Cover All quiet on the Saloma Link Bridge in Kuala Lumpur on January 13, 2021, a day after Malaysian authorities imposed tighter restrictions on movement (Photo: Mohd Rasfan/AFP)

Malaysia's Movement Control Order that was slated to end on February 4, 2021 has now been extended to February 18. Despite many changes in plans, here are some fine ways in which our Tatler friends are making the most of their extended 'lockdown' this Chinese New Year.

Celest Thoi

With her chic Netherlands-inspired CNY 2021 collection out for all to enjoy, designer Celest Thoi may finally be getting a rare chance to relax and unwind with her family in time for the Lunar New Year holidays. Though the effervescent designer had an extremely busy few months in 2020 sewing PPE gowns, she's looking forward to spending more time at home this year. 

"I was pretty nonchalant about MCO 2.0, as I had learnt from the first MCO to go with the flow," Thoi says. "Normally at this time of the year, our family would travel, or I would usually be busy fitting clients in my studio. Instead, I have to go house to house to fit my clients for CNY outfits."     

Related: How To Plan A Virtual Celebration For Chinese New Year 2021 

This time round, we will celebrate Chinese New Year in a more intimate way by staying put in KL. I'm glad to be able to spend more time at home this MCO.
Celest Thoi

Melinda Looi

Despite the circumstances, things are also looking bright and cheerful for Tatler's February cover star Melinda Looi, who will be hosting her first Airbnb online experience teaching viewers how to upcycle old socks and clothes into adorable Ox puppets this Chinese New Year.

"I wanted to find a way to encourage upcycling and sustainability during this festive period and to spend fun moments with my family," shares Looi, who adds that she wasn't fazed by the news of the MCO's extension this month. "I don't usually travel during Chinese New Year. To me, this season is about family reunions. As long as we are all together, healthy and safe—nothing is more important than that."

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Elizabeth Lee Yong

Need a dose of fun and cheer this festive season? Elizabeth Lee Yong can help with that. "We always celebrate CNY with our extended family and friends, enjoying home-cooked food, a massive yee sang, and heading out to watch a lion dance competition. I guess CNY this year is now changed to 'Celebrate Next Year'," she quips. 

With her trademark wit and sense of humour, Yong chooses to see the lighter side of life without losing a grip on reality.  

"I felt relief at the news of the MCO extension," Yong shares on a more serious note. "The increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases are petrifying and if we don't flatten the curve soon, more will suffer." This year, the Yongs will have their usual CNY celebrations but on a smaller scale. 

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We'll be at home, appreciating the little things, cooking up the same traditions on a smaller scale and surrounded by our kids – I might even make them preform the lion dance for us. Let the competition begin.
Elizabeth Lee-Yong

Dato' Simon Foong

From Créme De La Créme ice cream treats to white coffee-and-nasi lemak breakfasts at home, entrepreneur and Senja Aman group managing director Dato' Simon Foong is making the most of this MCO extension with a delicate balance of CNY snacking and quiet cycling trips wherever possible. As Foong aptly posted on Instagram: "We put up our CNY decor early this year to usher in the Ox: hardworking, steadfast, and dependable with strength and determination."

Related: What Your Chinese Zodiac Sign Says About You In The Year Of The Ox 

Melissa Tan

"Now to go coordinate #virtual reunion for all the above-60s in my family," quips #ZeroWaste advocate Melissa Tan on Instagram, admitting that she anticipated that Lunar New Year celebrations in 2021 would be under lockdown. Trading in CNY window shopping at the mall for peaceful and uninterrupted nature walks in the path behind her home, Tan is clearly using her time to reflect on her blessings, summing it up with these poignant words: "With the simple things that bring us joy, 2021 is going to be just fine." 

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With the simple things that bring us joy, 2021 is going to be just fine.
Melissa Tan

Datin Winnie Loo

Speaking of nature walks, A Cut Above founder Datin Winnie Loo has also been keeping herself active during the lockdowns with long walks. 

"The parks may be closed for now because of MCO 2.0, but when there's a will there's a way. My goal for now is to stay healthy, happy and not allow Covid-19 to rob me of my sanity," she said in an Instagram post.  

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Tiffany Choong

After a slew of artsy #WFH moments (among them painting in a dress and heels, and using roller skates indoors), Penang-based artist Tiffany Choong is spending her Chinese New Year 2021 break on a worthy cause. She's raising funds for the Penang Stray Rescue Society by painting Year of the Ox greeting cards that are available in a pack of six, and all proceeds from the sale will go to the animal shelter.       

See also: Sabah Artist Venice Foo Spreads Cheer With Her Needle & Thread