Movement Control Order 3.0x

It’s 1st June, 2021. this is the third time that we have gone into a serious lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All started in Mid March 2020, with the various levels of movement control order, lockdown seems to have been stretching for more than a year already. This story really makes a good post-doomsday biopic, where every day more than one busload of people dies. The prolonged movement control is taking a toll in my mental health, not to mention the physical health too.

I feel like I’ve had it. I think a lot of people feel that way too. In the past year, I have gone to office less than 14 times or less than 2 weeks in total. Work goes on, business as usual, just that my office is also my bedroom. What frustrates me is that for a huge section of society, lockdown means they get to take a break and yet still get paid. Just a day before lockdown, wife wanted to submit her internship paperwork with the education department. She was told that the accounting has closed for the day in preparation for lockdown, which means no approvals are happening during the lockdown.. which then begs the question what are these people doing at home then? Because of that, she is now going to miss her chance at internship and now scrambling to see what she can do to push out the internship when she already took her non-paid leave from work.

I am also working on a research project with a university, where the agreement needs to be signed between 4 parties. I have rushed my side, taking the agreement to Butterworth to be signed and courier it to KL, and subsequently courier back to Penang. The agreement now is in Johor, signed but no one can come into the office to proceed with the next step. So all is on hold because office work stops.

We have sacrificed for the safety and health of people around us. We did not have Chinese New Year, forsaken Cheng Beng and Wesak Day. Now news are saying that some 400,000 people crossed borders during the Raya Holidays and we see COVID-19 spread because of balik kampung. Because of these people, all of us are locked down. So whether we follow the rule or not, we are all in the same hole now, which I strongly feel is unfair where the good citizens are punished together with the violators.


Take a pause before deciding

Never Make Permanent Decisions On Temporary Feelings

The world celebrated Covid’s birthday a few days ago, it is a good time to remind ourselves that we are living in unprecedented times. Let that fact sink in a little bit. Life has been challenging BC (Before COVID) but the pandemic response has made life worse. We see challenges working from home, children attending classes at home, the lack of personal touch and socialization. Despite it all, we should celebrate that we have somehow made it this far.

When the going gets tough, let’s take some time to pause. Take time to think it over before we make big decision. Let the problem simmer a bit. Tell yourself you need time to think, we are living in ways unimaginable and people will understand if you want to take time to think through. The fact is, there is always hope, take it day by day, this too shall pass. What we are facing now is a temporary feelings and emotions triggered by the weird world we are living in. There is a silver lining and things will get better, you should focus on preparing for the better days.

In the office, challenges are forcing people to make ad-hoc decision such as quitting their jobs because they cannot handle the stress. Rather, I would advice the you reach out to your boss, or your colleague. Connect with people remotely, IM, call, message. Share your concerns, your troubles, your feelings. Some will step up to help, but even if no one does, you will immediately feel better. In normal times, we would be chatting in pantry, drop by people’s cube to ask how they are doing, share ideas on whiteboards and join each other for lunch discussion football. All that is gone, it leaves a social void that does have impact to people. These are all the temporary feelings that we should be the basis to make life changing decisions.

COVID is a unprecedented but a temporary situation. It does put stress into normal situations that would make us reflect how we are surviving. Cliche as it seems, we need to count our blessing especially if we still have a job. Look forward to your future goals, and not make hasty decision.

MCO Part 2

For posterity sake, today is the first day of the Conditional Movement Control Order for most states in Malaysia. This is what I called the second #lockdown.

972 new cases in Malaysia, where for the past few weeks it went past 1000 new cases on some days. We went into a tighter control MCO in March when cases were hitting 300ish a day. We are way past that.


Humility is sometimes needed

I am in Malaysian Red Crescent Society, that’s no secret. I’ve been in the society since primary school if anyone is counting without any breaks in my service. I am proud of that.

What people sometimes don’t know is that I was also active in university. We had made good friends with the State committee that we get to attend a instructor crash course. I remember it was a whole week, camped out in University Malaya, sitting for ALL the courses needed to get the instructor certificate. All in one week.

That was almost 20 years ago.



This is a recap of the first day of power on, the cumulation of a year’s work and preparations that brings us to Ireland.

The night before (a Friday), the international team involved in the power on decided that we would have a nice dinner before starting power on the next day. In our previous trips, we fell in love with the tapas and sangria in Salamanca. In the afternoon of that day, we know that the silicon parts were being cleared from the airport cargo hold and would be in the lab any moment. Indeed the parts arrived in the lab, just as some of us were already on the way to the restaurant. While some of the team members turned around to start their work, the software and post-silicon validation team had our last dinner before the event. After dinner, the rest of the team went back to the hotel, while the few of us who need to coordinate our activities went back to the lab to understand the situation. There’s only 3 people in the lab, huddle in the corner working with one silicon part, checking out the reset sequence to boot up the part. We were then asked to go home, and they didn’t think we will start till Sunday.

We the leads, headed out early on Saturday to the lab to check on the status, seems they had started the bootloader phase and would need a day before they can be ready for us. Conveyed the message to the team and they wanted to spend the last day of “freedom” in Kilkenny. I have no plans, I have the car so we took a 2 hour drive down south.


Steno what?

Stenosing tenosynovitis – apparently I got it.

About one month ago, I woke up from bed with this stiff middle finger on the left. It curled up and would not straightened. I am sure I can force it to straighten but then I am sure I will be in pain and agony. Being a regular with joint and muscle pain, I decided to leave it alone and see if it goes away. A couple of days later, the finger can straighten again and I did not give it a second thought. After a few days, the ailment came back again, same finger would not straighten.. and just as fast as it came, it went away.

Then one day, it jammed! The finger curled up and would not straighten after a few days. I gave it one week just in case. That one week dragged to 2 weeks and the finger still would not straighten.

A few things came to my mind. Is it gout? Since I have a very high uric acid content? Did I sprain some join when I was sleeping? Is this finger going to straighten again? I told my parents about this finger (since they are in the medical line) and my father straight away say that it is a “trigger finger”. I refused to hear him out because my finger is not “triggering”, it won’t straighten. Too many questions that needs answer.


Passing down the heritage

Maybe it was just a coincidence. On the same week that I saw the digi sambal belacan Malaysia day ad, my mum dropped by with a tub of her sambal belacan. I ate a lot of sambal belacan when I was young, it goes well especially with fried fish. I have very little of it now mainly because I don’t know how to make it and Winnie does not either. I don’t think it is the “thing” with her family to have sambal belacan and cut chili in every meal. She thinks condiments are a Penang thing. True also, I don’t see condiments served unless asked in Kuching restaurant and weddings.


I realised after watching the Digi and polishing off half a tub of sambal belacan in one sitting.. that I really miss sambal belacan.

What does a man have to do to get feed his addiction.. one way is to keep bugging my mum for sambal belacan once I am out. What I did was to go shopping. Apparently, there are only two ingredients in my mum’s sambal. Chili and belacan. Sounds easy enough. I even contemplated on getting mortar and pastel, but I think the trusty blender will do.

First, I come to learn is that I have to roast the belacan. Well, I could put it out in the sun and wait for it to dry, but apparently dry roasting on a pan will work too. However, the house smells of fermented shrimp after that, so be warned. PS: you don’t want to come to my house for one week, I think the smell will stay that long.

Looks like a lot of belacan but I am not going to use it all. After that, wash and de-seed a lot of chilies.

Lagi pedas lagi bagus, masuk pedas.. keluar pun pedas…

After that it is about blending them all together to make a paste. Even my mum cannot tell me what is the proportion as the chilies vary in heat depending on the crop. So it is about tasting. I find this the hardest part because I am direct tasting ground fresh chillies. Yikes. I would like to think I got it right. The colour seems the same as my mum’s. Taste also almost the same, as far as I can tell.

We shall see how. Fried fish for dinner one of these days.

The Reveal..


Inside that mitten, Gabriel is showing me the finger for forcing him out of the mother’s comfortable womb..

You will notice that some time has passed since the Caesarian section the wife has to endure before I posted it up in the blogs. In between, I have told my story to a few close friends. I told them that I was in the operation theater when the doctors did the operation and I narrated what happened real-time to the wife who is conscious. Most people tell me that I was brave to be there. A lot of daddy’s think they are brave but when the see the amount of blood coming out, they literally faint.

After the wife has been prepped for the operation., she was wheeled in to the operating theater. She went in first cause she was on the wheelchair (not like that she cannot walk, it has to be a dramatic effect – unless someone can tell me why). The nurses asked me in a fast tone whether I want to go in the operation theater. No hesitation – I sure. One male attendant (or is he a nurse, I did not get his details) ushered me into the changing room, dragged out a green scrub and ask me to change into it. He looks rushed so I just put the scrubs over my day clothes.

Then I was given a chair and asked to wait beside the nurses station in the OT. From the station I can see all the operating room.

I had to wait for about half hour before they asked me to go in the operation room. When I went in, the wife was already covered except for the part where they will operate on. She is conscious and I am given a chair beside her head. The blanket was raised at the neck so she could not see anything beyond her neck. I did the narration.

The Doctor came in. I was surprised that he had those rubber boots that the market people uses but in white colour. That was surprising. The doctor went straight to work. Like literally, came in, put on his gown and gloves and reached for the scalpel. That was 10.25am.

He made a cut, then cauterize the blood vessels. He works fast. Like really fast. After that, he did what I think was separating the uterus from the “meat”. One more cut and the nurses are moving around the stomach. One of them was on the top of the stomach and with all her body weight, pushes down on the stomach.

10.31am, the baby came out.

5 minutes and it is all over.

All the while, I am narrating to the wife what is going on and she said she feels nothing down there. Glad for that.

I did notice that when the baby’s head came out, he already started crying even while the body was in the womb. He was not too happy about being forced out of the mother. As the body is leaving the womb, the butt was facing me and I can see streaks of green goo from the butt all the way down the legs. It looked out of place cause the only liquid I see are blood. I think it has to be poop. Yup, baby pooped when he came out.

Which is a good thing I understand, cause that reduces the chances of jaundice. He needs to poop and we were worried that 1) he pooped in the amniotic fluid and eat his own poop since he stayed there for so long. 2) he did not poop and get jaundice.

For the next half hour, the doctor was stitching up the wife and I was asked to leave half way though the stitching.

Did I see Blood? Yup. I don’t think there was a lot of blood loss but blood was everywhere. Looks like a gruesome murder scene.

Did I faint? Nah.. you will need more than that amount of blood to make me faint. Seen worse.

The Drama..


This would be the first time any of us got admitted into a hospital. We were unsure of the process or what is about to follow but we were going to do it together.

The appointment to check into the hospital was at 8.30 am. We walked in a check in just like a hotel. Just go to the counter and mention the name. The person at the counter escorted us up to the wards and passed us to the nurse. In less than half and hour, wife was in her hospital gown and the O&G was with us.

We were aware of some minor complication to the pregnancy. The baby is in a posterior position, making him a bit hard to come out. The head is looking up, causing the baby to be not engaged. Also, suspect there is cord around the neck. The O&G said, cord round neck is something he has handled many times and it should not be a problem.

We were given option.

We can first try to induce the baby for a normal labour. They will give her pitocin every 6 hours for a maximum of  doses. This should induce the baby to come out. BUT, there are unsuccessful cases which ends up in caesarean section anyway.  The other option that we have is to go for elective caesarean and and skip out on the pain.

I was expecting the doctor to tell us what to do, after all he is the expert. But instead we were given the choice. It was a stressful time for us. He explained what will be done for both options and we were given time to think. I really wanted him to make the decision so that I don’t have to. We both made some calls to our experienced mothers and both came to a conclusion that it would be better to skip the inducing and straight go for the operation. The logic, as I gathered, is that inducing will cause duress and stress to the baby. It is better, in such cases, to get the baby out as fast as possible.

We told the nurse about our decision and the Operation was scheduled for 10am.

So you have to imagine,  we checked in all fine at 8.30am. One visit by the doctors and a few phone calls. 2 hours later, the baby is out!

I never buy the stories about how babies are a miracle of life and stuff like that. I think they are mushy. But after seeing the baby coming out from the womb, with my own eyes.. it is a surreal experience.

A job for Ted

You remember Ted? Ted d’ Bear? He is the teddy bear that I bought for the wife when I was in US for a week on business trip. He has been sitting on the bookshelf since then cause he was too irresistible for the bed. Well, we have a new use for him.

Testing diapers!

Wife bought some reusable cloth diapers. Those nice expensive ones that acts as good as disposable diapers but re-usable. Wife got these diapers as a “tester package”, a set of 4 diapers that we can try then decide on what brands to get. I vote for the cow prints, but wife will be the final decision maker.

We bought from Baby Pit Stop. She is based in Penang and does COD. Which is a good thing cause you can go to her place and talk to her, get some tips on how to use these things.


From Happy Heinys. With those “prings”, any daddy would be happy, not to mention the heinys..


This is rumparooz.


The famous gro baby.



No review on the performance, comfort and quality of the products till we get a suitable and reliable tester.

Dusty old bear.