DEFCON 3 - Life In Lockdown, Day 26
Credits to: GIPHY
Some time has passed from my previous chronicle of living under lockdown, and in truth, I've not been able to find much to talk about. It can either be attributed to my introverted nature, or the fact that I live a more mediocre life. Being constrained at home all the time, I've noticed and taken a greater appreciation for things that are happening outside my four walls, and I'm eager to feel them again, soon.
The beaming sunlight, breezy air, and the smells of trees and grass, it's the simplest things that we've taken for granted in the past. Yet, while the temptation grows, it's our restraint and fortitude in these rather dull times, to reject our desires. In that way, we might prevent the plague from further destroying human life than we know and love today.
Every day, a similar routine continues - waking up, fiddling about with the computer, eating, bathing, and going back to sleep. Naturally, that's condensing it rather much, though even the more detailed logs of everyday life highlights nothing noteworthy. While I have my family around me, I've taken more time to spend with them. I've also undertaken other opportunities to write elsewhere, in exchange for monies that are becoming hard to get. Hence, my more prolonged, though unintentional absences.
Credits to: GIPHY
Across Malaysia, the most significant change since my last updates were the extension of our lockdown, or Movement Control Order, as it's been called officially. Some consider it to be a partial lockdown, as it's not as severe as in some other countries. Speaking for myself, I haven't really given much thought to the specificities over the differences, but in all, a nation's entire population has been locked down in one way or another, with only the most crucial services running.
The very first movement control order was initiated on March 18th, nearly a month ago, with two, two-week extensions since. It was supposed to end tomorrow, but clearly, the Covid-19 (Coronavirus ) pandemic has but barely slowed. Yesterday, with near a unanimous call from frontliners, countless academics and scientific experts, and from the general population, it will now be extended to the 28th of April.
While I'm sure most people are getting rather bored now, as we've been confined in our homes for nearly a month, this is a step that is necessary. According to projections by the WHO, Malaysia, which is currently the worst-hit nation in South East Asia, would see Covid-19's peak around mid-April, a deadline nearing soon. But even if those projections are perfectly, accurate, and we'll start to see the curve flattening, all efforts and sacrifices thus far will hinge on how humankind will behave once we've been unchained.
Credits to: Bing - Covid-19/Coronavirus Tracker
Will we be vigilant enough to ensure the practices of social-distancing, and good hygiene? Or, would we leave our homes in celebration, to take that opportunity and mingle with our others? Time will tell, and I do suspect that until our healthcare systems have been bolstered, with appropriate medications in place, there will be more extensions, maybe even until the Winter snows fall. If all goes well, we may soon have these restrictions on our movements be eased.
Until then, some businesses will be allowed to re-open in stages, though that'll depend on whether their owners are willing to take the health risks, or the financial burdens of there being fewer customers. For a moment, workshops and barbers were allowed to re-open, so if you're turning into Rapunzel, of if your car needs some working on, this should be a relief. Though since I was writing this, backlash had forced them to shut once more.
Now, there's the question of Ramadhan, and its bazaars. At the end of April, on a particular date that I've not remembered, it'll mark the beginning of the fasting month, asking the faithful to neither drink nor eat, from dawn to dusk. In some countries, this also marks the opening of bazaars. Opened in the late afternoons, countless stalls prepare delicacies to dine on, as you break fast, if you're not in the mood for some cooking.
Credits to: Tatler Asia (Great Things About Ramadan Bazaars In Malaysia)
It's always a joy to have these bazaars, despite the tropical heat and lack of water in your body, and contending with large crowds and constant shoulder-bumping. It's for this reason, why I believe there needs to be another extension, all the way beyond May. Can you imagine how much faster a disease would spread, in a place with large crowds, where social-distancing is nigh impossible? Moreover, with food items and drinks being placed in the public where disease could attach themselves to, it sounds like an impending disaster to me.
There's been talks and plans to make these timely bazaars devoid of foot traffic, and move all that online. With new food-delivery apps, takeaways, or drive-throughs, this'll be a really interesting Ramadhan to experience, though I'll still miss the smell of nice, hot food. Speaking of, another interesting thought that's popped up in my mind, more on personal finances.
While staying at home means less money being spent on fuel, we'll still need to eat and get supplies, and the most of these are being done online. Some outlets are charging more, and with most others you'll have to pay for delivery. Food, groceries, we're spending more than we would normally. Not being one to meticulously catalogue their expenses, I haven't really made any precise calculations, but we're certainly paying a premium for dinner nowadays.
Credits to: GIPHY
If this lockdown is going on for longer, I do think that slashing fees and taxes will be an important step to cushion the economic impact on households. Already, more people are losing their jobs, especially for freelancers and the self-employed. As someone who works online, I've been fortunate enough to be spared. Nevertheless for my mother, who works at a Kindergarten that's been shut for nearly a month, it has been rather difficult.
My personal life's been rather normal, though I've been spending more time on the computer than I would otherwise do. Another reason for my prolonged absences, has been my binging on movies and TV shows. Some highlights include going back to the old seasons of Top Gear and The Grand Tour, and also the first two Transformer movies. I've had some laughs and moments of suspense, though the later ones haven't excited me as much. War movies are next.
I've also had the pleasure of leaving to the shops a couple of times since the last update. Bread used to be a rare commodity, as production just couldn’t keep up. It's even forced some stores to mandate that each person can only buy one loaf. Now, the manufacturing of pastries have ramped up, so much so that we can leave with as much as we needed, which is important, because I rely on much dough to keep me going.
We've also managed to buy masks for the first time, which were all sold out at first. It can be rather anxious at times to leave home back then, as we had to ration out the masks which we had. This pack of 20 from a nearby 7-Eleven will do quite nicely until we get our big re-supply online, which hasn't yet arrived after two weeks, and it'll be sorely needed given that the Coronavirus will be around for a bit longer.
I'd also like to take this point to address a bit on HIVE, as there's been plenty of Coronavirus-themed contests for people to share their stories. But, I won't be taking part as I don't have much to say, unfortunately. There's an initiative for sharing what you'll do when Covid-19 ends, but I really don't know beyond going around naked, and feeling the warm breeze running through my plums. As for discussing my personal goals and challenges, I don't have much, other than not killing my family members for blasting out the TV.
There's also the Steem 100-Days challenges, of which I haven't paid much attention so far. Though despite whatever sparring between Steem and HIVE, it's great to see these contests as a way to incentivise more quality content creation, and it'll hopefully bring more people onto the platform. Sure, we might disagree with one another, but competition always brings out the best for gradual improvements, and it may just bring more attention to outsiders. One of these days, we can better compete against Medium, and Reddit, which is also planning it's own cryptocurrency-based voting system.
With all the pain and anguish that's happened around the world so far, it's made me wish this outbreak will just disappear here and now. But in the real world, it's a lot harder than that, and life as we knew before will change for the next few months, or years. Between us, those who care for themselves, and their loved ones at home, or the people who brave themselves to leave their safety for our survival, we're doing a great job at fighting this together. So, let's keep this up, and stay safe!
Credits to: GIPHY