Three pieces of masks

We received our 3 pieces of masks in the mail today. It's a good gesture but I somehow find it impractical. Three masks for three people in my house and for only one time use.

The practice in Taiwan is different. They allow each person to buy 2 pieces of masks per week using their ID card. The price is controlled and they make sure they produce enough stock. And the have a system to ensure you adhere to only one purchase per week.

It is still ok now we are mostly at home and do not need to use it so often. But when MCO is lifted, it will be another story. Will we have enough supply for the entire nation?

I certainly hope so.

Will there be another panic buy when MCO is lifted?

pearlie

Setting up a recording studio at home

My church has been meeting online even before MCO began on 18 March, partially online before that and fully online after.

As per our duty roster, I wasn't my turn to worship lead until next week and with the team now up-skilled to run the weekly worship service seamlessly, it's now my turn to get myself set up for next week.

And I wondered if I need to get the proper equipment to set up a home recording studio and I found this video simple and informative. 

5 Things You Need to Set Up a Home Studio

All is good except that if I were to get the mixer pad and the condenser mic she recommended, it will cost me RM2000.

So looks like I will have to just settle for the bare basic that I already have: just my computer. 

pearlie

MCO Police Block #2

MCO

I was caught in a police block today, for the second time since the start of MCO.

The first one was when I went to the airport to pick up my son returning home, and that was exactly a month ago. That time, the police officer was very nice and friendly about it. 

But not so this time.

I wasn't worried because I wasn't flouting any regulations. I was within 10km of my home, I was alone in my car, I had a mask on, I went to the doctor's office, got some groceries and was on my way to pick up food I have ordered via the telephone. All essential purposes. 

The moment I stopped my car at the blockade, I showed them my identity card with my address on it and told them why I was out. 

The police asked me if I have a letter of authorization.

A letter? To go buy food?

I do have a letter for work since I am working in essential services, but I was not out for work. Just to visit the doctor and to get some food since I was already out. 

The first police officer directed me to the other side of the road and the next police officer questioned me again and I repeated the same thing. He looked into my car, which was full of groceries, but he was so reluctant to let me go. 

He finally did but he was so unwilling to do so.

I did wonder why and I figured out he must have thought I was trying to lie my way of out of it. 

I do have my doctor's report, which I would fish out if he would still not let me go. 

But wouldn't you think he would render it fishy since I seem to have too many valid reasons?

I understand they are doing their job and it is right that they should call out those who lie to break the MCO.

And good for them. And thankfully, he finally believed me. 

My lesson though is that - avoid that stretch of road! I wasn't thinking and took the wrong route. If I had stuck to my usual route, I wouldn't have been caught. 

But it's an interesting experience nonetheless.

pearlie

It feels like an oven at home

MCO
What I miss most about my office is the winter-cold air-conditioning. I am not joking, some of my colleagues do go to the office in woolen jackets. 

Now that I'm working from home, the only air-conditioner I have is in our bedroom and that is not working so well either. 

And the unit in the lounge which we seldom use is no longer working, and so conveniently at the wrong time. 

My hubby bought a room thermometer and it arrived today. I'm not surprised to see what's the room temperature right now.


And my body temperature is just 3.5 degrees away.

So how do I stay cool?

I have no choice but to bear it and to get used to it. When it gets too hot, I put a bottle of frozen drinking water to my face and as it melts down, to drink.

Such is life working from home. 

pearlie

Yummy Chocolate Mug Cake

I have been craving for chocolate cake for the longest time. 

I have only been going out to the supermarket to get groceries once a week and not anywhere else and so I am not sure if the bakeries are open. And I rather not go check them out either. 

And so I decided to make a simple mug cake. No eggs, no oven. Just mix cocoa, flour, milk, sugar, oil, baking powder, salt and Nutella in a mug and pop it into the microwave.

And voila!


At a time when I am working from home and having done that for more than one month now, I no longer have the energy to make anything complicated.

So the microwave is a lifesaver. 

It is not as good as a baked moist chocolate cake of course, but still, it's the good old rich chocolate cake albeit in a mug.

If you want to try it out, the recipe is found here.

pearlie

A full day of back to back Teams meetings

MCO

I spent the entire day today running townhall meetings for my company from 9am to almost 5pm with 15 minutes breaks and an hour lunch break in between. 

By the time we were done, I practically shut down both my PC and my brain and retired for the day. 

It was not a tough thing to do but having the mind on full alert to manage all the sessions from 9 to 5, it was certainly taxing. 

I hope the next townhall will just be one session for everyone.

pearlie

Psalm 23 - beautifully translated in Bahasa Indonesia

With our choral group Grace Notes not meeting up for practice since the month of March, I am still trying to connect each other by encouraging all of us to do a daily devotion together. 

So some of us are doing this devotion from YouVersion: Journal - Psalms courtesy of International English Service Jakarta.

It is a very good reading plan. 
In the devotion on Psalm 23, we were recommended to read the psalm in Bahasa Indonesia with it being a beautiful translation of the Hebrew. 

I can't find an online Malay Bible, and so looking at the Bahasa Indonesia version, it is indeed very beautiful written:
 
Mazmur 23
TUHAN adalah gembalaku, takkan kekurangan aku.
Ia membaringkan aku di padang yang berumput hijau, 
Ia membimbing aku ke air yang tenang;
Ia menyegarkan jiwaku. 
Ia menuntun aku di jalan yang benar oleh karena nama-Nya.
Sekalipun aku berjalan dalam lembah kekelaman, aku tidak takut bahaya, 
sebab Engkau besertaku; 
gada-Mu dan tongkat-Mu, 
itulah yang menghibur aku.
Engkau menyediakan hidangan bagiku, 
di hadapan lawanku; 
Engkau mengurapi kepalaku dengan minyak; 
pialaku penuh melimpah.
Kebajikan dan kemurahan belaka akan mengikuti aku, seumur hidupku; 
dan aku akan diam dalam rumah TUHAN sepanjang masa.

I'm so thankful to the LORD, kerana saya dapat berdiam diri bukan sahaja di rumah saya sendiri, tetapi lebih pentingnya seumur hidupku boleh saya berdiam diri dalam rumah Tuhan sepanjang masa. 

pearlie

Kuih Keria FAIL

I wanted to make this:
...but this was the results:
Haha!

I made two mistakes. 

One, I accidentally bought Japanese sweet potatoes and two, I used brown sugar.

FAIL.

I'm not sure if I will try again. 

Maybe. 

pearlie

My new home office

MCO
Finally! I cleared up the clutter in my library and I now have my new home office.

Yay!

I was using a small table and dining room chair downstairs and I keep getting backaches and stiff neck because of it. 

So I gathered the energy to clear the clutter and set up office in my library. 

It's not ideal since I'll be using a sofa with a regular table. My hands may suffer. 

And it would be much warmer in the daytime. I wish I had central air-conditioning for my whole house. Don't we all.

I hope this will work.

pearlie

Getting familiar with MS Teams and MS Live Events


I spent the whole day figuring out how MS Live Events would work for an event for my company, and if MS Teams would be preferred for our purposes.

I did not have the chance to host the Zoom meetings for my church but from my limited view, I can see how much better and versatile Zoom is compared to Teams.

Except that for Zoom's capabilities, it has compromised its security and we are not allowed to use it for work anymore.

We have to use the more secure MS Teams and MS Live Events and it looks like I will be spending the whole day again tomorrow testing it and getting it ready for use next week.

pearlie

Dah tak larat nak hadap dah...

MCO

"Don't you dare think this is heaven cluster...please clear the table after the meal. Wash your own plates. This frontliner has no energy to face it anymore..."

This is not funny or amusing anymore.

pearlie

Getting a haircut during MCO

My son needs a haircut badly but even though our government will be allowing hairdressers to open during the third wave of MCO, I won't be sending him there.

It's better to be safe and have long hair.

I found this video on a tutorial on how to cut medium to long men's hair by scissors, which looks doable...


...except that my son, who do cut his own hair, just told me he doesn't trust me.

pearlie

I am grateful


Too many things happened today, good and not so good but I am grateful.

This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. 
~ Psalm 118:24

Blessed Easter to all!

pearlie

I am obsessed with my phone storage space

I don't know why but I'm so obsessed with maximising my phone storage. I keep clearing its cache and clearing media in my WhatsApp.

Maybe it's all because of that, my WhatsApp.

I have been receiving so many photos and videos it's really clogging up my phone. 

And since I'm home, there are a few apps I don't use much. So off they go.

So from this...
...I reduced it to this.

I need to stop online shopping and window shopping with Shopee and Lazada. Off they go.

I have my Kindle Paperwhite with me and since I started working from home, I can't find the time to read anything anyway. So Kindle app, off you go.

The Facebook app is huge, second to my Outlook app. It went up to the size of almost 800MB. It had to go. I shouldn't spend too much time there anyway. Without the app I'll be logging in via Chrome. 

And finally my Outlook app. It's crazy huge. It went up to a whopping 1.1G! 

I can't remove it since I need it for work as I can't always be sitting in front of my PC every minute and every second. I did a search online but couldn't find anything that could help reduce the size, until I figured out something. 

It has to do with what I have in my Outlook. It syncs across all my devices and what I have in my PC Outlook is what I will have in my Android Outlook. 

So what I did was to clear my folders, i.e. my Sent, Clutter, and Junk folders. 
 
And voila! it reduced in size. Not by much though. It went down to 756MB but it went up to 897MB and now it's at 767MB. Not by much but I'm so glad that I figured it out at least. 

I'm not sure how long this obsession gonna last. I only have 64G internal memory, with a 128G SD card. But not all apps will automatically store documents externally.

And so probably I will be still obsessed, until I get a new phone with more memory.

pearlie

My big blob of water blister


The blister I have on my finger now isn't so bad but I have never had one this bad.

The entire scalded section of my finger is now a water blister. 

I'll save you from the sight of it. 

I googled and found out that water blisters are fluid-filled sacs on the skin and they are formed when when the outer layer of the skin is damaged and the body sends blood to heal and cool the injured area. 

The blood sent is in the form of blood serum without clotting agents or blood cells. Ah, that why it's not red but clear fluid.

These serum sacs serve as protective pads with the outer layer of skin protecting the wound from infection, while new skin is being formed underneath and the fluid absorbed. 

Aren't our body is so amazing in self-healing itself?

Though most times it cannot.

And it is now top most in our responsibility and priority not only to protect ourselves but to protect others by social distancing ourselves.

pearlie

My finger got fried

I was careless while preparing dinner today that I got hot oil splashed on my finger and got it scalded.

It was so painful but dinner had to be served and so I continued cooking with water running down my hand or a cold pack wrapped around my finger. 

As a result, the kitchen was in a mess, since I can only cook with one hand. But dinner was good. I made fried rice rice with luncheon meat. 

It then took me 3 hours to dull the pain. I was adviced to use apple cider vinegar and aloe vera and a few other things which I do not have, but in the end, only cold water worked. 

It doesn't look too bad but it's about 2cm long with a big blob of blister in the middle of it. 

I read that it will take 3 weeks for it to heal. Apparently I do not need any bandage if the blister is not broken but it will be a challenge not to irritate it.

This is what happens when I am not careful.

And this when my friend suffered the same fate with boiling hot water yesterday.

Tsk tsk tsk...yeah, how careless.

pearlie

A slight scare

I had a slight scare today. I'm praying and hoping all will be okay and that it's nothing in the end. 

pearlie

A dance so sublime

Art
Ok, I spent the whole day mostly lazying away but found this video that I watched over and over again so many times.  

Ten x Winwin Chereography to Lovely by Billy Eilish and Khalid

Ten (in white) is from Thailand and he is known to be an excellent dancer. Winwin (in grey) is from China and he is trained in Chinese traditional dance, which gave him a ballet-like quality and shape to his dance. 

Watch it and tell me what you think it means, and which of the two dancers moved you more.

You might end up like me watching it again and again and picking up more and more things as I watch.

It is spectacular.

And also check out Winwin's solo here:

Winwin solo dance - 7th Sense


pearlie

Have you been stress eating? I am

How have you been controlling your food intake being isolated at home?

I find it more difficult because I keep wanting to eat. I don't think it's because I'm more comfortable at home or that food is more available. 

I think it's the stress.

Which is why I find this helpful.


I always keep a packet of Fisherman's Friend Cherry Flavour in my office drawer to pop one into my mouth after lunch to stop myself from eating anymore. But I don't do it all the time. 

I now have a packet on my table at home. 

And I think my stress has been sky high. I keep popping them into my mouth. 

It's working though because not only am I maintaining my weight, I am beginning to lose some. 

But I'm hungry now.

pearlie

I can't imagine having to cook everyday but now I do!

I am no cook and this 16 days of having to cook at home has been hard.

I don't cook everyday, we took delivery but only once and we do venture out to take away food. We still get to eat the food we like, from nearby restaurants.

But when I cook, it's either...

...beef spaghetti or...

...pork or beef porridge.

And a few other dishes I don't care to mention, though my kimchi fried rice and my variety of sandwiches aren't too bad either. 

But I need to cook something different.

pearlie

Grocery shopping this morning in Giant

MCO

I went to Giant to replenish my supplies this morning and considering the situation we are all in right now, they are doing it pretty well.

They are only limiting 100 shoppers every half an hour. 

On entry, my temperature was taken and sanitizer squirted onto my hands. I was then given a green tag with a number and "30 minutes" printed on it.

Just as I was wondering how they are going to enforce the 30 minutes, they started announcing that those with the green tags are to proceed to the payment counters immediately. Looks like I've used up my 30 minutes. Brilliant.

I had all the stuff I needed according to my shopping list except for a few items and off I went to the payment counter, and there wasn't even a line. 

But as I proceed to pay, a line began to form but it wasn't long. It was like the pre-coronavirus days except we are more focussed and no one was talking to each other. 

I then noticed that the tags are in 3 colors. I figured that when I go there again next week, provided they still maintain the same system, I'd arrive 5 to 10 minutes before the half an hour to the hour and have my shopping list ready. 

Shopping has certainly changed. Life has definitely changed. 

pearlie

Throwback #3: Catfish makes me miss my office


I was looking through my blogposts today and when I saw this post about catfish that I posted just 3 weeks ago. I have been having it quite often for lunch back in office--I can almost taste it right now--and it's making me miss my office so much. 

I miss the drive to the office. I am a person who don't mind the traffic congestion, as long as I am not rushing to the office for a meeting. It is a time for myself that I really value.

I miss the good mornings when I walk into the office. 

I miss the setting up at my table to start the day. 

I miss the lunches I have with my colleagues when most of the time we don't know what to eat.

I miss the coffee and the tea and the snacks.

I miss chatting with my cubicle neighbours. 

I miss packing up at the end of the day to return home. 

I miss feeling wonderful reaching home and spending the time doing a lot of family and me-stuff. 

Now that I'm staying at home, I appreciate the office more.

pearlie

Let's not hoard


There was a news article on Friday implying that there will be stricter controls in our movement control order, and there we go, panic buying happens again.

I tried to go to the supermarket yesterday morning but cars were lining up to enter. I gave up and turned back. 

I only need milk, fruits and bread. But I didn't want to be in the crowd. 

This morning, my hubby went out to 7-11 and managed to get some milk and bread. 

Good enough. It will last us for another week.

Stay safe everyone. We don't have to eat a lot or even eat all the time. Be ok with what we already have. 

pearlie

A Good Saturday


I have never appreciated a Saturday like how I appreciated today. 

It was so refreshing that it's a I-do-not-need-to work-at-home day. I spent most of the time in the kitchen though, and enjoying it. 

I am no cook and I prepare the simplest of things, nothing fancy and certainly nothing gourmet. It's as long as I get something edible and tasty on the table. 

It is a good day. I'm so sad that it's almost over. 

And by the way, that's not my kitchen up there. It would be a kitchen I'd love to have though. Isn't it gorgeous?

pearlie

MCO Day 10, WFH Day 8

Believe it or not we have gone through 10 days of restricted movement and 8 days of working from home. 

I am exhausted. 

Working from home during this MCO period has been non-stop for me. The moment I start work at 9:00 in the morning, it's a non-stop day until at least 7:30 in the evening, and on some days up to 10:30 at night. There is literally no break in between because lunch breaks are cooking time and that has become work too.

I am exhausted.

The nice thing though is I just received a text message from a colleague appreciating what I have been doing at work. His encouragement and nice words certainly brightened up my evening. Thanks Krishnan. That meant a lot. 

I am encouraged.

That actually brought me to tears because it has been quite an emotional week. My son returned from the US and we are worried about his health and our health. And I have been praying for a friend who had contracted the Covid-19 virus and I received news that he has passed away this morning. RIP my brother James Wong.

I am downcast.

But why so downcast O my soul, put your trust in the Lord, by day He commands His steadfast love and by night His song is with me*. I will trust and depend on Him fully, my God and my Abba Father. And it's a good thing that it's now Friday and the weekend.

I will re-charge. 

pearlie
* Psalm 42:5a, 8a

Our current craze over vacuum cleaners

My friend Melissa and I started a conversation today about vacuum cleaners. 

I haven't done much research on it but I do know I needed one. 

I got to know about the Dyson vacuum cleaners couple of years ago and even seen it being used in dramas. I wished I had one but with the price range between RM2000 and RM5000, it's not something I can part money for. 

But Melissa did her homework and told me about Xiaomi's Dreame vacuum cleaners that are comparable to Dyson's ones. 

And so off I went to Lazada to check it out and I found this:


I had planned to go to Giant--the only nearby store that is opened right now--to the electrical section, to get an ordinary vacuum cleaner.

But since the Xiaomi model is a Dyson equivalent, I happily dished out RM650 for one. 

This is the result of working from home and needing better tools to clean the house. 

pearlie

A long dark ride


I went to the airport yesterday night to pick up my son returning from the US. I was told that some tollgates were closed and when I checked Waze, I could see congestions at several points and so I decided to take the no-toll route.

The drive there was uneventful but never have I driven over so many road bumps, never have I used the high beam so many times and never have I driven so slowly before.

I had to because at most parts of the road, there weren't any street lights and there weren't any other cars on the road. It's just me and I had to give extra attention to driving in the dark to make sure I don't drive off the road. 

As I reach Sepang, there was a police block with a huge tent and many police officers. I told the officer where I was going and showed him my son's flight itinerary and he promptly wish me well to carry on. They were polite and very courteous about it unlike what I've heard from my colleagues. Probably those officers must have been so frustrated with numerous stupid excuses for being out of the house. 

My son's arrival and pick-up has never been so quick. There are so few travellers now that it only took him 40 minutes from touchdown to being seated in my car. And that included getting a health check and filling up a form.

On the way back, I didn't want to risk using the dark unlit roads again and decided to use the highway, which turned out to be better. There were no road blocks and the tolls were opened. 

And it was surreal to drive on an empty road in the dark of night. At one point, I wasn't even sure which lane I needed to be in on an extremely familiar road. 

Good that we are all now safe at home. And the 14 days of self-quarantine starts. I pray and hope we will all be fine. 

pearlie

Trying out Netflix but I can't cast it


I found out that Netflix has a new plan called Mobile for only RM17. I have used Netflix before and it cost RM35 for Basic, RM45 Standard and RM55 Premium a month. 

But now with the Mobile plan, it's only half the price of Basic but I can't cast it to the TV. And that's the only difference between Mobile and Basic. Other than that, it's exactly the same. 

My hubby wasn't keen on it and since I watch most of my shows on my Tablet anyway, I thought it would be worth a try. 

So I'm subscribing it for a month. Yeah, looks like I'm back to watching TV. 

Well...

pearlie

MCO Day 6, WFH Day 4: changed my work settings

I told myself that I will not use the sofa when I started working from home last week but by the time is was Friday evening, I was exhausted.

One of the reasons I thought could probably be that the chair that I was using is not ergonomically designed and not ideal for long-hour use.

And the thing is, all this while whenever I worked at home, I'm always on the sofa. 

So that was what I did today: worked on my sofa.

And I'm happy. 

However, it's only Monday. I'll have to see if I feel the same on Friday.

pearlie

Human against machines

We've been watching a lot of YouTube videos especially in these few days being at home though it's my hubby who has control over it and he kept putting on the Covid-19 updates and his science and travel stuff. 

It was all meh for me until he started watching this:

AlphaGo - The Movie (Full Documentary)

Even though this happened back in 2016, the documentary was just posted by DeepMind a week ago in YouTube on 13 Mar 2020.

I don't know how to play Go but watching how the world champion Lee Sedol from South Korea played against AlphaGo was indeed very captivating. 

There were five games played over five days and most have expected Lee Sedol to win all games, or at worst four. Go is a game with too many moves and they felt that a computer programme will not be able to play it well, yet.

But Lee Sedol lost. He only won one game and that game was termed to be a masterpiece and probably the most famous game in the history of Go.

When watching the documentary, I got emotional when he won that one game, the 4th game. As much as I wanted technology to progress and become smart so that it can assist us, I didn't want it to win. 

I want us to win. 

You'd notice I used the word "us". It was the exact same sentiment in the tournament on that day. When Lee Sedol won, the other Go professional players also felt like they themselves have won. It was like a victory for mankind against machines. 

Though the DeepMind team who created AlphaGo did say that it was a victory for mankind as well since it was dreamt up and developed and created by people. 

But what will artificial intelligence or AI mean for us when it becomes better and smarter than us? What happens when it becomes creative and writes itself? The experts have commented that AI is still very nascent at this point of time but technology is progressing so fast that it will catch up in no time.

The documentary movie is a long one at one and a half hours but it's worth a watch. Quite a lot of Korean is being spoken too and so do switch on Captions for the English subtitles.

pearlie

Are you covered in data and speed?

With us all at home, are you covered in data usage and speed?

Those working from home with Zoom and Microsoft Teams, do check your data usage. It might be massive. 

Those free at home and watching movies and accessing YouTube, you may be maxing out your data usage as well.

To share, we at U Mobile offer Unlimited Data in very affordable plans and much more. Check it out in https://www.u.com.my/.

pearlie

Work From Home Day 3


It's the third day working from home and I'm already exhausted. Why is it that I feel so much more tired working from home compared to in the office?

I kept to my hours just like in the office. I don't even have to drive or get stuck in traffic.

So why am I more tired? 

Is it because it's warmer at home? I don't walk as much as in the office? I don't have colleagues to talk to and laugh with? 

I really have no idea.

pearlie

Cooking at Home when Working from Home

This is one of the best things I have bought: a pressure cooker. 

And I don't believe I have had it since 2016. It still feels so new to me. Probably because I don't use it as much as I should. 

But with the current work-from-home arrangements, this is coming in handy. I wanted to make a simple lunch today and decided I'd just make chicken porridge. 

To got the chicken out of the freezer at 8:00am, pop everything into the pressure cooker at 11:45am, which is just rice, water and chicken, and cook it for 13 minutes. 

I was only able to break from work after 12:30pm and the pressure cooker was already on warm setting for 26 minutes. 

And here's my simple chicken porridge. 

For those who seldom cook may feel that it's a very difficult thing to do. I'd refer you then to what I have posted before, to what Michael Pollan said in a Coursera lecture I have attended.

He said that cooking isn't so complicated if we don't make it so. All you need to have in your home are these few basic ingredients: olive oil, onions, garlic, lemons, sugar, and salt. And as an Asian, adding soy sauce and oyster sauce would complete the list. 

And I had thought that the more ingredients I put in, the more complete the dish. Now I think differently. It was then that I made the yummiest stewed lamb shank with only 2 ingredients, lamb and onions. 

We can cook. We don't have to make it complicated. 

pearlie

Work From Home Day 1

For someone who does not prefer to work from home but having no choice about it, Work From Home Day 1 went on surprisingly quite well.

I was wondering where in my house should I work in. I refused to use the sofa, which I usually do when I do some work at home sometimes, and thought the table behind my sofa would be perfect. 

It was good except I am not used to sitting on that chair for hours on end. I realised I had to get up and walk around once in awhile.

Our team had a virtual meeting that lasted for two hours, all because we didn't have anyone chasing us out of the meeting room that we would have booked for one and a half hours!

Therefore, I made a point to have a time keeper for our next meeting.

So what did I do to make it work for me? 

1. Dress for work. I am a notch more casual than what I would usually wear to work but at least I dressed up.

2. Don't work from bed or from the sofa. I set it up with a table and chair as close as what I have in my office. My only problem is that I am sharing the space with my husband. We kept invading each other's space in the sounds that we make and the TV he watches. It's learning to be patient and not snap at each other so readily. 

3. Maintain my normal hours of work. This is most important. I can be someone who would work late into the hours if I get into the zone. At least when I'm in the office, I leave when it's time to leave. There will always be more work tomorrow. But when I'm working at home, there's no "leaving". But if I keep to the hours, I will tell myself to stop. 

4. Follow my calendar closely and record what I do from hour to hour. I am a go-with-the-flow kind of person and I need to make sure I don't go down a rabbit hole and forget to come back up. At least when I'm at work, my team will walk over and start discussing with me pulling me out of my hole if I'm ever in one. 

5. Have frequent check-ins with the team. We have no problems communicating in the office since my team and I sit in a row and we'd just start talking to each other without any barriers. But now we don't see each other any more. So we use Microsoft Teams to chat just like we do in the office but then we don't say as much, since texts are always short. But we did have a team video conference meeting that almost felt like we were all in the same room.

So this is Day 1. I just shut down my computer, took a shower and got into my pajamas. 

So far so good. Now onto Day 2.

pearlie

Getting ready to work from home

Our government gave a Movement Control Order to restrict our movement in the coming two weeks. 

With that, we still have a day today at the office to get ourselves ready: for our core functions to work in office and non-core functions to work from home. Since we are an essential services organisation, we can still operate in this period of restriction, but we are keeping it skeleton with just the core functions in the office. 

It was indeed a busy day getting communication out to staff, and getting logistics and equipment ready. 

We were also busy testing out our tele-conferencing tool as well. Not preferred, but not a choice. 

And for the first time in our lives, we need to have enough necessities stocked up at home in these coming 2 weeks.

I have been stocking up bit by bit in the last month. I had realised then that if it did turn into a panic buying, which did, it will be troublesome if not too late.

However, I did not buy any perishables. So when I went to the supermarket at the mall where my office is situated this afternoon, I'm quite surprised it was still quite well stocked. I have heard of panic buying in many other supermarkets in the last 2 days. Probably this one is not in a housing area and hence lower in density and demand.

I am glad I managed to get some bananas and vegetables and raw chicken. 

I don't have a lot but I think I am all set for the next 14 days working from home.

The challenge now is getting the hang of working from home. I never like the idea. I very much prefer work in the office, rest and leisure at home. 

But life has certainly taken an unexpected turn. 

pearlie

Virtual church from home

We did not go to church today, at least not physically. 

But virtually.

I am not used to it. It is so difficult not to be distracted. 

But it looks like this will be a norm for a while until it all comes back to normal.

Quickly I hope but it doesn't look very promising. 

So we all do need to do our part and practice social distancing to slow down the spread and not overwhelm our healthcare capacity.

pearlie

How would you define "wasting time"?

I didn't feel like doing anything today. I didn't want to read any books or do any work. 

I just wanted to laze.

I know, I know...sloth is one of the seven deadly sins.

But I felt so tired after a long week that I don't feel like doing anything serious today. 

So I didn't.

And by the end of the day, as expected, I felt so guilty.

And as it is with my modus operandi, solving  problems through intellectual thinking and research, I went looking for books. 

Talk about irony.

These are what I found:

In Praise of Wasting Time
by Alan Lightman

This book is written by Alan Lightman, an M.I.T professor who says that half our waking minds must be designated and saved for quiet reflection. 

But what is more important I think is what "wasting time" mean in the first place. 

To Lightman, it refers to non-goal oriented uses of time but this book reviewer said that the chapter extolling the virtue of all forms of play is chock-full of goal-oriented activities.

So in the end our mindset is still set on achieving things. 

Can't we just watch a music video on YouTube and not gain anything from it other than to be entertained? 

Can't we watch reruns of Gossip Girl in Netflix just for the drama of it?

Wasting Time on the Internet
by Kenneth Goldsmith

The title and cover of this book look so simple it may beguile you to think it's an unworthy publication that does not deserve your attention. 

But instead it's the work of Kenneth Goldsmith, a poet and conceptual artist who teaches a creative writing course in University of Pennsylvania called "Wasting Time on the Internet", which the 256-page book is obviously named after.

He said that while theorists may claim that the Internet is making us dumber, when his students wasted time together, something magical happened: they became more creative with each other. 

In our digital world, we are reading and socializing differently. We do it in the Internet. We build communities we may never see or even realize we are a part of. We talk to strangers in YouTube, in Instagram, in Twitter. We connect, we create.

So can we say that we are not wasting time but expanding our mind in platforms and areas we will never have had access to if not for the Internet?

So can I go back to watching my cat videos now?

pearlie

Act Today or People Will Die


I have been following the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus ever since I saw the signs that were put up in Incheon Airport when I return from Seoul back then on 1st Jan 2020.

Its spread has been devastating and scary. And it has now reached the shores of so many countries that some may become worse than Hubei province if not contained well.

I have been watching it on YouTube and reading articles but this long article from Medium.com is now a must read: - Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now.

The article concludes that the one thing that we must do now is social distancing. It will be tough to lockdown countries and companies, businesses and religious gatherings. But it must be done. Even a day of lockdown will slow down the spread quite substantially. 

I pray with all my heart that it will be contained soon, after which we will still have to face another huge problem of its aftermath.

pearlie