Have you ever tried bouldering? The activity where you climb a wall with colourful stones but with no harnesses and stuff?

Last week, I tried it for the first time, and it was really fun as well as educational.

Being someone who isn’t all that fit or strong physically, I was quite hesitant to climb walls that weren’t that high but were high enough that if I fall wrong, I could hurt myself.

Luckily, I had someone experienced with me who taught me the basics, and the premise that had the activity also forces newbies to watch safety video that largely explains the correct techniques to fall and other tips to keep myself and others around me safe.

After the safety briefing, putting on appropriate rented shoes and warm up, I headed to the walls but didn’t immediately start scaling them like a pro.

The first step was understanding how the place works. What do the coloured stones, the little signs with dots and “L, R” letterings mean? The colours indicates that you should only hold on to and step on those when you’re going up and down, the dots the difficulty level and the letters where you should be starting and which hand you should be placing there.

Since this is not a tutorial on bouldering, I shall skip the more technical parts. The point is, before embarking on a climb, it is important to understand how the system works, plan the climb so you’re not stuck halfway, and know how to land safely if you are unable to climb back down the same way.

As you’re climbing, you’re sure to make mistakes, as I did. It was a learning experience, nevertheless.

I learnt the importance of facing the wall in a way that I could see what’s around me so I know where to step next, how to retrace my steps when I get stuck and even how to calm my nerves when I got stuck too high and find a solution to get back on ground without jumping to the wrong and breaking an ankle or something.

At the end of the day, I got home thinking about ways I could get stronger and practice more so I can get better at bouldering.

It was fun, sure. But it was also something that requires one to plan and think on the feet. A skill that many seem to lack, including our government.

One year after the first MCO, there’s still confusion

Just a couple of weeks ago, Malaysians “celebrated” the anniversary of the first “Movement Control Order”.

You know the one where everything was closed despite the number of COVID-19 cases being in the hundreds instead of thousands, people staying home with optimism instead of fatigues; making dalgona coffee and apam balik? Yah, that one.

mohamed Hassan from Pixabay">Dalgona coffee
Since then, we’ve had many more MCOs and in various forms. You’d think by now the government would have a better system to deal with the pandemic.

Instead, every time there’s a “perutusan khas” or daily press conference by a certain senior minister, we’re left with more questions than answers.

Every time there are changes, be it which MCO is implemented where (what will it be MCO, CMCO, EMCO, RMCO, TEMCO?), the SOP changes within these MCOs or outside of it, or new rules and laws being announced, the details always seem to come later.

It’s always “announce first, details later” despite the government and agencies related to it having had ample time to come up with whatever updates they want to announce.

Take the latest amendment to the Emergency (Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases) (Amendment) Ordinance 2021 for example: the law allows the government to fine individuals who flaunt the MCO SOP up to RM10,000 and companies or corporations up to RM50,000.

More fine, but is it for everyone?
We’ve been hearing the government’s plans to increase the fine for awhile before the amendment was announced and yet there were so much of confusion once it was implemented on 11 March.

In fact, the official announcement regarding the increased fines was made a few weeks before the implementation.

Why then did it take an extra week after 11 March for the government to announce that the RM10,000 and RM50,000 fines wouldn’t be imposed on everyone but there are three categories with varying rates?

Oh, and guess what? While the government has announced that there will be categories and promised the list of offences and corresponding fines will be available on the National Security Council’s website “soon”, we still don’t see the list three days later.

Not on the home page, the COVID-19 tab or even the “darurat” tab.

Saman first, think later.
Before the announcement regarding the categories, there were public outrage when a couple who run a restaurant were fined the maximum amount for not wearing a mask despite there not being any customers at the premise; these are poor people who would never be able to pay the exorbitant amount when they get fined and more.

The government even offered a discount of up to 50 per cent when no one came forward to pay the fines.

Sure, the government said that appeals can be made after 330 people were fined RM10,000 just a day after the implementation of higher fines, but why is that even necessary?

Couldn’t the hassle have been avoided if the list of offences and fines were prepared and released to the relevant authorities and public BEFORE the law was implemented?

While we understand that the pandemic is “unprecedented” (sort of) and this is the first time the government has had to deal with it, it has been more than a year.

When it keeps repeating the same MO (i.e. announcing first, providing details later), it just confuses things more and makes the general public angry.

Not that the politicians seem to care, considering how some seem to flaunt the SOPs and laws without any repercussion, despite cries of “double standard” from the public.
But hey, what else can we, the general public without much options, do besides going online to air our frustrations and rage?

I just wish we could force the politicians to try bouldering so they can see the importance of planning and the perils of not doing so. But then again, they can’t even be forced to go to parliament, so what are the chances?

Disclaimer: The opinion shared in this article is entirely the author's own and has nothing to do with Rojak Daily.