We left Singapore last Thursday. 

It had to be by land crossing if we wanted to abide by a newly signed agreement between Kuala Lumpur and the Republic.  

So, we decided to drive home by way of the Tuas crossing. 

At the Malaysian checkpoint, we both had to download the My Sejahtera app and, numerous questions later, followed a pleasant, female Immigration official to the medical tent where a guy decked out in full PPE regalia sat awaiting us. The poor guy: it must have been at least 32 degrees in the shade and for all that, he was remarkably good natured. 

He took two swabs from each of us: one from the throat and the other, from deep within our noses. For each, he had to change gloves. 

No wonder Top Glove shares are rocketing. 

The official said the tests would come back in 2-3 days and we would be quarantined for the duration. For the record, the tests cost RM200 each.  

Since we’d asked for a hotel, the only one serving as a place of quarantine was a KSL Hot Springs Resort in Johore Bahru.

It turned out to be in Tebrau and the “Hot Springs” business may have been in the copywriter’s imagination. In any case, we signed some forms, paid the deposit and were promptly locked up in a room on the 9th floor. 

There was a chair placed immediately outside the door. Our meals, towels etc, were placed on said chair after which the doorbell would be rung. It was like getting to know your food, Pavlov-style. 

The two days that passed were interminable and I shudder to think how it would have been had we attempted an earlier crossing and undergone the whole two-week quarantine. 

At 11.30 am on Saturday, we received a call from the authorities telling us we’d tested negative and could leave. Even so, we had to take our temperatures and answer a series of questions on our My Sejahtera apps every day for the next two weeks. We were free to go but it was made clear to us that we would be “under surveillance” for a fortnight. 

As is her wont, Rebecca turned out to be a minor celebrity there and, after we’d signed the necessary paperwork, everyone including the cops and the immigration authorities wanted to take pictures with her. 

As is my wont, I stood off to the side and, sure enough, no one noticed! I only wonder if anyone found it ironic that everyone in the pictures was masked.  

There were about 30 of us quarantined in the hotel and while we never met, we were placed in a single WhatsApp chat group which my wife kept track of. 

One of the guys, Fahmi was back from Singapore because his father was critically sick. On his first night of quarantine, unfortunately, his father died. He had to wait another day before he was found negative and allowed to go. 

It’s nice to be home and even the traffic isn’t as irritating as it used to be. The My Sejahtera app is also a distinct improvement on the one we had to use in Singapore. It’s faster and more efficient with much more common-sensical usage. Example: in Singapore, you have to both check-in and out while it’s just one way here.  

Everything’s ok except the politics and the new government which I believe the majority of us did not vote for. That sucks big-time.