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2020's most memorable folks

I DOUBT anyone is still making Dalgona coffee. Nine months ago, the recipe for the icy milk drink was all the rage until Covid-19 landed, putting most of us under some form of lockdown.

The fad fizzled out as 2020 wore on, but many other things are worth remembering. Here are my "Best of" list for last year.

1. BEST SONG

In the early days of the pandemic, netizens used Dua Lipa's song, Don't Start Now, to advocate physical distancing. The "Don't show up, don't come out" lyrics by the British singer were apt in driving home the message to stay indoors.

Another song, Blinding Lights, by The Weeknd was also a memorable tune. The video featured singer Abel Tesfaye driving and dancing on the near-empty streets of Las Vegas and Los Angeles during the wee hours.

Coincidentally, this was a similar sight in many cities at the height of Covid-19. There was plenty of good music on the home front too.

Sakit by newcomer Yonnyboii featuring Zynakal provided a moody soundtrack to uncertain times. The song's failure to qualify for TV3's Anugerah Juara Lagu recently courted controversy, especially among fans.

Chin up, young people! The two youngsters have a long career ahead of them, though.

My favourite song is Say Something by Kylie Minogue, which is a quintessential Minogue track about longing amid a clamour of techno beats and funk guitars.

2. BEST MOVIES, TV SHOWS

Despite a bleak year in cineplexes, there were some good productions streamed on the small screen. The standouts included the musical Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire and Enola Holmes on Netflix and dramas such as Lover's Rock on Amazon Prime Video.

Numerous dramas and limited series were of cinematic quality, including The Mandalorian on Disney+, The Haunting of Bly Manor on Netflix and Watchmen on HBO.

Comedies such as Modern Family, One Day At A Time and The Marvellous Mrs Maisel had us in stitches, while reality shows such as Tiger King, David Attenborough's Life on our Planet and Deaf-U offered insights into topics rarely aired on prime-time TV.

3. BEST TRENDS

Malaysians were glued to their television, smartphones or radios when Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin provided updates on Covid-19.

The same fervour was observed during the daily press conferences of Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

Kuan Chee Heng

Elsewhere, viral videos revealed our humanity. Remember delivery rider, Muhammad Amirullah Mohd Zin, who was captured on video playing a piano while waiting for his customer to appear?

How about Kuan Chee Heng, better known as Uncle Kentang, who helped pay for the funerals of the less fortunate in Puchong? Even the cooking videos by M. Sugu and his wife S. Pavithra were fun to see.

These snapshots of Malaysian life showed how we reached out to fellow citizens in need, shared our knowledge, or simply found solace in entertaining ourselves even when we thought no one was watching.

4. BEST PUBLICATIONS

If you want some suggestions on what to read, check out Time magazine's '100 Must-Read Books of 2020' or The Smart Local portal.

My reading list this year, by contrast, consisted of old titles. One in particular was Neil Gaiman's comic book opus, The Sandman, which I picked up in May.

The anthology tells the story of Morpheus, an anthropomorphic personification of the concept of Dream, and his 'siblings' Destiny, Death, Desire, Despair, Delirium and Destruction. It's a horror-cum-fantasy that transcends
cultures, time and space and upends any idea of what fiction should be.

"A Dream of a Thousand Cats" is a chapter featuring felines as main characters, while "Ramadan" is about a king in medieval Baghdad searching for life's meaning, and "A Midsummer's Night Dream" is a fictitious account of how William Shakespeare might have been inspired to write his famous comedy.

A video recording of delivery rider Muhammad Amirullah Mohd Zin playing the piano while waiting for a customer went viral in April.

5. BEST OF ALL

It is impossible to look back at 2020 without acknowledging everyday heroes. Medical frontliners, policemen, soldiers, bus drivers, cleaners and even our hawkers and food delivery riders played vital roles in the fight against Covid-19.

I respect charitable organisations, too, as they tirelessly picked up and delivered essentials to the less fortunate without complaint. They are the embodiment of the "Kita Jaga Kita" clarion call. We might have a long way to go but as long as we look out for each other, we shall persevere.

The writer is NST assistant news editor

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