Patients keep busy in quarantine centre

It wasn’t too long ago when the MAEPS quarantine centre in Serdang for low-risk COVID-19 patients caught our attention, with many of us curious about the hygiene conditions of the centre. Now, more videos taken from inside the facility are surfacing online, showing how patients have been keeping themselves entertained in spite of the circumstances by putting on “fashion shows”, playing card games using Maggie mee and 3-in-1 instant kopi packets as “gaming chips”, and dancing, among other activities.

Patients keep themselves busy playing cards

The video of patients trying to keep busy while quarantining was shared online by several netizens and Facebook groups. In it, an unnamed man behind the camera is seen giving his viewers a “tour” of the quarantine centre, “introducing” them to the tables where patients of different backgrounds were gathering around to play cards. 

According to his commentary, the facility’s main hall was abuzz with activity – namely of the poker-playing kind.  

Quarantine centre patients
Video credit: 我们是马来西亚人 We are Malaysians

Rather cheekily, he walked around, pointing out the different tables set out for patients to use in the main hall while commenting that there were all types of card games to join in there – including choh dai di, or big two, a variation of card game popular among the Chinese community and during Chinese New Year.

When he stopped at an empty table, he even joked that “This table is not active today”, as if implying that tables being booked out for playing cards was a common occurrence. 

Quarantine centre patients
Video credit: 我们是马来西亚人 We are Malaysians

Card playing seemed to be a popular activity among patients in the male-only quarantine centre, and some of them were also playing cards on their bunker beds. And to raise the stakes even more, some of the players seemed to be using 3-in-1 instant kopi and Maggi mee packets as “gaming chips” in their games. 

MAEPS quarantine centre
Video adapted from: 我们是马来西亚人 We are Malaysians

But it’s not just all sitting around and lepaking, as another extended video on Facebook of the man’s tour of the facility shows patients engaging in a group exercise session to stay active, much like many of us used to do at school assemblies.

dancing MAEPS
Video adapted from: 林良鵬

Quarantined patients play cards & bet snacks to keep busy 

Nobody wants to be whisked away to an unfamiliar facility and be away from their family and friends while fighting against COVID-19. Plus, without TVs, quarantined patients are likely finding it hard to while the time away even if they have their trusty phones with them. So what better way to entertain themselves than with good old-fashioned card games – since they can also socialise and make friends, and earn some more Maggi Mee and 3-in-1 instant kopi while at it.

In fact, we think it just goes to show Malaysians’ resilience in the face of adversity, as well as showcase how harmoniously we get along, even in tough situations such as this. That said, we hope that all of them are following authorities’ orders and staying orderly while keeping themselves busy and getting to know each other through games, all while fighting for recovery.

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Cover image adapted from: 我们是马来西亚人 We are Malaysians

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