SOP mess: It’s deja vu all over again


Many would have probably heard of the saying ‘if at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again’.

It was a rallying cry by Robert I, more popularly known as Robert the Bruce – King of Scotland from 1306-1329 – before the battle at Bannockburn in 1314. There, he soundly vanquished the English – after several defeats.

It has also been attributed to two 19th Century educators – Edward Hickson and Thomas H. Palmer – the former who used it in the lyrics of a song in his book ‘The singing master’ (1836), while the latter wrote a poem called ‘Try, again’ (1840).

The idiom is to encourage someone to never give up and keep trying until he or she gets it right.

Sadly, the powers-that-be in the country is still in the “try, try again” stage when it comes to announcing standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the different versions of the movement control order (MCO).

If you think you’re reading something similar, you are right. ‘The MCO Diaries’ has been highlighting this issue since Day 1. Yet, the authorities continue to leave many confused as to what is going on.

A friend, Ivan Zuzartee had this to say about SOPs:

While humorous, the haphazard way the SOPs are announced makes life difficult for everyone.

As Twentytwo13 editor Haresh Deol tweeted:

Many have also questioned why exercising in public spaces – even if you are alone – is prohibited, but bazaar Ramadan and bazaar Raya are allowed.

Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Naina Merican said yesterday he would put forward suggestions to re-evaluate the SOPs for sporting activities.

This comes a day after his deputy, Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal, defended the decision. He tweeted he was “pretty sure the Health Ministry and the NSC have deployed all necessary scientific tools and dataset before arriving at this decision.”

I wonder what changed in those 24 hours, or as someone joked: “Different political parties, have different SOPs.”

For the record, Reezal is from Umno, while Wan Ahmad Fayhsal is from Bersatu.

Last night, the ministry announced that those living in MCO areas can jog, cycle or exercise outside their homes starting today. 🤦

Separately, owners and head chefs of several restaurants in the Klang Valley have started a petition asking the government to reconsider banning dine-ins.

They argued unlike hawker stalls, fast food restaurants and other similar outlets, their restaurants are not suited to the delivery or takeaway model.

They said based on data released by the Health Ministry, from Feb 22-April 2 “restaurants only comprise 0.96 per cent of the clusters (or 0.31 per cent of the total Covid-19 case contributions from clusters)”.

The data also showed factories accounted for 38.54 per cent of the clusters, but have remained open.

Here’s a riddle for you. When is an open house not an open house? When you have 15 or fewer people visiting you for Hari Raya at any one time as per the Aidilfitri SOP.

Anyway, today is the 417th day since the start of the original MCO and this is the 47th weekly edition of ‘The MCO Diaries’


There were 126 fatalities from Covid-19 in the past week, the worst seven-day total this year. Total deaths are 1,632.

The only other times we’ve had deaths in the hundreds were Jan 30-Feb 5 (112) and Feb 6-12 (108).

We also recorded 4,498 new Covid-19 cases yesterday, the highest number of infections in a single day since Feb 4 (4,571).

That brought the total number of cases to 432,425, an increase of 23,712 in the past seven days – the fourth-highest seven-day total this year.

We saw more cases on Jan 30-Feb 5 (30,941), Jan 23-Jan 29 (27,753) and Jan 16-Jan 22 (25,114).

As a friend said after the numbers came out: “We knew this was coming. But seeing it, still makes the heart sink.”

Meanwhile, 18,024 patients were given the all-clear in the past week, meaning the total number of recoveries stands at 396,004 or 91.58 per cent.

Worldwide, the number of cases is closing in on 156.8 million with 3.27 million deaths.


After MCO was announced in six Selangor districts on Wednesday, a friend mentioned in a WhatsApp group chat: “I know of people shifting their families to their in-laws’ place in KL!”

Well, Kuala Lumpur was placed under MCO the following day and almost immediately, I began receiving the picture below.

You can follow the Twitter thread as well.



Last Saturday I was invited to a buka puasa session by the KL Kopites at Abah Seafood and Grill in Seksyen 13, Petaling Jaya.

Abah Seafood and Grill opened in April and will surely be a big hit, judging from the comments by the guests.

While the food was good, the company was better, and best of all, there was no emergency at the venue!

I even got a Touch N’ Go card with a picture of Anfield. I’ll Never Drive Alone!


A couple of friends sent me this. Seems legit.


If you want to do something easy for Mother’s Day, here is a recipe from Nigella Lawson.


I had planned to use Russ Hamilton’s classic ‘My mother’s eyes’ as the video of the week but opted for a more local flavour from Back2Basixx.

Among the singers in the band is Christian Marc Theseira, whom this website interviewed last year.

Here is the group’s remix of a song written by Ahmad Jaafar and Shariff Rahman and made famous by the great P. Ramlee – Ibu.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers and single dads out there.