Rare occasion when govt’s U-turn proves to be right

The Covid-19 vaccine will not prevent you from getting the disease. It will, however, help reduce the severity of the symptoms if you do catch it. It will probably save your life, too.

As such, this is one of those rare occasions that ‘The MCO Diaries’ is pleased that the government had made a U-turn.

The decision in question? Insisting that those flying into Langkawi for a vacation take a Covid-19 test.

That was the plan for the travel, or tourism bubble. On Sept 13, Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said there was no need for visitors to take the test.

Two days later, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin reversed that decision.

That turned out to be the prudent course of action, as on Thursday, on the opening of the ‘tourism bubble’, five tourists tested positive at the air and sea entryways into Langkawi.

Now, imagine if those people had been allowed in without a test. How many would be affected? Worst of all, I fear for the unvaccinated children.

There have been lots of talk on social media about how the ‘last-minute U-turn’ was troublesome. I would rather have the peace of mind knowing that the people on the plane or at the beach were healthy.

While stringent standard operating procedures were in place, the coronavirus can spread quickly, and it doesn’t care if you are young or old.

And you can’t be swimming with a face mask, can you?

Similarly, some complained that taking the test added to the cost of their holiday. Quite frankly, I would rather pay for the test than fall sick because some people refused to test themselves.

Moreover, if you could spend thousands of ringgit on a well-deserved holiday, what’s another RM50-RM200 to ensure your family’s safety?

Others questioned the rationale of taking the vaccine if they have to take the test each time they travelled.

Clearly, these people refused to see the positive effects of the vaccine.

If you want to go on a holiday, by all means, do so. But please ensure you are not endangering other people.

Today is Day 550 since the original Movement Control Order began, and it seems there is still much about Covid-19 that many do not know.


After 14 straight days of having more recoveries than new cases, that changed on Sept 15 when there were 19,495 new infections against 18,760 recoveries.

In total, there were 126,377 new infections that took the total to 2,067,327. We surpassed two million on Tuesday.

There were 144,286 recoveries in the past week, making it 1,823,245 people who had beaten the coronavirus.

In the last seven days, there were a record 2,916 deaths. That made it 22,743 fatalities in total.

Worldwide, there are 228.3 million cases and 4.6 million fatalities.



The home minister and I finally got some closure by watching the final season of Elementary, two years after the show ended.

We were big fans of the series, but along the way, work and a lack of time meant we stopped at Season 5.

Thanks to Astro re-running the entire series, we managed to watch the remaining two seasons, including the finale.

As a fan of Sherlock Holmes, I found the series’ reinvention of several characters, set in modern times, quite fascinating.

Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu were Holmes and Dr Joan Watson – yes, a female partner.

Even Holmes’ nemesis – Professor James Moriarty – was played by a female. Natalie Dormer was Jamie Moriarty and created the ‘character’ Irene Adler for the series. Adler was probably Holmes’ one true love and the only person to outsmart him in the books.

Elementary was set in New York instead of London, and Miller’s Holmes was several notches wilder than the original.

The BBC had its version of the great detective in the modern era via Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. That show stayed truer to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s vision, and was a joy to watch.

For the record, Miller has portrayed Sherlock Holmes the most times in television or film – 154 episodes during the show’s run.


To celebrate Malaysia Day, I fulfilled a pledge in my walking/jogging group chat – to cover the distance of 9.16km on Sept 16.


Are you still working from home? If you miss going to the office, you may want to try this.



Besides Holmes, another favourite character is Lieutenant Columbo. Originally ‘conceived’ in the 1960s and with two pilot episodes-cum-movies in 1968 and 1971, Columbo was officially a series from Sept 15, 1971. A then up-and-coming director, Steven Spielberg, directed the first episode.

Reruns of the show continue to get big numbers in the US.

Besides Columbo, John Lennon’s hauntingly beautiful Imagine turns 50 this year – on Oct 11, 1971.

That is the song to end this week’s column.

Stay safe, folks.


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