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Is MCO Affecting Our Relationships?



  January 26, 2021

BY: Lai Kai Lun

Catastrophes, particularly one that has such a macroscale impact globally- the Covid-19 virus outbreak which pressurized the world into entering complete lockdowns and quarantines, are bound to leave a definite impact on relationships.

With the recent reimplementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) to once again attempt containing the virus predicament- now known as MCO 2.0, our fellow Malaysian folks are now further susceptible to psychological damage caused by the extended home quarantine.

Covid-19 fatigue

Most notably the high-pressure environment of confinement, combined with the added financial tension brought about by the strain on the country’s economy, it is not out of the ordinary to see Malaysians feeling agitated in response to experiencing relational or personal difficulties.

From the homeless man who has been crashing at bus stops since the first MCO in March last year, to the disheartened Covid-19 victim who committed suicide in response to the sky-high medical bill, the pandemic has not been easy for a lot of us.

Among many cases of conflict, many families, couples and people have found themselves navigating emerging problems- problems that did not exist before staying close/ apart from one another.

Most people have been isolated from their established support systems given social distancing measures.

The extended quarantine especially has caused most people to turn to digital network for their daily operations such as:

·       Socialising

·       Online learning/ teaching

·       Video conference

Chris, a 22-year-old Malaysian who works remotely at Kuala Lumpur, has been unable to return to his hometown in Sarawak since the initial MCO. On one hand, he is constantly fretting over the fact that he might lose his job due to the pandemic but at the same time he is becoming more distant from his family.

“Old activities that we used to do on a regular basis like hanging out with friends, going to the gym and eating out at mamak stalls- they are pretty much non-existent now.”

“Instead, now we have to rely on technology as a means to connect with other people, like video conferencing and social media,” he added.

Some people are getting online to connect with others during MCO


Silver lining

On the bright side, people are given the opportunity to critically reassess their relationships, rebuild lost connections and rediscover their truest selves.

Not sure about every reader reading this, but seeing that Chinese New Year is around the corner, eating various traditional Chinese New Year delicacies such as pineapple tarts(凤梨酥), Nian Gao(年糕), beehive cookies (蜂窝饼), Kuih Kapit while playing Mah-jong with family members is definitely one of the most enjoyable activities to the writer.

Similar to Chris, I have a comparable experience being stuck in one district, making returning to hometown to visit family members impossible.

Fortunately, the quarantine and social distancing made it possible for my family and I to get closer by communicating more frequently now through video calls. It is possible that by the end of the pandemic, we will emerge out of the crisis as a cherished and more tight-knitted family.

On a side note, my aunt is making my personal favourite homemade pineapple tarts and very possibly mailing them to me.

Being in MCO has provided some families the chance to reconnect


Lastly, judging from the pattern of recent Covid-19 cases, it is uncertain if MCO 2.0 will be further prolonged.

Keep in mind that even though MCO might be unbearable and mind-numbing to a certain extent to some of us, it actually made us realise and notice the things that we have taken for granted for so long, like our family and friends.

Keep in touch with your family and friends and stay safe.

#mco #relationships #kitajagakita#zomincares









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