Theatre doyenne Datuk Faridah Merican, 81, received her first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination yesterday in Kuala Lumpur and she could not be happier.
The octogenarian, who was in high spirits when we caught up with her, is glad that she has done her part as a responsible citizen, despite a little apprehension.
“The night before, I found it difficult to sleep. You hear so many stories about the side-effects and I guess I was just anticipating whatever that may happen, ” shares Faridah about her experience.
“Even after getting the jab, I asked the nurse about the possibility of getting a blood clot. She assured me that I have nothing to fear, ” adds Faridah, who received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
Faridah was accompanied by her husband Joe Hasham, whom she called “my driver, my supporter, my cheerleader.”
Faridah and Joe, the co-founders of the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPac), arrived at the Kompleks Sukan Desa Tasik Kuala Lumpur, a 30-minute drive from their home, early yesterday morning.
Faridah says the whole process from registration, waiting in line, getting the vaccination itself and a 15-minute supervision was very smooth and organised. They were in and out of the centre in just an hour.
“Everyone at the centre was warm and friendly. They don’t make you feel uncomfortable. And because the process is smooth, you don’t feel lost along the way. And even if you are lost, there is someone within earshot ready to assist you, ” recounts Faridah, who feels completely fine.
In fact, she is currently busy teaching online classes for Taylor’s University & The Actors Studio’s (Tutas) performing arts conservatory degree programme and auditioning and interviewing people (online) for the next edition of theatre series Life Sdn Bhd.
“We just have to keep moving forward. We have to carry on. We cannot just close the books, fold our arms and go home.
“There’s work that needs to be done so that when the doors are open again, we are prepared and ready, ” says Faridah.
Due to the new movement control order, which ends on June 7, KLPac has closed its doors to the public. Three shows had to be cancelled while one show has been postponed.
Faridah says that her Hari Raya celebrations this year will be a much quieter affair compared to last year.
"We will just have a cup of hot coffee in the morning and stay at home. Also, I told Joe that I'm too old to stand at the stove and cook a meal," quips Faridah.
Regarding Malaysians, senior citizens in particular, who are hesitant and anxious to get vaccinated, Faridah urges people to take the first step and register.
“It’s just so easy. And don’t be hesitant. This is for your own good. You don’t have to be too worried. What you have to tell yourself is that ‘this is good for me’.
“And it’s totally free of charge. There is really nothing to be afraid of. You will feel more secure of yourself after the vaccination, ” says Faridah.
“Of course, that doesn’t mean we can throw away our face mask or sit very close to each other. We still have to be responsible and observe the SOPs.
“Let us all do our part in fighting this virus and keeping our country and each other safe, ” concludes Faridah.