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Staying informed, curious, and creative using your phone during the movement control order

13 Apr 2020 / 09:42 H.

YOUR smart device is probably the most powerful computer you own. During the movement control order (MCO), we depend on our trusty mobile more than ever. We can do so many things on that small rectangle of glass apart from the usual shopping, gaming, and watching shows and movies. Here are some examples.

In these extraordinary times, we must stay informed. Understanding this, the Malaysian government and its various ministries have opened direct channels to the public through streaming video services, social networks, and even messaging systems.

You can search for the ministry that governs the information you are interested in through websites, social network apps, or video streaming services apps of your choice to stay abreast with the latest most accurate news directly from its source.

For example look for KKM (Ministry of Health) for the latest local news on the Covid-19 situation, Wisma Putra (Foreign Affairs Ministry) for the situation of Malaysians in other countries, and sebenarnya.my, a platform dedicated to debunking fake news.

You can even follow our prime minister and the Health Ministry director-general, the man responsible for the almost daily Covid-19 briefings, directly on your favourite social network app.

Get the latest information from official channels, including the Twitter feed of the Health Ministry director-general.
Get the latest information from official channels, including the Twitter feed of the Health Ministry director-general.

The term ‘social distancing’ is a misnomer. The World Health Organisation (WHO), in its many live briefings which you can watch on your favourite video streaming app, uses the more accurate term: Physical Distancing.

Physically distant does not mean socially distant. Do yourself a favour and call, text, or video call your friends, relatives, and loved ones. It’s good for you and your mental health and wellbeing.

Most smartphones already have apps with these capabilities installed, but you could always search for alternatives. Use the terms ‘messaging apps’ and ‘social networking apps’. Just make sure that everyone in your circle is using the same app.

Some of these messaging and communication apps let multiple people connect at once, leading users to create virtual gatherings and parties to beat the MCO blues.

Also, don’t let your social network app become a platform for marketing and fake news. It is okay to cut the noise out and keep only those you know in your circle. It is a platform to stay connected, not to get an audience. Make the MCO the perfect time to declutter your social network.

There is no better time than now to learn a new skill, and you can do it right on your smartphone. There are generally three ways to approach it. Some may cost money, but they will inevitably be worth it. Let’s get those out of the way first.

First, search for educational apps, and you can find a plethora of apps that could teach you a wide range of skills and subjects; from a new language, to a new musical instrument or general knowledge. Just pick a highly rated or recommended one and you can’t go wrong. Be warned though that some of these apps may cost you.

Secondly, with the increased popularity of online learning, there are several online courses to choose from, some are also available in app form. Just search for courses and the subject you are interested in. Online courses can sometimes be interactive, some even have workbooks, but most of the time they are lectures by certified experts. Most of them require a subscription.

Want to learn something on the cheap? Launch your pick of video streaming apps or podcast aggregation apps. Learn how to paint a miniature, about untold history, or how things work, to name a few. These free sources are usually created by passionate individuals who want to share their knowledge with you.

Keep your mind sharp during the MCO by learning a new skill, such as a new language.
Keep your mind sharp during the MCO by learning a new skill, such as a new language.

Smartphones are not just a content consumption device. You can create, edit, and share, all in one tool. Don’t feel stifled just because you’re at home. There is a reason why phone makers keep touting their cameras all the time.

For this, you might not even need to download an app. But what you will need is good lighting and a good idea. For example, take what you’ve learned from staying curious and make a video sharing what you know in your own words, create a work out video, or just share your commentary based on what you’ve gathered by staying informed.

Record something that you would be proud to show and share with your family. Forgo the stunts and silly acts for attention, help others to stay curious and stay informed instead.

And you don’t even need to put it up on a video streaming site. Just share it with your family and friends through your messenger app. It will make their day.

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