Project Lockdown #3: Melaka & Johor

Edited by: Chua Jia Ying

Melaka is the historical state of Malaysia, home to an abundance of historical sites and tourist attractions. Travelling south from Melaka is Johor, the state which sits at the southernmost tip of peninsula Malaysia and is connected to Singapore. Johor is famous for its breathtaking rainforests and beaches. Hence, it isn’t a surprise to see tourists gathered in the heart of the Johor and Melaka throughout the year. Since 18th March, however, the once-bustling attractions has become eerily silent

Today, we take a look at what life is like in Southern Peninsula Malaysia since the implementation of the Movement Control Order.


IMG_8424Photo by: Ng Khai Chen

“The world is scrambling helplessly; the financial sectors are crashing, shelves in the stores are clean, factories closed, cities become ghost towns by 8 PM, jobs are being stripped, people living in absolute chaos, terror and fear. Yet, the Sun still rises? And sets? As if it were ignorant to the entire debacle faced by the world. Marcus Aurelius once famously jotted in his book Meditations, “The Sun will still rise in the east, and will set in the west regardless of whatever you are experiencing or feeling.”

Shackled by the Movement Control Order (RMO or PKP?), I’ve found absolute peace, serenity and solace in just enjoying the simple things nature envelops our lives which we’ve been blinded to with all our daily routines. I woke up, and little did I know how beautiful it would turn out to be to see an incredibly humongous ball of fire at 5500 degree Celsius with its blazing rays of light which permeates seamlessly through the entire earth, gushing forth millions of kilometres to finally reach my eyes.” – Ruben Joseph


JARED_LOCKDOWN_001Photo by: Jared Soh

“Throughout the MCO, existential questions that plague us sound like: attend tutorial on Zoom or watch Netflix? When will it be over? The WiFi is slower than usual because everyone is home, our fathers keep buying the wrong vegetables, while we continue to resent how boring our bedrooms are getting.

What the MCO has really done is magnify a form of suffering that will remain invisible to us: social inequality. The pandemic has unpacked how wealth affects people, and the narrative that unpacking leaves you with is that poverty is being walled off in these trying times. Labourers and bottom feeders are stripped of their only means of survival: work. Many of them are paid by the day, meaning their wallets will be empty throughout the partial lockdown. Relief measures will cushion the fall of many, but not all. Those with no buffer (money, food or medicine) will find themselves in extremis.

And yet… true to habit, trivial thoughts emerge. When can I go back to the gym? I’m losing my gains.” – Patricia In


JARED_LOCKDOWN_002Photo by: Jared Soh

“They say a picture is worth a thousand words and in this case, a lot more is being said. The empty road, with not even a figure in sight, sums up the harsh reality we are forced to live in today. Sometimes it takes tough times like these to make us realise the importance of every moment and a thousand moments that just go by without even a thought. The multiple things that we cannot live without every day, yet we seem ungrateful for them. When this passes by, we will have a whirlwind of questions to ask whether we want to return to the normal life or bring some transformations in our new routine. We might wonder whether we can live without the things we didn’t have during this period like vacations, clothes, or anything luxurious. It reiterates the idea that these times have altered our lifestyle.

After this, I hope we spend more time reconnecting with our families and friends, take more pictures willingly, start chasing our dreams and realise the gravity of just a touch, one last hug, in-person gatherings and all those little moments that we allow easily to slip from our minds. If anything, we should have learned from this, is that we need each other now more than ever.”Mehar Allidina

Full photo collection by our photographers, Jared and Khai Chen, is now up on Instagram (@musamonga)!

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