Adrian Ho Kian Wei and his wife Germaine Liew Tzu An got their two children to help make face shields for frontliners during the movement control order (MCO) under a community initiative in Taman Tun Dr Ismail’s Rahim Kajai Aminuddin Baki (RKAB) neighbourhood in Kuala Lumpur, where they live.
“With the extra free time from not being able to go about our usual activities, we thought it was the least we could do to contribute to the cause of helping the frontliners.
“It’s also a humbling opportunity for the children and us to shift our focus towards others and live in higher gratitude for what we are blessed with. When you’re busy helping others, you’ve practically no time for self pity or boredom!” said Ho, a financial steward, educator and trainer.
That initiative was also a break from their normal routine during the MCO period.
“The children feel that it’s a very productive activity for them to help those at the frontliners. It’s the least that they can do from the comfort of home. I’d say the whole MCO thing has brought us closer, ” added Ho. His family takes about half a day to assemble 100 pieces of face shields and have made hundreds so far.
Like all Malaysians, Ho and his wife and two teenage children Jayden, 13, and Jenelle, 11, have been thrown together at home for the longest stretch of time due to the MCO. The family is close knit, but not immune to the stress of being with each other day and night, for weeks on end.
It’s sometimes manifested in annoyance with the tedium of additional chores as there are now more cooking and cleaning to do.
“Before the MCO, the kids and I merely do the basic stuff like washing the dishes, drying, folding and ironing of clothes and recycling, while all the cooking and baking was done by my most capable, self-taught wife, ” said Ho. “Now, on weekends, my wife and I will vacuum and mop the floor and clean the bathrooms while the kids will clean their own rooms and bathrooms.”
Ho strongly believes in shared responsibilities at home, even though he admits that their patience is sometimes tested by the sheer amount of housework they now have to do.
He said he has never washed more dishes or gotten acquainted with the different varieties of vegetables as he had this MCO period.
“The need for patience is both for the person having to prepare so many meals a day and those eating the food who have to make do with what is put on the table. We also have to learn to be more tolerant of each other as we share in duties previously taken care of by helpers such as our weekly cleaner, ” he explained.
As for Liew who fortunately loves to cook and bake, she’s busier than usual as she has to prepare three, or perhaps five – including ‘recess time’ and afternoon tea breaks – meals a day to feed everyone.
“Yes, it’ll take more than 14 days to ‘flatten the curves’ after this MCO period, ” said Ho in jest.
Jayden and Jenelle meanwhile have been busy with their online lessons, which continue as per their original timetable in school.
“My daughter even has her ballet classes through Zoom, ” said Ho.
To wind down, since they can’t play outdoors, the family’s dining table has been converted into a ping pong table for them to work up a little sweat each day.
Ultimately, Ho believes that the MCO has given his family the opportunity to bond.
“The home is a fertile ground for the cultivation of virtues in life. For example, learning to take responsibility, respecting one another, thinking of the other, learning to give and take, and to co-exist as one family rather than as individuals.
“This will invariably lead to a stronger bond among family members and by extension, to society at large, ” said Ho.
He added that his relationship with his wife has also taken on a new dimension with the MCO.
“We read each other’s ‘signals’ better now and will give each other some ‘social distancing’ when it is called for.
“Sure, our patience is tested even more now as we share household chores and duties. But it’s really an opportune time to rekindle our love and renew our commitment for each other to #staypatient, #stayloving & #stayhumble while staying home, ” he concluded.
Did you find this article insightful?
91% readers found this article insightful