Blue skies in Johor Baru

In April 2020, I shared a collection of photographs of Johor Baru city centre in Our Silent Streets to encourage fellow Johoreans to strictly stay home in order to break the chain of infection of the Covid19 virus.

View of the Sultan Ibrahim Building from
Jalan Ungku Puan, Johor Baru

Under the Movement Control Order (MCO) that was extended and modified over the past months, the public have been obeying the instruction to Stay Home to Stay Safe while only essential services are able to operate.

According to reports collected from around the world, public compliance to stay away from crowded spaces has yielded positive results and lowered the number of new infections.

Meanwhile here is another glimpse of familiar streets early morning in July 2021, that would remain free from heavy traffic throughout the day during the lockdown.

Jalan Trus, Johor Baru

Photo credit goes to a former colleague who walked through some of our city’s once busiest streets from Jalan Tebrau via Jalan Wong Ah Fook and Jalan Trus to HSBC bank and back.

It is truly an unprecedented time in history, not just for JB but also in many cities nationwide and around the world.

More than a year from the lockdown that started on March 18, 2020, each one of us may have a family member or know of someone who was infected by the virus or had passed away due to its ravages.

Johor Baru city skyline viewed
from Jalan Tebrau, Johor Baru

News reports shared horrific scenes about the overwhelmed conditions of public hospitals and the challenges in coping with the patients who were being brought in.

Last year, we saw scenes that happened in other countries but this year, the scenes are closer to home – happening right here, in the capital city of our own country.

Temporary wards are being set up outdoors in army hospitals and even within the basement carparks, to accommodate the flood of patients being admitted.

Skyscrapers along Jalan Wong Ah Fook

Instead of resting on hospital beds, patients have to lie on camp beds or just sit on chairs and must share their oxygen supply just to breathe more comfortably.

The number of Brought-In-Dead have been on the rise and funeral services are overwhelmed by the number of burials they must handle under very strict conditions.

It was good that recently (finally!) the vaccination exercise was decentralized and now vaccinations were also available at private hospitals and clinics, and mobile clinics are reaching outlying areas where the elderly and those without transport, may also receive their doses of vaccination.

Along Sungai Segget by Jalan Wong Ah Fook

Sadly, several established hotels and businesses were forced to closed while many are struggling to stay in operation or have diversified their businesses.

It was sadder still that some who were struggling to survive, decided to end their lives along with their families because they faced a bleak future and felt there was no hope.

In response to such a desperate need for food and daily essentials, a community initiative dubbed the White Flag Campaign, kicked off to meet this need.

Where Jalan Pasar meets Jalan Trus, JB

It was heartwarming to see the response from small and big supermarket brands as well as large corporations and small businesses, who rose to the occasion in providing Food Banks, food and health packages, and even cooked food, for the needy in the community.

In Johor, the disadvantaged sector of our community continues to be helped by individual volunteers, Non-Governmental Individuals and Non-Governmental Organisations, in a network of social heroes under the Social Hero Foundation (SHF) and Iskandar Malaysia Social Hero Awards (IMSHA).

Backlane that links Jalan Wong Ah Fook
with Jalan Meldrum, Johor Baru

Our social heroes deserve a BIG Thank You for their commitment and caring hearts.

Another HUGE Thank You goes to the medical teams, uniformed personnel, government agencies and volunteers who are working hard at the frontlines.

While every effort is being made to deal with the bad effects caused by this pandemic, let us pause to pray – each in your own way – specifically for five main points:

Firstly, for people who are affected by the virus, the sick and the suffering; those in distress over the loss of a loved one, the loss of income and for needy people who are at a loss, not knowing where their next meal will come from.

Secondly, for all the heroes at the frontlines including scientists, researchers, doctors, nurses, healthcare team members from drivers, cooks to cleaners who are working tirelessly to care for patients.

May they continue to be blessed with high morale, dedication and courage to press on and remain focused as they serve others with their specific set of skills.

For the Police, armed forces, firefighters and other uniformed personnel who are involved with keeping the law; and as they carry out their duties, their highly esteemed code of conduct will earn respect from all levels in the community.

Also, for our social heroes who are reaching out to help the needy in the community, that their financial and material support will be sustained so that they may continue to provide practical help more effectively.

Another view of the Sultan Ibrahim on Bukit Timbalan from Jalan Ungku Puan, JB

Thirdly, for the leaders of the nation and the authorities in the government, to put the community first and to make wise, well-thought-out and effective decisions to protect and benefit the nation.

Fourthly, for this season of darkness to pass very soon, and that there will be relieve and restoration in individual lives, families, communities in every nation.

The fifth and most importantly, for God’s sovereign will to overrule and for His will and grace to abound as we recover and heal from this greatest crisis of our time.

As we prayerfully ponder on these points, let us also count our many blessings.

If you are exercised to pray (Read: Talk to God), do pray consistently on these points.

If you wish to volunteer or contribute to the Social Hero Foundation, write to email:

Thank you all for your partnership in prayer and for your help to the needy in this difficult time.

Meanwhile, my fellow Johoreans, go out only when absolutely necessary and please strictly stay home in order to break the chain of infection of the deadly Covid19 virus.

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