Day 16 - Veteran of random

— 3 minute read


I spent the day working on updating the Research and the Projects section of the website, but things are slow in coming. I know that I should do it asap now that there's a window in my work schedule, but it's also something that takes a lot of thinking and tweaking.

In between thinking and tweaking I went and built a Lego mobile clinic equipped with a ventilator with Lego. It was great fun.

“First we saw people who lived paycheck to paycheck, got laid off and didn’t know where the next meal was coming from, followed by those who had a couple of weeks of savings. Now, people who knew about us because they donated or volunteered are coming in for food,” said Jerry Brown, media spokesman for St Mary’s. “The 2008 recession doesn’t touch this. It’s a different ballgame.” The Guardian

The economic impacts of Covid-19 are slowly rearing their ugly heads. From the situation in the US (the quote up there is about the US) to social unrest in South Italy, the existing inequality in society is being laid bare, even in the richer and more developed countries. I was just also reading the news on how hundreds of university staff in the UK are being dismissed - they were the ones who were on precarious contracts to begin with anyway. This crisis is just making it painfully obvious.

In Malaysia we haven't seen a huge surge in cases but that may be because of the strong police and military presence - even though I've read that offices have been robbed and there have been snatch thieves preying on solitary aunties going to buy food.

As the weeks wear on I find myself penduluming from one end of hopeful (Will the coronavirus kill the oil industry?) and the other hand of despair (what does the upcoming economic crisis and food security crisis mean to our society, and how bad can it actually get?). There is no precedent, it is all speculation. Discussions on the topic lead nowhere, and I slowly stop initiating them - I haven't stopped wondering though.

Having been freelance for a few years now I comfort myself in thinking that I deal with such uncertainty all the time - in fact I have trouble projecting more than a month ahead, given that I keep getting rejections, job offers, withdrawn job offers, withdrawn withdrawn job offers, all in the space of days. I'm a veteran at dealing with random by now. But it's still difficult. I can only imagine how it's like for someone who has a stable job, a mortgage, a car, and two kids, who's saving for a comfortable retirement in twenty years' time - to suddenly wake up to a world with no certainty.

And now I'm wondering about the society-wide mental health implications. Or maybe people will end up living a more purposeful life after all the noise and unnecessities are filtered out? Who knows?

Besides working and playing Lego I've been working on my uke skills. The goal is to be able to play Something by The Beatles complete with the solo. It's such a lovely song.

Also, cleaning the house. Vacuum cleaners are awesome. And, staring at my unsprouting seed beds. Maybe if I stare hard enough...