) and Nov 25 (2,348) saw more patients cleared of the disease.

That contributed to the 8,631 patients who recovered in the past week, taking recoveries to 91,171.

Worldwide, there are more than 83.9 million cases, an increased from 80.2 million a week ago. Globally there have been 1.83 million deaths.

Meanwhile, our neighbour down south has received its first batch of Covid-19 vaccine.


Badminton buddy Nadia Mahmud introduced us to a home workout programme called the Miracle Miles. It’s a low-impact exercise programme by Leslie Sansone. You can find her videos here.


Since we are on the subject, here are 10 cocktail hacks for healthier holiday drinking.


Less than a month ago, many Manchester United fans were calling for the head of manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after the club was eliminated from the Champions League.

Today, many of these fans are heaping praise on the Norwegian as the Red Devils have moved up to second in the English Premier League standings behind arch rival Liverpool.

Their clash on Jan 18 will be a mouthwatering one.


A fellow Liverpool fan, Mohd Hazri Shihabuddin, shared this picture and pantun in our WhatsApp group.

Buah cempedak di luar pagar,

Ambil galah tolong jolokkan;

Saya budak baru belajar,

Kalau ‘Salah’ tolong tunjukkan.


Am still not a fan of the MySejahtera App. But one good thing is that if you visit an unfamiliar restaurant or business outlet and need to recall the address, you can check the history section of the app to do so. It has come in handy this past week.


No better way to start the year than with a John Prine number. This is his last single which was released just after his death from Covid-19-related complications.

I Remember Everything has also been nominated in two categories at the 63rd Grammy Awards – Best American Roots Performance and Best American Roots Song.


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