'We're Trying To Make The Most Out Of It': Lockdown Experiences From Malaysians In Italy And Spain

If there's a will, there's a way

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'We're Trying To Make The Most Out Of It': Lockdown Experiences From Malaysians In Italy And Spain
Looking at the same four walls, having conversations with the same people, looking at the same view and trying to find some kind of schedule to stick to so you don't go completely insane.

Almost all of us are getting a bit agitated by this whole 'stay at home situation' and especially with the government announcing that it will be extended until April 14.

"I'm going to go mad," said one friend.

"I'm just going to go out now and run around like a mad person just for the heck of it," joked another.

But we can do this!

How are we so sure? Well, Rojak Daily spoke to Malaysians holed up in their houses in Italy and Spain recently and we found out that while it's no kacang goreng task, it can be done.

Spanish spunk vs COVID-19

Businesswoman, Noor Azlin Razali, who currently resides in Madrid with her husband, said that it all comes down to keeping a positive spirit. 

The right attitude is key!
"We've been on lockdown for more than two weeks now but basically in Madrid, everything is under control. In general, of course you feel a bit bored for not being able to go out but we're all finding things to do at home - baking, reading, arts and more," she said when speaking to Rojak Daily.

Noor Azlin explained that Spaniards were also very sociable people just like many Malaysians. 

"We love taking strolls, having tapas and fiestas but we're adapting. Now we have virtual coffee meet-ups and singing and dancing sessions from our balconies. We're all basically trying to make the most out of the situation," she said.

Spain currently has close to 48,000 COVID-19 positive cases and 3,434 deaths.

Pedro Sanchez, the country's Prime Minister first announced a 15-day nationwide state of emergency on March 14th barring approximately 46 million people from leaving their homes except for essential outings such as buying food and getting medical attention.

The Prime Minister has since extended the state of emergency to April 11.

"So far, Spaniards have been obeying the Government. Whoever goes against them will be fined 500 to 2000 euros (RM2,373 to RM 9,192)," she said.

Noor Azlin who has been keeping tabs of the situation in Malaysia said that locals here just need to follow the Movement Control Order (MCO).

"Of course it's difficult being indoors, but pehaps we can take it as an opportunity to spend some quality time with the family," she said.

She also said that the lockdown in Spain was a bit more bearable as everyone was bersatu hati and united against fighting COVID-19.

"We clap and cheer for the medical teams working 24/7 every single night and it's become such a tradition that we even have a song now. It's called "Resistiré" which means 'I will resist'," she said.

On advice for Malaysians, Noor Azlin said that now was also not the time to condemn one another but a time to stand united. 

"It doesn’t matter where you come from, what skin colour, what’s your beliefs," she said, adding that everyone needed to work together and adhere to the regulations or nothing will work.

Italian intervention

Meanwhile, Krishnakumar Kalaiarasan, a Malaysian mechanical engineer living in the Northern Italian region, said living under lockdown for so long was quite strange.

You'll get used to it eventually.
Italy has been under lockdown for 17 days now with the nation recording close to 70,000 COVID-19 positive cases and 6,820 deaths.

"It's kinda weird staying home all day. They have changed the rules a few times and tightened it further because the situation doesn't seem to get better.

"So now, we are only allowed to leave home to get groceries (not more than one person/household), for work (essential businesses), to the pharmacy, or to bring the dog out (three times a day, five minutes each time, not more than 200m away from the home)," he said when communicating with Rojak Daily via Twitter.

Additional measures include locking up public parks with fences, stationing personnel to guard parks that are open, having the police and military patrolling the city limits and only allowing those with valid reasons (i.e. work or medical reasons) to leave the city.

"Those who leave are required to fill up a declaration form with details and this form is to be given to authorities when requested at city limits, toll gates, train stations, bus stations. False declaration gets you fined or jailed or both," he said.

Krishnakumar added that even if you were wondering around for no reason within the city, you could be fined.

"Desperate times call for desperate measures. Italy has the second oldest population in the world. That's why the impact is severe here," he said, adding that Malaysia should learn from what Italy is going through. 

He said that even with one of the best healthcare systems in the world, Italian hospitals were overwhelmed and operating at 200 per cent capacity.

He warned that if Malaysians did not abide by the MCO, it could lead to horrible consequences for country.

"It's frustrating to see how degil our people are," he said when commenting on reports of some Malaysians still refusing at follow the MCO.

"After a few days y'all get used it and will realise that it's for the greater good," he said while adding that unity was the most important in defeating COVID-19.

On the impact of the lockdown there, Krishnakumar said that initially there was also panic buying and a lot of nervousness but things cooled off eventually.

"Supermarkets are stocked and people are slowly getting used to the new lifestyle. Italians are now singing from balconies, flying the Italian flag and even playing the national anthem at 6pm daily." 

On how he whiles away the time, Krishnakumar replied: "Binge watching Netflix and Amazon Prime, PlayStation, cleaning the house, been reading a lot."

Malaysians can do it too

So, there you have it. Staying at home for weeks is not impossible.

It is susah but it can be done. Thousands and thousands of people around the world are also doing it, you guys!

With the right attitude and determination, we can do it too!

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