Missing the peace and serenity of Sarawak

I have a confession. I sort of, kind of, miss the Movement Control Order – but only for the clear roads!

We have been back in the Klang Valley for only four days, but already, we miss Sarawak.

The home minister, our daughter, and I returned to Bau, Sarawak, on May 31 to celebrate Gawai and meet up with relatives.

We spent a blissful week there with hardly any traffic (although we had petrol disruption). But the great food, company and clear skies more than made up for the minor inconvenience.

When we returned to Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, the first thing that greeted us was a massive traffic jam from KLIA to Subang Jaya.

I was glad I did not take over the wheel. Instead, I asked my cousin, Jeremy Fidelis, to continue driving.

I felt his ‘pain’ as it took us nearly 100 minutes to reach home. It usually takes about 45 minutes.

Back in Bau, a ‘traffic jam’ lasts anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes.

But in the Klang Valley, you’d be lucky to escape anything under 30 minutes.

That was evident from my trip back from the office on Wednesday and Thursday, when the 17km drive from Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur, to Subang Jaya, took more than 90 minutes.

For that one reason, I enjoyed the various lockdowns – but admittedly, it was not good, economically, for the country.

So now I, like the millions of other commuters, will have to just grin and bear it as there is no end to the traffic jams.

I recently read an article about what traffic jams can do to our bodies. There was a suggestion on the types of exercises we could do to “counter the effects of being in a sitting position for extended periods”.

I found it interesting, as I noticed some aches and pains on my knees, back, and buttocks when I resumed driving in the Klang Valley. I did not experience them in Bau.

On Thursday, it was reported that vehicles (33.3 million) outnumbered the Malaysian population (32.6 million)!

On a separate note, the Road Transport Department (RTD) warned those with expired licences that they must renew them by the end of the month, or risk losing them.

The categories in the RTD’s sights are learner’s driving licences that have expired for more than a year, probationary driving licences that have expired for over two years, and public service vehicle, and goods driving licences that have expired for three years.


The number of new Covid-19 cases dropped for the fourth week, but the bad news is that two subvariants of the Omicron strain – BA.5 and BA.2.12.1 – are in Malaysia.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin revealed this on Thursday.

In the past week, Covid-19 cases rose to 4,523,018, after 10,978 new infections.

For the third consecutive week, the number of recoveries outnumbered new cases, with 11,329. That brought the total to 4,464,558.

There were 28 deaths, which brought the number of fatalities to 35,709.

Worldwide, there are 539,812,045 cases and 6,329,887 fatalities.


Over the years, I have been mistaken for a Malay, Sikh, ‘Mat Salleh’, Chindian, a Sarawakian native, and even a Afghan (owing to my scruffy beard).

But in the past two weeks, I have been mistaken for a Nepali and a Fijian.

The Nepali server at a local cafe greeted me warmly as he thought I was a countryman.

Although disappointed that I was a local, the service was still tip-top.

On Tuesday, a Fijian friend of the family exclaimed that I looked like an islander.

Sadly, then, and now, I still have a face for radio.


Monkeypox is now the next big worry. That led to a friend sharing a joke: “Chicken pox, swine flu, bird flu, mad cow, Covid-19, and now monkeypox. I do not know if I should visit a doctor or a veterinarian!


Craving dessert but too lazy to clean up? Why not give these one-bowl recipes a try?


For something different, we end this week’s Diary with a football chant by a local band, AQSA. Titled ‘Musuhnya Habis Binasa’ (Your enemies are destroyed), the song is a tribute to the former Malaysia Cup champions, Negeri Sembilan.

Enjoy and stay safe.


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