Picking up the pieces. Hastily?

All we can do is pray for the best. Be confident and positive that this too shall pass…

pic by BERNAMA

NO, IT is not like the ending of “Sleeping Beauty” at all, where everyone wakes up 100 years later after being placed under a spell by Maleficent.

In the fairy tale, the entire kingdom wakes up and takes a bit of time to realise that things have changed before everything goes back to normal, and before fully rejoicing in their freedom as they celebrate Princess Aurora’s grand wedding.

Alas, Malaysians don’t seem to waste that much time to marvel at the little things they might have missed during the three-month Movement Control Order (MCO) and Conditional MCO (CMCO).

The moment the Recovery MCO (RMCO) was introduced to replace the CMCO, the roads were almost immediately back to the time before Covid-19 was announced a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.

Standard operating procedures (SOPs)? Well, let’s say that Malaysians do try to adhere to the guidelines as closely as they can.

The more established restaurants have reduced the number of tables and seats, while all malls are now sticking to the one-entry-one-exit rule as spelled out by the SOPs. The thermometer is definitely a must (although at times, your temperature might suggest that you’re suffering from hypothermia), while the mandatory sanitiser is always in abundance.

Higher-end restaurants are also now menuless as your favourite items are displayed on your hand- phones after scanning the QR code placed on the table.

The humble mamak, on the other hand, seems cleaner as the staff are seen more diligent in wiping the tables clean each time a customer leaves.

Hair stylists in their personal protective equipment (PPE) suit look more like medical specialists. Each customer is allocated only an hour at the salon. All the fringe services — massages and special treatments — are no longer on the menu. “It has been pretty hectic from the word go,” one stylist said.

Obviously, his schedule is filled with appointment after appointment for the next month. “It is rather cumbersome to wear all the required PPE stuff, especially the gloves. You can’t really feel the hair that you’re cutting… Still, this is better than nothing. Plus, it’s better to be safe than sorry…”

Since each customer is given an hour to do the necessary, elaborate hair treatments could not be offered. So, if you see people with “two-toned” hair, or with the actual colours covering half their heads, you’d understand why.

And for some reason, the MCO, CMCO and RMCO seem to have changed certain mindsets too.

More people seem to be house-proud and sale of indoor plants might just see an uptick this time around.

For some reason, the mother-in-law’s tongue plant (pokok lidah jin in Bahasa Malaysia) is the current craze, judging from the postings on various social media platforms.

Various nurseries in Sungai Buloh last weekend were cashing in on this fascination with house plants, too.

All the Ikea branches — north, central and southern regions — are reporting great turnout too.

Shopping for clothes? Just get ready to grab whatever that you feel would fit you and pay. No fitting is allowed, so you’d really have to figure out if you’re still an XS, even after months of lying on the couch.

And yes, quite a number of fashion brands are slashing their prices to get customers excited again.

Esprit Holdings Ltd is shutting its physical stores soon, and the queue for the clearance sale is pretty long, too — even with all the additional “barriers”.

Well, despite the “deterrence”, Malaysians — who have been cooped up for the last three months — seem to be adjusting to the “new normal” well. Big groups are seen going out to various places, going about things they might have missed.

Durian stalls are packed with customers who might have managed to curb their enthusiasm long enough to savour their favourite fruit.

Of course, there’s the exodus of Kuala Lumpur dwellers who have been keeping it cool during the first two weeks of Hari Raya, when no one was allowed to visit loved ones or travel to other states to celebrate Syawal.

People in Kedah and Perlis might have taken over Langkawi and Penang, while Port Dickson is getting back on track as litterbugs decide that they love the coastal town the way it was.

Melaka? No negative reports are available at the moment.

Best of all, most five-star hotels, which were beyond reach for many locals, are cutting their rates. If you’ve always wondered what it’s like to live like the rich and famous, this could be the time.

We dont really know how long this “transition” period will last. By July 1, quite a number of countries are reopening the borders too, so it would be rather interesting to observe how things would pan out by the end of the year.

There are international reports quoting experts who said that we might have to live cautiously with Covid-19 for three to five years more, but hey, it could be shorter as scientists from all over the world strive to find a vaccine for the wretched disease.

In the meantime, all we can do is pray for the best. Be confident and positive that this too shall pass…

Zainal Alam Kadir is the executive editor at The Malaysian Reserve.