Tuesday, March 23, 2021

My Experience With Sarawak Mandatory Quarantine Order

Sarawak has again impose a mandatory quarantine order for those coming in from outside its border since 1 October 2020. Before this, Sarawak also have the same policy for about a month starting from August 2020. This time it is the longest run and into the 6th month of such policy at the time of writing.

With no end in sight of such policy, I have to make my trip home this time to settle a few personal things. When we landed at Sibu Airport, our eHealth Declaration Form will checked. After that, we will be gathered at a waiting area and handed a form to be filled by the Health Ministry. There is nothing much about the form, as we just need to fill up our name, IC number, home address and phone number. The purpose for this task is for the Ministry of Health to segregate us according to the designated quarantine center as some of us will be placed in Sibu, Sarikei and Betong, depending on our final destination.

Tips: Make sure you have a pen readily available


Wristband will also be provided at this stage and one must wear it immediately. After submitting the form, your name will be called up and you will be informed on the quarantine center you will be heading to. 

Sarawakian do not need to fork out any money to cover the expenses of the quarantine. However, outsider will be charged RM150 per day to cover the quarantine cost. My heart skipped a beat when I am designated to Sarawak Hotel as my quarantine center while the other group (mostly non-Sarawakian) is designated to Premier Hotel. This is because Sarawak Hotel is a budget hotel whereas Premier Hotel is a 3 star hotel.


After the segregation process, we proceed for immigration clearance and exit the airport terminal building. In my personal opinion, this would be the greatest opportunity for those who want to escape the quarantine order as the airport areas are quite open and one could just walk to the car park without been apprehended.


There will be buses lining out at the waiting area. The bus will have the name of the quarantine center where it will be heading. 


I arrived at my designated quarantine center, Sarawak Hotel. As the lobby area of this hotel is small, we were briefed on the rules instead inside the bus. Here are some of the rules:

  1. We are not allowed to leave our room for any reason
  2. During our stay here, there will be no room service and laundry
  3. Food will be delivered to our room 3 times a day
  4. Family members or friends can bring in food or items to us. Just mention your room number and it will be delivered by the duty personnel. Same goes for food delivery service such as Food Panda or Grab Food.
  5. Alcoholic drink is strictly prohibited
Tip: Get ready a copy of your IC as it will be required at the hotel lobby registration


There are chairs lining up outside the room door. This is where all the food will be placed. Breakfast at 8am, lunch at 12pm and dinner at 5pm. 1500ml of drinking water will be delivered everyday during lunch time.


The room I got is pretty small. This is where I will be holed up for the next 14 days. 2 pieces of towel and 2 bar of soap are provided. There are also enough supply of coffee sachets to last your entire stay here. Also available in the room is a kettle, toothbrush, toothpaste and razor.

Tip: 
  1. Bring your own bed sheet or pillow case if you are concerned on the cleanliness of the given sheet
  2. Bring your own shampoo
  3. Bring your own portable water purifier (I bring along my Grayl Ultralight)
  4. Bring some books and laptop for your own entertainment
  5. Bring your own Mifi Modem for reliable internet connection

There is a CRT TV here which is pretty much useless as the reception is bad. I bring my own form of entertainment though.






I am pretty horrified with the room I am assigned in. Wall paints are peeling off and mold can be seen on the ceiling. Water is even leaking when it rains. This place is unfit to be a quarantine hotel as the room condition itself can create another health hazard to the occupant. 

I notice Sarawakian are placed in this hotel whereas those who paid for the quarantine expenses are placed in a better hotel (Premier Hotel). I find this discriminating and I wouldn't mind to pay the extra if I been given the option.


My home is just 2km away from the town. So near yet so far for me. I won't be mentally be the same again after completing my quarantine period here as the condition is really bad.


There seems to be an opportunity for an escape plan here. I could walk on top of this roof and jump over to the emergency ladder on the opposite building to escape.








The food here is quite alright. Fruits (mostly apple and orange) are served during lunch and dinner time. Boiled egg is available everyday for breakfast.  As the time of writing, I am entering my 4th day.


Swab test will be conducted on the 2nd and 10th day of our stay here. If we were tested negative, we will probably be released on the 15th day.

I wonder how long Sarawak government intend to keep this quarantine policy as it is counter productive and in some way affect the State economy (although not so apparent). I also hope the SDMC actually conduct audits and inspection on the quarantine hotel to ensure its suitability as one. 

On the positive side, the related personnel from the airport, medical staffs and the one manning the quarantine center have been professional so far. It is just a matter to make the living condition more bearable.

Monday, March 22, 2021

KLIA2 Post MCO

I been going in and out KLIA2 on weekly basis before the pandemic hit our country. I remember vividly when I touched down at the airport at 2100 on 17th March 2020, a day before the first Movement Control Order (MCO) commenced in our country. Everyone onboard with me that day don't seems to be bother what will come ahead but I know things will never be the same after that.


The atmosphere within the airport has changed since MCO. I remember when travel was allowed and I made my way back to KLIA2 from early June to November 2020 with the latest on 20th March 2021. Little has changed inside the airport after the MCO was lifted last year.

The drop off zone is pretty much deserted with a handful of cars dropping the passengers. There are hardly anymore police manning the traffic and reminding motorists not to park their vehicles here for too long.


Walking into Level 3 of the Gateway@KLIA2 is like walking into an unfamiliar territory as most shops were seen to be closed permanently. These photos were taken around 0800. 



Moving down to Level 2M where most of the eateries are located is another sad scene. There are hardly any places to eat here now. Even the usually packed food court is boarded up.


The convenience shop on Level 2M which I frequently dropped by in the past still survive and notice the renovation done internally.

This is the flight schedule of the day (as of 0800) with very few domestic flights available. 









There are more shops which are in operation on Level 2 although many of them are unlikely to be open again. 


I recommend the Food arcade located on Level 2 for those who wish to dine in although many stalls here also seem to be closed.


The airport check in counter also see less traffic and most of the shops here also had shuttered. Starbucks is probably one of the few shops open at this area.





Most of the shops inside the departure hall are still operational even though with less traffic. It is now easier to find a place to sit compare to the period before the pandemic.


It is kind of funny to see how paranoid some passengers can be as they donned full PPE for their flight.

Lockdown has caused a lot of damage to the economy. In fact lockdown doesn't work. It is only good in destroying the economy and job with this airport as a case study. A good awareness and discipline are all we need. Social distancing, sanitize, wearing a mask and good enforcement are the best way to move forward without imposing any lockdown or movement control.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Grip6 Wallet

 

My search for a minimalist wallet also made me come across Grip6 which is better known for their belt. The company was found by an engineer and it has a very interesting start up. All their products are made locally in Utah, United States and not outsourced to any manufacturers outside the country. They don't take any shortcut and at the same time protect the local industry.


Grip6 wallet is actually my first minimalist wallet I purchased. It was shipped by DHL ecommerce and arrive me about 6 weeks later. Grip6 shipped it out immediately after I confirm my purchase. The shipment was free (for international) as I purchased more than USD75. The package travelled from the United States to Germany where from there it took about 1 month to reach Malaysia. It was a long wait but nevertheless it arrived. 


This is the packaging of the wallet. There is nothing fancy about the box and they keep the design simple. It comes with an instruction card on how to maintain the leather jacket.


So, out of the box is the wallet itself inside the leather jacket. The wallet comes in various colour and the one I opt for is gunmetal with black leather.

The wallet is constructed from 5052-H32 Aluminum and bright-dip anodized. Since it is made from aluminum, it offers RFID protection to the cards stored inside. It is pretty light and weight around 24g. This version I purchase comes with no loop although one can opt for the one with the loop which add some fun on how to play around with the wallet. This stand alone wallet cost USD 49 without the leather jacket.


There is also a nice Grip6 logo stamped on bottom one side of the aluminum plate. It is also proudly made in the United States and this production creates high quality domestic jobs.


The wallet is 4" x 3" x 0.25" in dimension and the size is still smaller than my traditional bifold wallet.


This is a comparison of the wallet with a standard card. Due to its internal mechanism and construction, the wallet is slightly bigger than the standard card. The stand alone wallet can stored up to 6 cards (5 cards if all have embossed letters).


To increase the capacity of the wallet, one can opt for the leather jacket (USD 20). There are only 2 colour option; black and brown. It is made from top grain leather which is stitched with high tensile nylon fiber yarn. The leather jacket weights about 2 oz. This leather jacket definitely will last a lifetime.



By putting on the wallet into the leather jacket, the wallet now feel a bit chunkier. Now the wallet can accommodates a maximum of 14 cards (6 cards inside the wallet and 8 cards by the leather jacket) and 2 bills. 

Personally, I prefer to keep my cards using the inner pocket of the leather jacket as the aluminum plate will provide a solid backing/support for the card and cash in the outer pocket.

This leather jacket configuration will also allow commuter card to be placed there for frequent scanning without the need to retrieve it from the standard wallet casing. 


Even with the leather jacket on, the size is still smaller compared to the traditional bifold wallet.


The cards stored inside the wallet can be retrieved by pressing on the side lever. The spring loaded mechanism will raised the card like a pyramid shape where the cards stored in the middle will be raised to the highest point. The mechanism has been tested more than 500,000 times (and still going) without any failure. 

There are reports where the cards inside will fly off when the lever are pressed pretty hard and sudden. With some practice, one will get use to the handling and eject the cards in an orderly fashion. 

For USD69, it is definitely one of the most affordable minimalist wallet in the market. It comes with Guaran-Damn-Tee from the manufacturer which protects against any malfunction, accident and all possible wear and tear of their product. I can definitely see this wallet been passed down to my son one day.