Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Panic buying? No contingency planning


Singaporeans rush to stock up on food ahead of Malaysia's RMO

MM Online:

Supermarts tell Malaysians to resist panic buying as country shuts down for Covid-19

Mydin founder Datuk Ameer Ali Mydin took to Instagram to post a photograph of panic buying at one of his company’s outlets. — Picture via Instagram

dei, mana 'social distancing'? 

KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 — Three major supermarket operators have pleaded with Malaysians not to engage in panic buying over the government’s move to stop all non-essential services and activities from tomorrow until March 31.

Mydin founder Datuk Ameer Ali Mydin took to Instagram to post a photograph of panic buying at one of his company’s outlets and urged Malaysians to refrain from joining it.

“Dear fellow Malaysians, this photograph is one of #mydin store packed since morning, let’s not do panic buying, our suppliers have assured us there is adequate supply of essentials to meet our requirements, let’s be considerate, we are all in this together...” he said.

Australian supermarket brawl over toilet rolls

He also said Mydin will also open a half hour earlier each day specifically for senior citizens to purchase their essential supplies.

Those aged 60 and over, especially those with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes and coronary issues, are especially vulnerable to Covid-19.

The Jaya Grocer chain also announced a similar seniors-only period between 9.30am and 10am each morning.

Separately, the Village Grocer chain also urged Malaysians not to engage in panic buying and hoarding, and to yield to the elderly in their shopping.

Ben’s Independent Grocer followed suit with the same message, thanking patrons in advance for making way for seniors and young children while reminding the public that there was no need to rush.

KK Super Mart, a 24-hour convenience store and mini-mart with over 400 outlets nationwide, announced on Facebook yesterday that it has replenished stocks to cope with demands amid the Covid-19 lockdown.

“Don’t panic, guys,” the post read

In my (late) Mum's days, there was no such happening as 'panic buying', which BTW has been occurring in Australia as well, especially of toilet rolls, hand sanitizers, cooking oil (except vegetable oil where lots are still available) and rice, wakakaka.

I personally prefer and thus buy sunflower oil although I don't know why, other than the nebulous factoid that it's healthier. With the current situation, scare and scarcity, I bought one bottle of vegetable oil which I am confident will be as good as sunflower or canola or maize oil in goreng-ing telur, sausage and nasi, wakakaka.

Yes, Mum in those early Penang days lived through more than a couple of riots, usually of the racial kind. She stayed in Ayer Itam village where both Malays and Chinese resided in harmony, although the Chinese population was perhaps more than 10 times larger than those in Malay kampongs*. No politicians to agitate them, no sweat, all peaceful and tranquil.

* at one time, Ayer Itam Penang was deemed the BIGGEST Chinese village in Malaya/Malaysia

Mind, whenever a riot occurred, say, in lower Perak Road (I think history books tell us it was in 1953 during a chingay parade to celebrate a then-young Queen Elizabeth II's coronation), there would subsequently be an inevitable police curfew (Penang Hokkien termed curfew 'kim1koo1').

That's when the villagers, and not only those in Ayer Itam, would feel the scarcity of food and other conveniences eg. cigarettes, sugar, coffee, etc.

As mentioned, Mum didn't panic-buy but rather 'advance-buy', wakakaka. In other words, she developed a 'contingency plan' based on her experience.

Stuff stored in sufficient quantity (& never overboard - she couldn't afford that anyway, wakakaka) would be generally 3 large cans of sardines (in those days, all were in tomato sauce), 3 gantangs of rice, 1 carton of matches (6 boxes), 2 (F&N) bottles of cooking oil, a tin of local coffee powder (about 1 kati), I kati of sugar, some salt, 2 tins of condensed milk, & 3 kembong-sized salted fish (usually gulama).

Mum had her own firewood, and kept in readiness 2 large aluminium pails of water in case there would be water restrictions (no plastic thingy during Mum's time).

That was it - Mum's contingency rations, always available 24/7 and not just in time of panic. From time to time, she rotated some of the 'used by' stuff like the canned sardines, cooking oil, rice, eating the old ones and replacing them with new purchases.

By the by, there was no requirement for toilet paper a la Kleenex or Sanitary or Gensis. In her days, the village folks used cut discarded newspapers, wakakaka, followed by washing.

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