Blessings behind movement restrictions

The MCO is the best time to bring ourselves closer to our Creator, before we get too busy again

pic by TMR FILE

THE Movement Control Order (MCO), since Day 1, has taken away so much from us — mostly what we had taken for granted most of our lives.

Taking a walk in the park, spending hours reading a book while sipping cappuccino at a cafe, lazily window shopping at the malls and catching up with high school friends, all seem like distant memories.

For the less fortunate, the MCO has taken away more than their freedom to move; it has taken away their livelihood.

However, with more than eight weeks of movement restrictions, Malaysians are seeing the brighter side of the MCO and have embraced the positive things that it has brought.

“Although most of my jobs have been cancelled and I am going into my savings to feed my family, I feel that the (Conditional) MCO (CMCO) needs to be extended.

“I can look for other ways to make money, but I cannot replace my family’s lives,” said one freelancer before Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced the one-month CMCO extension on Sunday.

Besides seeing how the government’s strategy is working in the fight against Covid-19, Malaysians are starting to see other silver linings as well.

Urbanites, who often kept to themselves, have now grown closer to their neighbours as they keep each other updated on the latest happenings in their neighbourhoods.

“I did not know anyone from here before the partial lockdown. I hope we remain friends after all this is over,” said a lady from Petaling Jaya in a Facebook community group.

Muslims, in particular, are experiencing the month of Ramadhan the way it is supposed to be experienced — with self-restraint and thriftiness.

The ban on Ramadhan bazaars has kept them away from overspending. While there are online bazaars, delivery charges, which could cost more than the food itself, and not seeing the actual product beforehand have people thinking twice before succumbing to their greed.

There is also no excessive spending on Ramadhan buffets, where patrons usually spend hundreds of ringgit on piles of food that they cannot eat.

This, simultaneously, saves tonnes of food from being wasted.

Last year, the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Corp said about 4,005 tonnes of edible food are thrown out into landfills every day during Ramadhan, and the numbers increase 15% to 20% every festive season. That measures up to 120,000 tonnes of food, equivalent to about 343 million packs of nasi lemak, wasted in Ramadhan.

This amount of food waste could have fed 2.97 million people three times daily. With the merriment of “buka puasa” gatherings, Muslims would often lose track of time and miss their maghrib and tarawih prayers. But now, with everyone breaking fast at home, they only cook what they can eat and with no social activities, there is more time for prayers and self-reflection.

Facebook user Suhaila shared a picture of her entire family studying the Quran together.

“A blessing of having the MCO in Ramadhan…it is not all the time that we get to do this together,” she wrote in the caption.

Religious teachers have also turned to social media to provide free classes to the public.

Quran coach Uwais Qorny has lined up programmes on his Facebook page from as early as 6.30am until midnight to help his students and followers fill their MCO days.

As we enter the final 10 nights of Ramadhan, Uwais broadcasts live “qiyam-ul-layl” sessions from 3am to encourage more people to grasp the “Laylat al-Qadr”, where acts of worship done in this one single night are believed to have more than the reward of around 83 years (1,000 months) of worship.

With the coronavirus predicted to never go away completely, this is the best time to bring ourselves closer to our Creator, before we get too busy again.

Farezza Hanum Rashid is the assistant news editor at The Malaysian Reserve.