Life with Rona — Day 9

A day filled with mostly a lot of work. I did enjoy the usual breakfast, a lunch of chicken+cheese+cucumber croissant, and a dinner of some cencaru fish, cincalok omelette, and rice. I also did Nick & Ishaq’s cardio workout at home (I don’t know if Open Cardio on Apple Watch records less than HIIT?). But most of the day has been hacking away at the keyboard.

Malaysia has had a great spike in cases today, despite the MCO. We’ve also seen 2 areas in Kluang, Johor go under a total lockdown (“Enhanced Movement Control Order”). Thailand has basically said they’re done with foreign tourists for now under their emergency orders. We see Bali trying to extend Nyepi (maybe they will act before Jakarta does). I guess Malaysians have to brace for more impact under the MCO going forward.

US jobless claims are out. The numbers are scary. From a couple hundred thousand to over three million. Singapore has announced an amazing stimulus package (some 11% of GDP?). Cabin crew get up to SGD$4,500 (up to 75% of salary) which I think is amazing. They even catered for the self employed.

This is what people expect from their governments. Some kind of social safety net. Not “please withdraw money from your retirement savings”. I don’t know if it is the woke on Twitter that see things, or it is the general consensus, but so far the Malaysian efforts seem paltry in comparison. Speaking of Twitter, Mont Kiara was trending all day today; sure there are some joggers there… but the vitriol for the rich (T20) is also really shocking. I wonder if many on Twitter realise they’re richer than they think compared to many in Malaysia? We after all have a terribly high GINI coefficient.

Stimulus. Everyone needs cash. It seems Malaysia’s MyKad (identity card — every citizen has one) is still an active ATM and MEPS card (Not just MEPS Cash which was this one time failed experiment). I know the MyKad is also a Touch N Go card. So Shawn Tan did wonder if this is the best stimulus mechanism? Maybe it is. Can it just be enabled that every IC gets RM1,000, so anyone goes to the ATM, pops their IC in, and gets RM1,000 cash? This could be the best cash transfer mechanism, ever… e-wallets (I’m no luddite, I use them regularly) is really not the solution. There was just a little over 50% usage (probably; last I read it was 7.4 million out of 15 million eligible that got it) for the last stimulus (e-Tunai rakyat) the previous government gave, of RM30 for anyone earning less than RM100,000 per annum. The argument there was it is money that expires to ensure people spend it. Spend it where? Not at your nasi lemak seller…

Let’s see what March 30 brings Malaysians. A stimulus that will shock us all?