Scary Covid-19 numbers mean bye-bye to rip-roaring Gawai

It was a subdued Gawai celebration on Tuesday, the second consecutive year the Home Minister and I could not go back to Sarawak to visit her family and our son, Owen.

Unlike last year, when there was a semblance of hope the nation was winning the Covid-19 war, this time around, there was nothing to celebrate.

Rewind to June 1, 2020 – There were only 38 new infections, and no deaths for the 10th consecutive day.

On Tuesday, the numbers were 7,105 new cases and 71 deaths. We exceeded 600,000 cases yesterday, 13 days after we hit the half-a-million mark. We surpassed 3,000 deaths on Thursday.

On Tuesday Malaysia entered a total lockdown, which meant only essential businesses were allowed to operate.

It also meant that no visiting was allowed. So, even though we hadn’t planned for any makan-makan at our home, Gawai felt a little emptier.

That was especially so for my mum-in-law. Last year, a maximum of 20 guests were allowed, but with the movement restrictions, it meant her home in Bau, Kuching, which used to host 20-30 close relatives on a regular weekend pre-Covid-19, felt extremely lonely.

They had a simple celebration and long video calls with the Home Minister.

In Subang Jaya, we had Laksa Sarawak for lunch and dinner, and a couple of shots of Tuak – the famous Sarawakian rice wine. Unfortunately, we didn’t even have any kek lapis, which is usually a must-have.

The Home Minister was busy with work as well, sorting out who could and could not go to work – as getting the approval letters from the International Trade and Industry Ministry (MITI) and other relevant authorities was as simple as last week’s registration for the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine!

One positive was that Disney+ finally arrived on our shores via the Disney+ Hotstar application.

It was a relatively hassle-free process for me, although my in-laws only managed to do so on Wednesday as the website experienced high traffic.

While I have registered, I have yet to watch anything. However, I might binge watch some shows this weekend since there is no football.

Since Gawai is a month-long celebration, I would like to wish all those who celebrate, ‘Gayu Guru Gerai Nyamai’ (long life, health and prosperity).

Anyway, today is the 445th day since the start of the original Movement Control Order, and this is the 51st weekly edition of ‘The MCO Diaries’.


World Health Organisation (WHO) science council member Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman has said Malaysia’s death toll from Covid-19 could reach 26,000 in September.

That’s an alarming figure considering we ‘only’ surpassed 3,000 deaths on Thursday while the total fatalities stand at 3,182 as of yesterday.

That included record highs of 126 deaths on Wednesday and 103 on Thursday – the first time fatalities entered into the hundreds. Those numbers contributed to the 630 deaths we had in the past week.

We also continued to register a record-high number of new cases with 9,020 new infections last Saturday, the highest ever.

All in, we have had a record of 53,608 cases in the past seven days, making it 603,122 infections since the start of the pandemic.

We passed the 600,000 mark yesterday, only 13 days after we hit half a million.

We had some small gains on the recovery front as 41,432 were declared free of the coronavirus in the past week, bringing the total cured to 515,571, or 85.48 per cent.

That included 7,049 on Thursday and 6,083 two days earlier. Those were the two days with the highest recovery numbers since the start of the pandemic.

Worldwide, there are 173 million cases and 3.7 million fatalities.


While many complained about not getting their MITI letters to travel to work, Twentytwo13’s creative editor Amar Qastellani Tajuddin shared an amusing tale involving a tortoise.

But please, do not try travelling with a reptile!


Twentytwo13 contributor Pipa Arbee shared how her parking app offers “credit” if you top up RM50. It looks like even the parking app needs a cash injection!


So I gave in and watched Friends: The Reunion last Saturday as the Home Minister wanted to see it. She gave up less than half an hour into it, but I stuck with it as my mum was interested in it too.

I’m in a WhatsApp group with Liverpool supporters, the majority of whom are big fans of the show. All of them loved the reunion. So, at least now, I understand what the pivot joke is about!

On the whole, there were more positives than negatives to the reunion on the internet. Would I re-watch it? Nope, but I know many who would.


Got this via WhatsApp. Fits me perfectly.


I enjoy watching Girl Meets Farm as I find Molly Yeh delightful. Her infectious smile, calm demeanour and easy to follow recipes are a treat. Here’s one from the show.


Keith Whitley originally recorded this song, but it ‘exploded’ when it was sung in the movie Notting Hill by Ronan Keating.

Whitley’s version is ranked 12th among Country Music Television’s 100 Greatest Love Songs, but I’ve opted for this version by Alison Krauss.

Her hauntingly beautiful vocals leave no doubt why she was, for a long time, the female artiste with the most Grammy Awards – 27.

Beyonce overtook her earlier this year when her four wins gave her 28 Grammys – that’s three behind orchestral conductor George Solti who holds the record.

Until next week, stay safe, everyone.

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