MCO: Malaysian writer plans to brush up on her Korean language skills

The words "sa rang hae yo" means "I love you" in Korean. Photo: Filepic

During the first movement control order (MCO) in March last year, writer Zaulin K. Bakhtiar used the time to improve her Korean language skills. She had taken classes prior to that, after being bitten by the K-drama bug years ago.

“Since I was watching hours and hours of Korean drama series, I thought I might as well understand what they are saying. During the first MCO, I drew up a daily syllabus. It was nothing too strenuous because I wanted to savour the experience.

"This MCO, I plan to continue my Korean classes with my teacher, ” says Zaulin. "To practise, I would text and record my pronunciation and send it to my niece, who speaks fluent Korean. I believe that learning truly never stops and I try to learn new things every day."

The 52-year-old recalls what it was like during the last MCO and says that now, she plans to take it one day at a time.Zaulin plans to keep up with her Korean lessons, be a more active plant parent and spend time with her nephews online during the MCO. Photo: Zaulin BakhtiarZaulin plans to keep up with her Korean lessons, be a more active plant parent and spend time with her nephews online during the MCO. Photo: Zaulin Bakhtiar

“I am a homebody so home is my quiet place. I can become a more active plant parent, watch new movies and read a lot more. I can exercise at home too, thanks to YouTube and other apps, ” she says.

Zaulin is grateful that she won’t be overwhelmed by the new movement restrictions announced last week.

“My sacrifices are small compared to many others. I just had to cancel my travel plans and postpone meeting up with friends. I will miss my nephews the most, that is for sure. But we can always video call each other and I can always travel virtually, ” she says positively.

She adds that these latest restrictions are necessary as one’s health and life must come before anything else.

“I remember someone saying ‘you are no good if you are dead’. Money, you can always find, but you cannot replace your life. Malaysians will get through this. We are adaptable, tough and creative. We always make the best out of a bad situation. Although we may grumble about it, we will still pull through, ” she says.

Adapting to the new norm often comes with challenges that push you out of your comfort zone, but Zaulin points out that it means new skills are learnt.

“I figured out how to use Zoom and Google Teams for virtual meetings, although I still find presenting online daunting and the most uttered question is, ‘Guys, can you hear me?’ I learnt to use new gadgets and tech to make work easier, and also to shop online, which can be quite a dangerous hobby!

"But every day, I am grateful for my health so I can still write and care for my family, have a roof over my head and get my three meals a day...and okay, can afford dessert too!” she says.

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