Xian and J are two doctors working at the frontlines.\u00a0 Serene is a farmer who delivers fresh veggies to families in Subang Jaya. And Franko is a grab driver who has had his livelihood affected by the movement restriction order. Here are some short stories from these essential workers and healthcare frontliners: 1. \u201cWe closed down a whole ward and disinfected it.\u201d Xian is a doctor who works as part of the SWAT c*v*d team in a hospital in Shah Alam. He\u2019s in charge of screening patients who have close contact with friends\/family who are tested positive. \u201cIn recent weeks, the number of positive patients has gone down, and we\u2019ve had to do fewer screenings,\u201d says Xian. Yet sometimes, his work is complicated by patients who aren't completely truthful about their movement history. \u201cOne time a patient hid his travel history from the health staff. When we did our routine checks, one of our staff was tested positive. So the whole department had to be tested and quarantined before we were able to return to work,\u201d said Xian. J, another doctor, believes that so far things are under control, but if the government relaxes the MCO rules, a second wave of infections are very likely to occur. \u201cIf they lift the MCO and let people go back to their kampungs for Raya, they will spread it to the kampungs,\u201d said J. \u201cThe doctors in the area will be overwhelmed, contract it themselves (as has already happened before), and then the tertiary hospitals will be flooded again,\u201d J predicted. In 1918, the majority of infections from the Spanish flu pandemic came from their second wave when they lifted the restriction order too early. This resulted in an estimated 30% of the world\u2019s population being infected by the virus. What will you do if that happens? \u201cWe just have to handle it lor what to do. Who else will do it if not us?\u201d He said pragmatically. Meanwhile, Xian maintains a positive outlook throughout the crisis. \u201cI just hope that people will take it seriously, stay home and don't travel about, so we can keep it under control,\u201d he emphasized. 2. \u201cI take so many more food delivery orders now.\u201d Franko is a Grab driver who has seen his income reduced due to the movement restrictions. I asked Franko how his income has been impacted. \u201cI used to earn RM180-200. Now I get RM100 on a good day. Some days I get RM60-70 but as long as I cover my expenses, car rental, petrol, and some extra for food, that\u2019s enough for me,\u201d he said. While the sheer volume of passengers has been drastically lowered, he says he can still survive by taking on food deliveries. \u201cA lot of food deliveries now. One time I even picked up a spare part from Cheras to Damansara,\u201d he added. Since the Movement Order Restriction has been in effect, the number of Grab express food orders has skyrocketed. \u201cCook at home also sien after a week, so now everyone just order in lor,\u201d he chuckled. Franko says he\u2019ll do everything except delivering food when it\u2019s raining heavily. I asked him if it\u2019s because getting out of the car invites risk to his safety. \u201cNo, I just don\u2019t like getting wet,\u201d he said. 3. \u201cWhen the MCO hit, we lost all our flowers.\u201d Serene Sin Yee and her family are a small flower-growing business in Cameron Highlands. Most of their flowers were under a contract to be exported overseas. When the MCO hit, their main source of income was impacted. \u201cA lot of our flowers died,\u201d Serene said, \u201cSo we had to think fast. We thought about how we could supply the local market, and diversified to vegetables.\u201d Without wasting any time, they began converting the flower land to plant vegetables to sustain their income. To spread the word, Serene posted her family\u2019s new services to FB groups. For their first order, they collected 30 orders in the first week. They sent their first batch vegetables from Cameron Highlands with a 5-ton lorry and distributed them with the help of logistic services such as Grab Express and Lalamove. \u201cAll this while, we were doing B2B (Business to Business) \u2014 now that we pivoted to B2C (Business to Customers), we spend a lot more time on operations and communications,\u201d she mused. Yet Serene is optimistic. She believes all these issues can potentially be improved as they move forward. \u201cI also love collecting instant feedback from customers directly \u2014 fulfilling their requests becomes a more personal experience,\u201d she says. There is a silver lining in the clouds Amidst the struggles and trials of the people who have been affected by the crisis, this unique time in history offers important lessons for the rest of us to take home. For example, many things which we thought were essential \u2014 like cafes, shopping malls, cinemas, and offices \u2014 are actually not that essential at all. \u201cIndeed, this period is a tough time for everyone, but then again, it also teaches us not to forget that human needs are only food, accomodation, transportation, clothes and healthcare,\u201d Serene reflected. What are your thoughts about this? Let us know in the comments!