Quarantine, And The Great Feast | Life In Lockdown, Day 39.
Credits to: GIPHY
Survive we must, and most important, to resolutely maintain our common humanity, even under severe adversity. The Covid-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak has done well to bring about a halt to some of the things that we used to consider as ordinary. This 'new normal ' has brought alterations to our daily lives at a global scale, such with the likes that has never been seen in recent memories; between stranding loved ones apart, bringing financial and material ruination, among other lost opportunities.
It has never been easy, but our infinite compassion, and desire for happiness towards each other continues to bring great strength, even in these testing times. We do what we must, because we can - between the things that have changed, and those that remain the same. Just as the years before it, the holy month of Ramadan goes on, and it marks the beginning of the fasting season. As a person who's not at all religious, nor having abided by most strictures, I do at least fast, because I can.
Credits to: GIPHY
That may seem as though it's throwing more oil onto a raging fire; by bringing more stress unto an already anxious populace, living under the shadow of a plague that strikes all persons without prejudice - there are benefits to practicing fasting, while living under lockdown. At the time of writing this, it marks the third day of fasting, which means having neither food, nor drink from the start of the first daily prayer, which happens around 5.45 in the morning, until the evening prayer at 7.15.
Once the prayer's call has been sounded, you're permitted to once again stuff your face full of everything tasty, by breaking fast, not to be confused with 'breakfast '. That’s 13 hours of having nothing to eat nor drink, and a daily routine that you'll have to follow for about 30 days, until the celebration of Eid - a big deal for Muslims, sort of like Christmas - brings our diet back to normality. Fasting is apparently a core tenet of Islam, and it presents a time for self-discipline and modesty. I don't really understand it's origins, but it's something that I've been doing since I turned 8-years old.
One For All, All For One.
Credits to: Hurriyet Daily
It may sound hard, because it is, there are advantages to fasting, not only for yourself, but also for others. Firstly - and this is the single biggest reason why I practice fasting somewhat - it's the only time of the year where I'm forced to diet. Ordinarily, I don't abide by healthy eating, and I feed myself whatever I want, which leads to some very unhealthy things being put through my digestive system.
With fasting, I'm forced to exclude one or two meals, so that's less stuff clogging up my insides. Besides, it's not just me saying that, as there are people who firmly believe in the idea of intermittent fasting as a way to stay healthy. On the subject of eating less, it's not only a boon for your diet, but it's also a great way cut down on waste, and save some food for others, especially since food production has been slowed to a crawl due to the ongoing spread of Covid-19.
Credits to: GIPHY
Although some shops are still able to stock their shelves without difficulty, as a result of certain people hoarding goods, or that factories are only working at minimal capacity - there's not enough go around, and someone, somewhere will be left famished. By having excluded one meal, all the energy and materials that had gone into the food, which would otherwise have been consumed by you - could now be spared for someone who might really need it. The cause and effects of being locked down also has some other unintended benefits, for better or worse.
Without needing to work, or by having your work desk be re-assigned to the comforts of your home, fasting has become an easier prospect to endure. I'm fortunate enough to have the pleasure of working on my own schedule, and to be the boss to myself. As a trade-off for working far past midnight, I now sleep-in until later in the day, a time which I'll not publicly specify, out of shame. Simply, the less time I'm awake while fasting - the less I'll have to be aware of needing food or drinks inside of me. If you're bold enough, you could probably sleep-in all the way until the evenings.
Credits to: MalayMail | The Malaysian Army, patroling local flats and markets near where I am.
The less energy you spend, the less calories and hydration you'll need. I had once worked in telemarketing for insurance products, and let me tell you, it's pretty hard to keep cold-calling people, *with the expense of my saliva turning into convincing pitches that would then be rejected *, while still practice fasting. All that talking really reminds you how underrated a sip of water can be. Admittedly, I soon realised that most of my mates in the office weren't fasting anyways, and it became a practical necessity to take sips of water between breaks, just to make sure your throat doesn't burn up.
Yesterday was another situation where fasting can prove to be a slight inconvenience, as I needed to go on the regular scavenger hunt at the nearby grocery store. Other than the fact that it was a Saturday, there were more people there than I anticipated. It might've been because some of the areas in my local county has been put under a new, more enhanced lockdown measure.
Given the high-concentration of people at a large wholesale market nearby, just a 15 minute drive from my place, there were fears that a new outbreak cluster could be formed. Yikes indeed, with the local army and police checkpoints meaning that most of the larger supermarkets that people usually go to, are inaccessible for the most part, or too much of a potential health hazard.
While I had parked near enough, the store itself is located on a hill, thus leading up and down to stairs in-between it, and my car. It's not feasible to push the trolley down, as the only ramp in place had rusted the whole way through, diminishing the little trust I had in its structural integrity. I thus had to leave my trolley by the entrance, entrusting the storekeepers to keep a watchful eye, lest someone steals my groceries, as I carry boxes and bags, one at a time.
Not easy when you've had no food or water for the past few hours, under the hot and humid tropical sun, while having to carry boxes of heavy water jugs, among other things enough to keep a family of four fed for the whole month. My mom usually tags along to help, but with stricter "one car, one person " rules, I wasn't going to take the chance on a $250 fine.
It didn't get any better in the car either, having been cooked inside a black automobile that's been heating up with 34°C of heat and 80% humidity- a typical Malaysian afternoon. Plus, there's the discomfort of the air-conditioning not working, with the refrigerant having barely blown it's last cool breeze weeks ago. Imagine all those beads of sweat running down your face, it really makes you want to take a nice, cool swig of water, doesn't it?
Trials, And Tribulations.
Credits to: Bing - Covid-19 Tracker | Flattening the curve.
At least I did enjoy my time outside. Just like many other people across the globe, I do share qualms about having to lock myself down. Nevertheless, it seems to be paying off, as Malaysia is joining some other countries that are beginning to see the curve flattening. Over the past week or so, we've been seeing a decrease in the number of confirmed cases, and deaths. They've also announced yesterday, that our partial-lockdown will once more be getting another two-week extension, to May the 12th.
Personally, I still think that's not enough, as we should be seeing our lockdown measure lasting all the way to June, since festivities like Ramadan and Eid will only encourage people to go around, and mingle about. As we're all itching to out outside, and enjoy the bounties of Mother Nature, the extended lockdown is by all means, some welcoming news. At this point, we're way past complaining of having to stay put, because this is the lifestyle that we have to get used to, like it or not.
Credits to: The Culture Trip | 10 Best Ramadan Bazaars in Kuala Lumpur.
There's one downside however, which is that Ramadan bazaars will not be held, at least not in its fully operational state. I've talked about this in some previous lockdown updates, and I can say for certain, that the best, and most rewarding part of fasting, is going out to a bazaar. For our household at least, this means going out two hours before breaking fast, and strolling around dozens of stalls, each displaying tasty, mouth-watering, wonderfully-scented, freshly-made delicacies.
Here, there is always something to suit your fancy. Naturally, with a plague going around, it's not possible to hold bazaars with loads of people bumping shoulders with each other. There were talks of moving all of this online, by having food-delivery riders pick them up for you instead. I suppose the logistics have been nigh impossible to organise, as that idea has been canned for the most part, though some places still have access to them. I've yet to find a bazaar that could deliver to my house, but I'm optimistic that it could still be managed within a month's time.
Credits to: GIPHY
For now, that's all that happened since my last update. Echoing those logs that I made two weeks ago, there's not much to talk about when the whole world has practically grinded to a stop. The routines of being at home all day, is something that I've gotten used to, boring as it may have been. While I could leave home and take a stroll outside, there isn't really much to see around here, I find.
The woodlands around here are very dense and cordoned off, leaving only concrete structures and tarmac to gaze upon. Another thing I've learned since being locked down, is that contrary to my own commitments, this whole situation has made me lazier than I wanted to be. Assuming that I won't procrastinate on movies and games too much, I shall have more things to say… tomorrow. In the meantime, take care, and I hope you and your loved ones are doing well. Stay safe!
Credits to: GIPHY