MBO Cinemas Faces Liquidation and A Possible Shut Down

MBO Cinemas, who is also the third largest cinema operator chain in Malaysia, will be closing its doors for good due to Covid-19 causing a decline in its financial state.

Two days before the conditional movement control order (CMCO) was put in place, MBO Cinemas had announced on its website saying that 17 locations across the country are closed until further notice, most of these cinemas are locate outside of areas affected by CMCO.

Of all the cinemas that have been closed, only four are open, those located in Kluang Mall, KSL City Mall, Kuantan City Mall and The Spring Kuching.

The longtime cinema pioneer, who has over 169 locations throughout the country, also posted the following message on its Facebook.also posted the following message on its Facebook.

 “… as we venture further into 2020 with the number of rescheduled blockbuster titles and fluctuating number of local cases, we have decided to close these cinemas temporarily until further notice.”

Reported by The Edge Markets and trending around social media soon after, it says that “MBO Cinemas is facing liquidation following cash flow problems since the implementation of the government-imposed movement control order (MCO) to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

It is also estimated that revenue for Malaysian cinemas has declined by 80% compared to last year at the same period.

The process of liquidation would involve the closing down of the business as the company’s assets will be sold off to repay its creditors.

On August 7th, Bernama had quoted MBO Cinemas CEO Cheah Chun Wai saying that the industry had suffered a 55 per cent drop in sales during the first three months of the Covid-19 pandemic and no sales at all during the subsequent three months due to the MCO.

MBO Cinemas are yet to comment on the matter.

iPhone 12 and 12 Pro: A New Line of 5G iPhones

Good news travels fast, especially when its news of a newly updated and designed iPhone.

In its “Hi, Speed.” Keynote livestream, Apple announced the long-awaited iPhone 12 lineup. The iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max all come with 5G, including the ultra-fast milileter wave version that allows breaking neck download speeds that are miles apart from LTE or 4G (10 to 100 times faster).

Much of the biggest advancement that Apple has made in years such as the A14 Bionic chip, is packed into all four devices that somewhat resembles the iPad Pro tablets. Forgoing curved sides for flatter sides like the previous iPhone 5s, it’s a “new” look for the iPhone who has stay the same for almost three years.

All models also come with a new, cornering-designed front cover display, dubbed “ceramic shield.”  It’s “tougher than any smartphone glass,” Apple said, and is four times less likely to crack if you drop it. 

Similar to the charging of an Apple Watch, the iPhone’s wireless charger snaps to the back of the phone and it’s called MagSafe. Magnets in the phone and the charger align themselves for a perfect snap everytime.

The only available option for a charger right now is the $39 (RM161) MagSafe charger Apple is selling on its online store. Belkin and Griffin will have MagSafe chargers, too, but it seems likely that any other third-party accessory maker will need to work with Apple — presumably through its MFi licensing program.

In general, the iPhone 12 and 12 Mini that have dual rear cameras are the two most affordable and go-to phones for many.

The two Pro models are the highest-end and priciest iPhones as both have a third telephoto camera and a LiDar scanner for modeling and object detection.

For the first time and in a bid to help the environment, the charger and headphones are not included in the box; apart from that, it also helps with shipping as it saves space as well.

iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini has a starting price of RM3,899 and RM3,399 while the iPhone 12 Pro starts at RM4,899 and the iPhone 12 Pro Max starts at RM5299

Singapore Will Pay Citizens to Have Babies During The Pandemic

This photo taken through a glass window at a maternity ward shows a nurse holding a newborn baby wearing a face shield, in an effort to halt the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, at Praram 9 Hospital in Bangkok on April 9, 2020. (Photo by Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP) (Photo by LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP via Getty Images)

For those with plans to be parents during the pandemic, Singapore is offering a one-time payment to encourage couples to not put those plans into a halt.

Singapore has spent decades to encourage more of its people to have children by offering incentives such as cash grants, preschool subsidies and even going as far as matchmaking tea dances as incentives. According to the deputy prime minister, Heng Swee Keat, officials had earlier heard that parents were delaying their plans due to Covid-19 and it doesn’t come as a surprise to them.

“This is fully understandable, especially when they face uncertainty with their income. Hence, to help with expenses during this period, we will introduce a one-off additional support for new-borns,” he said.

The value of the payment is yet to be announced but it will be added on on top of current benefits that are already worth up to $10,000 Singapore dollars.

Although data shows that fertility is still emerging, many wealthy countries are seeing a fall in birth rates while low and middle-income nations are seeing an increase.

A survey shows that young people across Europe are postponing or abandoning their plans to start a family, especially in countries whose birth rate is already low, such as Spain or Italy.

“People who have the fortune and the economic security and ability to access contraceptives to make that decision [to not have a baby] will do so,” said Dr Clare Wenham, assistant professor in global health policy at London School of Economics, who added that fears about safety and financial security were likely to deter people from having a child.

“The problem is not everyone in the world can choose when they want to get pregnant – either because of gender norms, violence or because of a lack of access to reproductive health service,” she added.

Singapore expects Covid-19 to drop its birth rates, which is already one of the lowest in the world – 1.1 births per woman in 2018.

Other countries in south-east Asia are preparing for a post-pandemic baby boom, such as in the Phillipines who could see the highest numbers of births in two decade due to the country’s strict and enforced lockdown earlier this year.

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has predicted as many as 7 million unintended pregnancies worldwide as a result of the crisis, while Maries Stopes International has warned of millions of unsafe abortions globally and a rise in maternal deaths.

Currently, Brazil has the highest rate of post-birth deaths where there is coinfection with Covid-19.

Wenham also says that it might be a range of other things but we just don’t know it yet.

Anxiety Levels to Rise amid Imposing of CMCO

As Malaysia’s Covid-19 numbers continue to rise towards worrying levels, members of the public have been thrusted into a gust of fear and anxiety over the return of movement restriction orders yet again.

Ismail Sabri announced on Monday that Selangor, Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur and Sabah will be placed under the conditional movement control order (CMCO) and it will begin at 12:01am on October 14th until October 27th.

Citing the current situation, occupational health expert Dr Shawaludin Husin said it will not be unusual to have the anxiety graph show upward trajectories in these times.

At the start of the pandemic, people were more worried about their health and risk of being exposed to the virus. Their main source of stress also came from needing to adapt to the work-from-home environment and learning of digital applications to stay in touch with the office.

“But the MCO’s greatest impact is its effect on the economy when many workers were terminated or asked to go on leave without pay. Many employers on their part were forced to suspend their operations temporarily while others had to fold up their businesses due to financial constraints,” he said.

Losing a job and source of income all of a sudden can have an immediate impact on one’s mental health, especially if there’s a family depending on them to provide.

If left unchecked, stress levels can lead to extreme psychological hazards and it gives employers that much of a reason to refrain from termination without a proper warning.

“The employees too have to be considerate and think of the burden borne by their employers. They (workers) should remember the contributions of their employers and try their best to help their company to recover,” Nasrullah Zainal Abidin, a psychology officer at Universiti Teknologi Mara’s Negeri Sembilan branch campus in Rembau said.

It is also time that we recognize mental health professionals for their work as they play a vital role during times like this. 

“The health and safety of workers should not just cover their physical aspect but their psychological aspect as well as it contributes to their overall well-being.

“If all two aspects are not cared for, it will affect the productivity of an organisation,” said Nasrullah, adding that issues such as burnout and uncontrolled stress can lead to high levels of absenteeism.

Although organizations around have taken the step towards setting up mental health facilities for their employees, it is essential that employee to employer communication be maintained at a heathy standard to avoid contributing to mental health issues among workers.

How to Not Panic Buy for CMCO

With the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) being in effect from October 14th onwards, the public is already going through this “panic-buy” phase all over again.

For the second time in a year, shelves started going empty on the night of the announcement itself and it is unfortunate to say that we haven’t really learnt from the past when members of the public were over-stocking up on various supplies so much that it created a social media frenzy of “who could do it worst”.

Other than leaving the vulnerable population without the essentials, some of the goods that are hoarded are even often going to waste. So how do you shop for a lockdown?

How often should I go to the grocery store?

The less the better, but it all still comes down to how much food can you transport and store. Consider going an average once every two weeks. The more planned out you are, the less you’ll tend to go for another unneeded grocery run.

If I’m buying to prepare for two weeks, will I cause a shortage for others?

No. Even panic buying at its worst simply created short-term shortages in stores. That doesn’t mean that you should stock up that much more though as the public should’ve known by now that what they put it their shopping cart is usually already more than enough.

So what should I buy that would last me for two weeks?

A good start would be canned goods like canned tomatoes, beans and coconut milk as they’re useful for a variety of dishes while dry foods like pasta, rice, spices and even baking supplies are versatile to keep as well as they’ll be used up at some point. 

Fresh foods that are easy to freeze, sealed blocks of cheese, pre-frozen bags of vegetables can be kept in the freezer while root vegetables, potatoes and onions all can be keot for a long time in the pantry, provided they are stored in a cool, dark place.

If you were to buy meat, buy frozen fish and meat that you can store in the freezer.

All in all, rationalize. Think before you buy and make sure you aren’t overprepared and are coming out of quarantine with and overstocked amount of food supply at home.

What if I come across empty shelves during my grocery shopping trip? 

Empty shelves don’t mean a shortage of food and supplies; it simply means that stores and supply chains need to catch up with the increase in demand. 

It is just taking a while to get the product flowing through supply chain back to the stores, but it is safe to say that the products are surely is on its way back to the public’s demands.

Will there be enough for me if I miss out on the days where everyone is out buying?

Yes. Stores encourage customers to only buy what they need as there’s always plenty to go around for everyone. However, there won’t be a need to wait for a restock if we just buy what we need and not overstock supplies.

Hoarding isn’t really necessary as grocery stores are still going to be open for business and we aren’t limited to visit for emergency grocery shopping. Even if the products aren’t there when you need them, be flexible and move on with other options to replace what is short in supply.

5 Tips To Survive a Movement Control Order

According to the Minister of Defense, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, the government is to implement a Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) for Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Putrajaya from October 14th to October 27th.

A movement control order isn’t particularly new to Malaysians as we’ve went through different variants of it such as the Movement Control Order (MCO) and Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO).

Now that we’ve been through half a year’s worth of these “orders”, how exactly do you deal with it?

1) Maintain a daily routine

If you’re staying indoors, it doesn’t mean that you should forgo any of your routines, especially from your kids. The public is advised to maintain a regular daily routine and a healthy diet; exercise regularly, get a sufficient amount of sleep and avoid alcohol and caffeine intake.

2) Limit media time and usage

Take the time to watch movies, read a book or listen to music and the news. Be sure to set a limit for media usage so that you don’t get too overwhelmed with the content. Social media can be useful at these times but it’s important to consider what we are consuming.

3) Communication is vital

Stay in touch with friends or family if you’re living alone. Even if you aren’t living alone, the CMCO gives you that much more of a reason to contact them. At times of doubt and loneliness, communication is vital and should be a peach with modern digital technologies.

4) Social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation

Create a schedule for learning and relaxing activities to help the kids and yourself cope with extra time spent at home. Social isolation doesn’t mean isolation for all, as there is an abundance of activities can be done together at home while maintain social distancing. On top of that, teleconferencing allows easy communication that is vital during all the time spent along. Make sure to utilize all that around us in order to not be isolated mentally at a time like this.

5) Take care mentally

It is normal to experience stress during this time as there’s an increase in fear and anxiety that can be increasingly overwhelming as well. Be sure to keep your mental health on point and respond accordingly to your emotions, be sure to talk when you need to and the take the much-needed initiatives to take care of yourself and of the people around you.

Navy Officer Dies after Car Crash Involving a Driver on Drugs and Without a License

A recent video that is trending around social media involves a car accident that has left Malaysians in shock.

In the video, a white Myvi is seen crashing horrendously into a white Honda at an intersection, resulting in the Honda landing upside down while the Myvi flipped mid-air due to the huge impact.

Recorded by another car’s dashcam, the incident happened when the two cars that got hit – the white Honda and a Proton Iswara were waiting at a traffic light in Jalan Kota Tinggi, Johor Bahru.

The driver of the Myvi was speeding on a mild downhill slope after a rainy day before losing control of her car and crashing into the two vehicles; the 23-year-old then came out with injuries to her head and neck. 

Unfortunately for the driver of the white Accord, who was a 31-year-old officer of the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN), he was killed instantly upon impact and leaves behind his wife and 3 young kids.

It took a team of nine to remove the driver’s body from the driver’s seat as the Honda was damaged so badly.

The team also had to use special equipment to extricate the deceased, according to Fire and Rescue Station (BBP) Larkin Operations Commander Senior Fire Officer II Nordatul Badrol Abd Rahman.

“The 31-year-old victim was trapped in the driver’s side and we used special equipment to remove him. The body was then handed over to the police for further action,” Nordatul Badrol said.

Further investigations into the accident revealed that the driver of the white Myvi did not have a valid driver’s license and had an expired road tax; to make the matter that much worrying, she also tested positive for drugs. The case will be investigated under Section 15(1)(a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952.

According to the Johor Bahru Selatan District Police Chief Assistant Commissioner Mohd Padzli, the driver was under the influence of drugs during the incident and will also be investigated under Section 41 (1) of the Road Transport Act 1987.

The third victim, which is the driver of the Proton Iswara managed to escape with only mild injuries.

Short Film by Malaysian Filmmaker Wins Multiple Awards

“The Cloud is Still There”, directed by Micky Lai Loke Yee, has garnered multiple awards and has been chosen for showcase by various film festivals.

Following a young Christian woman’s struggle with clashing religious beliefs, the main character, Xiao Le (played by Tan Cheong Bee) faces a dilemma regarding her family’s Taoist rituals. In a bid to save her grandfather’s soul, she prays by his bedside in secret.

Her mother (played by Tang Ling) catches her doing so and she is devastated. Both quarrel until the grandfather passes away. Xiao Le may have made things worst in her attempt to save her family.

Lai is a Master of Fine Arts graduate from the MetFilm School of London and revelaed to SAYS in an interview that she based “the Cloud is Still There” off of her own experiences.

Lai grew up as a Christian in her Taoist and conservative family.

“I remembered I cried so badly during the script consultation with Tan Seng Kiat (director of Shuttle Life, 2017) right after I came back from the UK, as he was trying to help sharpen my script by questioning and digging for something really deep from my heart, in order to understand the story and those characters better.”

“In a nutshell, I hope that The Cloud Is Still There will resonate with audiences’ memories of dealing with the grief of their dearest, and that they could see the precious gift beyond the grave.”

She also added on how she believes that the eyes are significant aspects when delivering a performance.

“I always believe that eyes are powerful and they don’t know how to lie in film.”

Lai thinks that actress Tan’s eyes are “very powerful in delivering her character’s emotional state.”

Lai thought long and hard hen looking for cast members, especially for the role of the mother and eventually found one of her liking as they were in Lai’s words “so authentic and it exposed the pains that we as the audiences try to hide”.

The 19-minute film has since won awards for Best Performance Award at the 2020 SeaShorts Film Festival and the Best ASEAN Short Film & Best Student Short Film at the Asian Cinematography AWARDS July 2020.

It has also been selected for the 2020 Busan International Film Festival, 2020 Norwich Film Festival and the 14th National Film Festival for Talented Youth in Seattle.

What’s All The Fuss About This “460 Ringgit Burger”?

A recent trending topic on social media involves a man, a woman, and surprisingly, a 460-ringgit burger, which saw netizens and also brands jumping on the wave of comments and marketing ideas.

A classic case of how one person’s efforts were blatantly exploited for another’s benefits, it all started when a man by the name of Chia was invited to a girl, Carmay’s birthday dinner.

According to Sin Chew Daily, Chia was not close with the Carmay’s friends, but promised to show up anyway for the sake of it.

Screenshots of their chat history was also circling around social media and showed that alhoigh the status of their relationship is unclear, they often flirted with one another; Carmay even went as far as saying that Chia is her type.

The day of the birthday dinner arrived; Chia ordered himself an Angus beef burger that was supposed to cost him just RM88. His “friends” however, were having a feast as they were ordering multiple bottles of alcohol and a number of extravagant dishes.

The table of eight ended up with a bill of RM3,679.

As seen in a photo of the receipt, the group ordered two bottles of Italian wine – Barbera d’Alba that cost RM404 each, as well as two premium Japanese steaks costing RM396 and RM456 each, among others.

The group then decided to split the bill 8 ways, resulting in RM460 per person. Chia reportedly paid his share anyway and had thought that’s the end of that. Apparently not, because Lily, a friend of Carmay’s, had come back to the topic and requested him to fork out for Carmay’s share as well’ and this was because he was “interested in her”.

Chia rightfully refused and Liddy eventually took to social media in an attempt to ridicule him; it backfired though, as netizens were quick to spot who was in the wrong and who was in the right.

Netizens pointed out on how Chia had to pay an absurdly unfair amount and also argued on how the girls were being unreasonable to ask that much of Chia. On top of that, an Instagram Story by one of the Carmay’s friends was calling Chia a “stranger who joined us at our table”.

Chia eventually broke his silence though and ask netizens to refrain from attacking Carmay and her friends. He also said that they had apologised to him over a phone call.

“After some pondering, as a man, I feel like we should not blow small matters out of proportion,” he said.

“I heard that the person’s voice on the phone sounds very sad.”

“After all, they are women. They did nothing wrong. The problem with the money has also been resolved as everyone has come to share the bill. Thank you for everyone’s help and I love you all.”

Carmay has since pleaded netizens on Facebook to leave her and her friends alone. 

“I just want a normal life. I hope everyone can forgive me. Please don’t hurt or attack me anymore. It was just a birthday party. No need to make it such a big deal.”

It doesn’t matter if the guy doesn’t pay, I can pay for myself. I never intended to share this and let the whole world know. It doesn’t benefit me in any way.”

She also added on how the viral screenshots of conversations she had with her friends were fake. 

“I didn’t reply yesterday as I wasn’t even in this group. I only knew about it when my friend told me about it. I just want to tell everyone that I’m sorry and I wish this is this means that the subject has come to an end. I also like to add that the conversations in the screenshots below is not from me.”

What do you think of the apology? Do you think that the man is rightfully requited with it?

Sabah Polls Contributing to Rising Covid-19 Cases

Malaysia reached a new high in Covid-19 numbers yesterday, a total of 691 new cases with Sabah being the few that are leading the number of positive cases within the country.

After the state elections in Sabah, peninsular Malaysia saw a surge in positive cases and many of those who were positive had a travel history from Sabah. One of the major news was of a United Overseas Bank employee who tested positive which led to the bank branch being closed down for sanitization. 

Did the holding of the Sabah elections play a part in the rising numbers daily? Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin says yes. 

“We couldn’t avoid it as we are bound by the federal constitution,” he said at a special telecast.

“The election had to be held within 60 days after the state assembly had been dissolved. It could not be postponed.”

He added that even though SOPs were set by the Election Commission, they weren’t observed during campaigning as he noticed people not practicing social distancing and were shoulder to shoulder even though they were wearing facemasks.

Muhyiddin also insisted that there were no double standards when it came to enforcing home quarantines on those returning from Sabah, citing himself undergoing the 14 day quarantine as of today.

“This is the SOP set by the health ministry, and as the prime minister I am not exempted from the SOP,” he said.

Health ministry director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said earlier that the surge in Sabah could’ve been related to compliance with social distancing guidelines.

“The issue now is the non-compliance to standard operating procedures at every level,” Dr Noor Hisham said at a news conference, referring to the ministry’s guidelines.

“We are not blaming (anyone), but we are reminding … we hope that all of us learn this lesson so we do not repeat this mistake again.”

Malaysia’s positive cases still stands at 13,504 with 10,421 recoveries and 141 deaths as of October 7th.