Easing into ‘normalcy’ with outdoor dining

Not many people are dining in.

I took my first tentative steps towards ‘normalcy’ when I had a drink in an outlet yesterday. It wasn’t something planned.

It was work-related as I sat down with Amir Omar Anuar and Lam Min Yong, who recently started a social enterprise to help underprivileged communities in Malaysia.

Tumboh, formed in July, has donated more than RM23,000 worth of products to ‘Need to Feed the Need’ before even making a profit.

You can read more about this fantastic duo on Tuesday.

I haven’t dined out since May 6 – the day before Malaysia entered its third Movement Control Order (MCO).

Since then, the number of Covid-19 cases has been mind-boggling.

Back then, it was to have a few beers with a fellow Liverpool fan, Dev Prasad.

So stepping out to have coffee – felt surreal.

Not only did I wear two face masks and a face shield, but I also brought plenty of hand sanitisers, alcohol wipes and a sanitiser gun with me.

Talk about being paranoid!

In a way, I was glad to have experienced the ‘coffee shop talk’ as I was becoming fatigued with virtual meetings that go on and on.

The fact that only fully vaccinated individuals could dine in, eased some of my fears.

I also haven’t been to the office for quite a while and miss interacting with non-family members, even though I tend to describe myself as an introvert. Perhaps I do like mingling with people!

In a way, yesterday’s meeting was a warm-up for what I will do tomorrow – being a volunteer driver to send doctors and nurses to the homes of bedridden cancer patients for their vaccination shots.

As mentioned in last week’s column, if you are interested in helping, call Rotary Club of Central Damansara president Veeneth Menon (+60167224224).

Anyway, since it’s the start of the month, here’s a reminder that today is Day 536 since the beginning of the original MCO, and this is the 64th week of ‘The MCO Diaries’.


First, the good news. For the first time since the week of June 19-25, we have more recoveries than new Covid-19 cases.

Back then, there were 37,455 new infections against 42,413 recoveries, while this week, we have 142,469 new cases and 147,004 recoveries.

In total, we have 1,805,382 cases, while 1,528,672, or 84.67 per cent, have recovered.

Now the bad news. The number of deaths isn’t slowing down, as we had 1,971 fatalities in the past week, including more than 200 per day for 11 straight days.

That brought the total to 17,521.

Worldwide, there are 220.1 million cases and 4.5 million deaths.


I feel sad for Paralympian Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli. He ‘lost’ a gold medal and a world record at the Tokyo Paralympics, as he and two other athletes were late to the call room before the start of their event.

That meant automatic disqualification, but they were allowed to compete, pending an investigation of whether it was their fault or the organisers.

Sadly, it was concluded that Ziyad and the athletes from Australia and Ecuador were to blame.

Paralympic Council of Malaysia president Datuk Seri Megat D. Shahriman Zaharudin has promised to bring the matter up with the International Paralympics Committee and World Para Athletics. Good luck with that.

However, the furore from our politicians, notably former sports ministers who should know better – who cried foul and demanded Ziyad be reinstated as the winner and even rewarded – is ridiculous.

Also, many attacked Ukraine as it was wrongly assumed that it had filed a protest as its athletes were promoted from second and third, to gold and silver.

Ziyad is a gem and will bounce back in Paris in 2024.

As this news website reported earlier this week, we need to find out what went wrong. There shouldn’t be any cover-ups as we need to ensure we don’t repeat the mistake.



Several friends and I attempted to walk or jog an appropriate distance on Tuesday to celebrate Merdeka.

P. Kuganeson and Zeti Ariff nailed their challenge perfectly by covering 8.31km and 3.18km, respectively.

On the other hand, I ‘failed’ as I completed 8.32km instead of 8.31km. Oh well, it is the thought that counts!

For Malaysia Day later this month, the challenge would be to complete 6.19km, 9.16km or 16.9km.

I know many are lamenting the state of the country, but remember, Malaysia is our home.



Say, what? How can you have a frozen hot chocolate, you ask? Well, Mark Bittman has the answer. Enjoy.


The Gombak Hillbillies are back with another original song. It’s a sad, haunting number that should resonate with many.

They were featured twice before, once in the early days of the MCO with their original – Covid-19 Blues and also earlier this year with a toe-tapping tune called Mama Don’t Allow.

Although this number is less cheerful than their other two songs, I quite like it.

Until next week, stay safe.


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