The Indonesian Central Statistics Agency (BPS) recently conducted a survey which found that less educated Indonesians are more likely to believe they’re not susceptible to the coronavirus.
According to Coconuts, this proves that there is indeed a correlation between one’s education levels and perceived vulnerability to COVID-19. A relaxed attitude towards the pandemic has contributed to the upward trend of the disease spreading in the country.
There’s a correlation between one’s level of education and one’s perceived vulnerability to COVID-19, a study in Indonesia has shown, where a relaxed attitude towards the pandemic adopted by many has undoubtedly contributed to the worrying upward trend of the disease in the country.
According to BPS Head Suhariyanto, “Seventeen percent of respondents said they thought it would be very unlikely or impossible for them to contract COVID-19… I feel that this is a high percentage.”
In the breakdown of the 17 percent, most of them were elementary school graduates followed by high school graduates and the smallest percentage going to university students.
17 percent of Indonesia’s population represents around 50 million people.
Talk about worrying considering Indonesia’s coronavirus situation seems to be worsening with no end in sight.
As of 28 September 2020, the Indonesian Health Ministry announced 3,509 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, bringing the national tally up to 278,722 cases.
Ah Malaysia, land of breezy beaches, rolling hills, green tropical rainforests, lovely people, and yummy food.
Things should be pretty great for Malaysians right? Wrong.
The Southeast Asian nation is currently embroiled in a six month long political crisis, a shaky economy, and now the looming possibility of a second wave of COVID-19.
Malaysia sees a return of 3-digit COVID-19 cases.
Things were starting to look up for Malaysia in mid-June when the number of positive cases began dropping to two digits. There were even days when there were only a digit number of cases.
However, starting September 7, 2020, cases began rising. On September 11, Malaysia recorded 182 positive cases – the highest so far in recent months. On September 23, the numbers were 147 and three deaths were recorded.
The country is currently in its Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) period where numerous industries important to the country’s economic health have been allowed to operate.
While social distancing measures have been put in place especially through the use of face masks and the use of contact tracing apps, it appears many have begun not to give a damn.
Malaysia’s health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said of the recent 147, only four were imported and these involved three Malaysians and a foreigner who returned from India and Indonesia.
The remaining 143 cases were local transmission with 115 involving Malaysians and the 28 non-Malaysians.
Just how bad is the situation?
Majority of the cases were reported in Sabah while a small percentage were recorded in Kuala Lumpur, Kedah, and Kelantan.
“Sabah continued to record the highest number of COVID-19 cases with 134, of which 105 were from the Benteng LD Cluster involving 90 locals and 15 foreigners; 8 from Laut Cluster; 8 from Bangau-Bangau Cluster; 5 from the severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) case; 3 from the health workers screening case from Semporna Hospital; 2 from Pulau Cluster; 2 from the new cluster – Udin Cluster; and 1 from the detention screening case at the Semporna District Police Headquarters in Sabah.
“Outside Sabah, 5 cases were from Kedah of which 4 from Sungai Cluster and one from the community screening. Selangor also recorded 2 cases, each from the employment screening and close contact screening to case 10,286. Both had returned from Semporna, Sabah. One case was reported from Kuala Lumpur and Kelantan recorded one case from the international border screening in Sabah,” Dr Noor Hisham said in a statement.
These latest figures brings the total number of COVID-19 cases in Malaysia to 10,505. The number of recovered cases are at 9,602 and 130 are deaths.
While those in the Peninsula shouldn’t be panicking, the fact that Sabah is set to hold its state elections on September 26 would mean that movement in and out of the state would be higher than usual and this could contribute to the return of the second wave.
Would there be another lockdown?
As of now, it’s still hard to tell if a second wave would come though the rise in number of cases in September has been worrying.
Sabah has not gone into a full lockdown yet though ‘control measures’ have been put in place to manage the pandemic especially in hot spot areas.
“We have decided to have a control measure, but not a full lockdown. But we will manage areas which have COVID-19 infections by not allowing people to enter or exit. It will not affect (the election process),” Sabah caretaker Chief Minister Mohd Shafie Apdal said on September 18, 2020.
Meanwhile, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that those who’ve been tested positive for COVID-19 wouldn’t be allowed to vote.
“We have considered. Those who are positive and receiving treatment in hospital will not be allowed to vote. We do not want (to create) a polling cluster,” he said.
In July, Ismail said that the Movement Control Order (MCO) could return if the positive number of cases in Malaysia rise to three digits.
Perhaps in the coming weeks would give Malaysians a better picture if the second wave of the pandemic returns and if the country would enter into another lockdown.
When it comes to law enforcement, especially in the cases of drugs trafficking, weapons distribution and syndication, as well as other general security purposes, police forces around the world rely on more than just manpower.
They rely on specially-trained sniffer dogs, otherwise known as canine (K9) officers.
And with bonds fostered through countless hours of training and field work, these human cops and their K9 partners become more than just colleagues. They become life-long friends; family.
But of course, as with all mortal beings, life eventually comes to an end.
For Malaysian police officer Patrick Sandai, saying goodbye to his ageing K9 partner Tho couldn’t get anymore difficult and heart-wrenching.
“I’ve lost my first colleague,” says Sandai.
On September 19, 2020, Tho passed away due to complications associated with old age, at twelve years and eight months.
Initially starting off as a driver for the Tracking Unit (K9) of the Pahang Contingent Police Headquarters, Sandai eventually worked his way up to more engaging duties, including operations in nightclubs, ports, airports, and other locations, regardless of time or day.
Sandai has served 20 years with the K9 Unit, first developing a bond with Tho back in 2008, when the dog was only eight months old.
Tho was born in China, and served as a narcotics detection dog.
“I had been with Tho since it was eight months old. We both trained at the Kuala Lumpur Police Training Center (PULAPOL) for four months before being given the trust to work as partners due to our compatibility,” explained Sandai.
“During our time together, never once did Tho disappoint me,” Sandai told Bernama.
Before moving to IPK Pahang on June 1, 2018, Sandai and Tho had served together in the Criminal Investigation Department of IPK Johor, busting a handful of drug smuggling rings.
Tho was a loving and caring dog.
The police officer recalled the times when Tho would start ‘rubbing itself against his legs’ whenever the dog sensed that his human companion just wasn’t having a great day.
But as Tho got older, his health started to deteriorate. Eventually, the dog got so weak it hardly moved about and found it difficult to eat without vomiting its food back out.
“In fact, it did not respond when I called its name. Usually, Tho would open its eyes and wag its tail. Because of that, I spent all day with Tho until I finally realized it was no longer breathing,” recounted Sandai on the day of Tho’s passing.
Hope you’re enjoying yourself up there in doggy Heaven, Tho.
You don’t need me to tell you just how much of a circus, shit-show, disaster, and monumental failure the year 2020 has been.
All your pre-2020 dreams and ambitions have been crushed into a fine dust and blown away like human ashes into an empty void.
We’ve found ways to cope. We’ve all found comfort in shared suffering. It’s the fact that we’re not alone in this ‘new normal’ that keeps us going.
But how do we sum up 2020 with just one emoji?
Lo and behold, the “face with spiral eyes”.
Before you start searching for software updates that contain this new emoji, sorry to say it’ll only be available in 2021. But I’m willing to wait.
Who knows, things might just get even worse next year.
“Face with spiral eyes” is part of a new line of emojis recently approved by the Unicode Consortium (the organization behind everyone’s favorite emojis) for release in 2021.
Looking more closely into “face with spiral eyes”, I can’t help but totally feel these spiral eyes sprouting from my own eye sockets. Maybe I’m just jaded as hell.
2020 has been overwhelming. And it has been confusing at best.
And after looking into the other emojis set for next year, it’s as clear as day that the creators were referencing the events that took place this year in 2020.
At least, that’s my hunch.
Up to 217 new emojis have been approved for 2021. Some notable ones include:
“Heart on fire”.
While the COVID-19 induced break-up season, it also sprouted new love. Or so, that’s what people like to think.
“Face in the clouds”.
This is another good one for current times. “Face in the clouds” is supposed to represent a sense of confusion, and at times, even pure bliss. People in Malaysia and Indonesia can also probably use this during the hazy season as well.
With imminent disaster comes a period of healing. And that’s something a lot of us are probably working on right now, especially with all the shit that hit the fan this year. The “mending heart” emoji perfectly embodies that.
Used to express a sense of relief, “face exhaling” can also denote exhaustion, and even a sigh of disappointment. Its versatility is what makes this emoji a real keeper in the long-term.
You can even add a beard to any face emoji.
It’s not too clear what this is supposed to denote, but I’m not complaining. Plus, the beard covers all the available skin tones too.
Don’t worry, the plane wasn’t in air when it happened. But, still… I’m sure most of us have experienced cabin fever before. This woman truly took that feeling to the next level.
On the 31st of August, a Ukrainian woman decided to use the emergency exit to climb out on the wing of the Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) plane that had just landed in Kiev, Ukraine.
The unnamed woman was travelling with her husband and two kids from Antalya, Turkey. She stepped out onto the wing of the plane complaining that it was “too hot” inside the aircraft.
An Instagram page (@boryspilchany) dedicated to the Ukrainian city Boryspil posted a video of the woman which has been making the rounds on social media.
According to a passenger on board, “she walked almost all the way from the tail to the emergency exit row, opened the door and went out.”
The woman then re-entered the plane via the emergency exit as the airport staff talked her down from down below. She only stepped out of the exit after everyone had disembarked making her behaviour even more of a head-scratcher.
Her unauthorized little walk has seen her banned from all future UIA flights. In a statement the airline gave, airport security, the police and doctors on the scene, they determined the woman “was not under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.”
The airline then went on to criticize her for not setting an adequate “parental example” as her children were present at the scene.
They stressed that she will most likely be subject to “an exceptionally high financial penalty in the form of a fine.”
After years of solitude, the supporter-dubbed “world’s loneliest elephant” will get a new lease on life with the help of animal welfare organization Four Paws.
Kaavan the elephant had been living in the Marghazar Zoo in Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, for over 35 years. Originally a gift from Sri Lanka, according to Four Paws’s press release, Kaavan lived with his partner Saheli in the zoo from 1990 until Saheli’s death in 2012. In the eight years since, Kaavan has been alone.
Kaavan isn’t the only animal to suffer in the zoo. Over 500 animals have been reported missing, and over two dozen animals died at the zoo in the last four years. The Islamabad High Court decided to close the zoo in May for its poor conditions, but animals weren’t removed. As a result, some didn’t survive long enough to be rescued: Two lions died in July due to smoke inhalation when a fire broke out in their enclosure, Four Paws’s statement detailed.
Thankfully for Kaavan, though, his time in solitary confinement is almost up. Marghazar Zoo is now controlled by the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board, which invited Four Paws to help relocate the surviving animals. On Sept. 4, Four Paws examined Kaavan to assure he’s healthy enough to survive the move.
While the wildlife veterinarians and experts confirmed Kaavan is strong enough, he’s not in great shape. “Due to malnutrition and lack of physical exercise Kaavan shows visible signs of obesity,” said Dr. Amir Khalil, Four Paws’s veterinarian and mission leader, in the press release.
“Also, his nails are cracked and malformed which can be attributed to the inappropriate flooring and structure of his enclosure. To solve this issue, he needs to go through a long-term foot care program, which cannot be performed in Marghazar Zoo.”
Not only is Kaavan in poor physical health, his mental health has suffered in his time alone. Another veterinarian, Dr. Frank Göritz, head vet at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin, said that the elephant has become very bored due to lack of enrichment or partner. “He has already developed stereotypical behavior where he swooshes his head and trunk from side to side for hours,” said Göritz.
Kaavan has suffered, but the experts deemed him healthy enough to be relocated. While it’s uncertain when and where exactly Kaavan will go — the press release said “potentially Cambodia” — Four Paws is taking steps to get him into an animal sanctuary. Hopefully soon we’ll see Kaavan with fellow elephants, lonely no more.
MENGANJURKAN festival budaya seni persembahan tradisional Malaysia melalui medium moden.
Itu yang diusahakan oleh Kementerian Pelancongan, Kesenian & Kebudayaan Malaysia berganding bahu dengan artis persembahan dari seluruh negara untuk memperkenalkan Festival Seni Maya Malaysia yang pertama!
Dianjurkan oleh Syarikat Teater Masakini, Sutra Foundation dan Surprise Ventures, festival ini akan mengumpulkan lebih daripada 205 individu dari seluruh dunia seni persembahan Malaysia.
Antaranya termasuklah artis, jurukamera, kru pencahayaan, kontraktor peralatan dan banyak lagi. Para seniman akan berkumpul untuk mempamerkan pelbagai jenis muzik, tarian dan teater selama 17 hari.
Mengulas mengenai pengumuman itu, Menteri Pelancongan, Kesenian & Kebudayaan Malaysia, Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri berkata, tidak pernah ada acara seni atau festival berskala dan bentuk ini di Malaysia.
“Kami bangga dapat membawakan kepada anda Seni Maya Pertama Malaysia. Gerak Angin benar-benar mewujudkan semangat seni dan budaya nasional melalui syarikat-syarikat yang terlibat dan persembahan yang akan dipamerkan.
“Malaysia mempunyai salah satu budaya seni pertunjukan yang paling dinamis – dibentuk oleh pertumbuhan puluhan tahun dari latar belakang kaleidoskopik masyarakat dan tempat.
“Gerak Angin adalah sambutan warisan yang sangat besar itu. Ini juga bagi membangunkan semula dan menaikkan semangat, sesuatu yang kita semua perlukan ketika ini,” tambahnya dalam kenyataan media baru-baru ini.
Logo Gerak Angin sebahagiannya dirancang oleh artis tempatan terkenal Sivarajah Natarajan yang dikenali sebagai “pelukis penari”.
Gerak Angin akan menampilkan koleksi persembahan artis Malaysia yang pelbagai. Akan ada 17 syarikat produksi terlibat dari seluruh pelosok Malaysia yang merangkumi muzik, tarian dan teater.
Tirai Gerak Angin akan lebih dibuka pada 16 September 2020 – sempena Hari Malaysia. Dari sana, Gerak Angin akan menampilkan persembahan satu, 10 hingga 15 minit dari syarikat produksi yang mengambil bahagian setiap hari hingga 2 Oktober 2020.
Persembahan ini akan dimuat naik ke saluran YouTube Festival dan juga akan tersedia melalui laman web dan laman Facebook Festival.
Di antara persembahan muzikal tersebut adalah Geng Wak Long, KL Jazz & Arts Center dan Pusat Budaya Pusaka, sementara syarikat produksi tarian adalah Sutra Foundation, Dua Space Dance Theatre dan Cempaka Performing Arts Company. Tiga sektor terlibat syarikat teater seperti STEPS, ACX Productions dan Theatrethreesixty.
Sementara itu, Pengarah Artistik Syarikat Teater Masakini, Puan Seri Sabera Shaik berkata, beberapa bulan kebelakangan ini sangat sukar bagi semua rakyat Malaysia – termasuk artis membuat persembahan dan merasa mustahil untuk menunjukkan bakat mereka di tengah wabak global ini.
“Gerak Angin mewakili usaha kolektif kami untuk membuat platform baru yang dapat melampaui ruang, masa dan generasi untuk menyoroti seniman-seniman yang sangat beragam, cantik dan berbakat ini,” katanya.
Dipotret dengan kamera 4K definisi tinggi yang menakjubkan di Studio Ramli Hassan yang terkenal, Gerak Angin akan memberi peminat dan pendatang baru pengalaman seni persembahan Malaysia yang belum pernah dilihat sebelumnya.
Kandungan akan dihantar melalui platform digital yang paling mudah diakses dan disajikan, untuk memperluas daya tarikan seni budaya Malaysia.
Ketua Yayasan Sutra, Datuk Ramli Ibrahim pula berkata, Gerak Angin dikonseptualisasikan untuk menghidupkan gaya baru dalam kancah seni persembahan di Malaysia.
“Kami mahu Gerak Angin memperkuat seniman lokal dengan pendekatan yang dinamis dan moden sekali gus memberi inspirasi kepada penonton dengan persembahan yang menarik.
“Saya benar-benar percaya bahawa Gerak Angin mempunyai gabungan keaslian dan aksesibilitas yang tepat untuk mempamerkan semua persembahan seni Malaysia dengan berkesan,” katanya.
You don’t have to be an animal lover to know that there are tons of furry friends out there that are suffering.
Whether they have to fend for themselves on the streets because they’re stray, or they’re being physically and mentally abused by us humans, it’s our duty to help them out whenever we can.
In a predominantly Muslim country like Malaysia, there can be double standards inflicted on animals in need.
If you’re a cat, you’re more likely to get help. But if you’re a dog, some people may use religion as an excuse not to get anywhere near you, or even touch you.
You see, because of misconstrued ‘teachings’, many Muslims in Malaysia, particularly Malays, believe it’s haram (forbidden) to even touch dogs because of their perceived impurity.
According to the shafie school of thought (which the majority of Muslims in Southeast Asia follow), a Muslim has to clean themselves in a specific ritual to rid their body and skin of the apparent impurities of dog saliva and excrement, should they ever come in contact with it.
This has led many Muslims in Malaysia to equate dogs with impurity as a whole.
But for Malay couple Nurul Ain and Muhammad Razeef, all animals are born equal, and therefore should be treated equally as well.
The couple runs S.I. Home Shelter, which houses and rehabilitates animals in need, with a lot of them requiring urgent medical attention.
Perhaps what sets them apart from other Muslim-run animal shelters is the fact that they take in dogs too. But merely taking in dogs isn’t enough for them. The couple aims to fight the social stigma and cultural taboo associated with touching dogs and caring for them like they would other animals.
While many Muslims in Malaysia do own dogs, they’re used to aide in household security or hunting. Treating one as a pet? A big no-no for many.
And to Nurul Ain and Muhammad Razeef, caring for and rehabilitating dogs doesn’t make them any less Muslim than others.
“We can’t change this mentality, especially in our Malay community. Some critics say what we are doing is wrong; it’s haram. But we think Islam teaches us to care for animals and help them survive,” says Nurul Ain.
In fact, they’ve grown emotionally-attached to the dogs they rescue.
This has become especially difficult when giving them up to their new fur-ever families and homes.
Speaking to Channel News Asia, Muhammad Razeef recounted his first experience rescuing a dog.
“I saw it being hit by a car and took it back. I wanted to find someone who would adopt, but I couldn’t so it became my pet for seven years. It eventually died from a kidney problem,” he said.
And ’til this day, Nurul Ain still holds a special place in her heart for Marvela, a yellow mongrel she rescued two-and-a-half years ago.
“I found her injured and tried to nurse her back to health. However, her two front legs were infected and had to be amputated. It was traumatic for me,” she said.
But despite the odds, Marvela continued to live a happy life like any other dog would. She would even stand up on her hind legs like a kangaroo.
She was eventually adopted by Malaysian celebrity couple Harith Iskander and Jezamine Lim.
But the good news is, Nurul Ain still gets frequent updates from Marvela’s new family. She also gets to visit her on some occasions. And as part of a shared custody agreement, Nurul Ain even takes Marvela back to her home every now and then.
And here’s Marvela living her best life:
Despite getting frequent threats from critics (other Malaysian Muslims), Nurul Ain and Muhammad Razeef are unfazed.
“It’s a weird mentality. They would accuse us of no longer being Muslims, and some of them who are naïve would say that dogs are haram to be near to,” said Nurul Ain.
And according to Nurul Ain, it’s this mentality that causes a lot of unwarranted harm for dogs in Malaysia, with some people even kicking any dog they see, throwing rocks at them, and even poisoning them.
But the running costs of their three-storey shop-lot are high, and dogs only make up a handful of the animals they shelter.
They take in cats too, which make up the majority of their animal residents. Since the shelter’s founding in 2012, they’ve nursed and re-homed more than 1,000 of them.
Monthly maintenance of the shelter costs US$3,572 (RM15,000) when you add up the money needed to pay for the shelter workers’ salaries, veterinary costs, food supplies, and utility bills.
The couple also has to pour in a lot of their own income into taking care of their four-year-old son, who has autism.
They rely mainly on public donations, but even then the numbers they get are always inconsistent. To counter this instability, Muhammad Razeef repairs motorcycles and sells motorcycle accessories on the side, while Nurul Ain banks on her online makeup business.
“It’s difficult but we have to try. If we don’t strive to help these animals, who will?”
If you’d like to volunteer, you can check out their Facebook page for more details.
Donations to the shelter are highly encouraged. Here are the details if you’d like to help out:
Malaysia’s success in curbing the coronavirus spread is a battle that’s far from over.
The country’s prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced that he would be launching a campaign called ‘Embracing New Norms’ and is expected to let the public know about it on August 8, 2020.
Communications and Multimedia minister Saifuddin Abdullah said that the campaign was created to raise awareness and empower people to protect themselves, their families, the community, and help frontliners fight the pandemic.
Abdullah also said that the prime minister would be releasing a book called Pembudayaan Norma Baharu Komuniti (New Normal Culture for the Community), which will be published by the Health Ministry.
He added that even if Malaysia is more successful than other countries when it comes to stopping the virus, he cautioned that the virus still exists. The number of infections could go up if people don’t embrace the new norm.
He said, “This is not just about complying with laws and regulations. It is a matter of understanding and embracing it for the common good of all. The frontliners have fought hard. Now it is our turn to help them… we take care of each other.”
One example that he brought up was a mosque prayer where people were wearing face masks, brought their own prayer mats, and observed physical distancing rules. But once outside, everything was forsaken.
The campaign will be carried out from August 8 until the end of 2020. Traditional and social media, billboards, roadshows, religious programmers, posters, and banners will be used to educate the public on the new norm in society.
The minister is welcoming of ideas which make the campaign a success and hopes leaders will be creative in spreading the information and message within their community.
Muhyiddin will be launching the campaign on August 8 at the Pagoh Sports Complex in Johor, Malaysia.