This morning my article for APC was published so I was pretty happy - I enjoyed writing it and people seemed to enjoy reading it also.
Here it is: What good can come out of the coronavirus?
My energy level is unstable today, yesterday I went to bed late and today I woke up early. So I had to make the most out of my erratic rhythm - managed to fit in some work here and there, took a nap in the afternoon, and whenever I got mentally tired I went to do bits and pieces of cleaning and organising in the kitchen. Kitchen cleaning is like a game at this point. I love it when I manage to put things into groups, identify associated problems, and hear the click when things are sorted in a way that makes sense. That may explain my love of frameworks and systems.
I've been building a shopping list for when we can go out. I've heard that some premises don't let people in if they are not wearing masks, and with our limited supply of three masks I am feeling a little trapped. In any case, the idea is to make a comprehensive list so that we will be able to maximise our trip, if we go whenever. Face masks is definitely on that list, but I'm not sure if it's possible to buy any. People have also been saying that online (grocery) shopping is not working because the service providers are overwhelmed. We will have to make do.
A snapshot of some headlines, since I'm browsing The Star's website now:
- Covid-19: Death toll rises to 14, with 212 new cases recorded [1518 cases in total]
- MCO to be extended? PM says NSC to decide
- LRT, MRT, monorail to start 6am-10am, 5pm-10pm from Tuesday (March 24)
- Malaysian 3D printers produce face shields to aid frontliners in the fight against Covid-19
- Covid-19: 62% of cases linked to Sri Petaling mosque event, says Health DG
Not putting in any links because I'm tired and lazy.
From international news, global death toll passes 15,000. The total of confirmed cases nears 350,000.
The situation in the US is disgusting and I feel dirty just looking at news reports describing the situation. For example, masks that used to cost 85c/piece is now costing $7/piece. (RM28 for a mask? Here in Malaysia we are already complaining at a RM2 ceiling price.) And then there's the $1.8 trillion stimulus package that is being blocked by Democrats because they see that it is just an exercise funneling money into big corporations instead of "protecting workers".
[Updated the second day: The Guardian reports that the current Republican's bill has four main components: 1) direct payment to most Americans; 2) $350bn in loans for small businesses that may be forgiven if firms use them to keep workers on payroll; 3) $500bn aid for hard-hit industries and states and $50bn for the airlines; and 4) an increase in payments to the healthcare sector.
The Democrats are blocking it because of the following reasons: 1)the bailout gives too little to protection to workers; 2) fails to put enough restrictions on how businesses that take the money spend the funds; and that 3) Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin will have too much control over $100bn in payments. Funds, they fear, could be used to favor friends of the administration.]
Even so, framing people as workers riles me up because it's so dehumanising. It implies that people are subservient to the economy, which by default comes first no matter what. Sure enough, the Trump administration is signalling that they might move back to opening businesses as usual after the 15-day lockdown, even when the cases in the US are going up rapidly, compounded by their inadequate healthcare system and lack of social safety nets.
It is a toxic shit show, and it makes me feel bad that there is such a country in this world with such lack of regard for human life and dignity.
The grumpiness level is rising and I should go to bed.