A Letter From Ismail Izzani: “My Quarantine Experience and What I’m Thankful For”

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted the entertainment and music industry in Malaysia.

Just last month, Ismail Izzani was unknowingly exposed to the COVID-19 virus while attending a music show - unaware that one of the attendees had unwittingly been diagnosed positive with the virus.

a letter from ismail izzani: “my quarantine experience and what i’m thankful for”

Just like that, his life changed, and he had to undergo 14 days of quarantine. 

During this time, Ismail wrote a letter to share his thoughts on how he dealt with being isolated from his loved ones, and how he stayed connected with them, and how Malaysians can play a part in supporting the entertainment and music industry that has been impacted by the pandemic. 

My quarantine experience and what I’m thankful for

Attributed to: Ismail Izzani, Singer

“Last month, a fellow musician was unfortunately diagnosed positive with COVID-19. Even as I wished him a speedy recovery, I have also had to play my part as a responsible citizen, undergoing the 14 days of quarantine as well. While I have been confirmed as negative for the virus, the quarantine process has been a challenging one. While in isolation, I had the time to ponder and think about the things important to me – friends, family, and music.

a letter from ismail izzani: “my quarantine experience and what i’m thankful for”

The lifestyle change was not easy. I live alone, and the strain of loneliness and lack of freedom had me feeling down and demotivated. While I tried motivating myself by making music, many of my primary muses and sources of inspiration are from the connections, particularly the ones I share with those around me. During this time, what helped in keeping me sane and pushing through the isolation was social media, and messaging apps like Snapchat have helped me a lot in staying connected with my friends and family.

More than we might be aware, I think being physically together with friends and family is an important part of our lives. Because this has not been possible for me, I have searched for other means to connect. Instead of just normal texting, I’ve started to also rely more on video calls, just so I can see their faces. I also found myself sharing a lot more photos – or Snaps, as they call it on Snapchat – of myself, my meals, or whatever it was I was doing, and I was always excited to hear back from them and see what they were up to in their Snaps to me. Connecting with my loved ones visually helped me feel closer to them because I was able to truly express myself and interact with them with more than just words. It is the next best thing after meeting in person.

a letter from ismail izzani: “my quarantine experience and what i’m thankful for”

I’ve also had the time to think about how lucky I am. I get to stay at home and take the time to rest, reflect on life, and prepare myself for the journey ahead. A lot of people are not as lucky. Especially when considering up-and-coming musicians, the inability to go out and perform makes it really difficult to make a name for themselves. There are many ways we can support them, whether it’s by streaming their music, requesting their songs on the radio, or simply showing our support and appreciation for them on social media. It is a very difficult time for us, and I hope that everyone can continue to stay strong as we fight this pandemic together.

Completing my quarantine has not been an easy journey, but it has been a necessary one. It has also had a profound impact on my outlook on life. I believe it is important to stay connected with one another and truly support each other. More than just texting, take the time to video call someone, show them a smile, share pictures of your daily life. It is remarkable how together you can still be with others even as you distance yourself socially.”

We’re happy that he is okay! 

By: Aishah Akashah Ahadiat