“I’m grateful for the continual support, otherwise my 40-year family legacy will end.”
Before successfully halting the spread of Covid-19 infections, Malaysia’s Movement Control Order (MCO) is continually being extended, albeit at different levels. It is unlikely the MCO will be fully lifted anytime soon, having a negative socioeconomic impact on the population. Over the past year, people struggled to make a living. Being involved in traditional trades, our 10 interviewees are disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
Be it decades-old family trades or entrepreneurship, our dear uncles and aunties formed strong social connections within their community. Some of them set up shop on the main street of their respective towns, their regular customers being familiar faces; some of them became time-honoured shops, attracting both local and foreign tourists. During MCO, formerly bustling streets emptied, footfall and traffic decreased. As restrictions eased, reopened businesses suffered huge decline in revenue; those still under extended temporary closure had no income at all.
The previously implemented vehicle passenger limit and interdistrict travel ban, alongside with roadblocks on major roads and highways, causing local residents to spend extra resources and time in commuting to work. Though effective in containing virus transmission across regions, the current interstate travel ban exerts substantial harm to various livelihoods of the populace. The lack of outstation tourists weakened economic activities of attraction towns, particularly local specialty foods and traditional handcrafts. In conjunction with festivals, those who work or study in other regions could not return to their hometown for family gatherings. Senior citizens who still dwell in rural places could only express their longing for family through phone calls.
The prevalence of smartphone use, as well as social media networks, has changed the way of human interaction and businesses. Products could be sold online without the necessity of a physical store. However, technological advancement has its shortcomings. There are a number of people who are technologically illiterate, online commerce is beyond their capabilities. Struggling to meet the dispatch time set by online selling platforms, and worrying about potential customers making enquiries in foreign languages, are challenges faced by one-person businesses. Moreover, most of the elderly are in semi-retirement, only working to pass time. They intend to work as long as they could, without expecting to make great profit.
Each community has a shared future, only by mutual help and care can we get rid of the dilemma caused by the pandemic. Dear uncles and aunties face setbacks with optimism, steadily march ahead while keeping hopes alive for a better tomorrow.
Text: Daniel Lim & Pua Hui Wen
有你 UNI Production
Producer : Daniel Lim
Cinematographer : Amelia Lim / Evon Pang / Michael Lerk
Drone : Daniel Lim
Video Editor : Amelia Lim
Copywriter : Pua Hui Wen
Music : 《Emotional Epic Movie 2》 / 《Simple Inspiring Piano》 / 《Piano》
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