Tourist Spot

Watch your steps | The star


It’s a tough call. It’s understandable that we want to go out since most of us have been locked up at home for so long, and especially now that many of us are fully immunized.

But it’s hard to reason how many of my friends have dined in cafes and restaurants. As a penangite foodie, I can guarantee that there is a huge difference between eating your nasi kandar or char koay teow in cafes and having it packaged and delivered.

But I have decided to err on the side of caution because I am always afraid of eating out.

I am receptive to having my meal in the open or in the open air, but even then, only in the weeks to come.

As much as I have championed the need to reopen and get the economy back on track, I think we need to be wise and disciplined.

We need a return to normal with concessions to take over most sectors. But let’s not let our guard down.

Many Malaysians must have been traumatized by watching video clips on social media featuring large numbers of people picnicking in parks and beaches.

If these videos are recent and genuine, it shows how ignorant and even irresponsible these people are.

Honestly, what were they thinking? Taking their families on an outing thinking the coronavirus is gone?

Picnics and swimming in the sea or in the river are hardly “essential”, especially when the Covid-19 pandemic is still raging. They must know that being doubly vaccinated does not spare them from being infected with the virus.

I am equally puzzled how the authorities did not see this coming. But better late than never because following the viral videos, law enforcement officers began to monitor the entrances to these places of recreation.

As social activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye rightly put it in his letter to The star, about how weekends in Port Dickson are “shock-a-block with picnickers ignoring even basic SOPs.”

“The rakyat depend on the police to ensure their security. To do otherwise is a dereliction of duty and in itself a punishable offense, just as non-compliance with SOPs is.

Obviously, there is a need to limit the number of people entering these sites and have them register as well, in accordance with standard operating procedures.

Likewise, there has been an increase in human traffic at piers and airports, so these SOPs and agents should have been in place to anticipate the crowds.

Local authorities must put up huge and convincing billboards to remind Malaysians to join the SOP. Such visual cues are surely more essential than those paying homage to VIPs.

It is ludicrous that crowd control was only initiated or stepped up after the media highlighted these cases, but frankly, this is uniquely Malaysia.

We tend to react rather than anticipate.

So why should one be surprised when many Bangladeshis showed up at a post office because they could finally renew documents or transfer money home?

One video showed an exasperated woman screaming in anger. While many netizens were upset that she sounded rude, we also have to understand that the crowd was probably ignoring SOPs.

No one knows how many of these foreigners have been vaccinated or are carriers.

Again, the bottom line is that we should have predicted the numbers and even the door should have been locked to limit the number of people allowed into the premises.

If that is not enough, after more than a year we all know that questions about some government agencies dealing with issues related to Covid-19 remain unanswered.

This reflects poorly on our skills and planning because communication is imperative. This safeguard mechanism must surely be in place before any decisions and announcements are made.

This is the classic of kelam kabut (in disarray, or confusion), a universal phrase in our society, but not among strangers who embarrass us when they ask us for its meaning.

When the government announced that cinemas were allowed to open from September 9, operators Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) and TGV Cinemas (TGV) decided to keep their horses.

While the green light was given, cinema operators had not received a finalized SOP from the National Security Council (NSC), hence the delay.

Yes, it looks like Covid-19 has become endemic, but we still don’t want to see an increase in infections, especially those in categories 3, 4 and 5.

With schools, universities, and tourist sites reopening and possibly interstate travel allowed, it’s best to be prepared for all possibilities. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure.