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Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Wet Market Social Distancing

We ran out of minced pork. The 2 dogs need quite a bit of minced pork for home cooked meals. So, I had to go to the wet market. It took 1 hr to do what I normally get done in 15 minutes. One had to queue to get inside the market. Since I did not want to queue too often, I bought a lot more than I normally do...

- 8 kgs of minced pork
- 3 kgs of pork belly
- 2 kgs of pork ribs

Thank goodness Fatty likes me. He shared that his supplier only gave him 3 pieces of pork belly, when he ordered 30 pieces. He let me have 1 of the 3 pieces because I am a loyal customer.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Spending Covidity Time Together

Spending Covidity time with Pistachio.

This Covid19 business is not all bad. I actually get to see my family so much more. For once, everyone is home for dinner every day of the week. I never thought I would live to see this happen! I suppose this can cut 2 ways. If relationships at home are bad, April 2020 is going to be hell. If relationships at home are good, April 2020 will be full of warmth and love and affection.

Now that there is community transmission and asymptomatic individuals can spread the virus, I have stopped buying from hawkers who

(1) ... do not mask up...
(2) AND who sell foods that don't take well to re-heating.

This means no more braised duck, crispy pork belly, roast duck, economy rice etc... These are foods that do not taste good once I heat them up again at home. In contrast, yong tau fu, Indian curries, laksa, mutton soup and bak kut teh all taste good even after reheating. As a result, I cook a lot more. So, we eat more healthily.

I have also found ways to ration our foods. It is harder to get organic milk now. So, The Husband and I share 1 cup. This is good because we both need to watch our weight. Instead of buying sugar cane juice for fruit smoothies every day, I bought 14 glasses and froze them. Then, I found that I could make that last 28 days simply by using half a glass of sugar cane juice in each jug of fruit smoothie (for 7 people). We did sometimes find the smoothies too sweet in the past but it had never occurred to me to use half a glass of sugar cane juice and half a glass of plain water to blend the fruits.

Then, I realised that I could get by with 20% less food at every meal. Come on SG people, let's lose weight with Covid19. We can do Zumba classes via live streaming!

It had also never occurred to me to use face masks to prevent flus. I was also never as acutely aware of the dangers of touch transmission. In future, when The Son and The Daughter come home with flu, I will ...
- make them wear masks
- AND also do frequent surface wipe downs
- AND quarantine them in their rooms.

These days, I make everyone wash their hands after handling money or any bags or boxes that have just arrived through the door, and have not been wiped down. Everything I learnt about interrupting disease transmission, I will keep as Standard Operating Procedure for the future.

Then, I moved my English Enrichment online, inventing a stressful game called Online Punctuation Hell which the children love. A bit of danger... a bit of skin in the game... oooooh la la... what thrills! Horror movies are a billion dollar industry. A bit of horror and pain in online education seems to be just the thing to spice up a boring subject. Many kids associate punctuation with parent nagging. So sian! You see, parents are too kind. They don't actually deliver any delicious pain.  I whacked my students left, right and centre... and they begged for more. Perhaps my students are closet masochists. So, in future, after Covid19 blows over, we will play Online Punctuation Hell every 4th week of the month. I like whacking children and the children love being whacked! **Evil laughter**

God is good. No matter what shit happens, God is always good.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

A Witch and a Dollar

A student's poem:

I made a deal with a witch today
I don't know why I did
"Don't borrow money from the devil," they say
And I am just a little kid.

The precious purple piece of paper
Escaped my dark blue pocket
It was to fund my food capers
I would be hungry, having lost it.

The witch's face was ashen brown.
Her lair was below the place of books.
She sized me up, then stared me down,
Then, gave me a murderous look.

I asked the witch if I could borrow just a dollar,
She nodded and passed me a coin,
Saying, as she held me by the collar,
"Return the coin tomorrow, or the dead ones you will join."

"Please don't dig into my eye sockets..."
I kept the coin, and said.
I left the lair with a dollar in pocket,
And a deadline over my head.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Don't Be a Hero

Chan Chun Sing, in his unfortunate leaked audio, dissed Carrie Lam for wearing a mask to a press conference, causing panic in Hong Kong. Did you notice? He is an ex-military man. For decades, he has been socialised to the ethos of being a hero - you know, all that blather about walking right, walking tall, being brave, not backing down from challenge, rushing where angels fear to tread, leading by example, courage, courage and more courage?

Military men are adorable, but they are still naive, idealistic and stupid.

Now, is not the time to be a hero.

The government decision to set an example by not wearing ANY masks at all, puts every single government servant, stat board and government linked employee at risk. Up and down all these organisations, men (especially the ex-military ones) refuse to wear masks. At a time when more and more cases are untraceable, this is plain stupid.

Especially since there are asymptomatic cases that spread viruses without knowing it. Not only that, there are sick people who simply refuse to mask up!! One youngster boasted to another saying that the government would need to pay him to mask up. A lady coughed non stop without covering her mouth 5 m away from me in Chong Pang Market. This morning, a man walking in front of me sneezed into the air the way the Merlion spouts water, three times. Singaporeans descended from coolies. Don't expect them to learn civilised manners overnight. It took years before LKY managed to get us to stop spitting from the 2nd deck of a double decker bus!

I am all for keeping medical grade masks for the frontline medical personnel but what about alternatives? You know,
- cloth masks (with inserts)
- silk scarves
- a purdah
- a veil

If the coronavirus is gonna be around for a long time, then cloth masks (with inserts) should become daily wear for anyone who faces customers. Staff can be trained to remove and replace the inserts twice a day, as well as wash the masks everyday.

There is some research in hospital environments showing that cloth masks exacerbate the spread because they get dirty. However, that is in hospital environments. Most people are not in the high octane environment with high pathogen loads. They just need to protect themselves from snot and the viral shedding that comes from people talking close to them.

More recent research shows that even a tea cloth mask offers some protection. See picture below.

Picture from HERE.

Actually, I don't think it is a military man thing. I think it is an overall man thing. The men all want to be heroes. I timidly asked Ah Yi from the braised pork stall why they were not wearing masks. He squared his shoulders and pointed at his 3 staff, saying, "We are strong! This is a small thing! We don't have to wear masks." Till today, those 4 men are not wearing masks. They are adorable but they are also stupid, naive and idealistic. It was all I could do to not roll my eyes at him.

It is NOT being a hero when you leave a widow behind.

Also, it puts others in danger: the wives, the elderly parents and the children at home. It takes the wife of another ex-military man, Ho Ching, to point out this foolishness. See HERE. Think of all the stress, the politicians' spouses are going through, knowing that their spouse has to meet people from everywhere. Politicians go home and have a decontamination protocol (to protect their family members) BUT the politician is herself/himself going everywhere unmasked.

Monday, March 30, 2020

This Is Just To Say

Below is a poem one of my students wrote to his Mama, to apologise.

This is just to say
That I really wish I hadn't thrown
That cup of kefir away.
I hope I didn't make you sad
When I said that it had died.
I couldn't have grown it better
Even if I'd really tried.
And I know we'll see it through

This is just to say
That I don't need that extra time.
But when I said that to you,
Your face curled up like a lime.
I know the pouches are important,
But PSLE much more so.
I didn't finish this Math paper,
But I don't need extra time though.
I'll just work together with you,
And I know we'll see it through.

This is just to say
I hope you're not upset with me
Because I threw the doughnut away
I know Li laoshi paid for it,
But the icing made me sick.
But when I saw your face,
You looked like I had sinned.
So, I'll do my very very best
To not do it again.
(Although the doughnut was not very yummy).

But all that aside,
This is just to say...
I'm really very sorry, Mummy.

Masks for Different Situations

Click HERE to read about how to get the most out of different types of masks.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Witness the Power of God

12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. 13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.

- Exodus 12: 12-13

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD.

- Isaiah 55:8 -

I am autistic. My brain naturally searches for, and locks in on patterns. Anyone who can see patterns can see what is not yet because it is simply a matter of extending the pattern, sketching it in where things are not yet.

Being able to pattern means that I can often take preventive measures ahead of time.

Faced with Covid19, I keenly feel the limitations of logical patterning. I am ready to batten down the hatches and ride out the storm but with each day's news of ...
- Malaysia's closing borders
- flights to and from Australia being entirely stopped
- Malaysia's Stop Movement Order disrupting vegetable supply
... Petunia's heart flops over every day when reading the newspapers.

This is force majeure. As a Christian, I view it as the frightening power of God. The last time I felt this way, I was watching tiles fly off the roof of a barn opposite my window. It was the "le vent d'Autan" in action. My neighbour was re-roofing his barn. I was just thankful that the tiles flew off in another direction than mine.

This time, I am hunkered down at home, hoping that the power of God will pass over my head like it passed over the homes of the Jewish people in Egypt. I see no pattern. I can predict little. My paltry little preventive measures do not seem to be enough.

So, I must walk by faith.

I must give thanks that unlike those who pretend to be Christians (like Trump), there are real Christians and Buddhists and Muslims and Hindus within the Singapore cabinet who have acted in ways that show that they really care for Singaporeans. I must give thanks that in these dark times, courageous people and wise leaders stand between me and death.

Now, I pray that the storm will pass my home and the homes of those I care about.

I don't know why God has unleashed this upon us. I know He has a good reason to. Perhaps it is to heal the earth. Perhaps, it is to let us know that dolphins should be able to visit the Venetian harbour, that the ozone layer needs healing, that we are polluting the air, that management should not appraise staff poorly when they are given 5 days of MC to stay home, that the American leaders lie without blinking, that people who look like villains are actually angels, that families should spend more time together, that we should go out into sunshine and fresh air, instead of shopping in the malls... that kindness wears no smile but evil often has to....

Perhaps, as humans, we have lost the plot and God is reminding us that He is sovereign and will set boundaries upon us if we know not how to set them on ourselves.