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About The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current | View Entire Issue (March 1, 2021)
March 1, 2021
ASIA / PACIFIC
Malaysians in Singapore host
stranded students for New Year
By Annabelle Liang
The Associated Press
INGAPORE — Chan Jit Yen
loves Lunar New Year. It is as
much about festivities as it is a
homecoming for the 31-year-old
Chan, who lives in neighboring
Singapore with her husband, usually
takes a week off work to visit his
family in Kuala Lumpur.
They then travel to her hometown
in Ipoh, and usher in the year with
more visits, meals, and celebratory
Now, with the pandemic upending
lives on both sides of bridges that link
Singapore and Malaysia, Chan
cannot travel. Instead, she opened
the door of her rented apartment to
four Malaysian students.
students, Chinese New Year has been
something that they’re really looking
forward to,” Chan said. “I hope they ...
feel like home and not feeling left out
Like Chan, the students are
spending their first Lunar New Year
away from home. They also have a
shared interest in engineering, the
field she studied before launching a
healthy snacks startup.
Chan heeded a call by the
Malaysian Association in Singapore,
which asked Malaysians to treat
students to a meal over the festive
matched 25 students to 10 hosts.
“This initiative is all about the food
and the people. Food is what brings
people together, especially for
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OX YEAR OUTREACH. Pedestrians cross a street with a lit giant ox display to welcome the
Lunar New Year at Chinatown in Singapore. With Malaysian workers and students stranded in the
city state over the Lunar New Year due to coronavirus travel restrictions, the Malaysian Association
in Singapore asked Malaysians to treat students to a meal. (AP Photo/Annabelle Liang)
committee member Lee Ji En.
daily, can welcome up to eight visitors
After mulling over several menus, a day.
At night, Ter, 21, dreamed that he
Chan settled on a hot pot lunch. She
visited a supermarket early on was celebrating with his family at
Saturday, and quickly got to slicing their home in the Malaysian town of
ingredients and preparing tomato Klang.
Ter’s father and mother have seven
and Sichuan peppercorn broths.
Conversation flowed once the siblings each, and the family makes
students arrived. They discussed the rounds during the holiday season.
“Hope is hope, but reality is still a
university life, work prospects, and
you know, so we cannot go
their favorite Malaysian cities and
back,” Ter said. “I hope that the
pandemic will go away as soon as
It was an otherwise quiet
possible because it has been very
celebration for Ter Leong Kern, who
detrimental to all of our daily lives.”
visited Chan with three university
“One Good Thing” is a series that
highlights individuals whose actions
Under strict pandemic rules,
provide glimmers of joy in hard times —
households in Singapore, which has a
stories of people who find a way to make
handful of coronavirus cases reported
a difference, no matter how small.
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Lives Lost: Parents hoped baby Kobe would play basketball
By Kiko Rosario and
The Associated Press
ANAUAN, The Philippines —
He was heralded in the
Philippines as the country’s
youngest COVID-19 survivor last
year, a baby who’d become infected
with and conquered the coronavirus
during his first 16 days of life.
To Ronnel Manjares and Trisha
May Noche, he was Kobe Christ, their
Noche wanted her son to grow up
playing basketball, just like his
father. The couple named him after
American basketball legend Kobe
Bryant, who died in a helicopter
crash early in 2020.
“I added Christ after he was born
on Easter Sunday,” Manjares said.
The young parents prepared for
Kobe’s arrival during a challenging
Manjares, 26, lost his job as a daily
metropolitan Manila because of the
nationwide coronavirus lockdown
imposed in mid-March. They wanted
Noche, 19, to give birth in their home
province, but the lockdown prevented
The couple also was advised that it
would be safer to have the baby at
home instead of a hospital to prevent
exposure to the virus. With the help of
a traditional birth attendant, Kobe
was born on April 12, 2020 in a shack
near a construction area that his
parents already shared with their
Manjares said the delivery went
1331 N. Killingsworth Street, Portland
(1 block east of N. Interstate Avenue)
To learn more about COVID-19
vaccinations, reach out to:
FAMILY HEARTBREAK. Ronnel Manjares, right, receives his 16-day-old baby Kobe who
recovered from COVID-19 as they discharge him from the National Children’s Hospital in Quezon
city, Metro Manila, the Philippines, in this April 28, 2020 file photo. Kobe was heralded as the
country’s youngest COVID-19 survivor. But the relief and joy did not last. Kobe died on June 4
from complications of Hirschsprung disease, a rare birth defect. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila, File)
smoothly and that his newborn son birth attendant all tested negative.
But Kobe got better; he was
“looked healthy and fit.” Noche was
happy 15-month-old Crystal now had declared virus-free based on another
test when he was just over two weeks
“I want to take care of him, make old. His constipation and enlarged
him grow old properly, so my other abdomen also cleared up.
child will have a playmate,” Noche
The baby’s discharge from the
National Children’s Hospital on April
The family spent Kobe’s first few 28 made news. Video footage
days together at home. Then, the recorded that day shows Kobe in his
parents noticed his swollen belly. father’s arms and surrounded by
Their son also was constipated and cheering health workers, some
running a fever. His father took Kobe carrying signs reading “COVID-19
to the main children’s hospital, where survivor” and “I Beat COVID-19.”
a coronavirus test of the infant came
The two would need to spend 14
days in quarantine at another
Neither Manjares nor the doctors hospital, but a relieved Manjares
could trace how or where the newborn already looked beyond the confine-
coronavirus. ment period.
Continued on page 4
Manjares, Noche, Crystal, and the
Call 211 or 1-866-698-6155
Call (360) 236-4501 or 1-800-525-0127
Visit: covidvaccinewa.org or doh.wa.gov/coronavirus