Jumaroh bt Rokasim, 50, a shop assistant at a kedai runcit (sundry store) in Petaling Jaya, believes that while it’s natural to be afraid, Malaysians mustn’t let the fear of the pandemic paralyse them.
Life goes on despite the pandemic and conditional movement control order (MCO) for the determined mother of three.
“We survived the first round, and we can and must survive again this time around. So, while it’s natural to be afraid, we mustn’t let that fear prevent us from doing all the things we need to do to survive,” she says.
Jumaroh, who lives in Kampung Sungai Kayu Ara, Petaling Jaya, has been working at the sundry store for three months. She previously worked at a small café in the neighbourhood, which has since closed down during the MCO.
She feels that it’s important to stay optimistic because our thoughts and mental state will impact our health.
“Being negative and worrying will impact our health in the long run and we have to look after our health to survive. So, it’s better to be positive and to take things one day at a time,” she says.
Every morning, when she goes out to work, her two daughters, will tell her: “Mak, be careful ... mak, take care.”
“And I try not to think or worry so much. I just do what I need to do – wear the mask, keep away from crowds, wash my hands and sanitise (them) often.
“When I return from work, I wash my clothes and shower immediately as a precaution,” she says.
Jumaroh, who rides a motorbike to work almost every day, is the main breadwinner for her family as her husband only does contract work (renovation and repairs) due to poor health. He hasn’t had much work since the MCO.
“We seldom go out, and when we do so – like to the nearby wet market to buy provisions – we’ll usually try to keep away from crowds or go when it’s less crowded,” she says.
Jumaroh admits that initially she didn’t understand what the pandemic and all the various MCOs were about because there were so many, and moreover the Covid-19 virus is something intangible. But she learnt more from her friends and reading up online with her mobile phone.
“It’s not something that you can explain easily. If the virus can be seen like a mosquito or a fly, then you can kill it easily,” she describes.
“But you can’t see the virus, so how do you get rid of it?”
“So until they find a cure or something, we'll just have to live with it and take all the necessary precautions,” she concludes.