Two hundred editions of ‘The Diary’, a milestone

American novelist, short story writer, poet, and social activist Alice Walker, the first African American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her novel ‘The Color Purple’ once said: “Time moves slowly, but passes quickly”.

I could not help but think about the quote while working on this week’s Diary – the 200th edition since it became a weekly record on June 13, 2020.

A note to those reading this Diary for the first time – it started as the daily ‘MCO Diaries’ – to document life during the Movement Control Order when the Covid-19 pandemic forced Malaysia into a lockdown on March 18, 2020.

The column kept a daily count of the Covid-19 cases, recoveries, and, sadly, deaths. It featured news updates mixed with a dash of humorous stories, memes, recipes and songs – usually from the late, great John Prine, but no genre or language was out of bounds.

Sadly, Prine died from complications related to Covid-19 on April 7, 2020.

After 84 consecutive days, the MCO Diaries became a weekly column when Malaysia eased the lockdowns and went from MCO to RMCO – Recovery Movement Control Order. However, there were two ‘special editions’ to mark the first and second anniversaries of the MCO.

We still kept track of the Covid-19 cases. Initially, with a weekly update, and then we moved to a monthly count, when the cases slowly subsided.

Over time, as in most things in life, we also evolved the structure and content. We no longer featured Covid-19 cases, recipes and songs. Amazingly, many who had followed the Diary from the beginning said they missed the tunes the most.

An American friend, James White, who hails from Minneapolis, Minnesota, remarked several times that I was the only Malaysian he knew who enjoyed Prine.

But I soon found out there were many others, including Sheith Faikis Abubakar of the famed Gombak Hillbillies. If you are reading this, congrats on your new baby, man.

Here’s to another 200 editions and beyond, of ‘The Diary’.

PS: To those celebrating, Selamat Hari Raya. Have a good celebration, folks.

FIXING POTHOLES, SAVING LIVES

Allianz General Insurance Company, via its corporate social responsibility (CSR) arm Allianz4Good, supported the Fixing Potholes initiative – a CSR initiative through a partnership with traffic survey company Fox Traffic Sdn Bhd – to address road safety concerns by repairing 100 potholes across Subang Jaya and Petaling Jaya.

The initiative was to mitigate road accidents and vehicle damage within the Subang Jaya, and Petaling Jaya City Council areas.

“Potholes can cause vehicle damage and lead to severe injuries or fatalities. At night, or in adverse weather conditions, road visibility is poor and this poses a hazard. Public safety is a shared social responsibility, and this partnership is beneficial to road users,” said Ng Siew Gek, head of Allianz4Good.

FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS

I was working from home on Friday and decided to set up ‘office’ in the living room instead of the bedroom. The going was tough initially as the internet connection was too slow.

It was strange as TM had recently given me a new router. After checking, I realised the laptop was connected to my neighbour’s Wi-Fi. We have each other’s passwords, as there were several occasions when we had issues with our routers and had to share the internet.

It was fine once I resumed working on my connection. Silly, me.

We have been neighbours for close to 15 years, and once, when the fuse box blew in the middle of the night, the family was saved when we used several extension cords to their home to power several fans and the fridge.

Our kids are the same age, and our daughters attend the same tuition centre, and we take turns picking up the kids.

It is good to have such friendly neighbours.