Health Ministry lifts mandatory mask rule in Malaysia, but I’ll still keep mine on

Let me start by saying that I’m not a kiasu woman who fears getting ill or dying.

But I still plan to keep my face mask on – despite the Health Ministry relaxing the face mask rule in Malaysia, effective today.

The only reason I’m doing so is not because of me. It’s because of my five-year-old boy and my parents. I don’t want to be the cause of their misery.

I’m also mindful of those around me. As we have seen asymptomatic cases, I could be walking around infected with the coronavirus without even knowing it, and could spread it to others. So why take the risk?

I’ve seen how individuals suffered after getting Covid-19. Then, there are also the effects of long Covid. I’ve lost many family members and friends over the past two years.

I’ve also seen e-hailing drivers, riders, and traders losing seven days of income due to quarantine rules after being infected with Covid-19. I know some don’t even declare their health status and go out and about with their work, despite testing positive for Covid-19.

Despite face masks no longer being mandatory in Malaysia, it is still required in all healthcare facilities (hospitals, clinics, nursing homes), and in public transport. High-risk individuals are also encouraged to keep their face masks on.

Business owners can also impose the mask-up rule on patrons.

The Health Ministry also stressed on the need to continue good practices like hand, and respiratory hygiene, and environmental cleanliness. In short, keep washing or sanitising your hands regularly.

Wearing face masks is certainly ‘ma fan’ (an inconvenience).

It has caused some to suffer from allergies, and breathing difficulties. For others, the constant purchasing of face masks is a financial burden.

Besides the discomfort, it can be difficult to read facial expressions.

Despite being used to seeing people wearing them for the past two years, I still find it tough identifying and listening to people. Apart from a series of embarrassing moments, waiters also continue to get my food orders wrong.

I get it if you choose not to wear your face mask. But this is just me. For the time being, at least.

The last thing I want to do is to impose my views on others.

By the same token, the last thing I want to be is the cause of another person’s misery.

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