How We Fight This War


Ola! I thought this month I will write about all our experiences during this Covid-19 pandemic, so that one day when we look back, our grands will know what we went through.

We have been living in Jeddah for 2 years now Alhamdulillah. There was no better place than this and I have been writing about this thousand times. Until Haram was closed, and the airport was shut down. Slightly inside, I was panicking. What if my dad was sick or my business requires me to return to Malaysia?

Last year ironically, I was blessed enough to be travelling to Beijing and Rome. After I came back from Rome in December, I started hearing about Corona Virus in Wuhan. Early January when I had to travel to Kuala Lumpur, I know it will be a boring trip as I couldn’t travel anywhere else. The government in Malaysia was questioned about not shutting down the border to the Chinese tourists at that time. That’s how it all started coming into Southeast Asia.

On the day I flew back to Jeddah, I read about the first case of Corona Virus (now known as Covid-19) in Singapore, where one of the family detected entered Malaysia through Johor Bahru. Selfish. I was already here. No one talks about it except laughing why the Chinese always ate strange things, like fry live dogs, and bats? Seriously?

After several cases detected in Malaysia, the virus spread so quick then to all part of Southeast Asian countries then Dubai. I was supposed to fly to Dubai for an event early March. In February, we were told it has been postponed. Now, we started to talk about it.

The Saudi government took the fastest move by closing all borders. I know it is serious now. The stop all flights from coming in from all over the world including all Umrah pilgrims. They sent back those who were stuck here. There were some from Malaysia who managed to just reach the airport, then sent back 2 days after, I was told.

People were calm here, compared to some other countries I read and watched on social media. We trust the Saudi government. I trust them. Supermarkets were full of sufficient food stock. I saw people in Australia and United States were flighting for toilet rolls. People in Malaysia bought several trollies per family afraid there won’t be enough food. In Indonesia, it breaks my heart to watch people on street crying not able to get food supplies.

The numbers have been increasing in Saudi. We are still patience even after the government implemented curfew from 7 am until 3 pm. The schools have been closed since the last 2 weeks, and the private sectors since the last 4 weeks. Only some banks are open. Activities are limited. Government sent all their staff home, except for 13 sectors like food, transportations, diplomatic and all.

Today when we woke up, out of nowhere the government said it is 24 hours curfew now in Jeddah. Now we are really panicking. How we buy groceries? It says 2 people can leave house at the same time including the driver. We are only allowed to buy food within the same district where we live.

The numbers have not gone down yet in Saudi, where else in Malaysia, they are doing great. It is learnt that there were no new cases in China now. Cases have been improved in countries where it started earlier, especially in Southeast Asian countries. I hope they will maintain this to keep my parents safe there.

As for us here, we have full confident with the Saudi government and they have been doing great in controlling the virus from spreading. We will stay calm. May Allah help us all during this Third World War. Just the pandemic. Just the virus. Just Covid-19. By just staying at home. I remember one article I read how we should make our kids remember this by not pushing them too hard for typical learning or homework, but to spend as much time as possible with them and go through with them this difficult time with care and love. Some of the photos here are my personal collection of how I spent my time teaching and having research meetings online, and there are many more. Collect and save as much photos as you could my dear readers. One fine day, we will show those photos to our grands Insya Allah.

Al-Fatihah to Mama Shareefa’s husband, the late Allayarham Fadil Basyyoni who passed away because of Covid-19.

Dr Ty





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