How stars deal with a lockdown

Star Search 2019 winner Zhang Ze Tong’s (above) latest travelogue Aus-some Getaway followed the actor as he went on a fun Australian vacation. However, Zhang, 26, faced some real travel trouble in trying to beat the lockdown in Malaysia.
Star Search 2019 winner Zhang Ze Tong’s (above) latest travelogue Aus-some Getaway followed the actor as he went on a fun Australian vacation. However, Zhang, 26, faced some real travel trouble in trying to beat the lockdown in Malaysia.PHOTOS: AKIF HALQI/INSTAGRAM, CHERYL LEE XIN YI/FACEBOOK, FISH LEONG/INSTAGRAM, JOEY YUNG/INSTAGRAM, MARKLEE/INSTAGRAM, NABILA HUDA/INSTAGRAM, NAMEWEE/INSTAGRAM, NICHOLAS TEO/INSTAGRAM, ST FILE

From cutting short a family trip to performing for fans online, here are some ways celebrities reacted to the lockdown in Malaysia

Thousands rushed to leave Malaysia before its travel curbs kicked in on March 18. Many celebrities were either caught in the rush or had their lives affected by the lockdown, which has since been extended to April 14. Here is a look at how 10 celebrities reacted to the lockdown.


RAPPER NAMEWEE RETURNS TO DESERTED AIRPORT


PHOTOS: AKIF HALQI/INSTAGRAM, CHERYL LEE XIN YI/FACEBOOK, FISH LEONG/INSTAGRAM, JOEY YUNG/INSTAGRAM, MARKLEE/INSTAGRAM, NABILA HUDA/INSTAGRAM, NAMEWEE/INSTAGRAM, NICHOLAS TEO/INSTAGRAM, ST FILE

Malaysian rapper Namewee was working on his music and a new movie in Taiwan when he first got wind of the lockdown. The 36-year-old still had business to settle in Taiwan and went back to Malaysia only on March 21. He announced his return on Instagram with a selfie featuring a deserted Kuala Lumpur International Airport in the background. The same day, the singer released the music video for his latest song Getaway To Kaohsiung, a project supported by Taiwan’s Kaohsiung City Government to promote tourism.

2 NO PLANE TICKETS HOME FOR MARK LEE


PHOTOS: AKIF HALQI/INSTAGRAM, CHERYL LEE XIN YI/FACEBOOK, FISH LEONG/INSTAGRAM, JOEY YUNG/INSTAGRAM, MARKLEE/INSTAGRAM, NABILA HUDA/INSTAGRAM, NAMEWEE/INSTAGRAM, NICHOLAS TEO/INSTAGRAM, ST FILE

Veteran Singaporean television host Mark Lee was into the third day of his Ipoh family getaway when Malaysia announced its lockdown on March 16. Afraid that he would not be able to return to Singapore, Lee shared in an Instagram post that he had tried to get his hands on return plane tickets online, but to no avail. Thankfully, a friend was able to arrange for the family to return home by car. They left Ipoh on March 16 and arrived in Singapore that night. Although his three children were reluctant to leave, Lee said the situation could not be helped. He ended his post on a more cheery note, writing, “We will be back!”, and accompanying his caption with photos of some of the trip’s highlights.

3 NICHOLAS TEO ENJOYING HOME-COOKED MEALS


PHOTOS: AKIF HALQI/INSTAGRAM, CHERYL LEE XIN YI/FACEBOOK, FISH LEONG/INSTAGRAM, JOEY YUNG/INSTAGRAM, MARKLEE/INSTAGRAM, NABILA HUDA/INSTAGRAM, NAMEWEE/INSTAGRAM, NICHOLAS TEO/INSTAGRAM, ST FILE

Malaysian singer Nicholas Teo has been taking it slow for the past few years. He took time off to take acting classes in New York a few years ago and is now based back home in Malaysia instead of Taiwan. He said he and his family are fine despite the lockdown, Apple Daily reported. The 38-year-old said: “I often call my parents in Kuching to remind them not to go out unless it’s absolutely necessary, and I’ve also been mostly staying indoors and eating home-cooked meals myself.”

4 GUIDE TO BUYING VEGETABLES


PHOTOS: AKIF HALQI/INSTAGRAM, CHERYL LEE XIN YI/FACEBOOK, FISH LEONG/INSTAGRAM, JOEY YUNG/INSTAGRAM, MARKLEE/INSTAGRAM, NABILA HUDA/INSTAGRAM, NAMEWEE/INSTAGRAM, NICHOLAS TEO/INSTAGRAM, ST FILE

To curb the spread of the coronavirus, Malaysia on March 21 mandated that only the head of the household or one representative of a family is allowed to go out to buy necessities. But men new to grocery shopping need not fret, as Malaysian television personality Cheryl Leehas come to the rescue. The 35-year-old has shared on Facebook a list of vegetable names in Cantonese such as gai choy (Chinese mustard). She suggested printing out her Facebook post featuring a list of vegetable varieties, complete with their names and pictures.

5 RUSH TO REPORT TO KUALA LUMPUR FOR WORK


PHOTOS: AKIF HALQI/INSTAGRAM, CHERYL LEE XIN YI/FACEBOOK, FISH LEONG/INSTAGRAM, JOEY YUNG/INSTAGRAM, MARKLEE/INSTAGRAM, NABILA HUDA/INSTAGRAM, NAMEWEE/INSTAGRAM, NICHOLAS TEO/INSTAGRAM, ST FILE

Even as Malaysians working in Singapore rushed to cross the Causeway, Singaporean actor Akif Halqi was scrambling to get to Malaysia before it shut its doors. The actor was originally scheduled to head to Kuala Lumpur on March 20 to work on a Malaysian movie, but was told by his director to bring the trip forward immediately. The 24-year-old was initially plagued with fear and anxiety. “I started thinking that if I were to contract the virus in Malaysia, I’d want to seek treatment in Singapore but that wouldn’t be possible,” the actor told Today. However, he later learnt that his fear was unfounded as he would still be allowed to return home during the lockdown. His parents had prepared an ample supply of masks and hand sanitisers for him for his Malaysian trip.

6 STUCK IN EIGHT-HOUR JAM

Star Search 2019 winner Zhang Ze Tong’s (top) latest travelogue Aus-some Getaway followed the actor as he went on a fun Australian vacation. However, Zhang, 26, faced some real travel trouble in trying to beat the lockdown in Malaysia. The Singapore-based Malaysian, who was in Johor Baru visiting his parents a day before the travel restriction kicked in, was stuck in an eight-hour traffic jam on his way back to Singapore. But he told Lianhe Wanbao he was fortunate enough to have the company of friends during the journey.

7 JOEY YUNG PERFORMS FOR FANS ONLINE


PHOTOS: AKIF HALQI/INSTAGRAM, CHERYL LEE XIN YI/FACEBOOK, FISH LEONG/INSTAGRAM, JOEY YUNG/INSTAGRAM, MARKLEE/INSTAGRAM, NABILA HUDA/INSTAGRAM, NAMEWEE/INSTAGRAM, NICHOLAS TEO/INSTAGRAM, ST FILE

Hong Kong singer-actress Joey Yung is not letting the lockdown come between her and her Malaysian fans. After returning from her March 13 concert in London, the 39-year-old pop star had postponed her March 21 concert at the Arena of Stars in Malaysia’s Genting Highlands to observe self-quarantine in Hong Kong. Nevertheless, she still treated fans to a live performance, albeit one that was streamed online for 11/2 hours via her official Instagram account. During the live session, Yung also chatted online with her good friends, actress Charlene Choi and singer-songwriter Kenny Kwan, who were filming in Malaysia when the lockdown took effect. They have since returned to Hong Kong.

8 DON’T PANIC BUY, SAYS FISH LEONG


PHOTOS: AKIF HALQI/INSTAGRAM, CHERYL LEE XIN YI/FACEBOOK, FISH LEONG/INSTAGRAM, JOEY YUNG/INSTAGRAM, MARKLEE/INSTAGRAM, NABILA HUDA/INSTAGRAM, NAMEWEE/INSTAGRAM, NICHOLAS TEO/INSTAGRAM, ST FILE

Malaysian singer Fish Leong, 41, is currently in Taiwan, but worries for friends and family members living in different states across Malaysia. She told Apple Daily through her manager she is “quite nervous” for her loved ones and urged her fans to comply with preventive measures. The singer also encouraged fans, saying they would tide through this tough period together. While Leong advised fans to stock up on dried food and make additional provisions for children, she urged them not to panic buy in consideration of those in need.

9 ROCKER WORRIED FOR DAUGHTER


PHOTOS: AKIF HALQI/INSTAGRAM, CHERYL LEE XIN YI/FACEBOOK, FISH LEONG/INSTAGRAM, JOEY YUNG/INSTAGRAM, MARKLEE/INSTAGRAM, NABILA HUDA/INSTAGRAM, NAMEWEE/INSTAGRAM, NICHOLAS TEO/INSTAGRAM, ST FILE

Malaysian rocker Amy Search, 61, lambasted the production house his daughter, actress Nabila Huda, is working with, after learning that she was still working on set despite the lockdown in the country. On March 19, Nabila, 35, had posted on Instagram that it was hard for her to satisfy her instant noodle cravings while working in Kelantan as all the shops were closed. But her vigilant father, whose real name is Suhaimi Abdul Rahman, was furious when he saw the post. He wrote: “Working!!! Go home now!!! Which production house is this? Don’t you have any brains at all?” Nabila later replied to her father to say she had discussed the matter with the production manager and would head home immediately.

10 ACTOR LAWRENCE WONG MISSED PAYING RESPECTS TO LATE MOTHER

In an Instagram post on March 22, Singaporean actor Lawrence Wong, 31, expressed his regret at being unable to travel to Malaysia to pay respects to his late mother on her birthday. His mother died in 2016. The lockdown, which took effect on March 18, means foreign visitors, including Singaporeans, are barred from entering the country. The actor, who was born in Johor Baru, took up Singapore citizenship four years ago.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2020, with the headline 'How stars deal with a lockdown'. Print Edition | Subscribe