Mind you there is a big difference between “I had a haircut” and “I had cut my hair” – it is something I learned to distinguish thanks to my lecturer when I was still in the law school. The last thing I want to do is to be a hero and try to be a barber myself – Mr Bean armed with scissors probably could do better. Image source: Youtube
In recent days, in light of the strict lockdown in some places in Malaysia and the need to keep best hygienic practices in place, there have been major discussions on the rights of Rohingyas immigrants in Malaysia. They have started to cause problems to the host countries which you make you wonder why the Myanmar Government probably be happy to see them out of the country.
There must be a good reason why these Rohingyas are hated so much and chased out from their own country. It has come to a point where they are now considered the most persecuted minority in the world. Anyway, we will revisit this topic in detail on another day – something about these Rohingyas does not make any sense.
COVID-19 situation as at todate
The situation in Malaysia has continued on a positive trend with the number of active cases has continued to reduce since the peak at 5th April 2020 with 2,596 active cases.
As at 29th April 2020, Malaysia recorded 1,758 active cases with the fatality rate stands at 1.68% whilst the recovery rate improved to 68.75%. It is even expected that the daily new infections to drop to the single digits by the mid of May 2020. This, of course, provided Malaysians continued to adhere to lockdowns, adhere to stay at home order and exercise personal hygiene and social distancing.
Indonesia has 7,596 active cases with 784 deaths making a fatality rate of 8.02% with 14.24% recovery rate whilst Singapore has 14,499 active cases with 14 deaths making a fatality rate of 0.09% with 7.21% recovery rate.
Haircut as essential service
There are many things that Malaysians look forward doing after the lockdown has ended. However, I am pretty sure that one of the first things that most Malaysian male will do after the end of the lockdown is to visit their neighbourhood barber or hair salon and get their hair trimmed.
Anyway, considering that we still have about 2 weeks of lockdown to go and I don’t think the condition of my hair can wait for few more days before I start looking like a caveman. Besides, even after the lockdown has been uplifted after 2 weeks, I doubt anyone would be rushing into barbers and hair saloons without exercising some form of social distancing.
It was the same concern that many considered even after the Government considered barber & hair saloons as an essential sector:-
The Malaysian Hairdressing Association (MHA) said today that 91 per cent of its members did not agree to resume their businesses during the movement control order (MCO) period, citing safety issues, among others.
“Haircut should not be listed as a necessary essential service, no matter long hair or short hair, the most important thing for now is to stay alive. The purpose of the movement control order is to save people’s lives, not their appearance.”
It said that should hair salon employees contract the virus in the course of work, employers would have to foot all the cost of their treatment bills, which would prove to be a constraint.
Read Also: Personal Grooming 101: Time For A Shave
It is possible that those barbers manned by foreigners like many outlets around Puchong here may immediately open once the lockdown has ended. They do have sizeable foreigners as their customers – foreigners who may not give much thought to social distancing.
Overseas haircut experience
Speaking about having haircut in desperate times like this, it kind of reminded me when I was away on long assignments overseas and I had to have my haircut done to keep looking professional and trimmed especially at client’s place.
To be on the safe side and also to avoid any unnecessary cost and “complications”, we usually have our haircuts in Malaysia before leaving for overseas. However if these overseas assignments get extended or delayed, we would soon find long, untidy hair which requires us to be on the lookout for a barber overseas.
And that what exactly happened when I was in Ghana and things got extended and I found myself far away from Malaysia and urgently needed a haircut. The problem is Ghanaian barbers are not familiar with Asian hairs and apparently because they are not familiar with Asian hairs, it is almost guaranteed that they will screw up your hair:-
Asian hair is usually straight and either dark brown or black in colour. It grows perpendicularly to the scalp. This hair type has the fastest growth rate at approximately 1.4 centimetres per month. A strand of Asian hair has a somewhat round, even shape. Nonetheless, Asian hair has the lowest density of the three ethnicities.
African hair is generally characterized by tight curls and kinks, and grows almost parallel to the scalp. This hair type has the slowest growth rate, 0.9 centimetres per month, due to its spiral structure that causes it to curl upon itself during growth. An African hair strand has a flattened shape. African hair has a much higher density than Asian hair.
But then again, for every 10,000 persons who say that it cannot be done, there will be 1-2 who will say otherwise. So did barbers in Ghana – there was indeed one expert who specialises in cutting Asian hairs near my workplace.
A Ghanaian friend from the office took me to the hair salon where out of the 10 barbers busy working in the saloon, there was 1 guy sitting idle, reading a magazine. He was the expert and he only works when a non-African customer walks in. I have to admit that he was indeed the best barber I ever had – he did not use any scissors, he only uses the trimmer machine which a moment ago was cleaned with an anti-bacterial solution. It was not cheap but the haircut was done.
The more dangerous haircut I ever had was when I was in Kabul, Afghanistan where one cannot simply go out to a barber without a Humvee in front and back laden with 50 cal machine gun. No, I am just kidding – there was a barber near our place but he does not speak English and he looks like a distance older cousin of Osama Bin Laden and the shop looks like a bomb shelter in some caves in Tora Bora.
But then we went over, the barber was one of the friendliest, old man I ever met despite unable to communicate with us. He had a great smile and proud of what he does despite the condition of the country.
In the end
I doubt there is time to wait for a proper haircut so to keep things in check and since I am not going off anywhere, I decided to just shave off the hair and go bald instead. But it was not easy to cut the hair to the minimum and then use the cheap safety razors to shave off the hair. It took some time to get this done but I have a clean-shaven head now.
Enough to last another 2-3 more lockdowns.