Simple joy during pandemic

People going for walks at Penang Botanic Gardens.

SPENDING some time outdoors at parks is one of the few joys for Penangites during this conditional movement control order period.

Many can be seen enjoying fresh air and greenery in the mornings on weekends.

At Penang City Park (formerly known as Youth Park), company director K.C. Lee, 58, was spotted enjoying a brisk morning walk.

He said he felt better after spending time outdoors.

“Yes, Covid-19 is around but if we take precautions, we can stay safe.

“As my workload is lighter now,

I try to come here daily.

“Ï usually spend about two hours walking around but I do not get close to others or touch objects unnecessarily.

“People should not be trapped indoors. They can stay healthy by going outdoors whenever they can.

“Sometimes, I walk all the way here from my home for good exercise, ” said Lee who is from Pulau Tikus.

There were few people around at City Park and it was all quiet there except for sounds of birds chirping.

Housewife Ina Risnawati, 47, and her husband Yusuf Sulaiman, 62, took their eight-year-old son Putra and seven-year-old daughter Puteri to the park.

“The children wanted to run around and see monkeys.

“Instead of spending time at crowded shopping malls, it is

better to go to parks to spend time with nature and relax under shady trees here, ” she said.

In contrast to City Park, the larger Penang Botanic Gardens had more visitors that day.

Hundreds went to jog or walk around the 2.5km loop there.

Mechanic Lim Swee Boon, 36, who was seen jogging, said it was good to free the mind from thoughts of the tough economic times.

“My business hasn’t been good and I might have been sitting too much at the workshop.

“I came here for a 10km jog to sweat and free my mind before heading over to Ayer Itam to open my workshop, ” he said.

Also sweating it out were college student Adeline Chan, 23, and her friends.

“We originally planned to hike up Penang Hill but it rained the night before and the trail was muddy.

“For safety reasons, we decided to just spend time working out and lying down on the grass at the Botanic Gardens.

“We didn’t expect such a large crowd here, ” she said.

Personnel manning entrances into both parks said there was a limit to the number of visitors.

A maximum of 200 visitors are allowed in City Park at any one time while the limit at Botanic Gardens is 250.

But the personnel at both parks admitted that it was not easy to keep track of the visitors and some entered the parks via hiking trails from elsewhere.

“We urge the people to practise physical distancing since they do not have to wear face masks while exercising.

“Events, classes and gatherings are prohibited here, ” said one of the park workers.

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