28 April 2022

Ready to move on: As Malaysia transitions into the endemic phase, most people are re-adjusting their schedule to include more outdoor activities and commuting to work. — AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star
Ready to move on: As Malaysia transitions into the endemic phase, most people are re-adjusting their schedule to include more outdoor activities and commuting to work. — AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star

It has been almost a month since Malaysia entered its transition into the endemic phase, and Malaysians are well on their way back to their usual routines.

The young generation is no longer glued to screens, instead many are taking the opportunity to hang out with friends and also travel to places.

This has, unfortunately, hit video streaming services including Netflix, which during the earlier movement control order (MCO) period, enjoyed the highest growth rates as Malaysians heavily spurred demand for online entertainment while being stuck at home.

Netflix recently reported losing about 200,000 subscribers worldwide but they attributed it to a slowdown in the adoption of broadband and smart TVs, password sharing among households, increased competition and macroeconomic factors.

It is unclear how many Malaysians have unsubscribed from the streaming platform; however, data from Statista shows that as of 2020, Malaysia has about 336,000 Netflix subscribers.

Pharmacist Phylicia Gan Ying Hui, 27, said she spent much of her time during the MCO watching movies on Netflix, but has since preferred to travel and be out with friends with the easing of restrictions by the government.

“During the MCO, I spent a lot of time watching movies but now, it is getting a lot lesser because most of my time is spent on workouts.

“I did think of unsubscribing to Netflix since now our time is usually filled with social gatherings and other outdoor activities, but I didn’t because mine is a shared account, I just let it be so it doesn’t affect the others,” she said.

After spending most of her time working, cooking, staring out the window and catching up on Netflix, Samantha Chow, 31, is now spending more time outdoors, playing sports and spending time with her loved ones.

“I had a tough time adjusting to the lockdowns as I usually spend most of my work and personal time outdoors.

“With the ease in the standard operating procedures (SOPs) due to most Malaysians being vaccinated, I’ve been feeling less stressed and anxious.

“I’ve even had the opportunity to go on a local trip with my family for my sister’s birthday, which was important as we weren’t sure if we could all make it for the next family trip,” she added.

Chow also had to re-adjust her daily schedule to commute to work since she’s working in the office more these days.

Yong Li May, 31, quit her job in 2020 as she had planned to take a long break for meditation retreats around South-East Asia before following her boyfriend to Germany for a European tour.

But none of it happened due to the pandemic and lockdowns.

“Staying put at home for almost two years has been tough as I wasn’t able to visit my grandmother who is residing in Thailand. My family always visits her annually.

“I have been in a long-distance relationship as well since the lockdown, and I finally reunited with my boyfriend in Germany in October 2021 when Malaysia opened its borders, and visited my grandmother in March 2022 when Thailand opened its borders,” she added.

During the MCO, Yong signed up for a few online courses, experimented with new recipes, took turns cooking with her mother at home and started crocheting as a hobby before it turned into a small online business.

“Since the easing of SOPs, I’m slowly warming up to having short trips for myself and meeting family and close friends I’ve not met for months.

“It is still scary to go out now even if we’re all adhering to the SOPs but I’m learning how to live with it,” she said.

Source: www.thestar.com.my

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