● Janet, 65 years old, Chinese, Malaysian
● Retiree, caretaker to her uncle, an elderly family member. She takes her uncle to the
hospital once or twice a week for medical care and dialysis.
● She tested positive for COVID-19 on 24 February 2022. She believes that she contracted
the virus from the hospital as her brother, who accompanies her to the hospital, tested
positive at the same time as well.
● The interview was conducted when she was in quarantine. Janet shares how she relies on
both Western over-the-counter medication as well as traditional Chinese medicinal practices to recover from her COVID-19 symptoms such as sore throat and cough
● Interviewee is a 30 years old man, Indian, Malaysian.
● He’s an orthopaedic doctor and describes how the job has changed over the last year with Covid-19 slowly becoming less prominent in his day-to-day duties.
● The hospital has also utilized the strategy of decantment where non-urgent cases have been moved to smaller clinics to free up government hospital doctors to deal with more serious cases.
● Vishnu also noted the fact that Malaysia has generally been back to normal with reduced restrictions on group sizes for about six months, and with high vaccination rates across the country and clear communication of Covid-19 guidelines.
● James, 31 years old, Chinese, Malaysian
● He runs a catering business and was financially impacted by the pandemic from early to mid 2021 due to restrictions in social gatherings.
● As his business was heavily impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, he was financially impacted and resorted to borrowing from friends.
● One year since the first interview, he feels that the economy has opened up and business has resumed back to pre-COVID-19 levels.
● Interviewee is a 35 years old woman, Malay, Malaysian.
● As a self-employed lawyer, she spoke about the challenges of conducting her business during Covid-19 such as in meeting clients in-person and moving between states.
● She also touched on caring for her father who contracted Covid-19 after a large family gathering, and the requisite medical attention needed for her family during Covid-19.
● Amirah received emotional care during this tough year and was also actively involved in the #kitajagakita operation to care for the less privileged afflicted during the pandemic.
● Interviewee is a 31-year-old male, Indian, Malaysian.
● He is a dentist in West Malaysia.
● He shared about how he had to survive with minimal medical support while treating his patients. For example, the nurses and doctors having to stitch their own Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) while attending to Covid-19 cases.
● His wife was also pregnant during the Covid-19 crisis and he shared about his worries about being in a different state from her and the potential dangers for her and the baby because of the disease.
● As a medical personnel, he shared the benefits he had in terms of moving between states despite the ban on inter-state travel.
● He shared his disappointment about the political moves the Malaysian government had done in prioritizing political gains over public health safety by hosting the Sabah elections.
● Interviewee is 30 years old and an Indian Malaysian
● Impacts of COVID-19 on her work and pregnancy check-ups
● Financial and emotional challenges due to COVID-19
● Safety measures adopted at dental clinic
● Description of COVID-19 as something similar to the common flu, but worse
● Situation of commodity supply for dental clinic and Malaysia in general
● Daily routine during the lockdown
● Reflections on how she has coped with COVID-19 emotionally
● Reflections on the differences between the two periods of lockdown in Malaysia
● Thoughts on the punishments for breaking COVID-19 rules and differences in opinion on others on the punishments
● Community support in terms of bulk purchase of groceries and checking in on others virtually
● Thoughts on experiences of migrant workers such as construction workers and maids in Malaysia
● Reflections on Malaysian society’s response to the crisis
● Hopes for a post-COVID-19 world
● Interviewee is a 30 years old man, Indian, Malaysian.
● He described his experiences as an orthopedic doctor in a government hospital and how he needed to adapt his daily routines to meet the need of Covid-19 healthcare responses. In particular, he talked about the lack of preparedness of Malaysia in terms of having sufficient Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) available and how the doctors and nurses worked together to make their own PPEs.
● He also shared about the benefit of being a frontline worker which is that he is able to leave his home daily for work and maintain some form of a routine, while other Malaysians have struggled with being cooped up at home for extended periods of time.
● With regard to Malaysia’s Covid-19 response, he noted that Malaysia did a really good job managing the first wave of infections. However, because of poor public health planning in Sabah, Malaysia was hit really badly by the second wave. He was of the opinion that after the elections, Sabah should have been put on lockdown so that the cases would be controlled within Sabah itself.
● Interviewee is a 34 years old woman, Malay, Malaysian.
● She described her experiences of being the sole caregiver to her elderly parents who were not taking well to lockdown measures in Malaysia. She also shared the difficulty of having her sister and niece living separately and care fatigue of ensuring she and her parents are well during the pandemic.
● She noted the dynamics of her household and that of her neighbourhood in dealing with the lockdown. Her family stocked up on two months’ worth of canned food items while she assisted her elderly neighbours with purchasing their groceries as well, highlighting a communal approach to managing the crisis.
● She touched on the various political maneouvres that happened which led to the second wave of Covid-19 cases, particularly the importance of Langkah Sheraton and the Sabah elections in exacerbating Malaysia’s response to the crisis.
● The interviewee is a 74 years old male, Chinese, Malaysian.
● He is single, a retiree and lives alone. He gets updates about COVID-19 from the news and exchanges information with friends when they meet at the lobby of his residence.
● He compares COVID-19 to the time when he helped a patient with AIDS. He said in both experiences, people were worried in the beginning, but life goes on after.
● He has kidney failure, so he is dependent on family members to transport him to the hospital and occasionally buy him food.
● He uses WhatsApp to get updates on government announcements and information about COVID-19.
● He is unable to trust the government and the way they handle the COVID-19 situation in Malaysia. He also believes that the declaration on the state of emergency in Malaysia is politically motivated.
● Interviewee is a 29 year old male, Chinese, Malaysian
● Caught COVID-19 in January 2021, self-quarantined at home for 20 days
● Self-medicated himself with Panadol and vitamins at home as the Ministry of Health did not contact him at all
● Equates COVID-19 fever to dengue fever
● He was more worried about the aftereffects of COVID-19 like hair loss, low stamina and weak lungs than the symptoms he experienced when he was sick.
● Believes in building your immune system, exercising and staying positive to overcome COVID-19.
● Interviewee is a 64-year-old woman, Chinese, Malaysian.
● She thought the lockdown during COVID-19 was similar to curfew during the 1969 racial riots in Malaysia, and quickly bought food to stock up at home. However, from her experience of stocking up food for years, she realised that there is a lot of food wastage, especially if people stock up on unhealthy food such as instant noodles and canned food. During COVID-19, she decided to only stock up on healthy food.
● She takes care of her uncle who has kidney failure. During COVID-19, it was challenging for her to transport him to the hospital with police road blocks. She also has to source for sanitisers and disinfectant by the litres to make sure his living space is bacteria free so that he can perform his own dialysis at home.
● She was forced to retire early because her employer had to wind up his business during COVID-19. Until today, she relies on her savings to support herself and her uncle.
● She helped a part-time domestic helper during the lockdown when the helper was unable to earn income. She supported this helper financially and by buying groceries for her family.
● 30 years old male, Chinese, Malaysian.
● Owner of a small catering company, his revenue dropped to almost 100% when large events were cancelled because of COVID-19.
● He was forced to pivot his business from catering to food delivery.
● While some of his friends in the food and beverage industry shut down their businesses or move to another industry, he is determined to keep his business because he believes that he is providing a necessity for the public.
● He fell into depression during the lockdown because he was worried about having to shut down his business.
● After COVID-19 is over, he wants to go back to catering as he feels that customers are more willing to spend on catering than food delivery, so the profit margin is higher.
● His customers were concerned about the source of his food supplies instead of food hygiene. Malaysia categorises the number of cases in specific areas based on coloured zones: red, yellow, green with red having the highest number of cases in a specific area. Customers did not want to eat food that was sourced from the Red Zone [an area with 41 or more Covid-19 cases registered there for a 14-day period].
• Interviewee is 30 years old and a Chinese Malaysian
• Doctor, medical officer
• Initial reports, news, perceptions and spread of Covid-19 in Malaysia
• Organization of hospitals, urban and rural, across Malaysia in response to Covid-19
• Experience intubating a Covid-19 patient
• Procedures for dealing with Covid patients
• Acquaintance contracting Covid-19
• Mental health of healthcare workers
• Novelty of Covid-19 experience
• Covid-19 as being good for introverted people
• Similarly high workloads before and during the pandemic
• Perceptions of Movement Control Orders [MCO]
• Inequality in the way fines for breaking MCOs punish poorer people
• Underlying political dissatisfaction with the current government
• National disunity and social media echo chambers
• Positive experience of family’s neighbours supporting each other
• New home businesses starting up during the pandemic
• Charitable donations through churches