A ‘muhibbah’ Chinese New Year as almost everyone balik kampung

It is usually quiet in the Klang Valley during festivals, be it Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, Deepavali, or Christmas.

But this year’s Chinese New Year celebration seemed quieter than usual.

Not only were many Chinese restaurants in Subang Jaya closed on the eve – previously, they would only take half the day off – even the Malay and Indian owners joined in!

The usually bustling Cempaka Restoran near my home was quieter than a mouse on Monday and Tuesday, while a nearby Indian restaurant was also closed on the first day of Chinese New Year.

The roadside stalls that sell chicken wings, pancakes, and Ramly burgers, were also closed.

It was similar at the nearby malls, with most businesses closed, except for those in the food and beverage industry.

By coincidence, I bumped into my usual ‘chicken wings guy’ when I was in a mall on Thursday evening.

I asked him why he had closed for so many days, and he replied: “Business was slow the previous weekend. When I spoke to my customers, most of them said they would be taking the whole week off.

“Many said they had not travelled home for a long time due to Covid-19, and this was their best chance to do so.

“These were people of all races. That was why I decided to take a rest.

“I rode my motorcycle around my neighbourhood on Tuesday night, and the whole place was silent. So, I am glad I took some time off to recharge my batteries.”

Usually, malls would start to come alive on the second or the third day of Chinese New Year. Yesterday, when I returned to the mall, about 70 per cent of outlets were still closed.

There was also hardly anyone in Jaya Grocer.

However, one high-end Chinese restaurant was packed, while there were some fitness addicts at the gymnasium.

As my daughter and I walked around for a bit, she asked me: “Where is everybody?”

I guess the answer is they all balik kampung.

I expect a mad rush back into the Klang Valley over the weekend.

Drive safe.

32,000 DEATHS

We reached 32,000 deaths from Covid-19 on Thursday. Until yesterday, that total stood at 32,011.

The good news is that the death rate continued to slow down, with 59 in the past week. Last week, there were 83 deaths. That was the first time we had less than a hundred deaths in a week since April 24-30, 2021 (91).

New cases continued to climb with 39,084 infections in the past seven days, taking the total to 2,895,014.

On the recovery front, 25,660 patients received the all-clear this week, making it 2,799,608 who have beaten the coronavirus.

Worldwide, we have 391.1 million cases and 5.7 million fatalities.

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Pillow Fight Championship (PFC) crowned its first champions last weekend.

Promising to deliver “the drama of hand-to-hand combat without the gore of mixed martial arts or boxing”, PFC’s first men’s champion is winless mixed martial arts fighter Hauley Tillman.

Ultimate Fighting Championship’s Istela Nunes won the women’s title. Both competitors earned a title belt and US$5,000 each.

I better start practising.

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FOLSOM PRISON BLUES

I read an interesting article earlier this week.

Two of the albums mentioned were Johnny Cash’s At Folsom Prison (1968) and At San Quentin (1969).

Here is the great man singing Folsom Prison Blues.

Until next week, stay safe.

https://youtu.be/1dKySPZPJPM

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