Day 37 - Another extension.

— 5 minute read


Currently listening to: Bedřich Smetana's Moldau. It's one of my all-time favourites. Even though I've listened to it hundreds of times it still gives me chills sometimes. The music depicts the flow of a river from the forests to the city. I follow the river in my mind's eye.

I miss going to the orchestra. Last year I went a few times to watch the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra and I was considering membership for this year, well, until this whole thing started. The tickets are expensive for someone who doesn't have a consistent income, however I get so much value out of it. Before going to a performance I usually search for the pieces on Youtube first, so that I familiarise myself with the music, which adds to the enjoyment of it live. The live performance unlocks something magical, so much so that when I've heard it live once the magic stays with me and I can listen to recordings over and over and over again and pretend that I'm back in the auditorium.

One of those things that Covid-19 may take away from me personally. I don't really care much about cinemas, and much less about casinos and all these other places that were never built for me anyway. But I do care about book shops and live performances, which may be hit hard by the recession and die out.

It's Day 37 and it's going to be 6 weeks of MCO soon. Ramadhan starts tomorrow. We are still awaiting further orders on whether the MCO will be extended this time or not. The numbers of daily new cases are at double digits now so I'm not as fearful, but it is also true that a lift of the MCO may reverse the downward trend. The fact that Hari Raya will be about a month away makes it an awkward time. Lifting it may see illegal operations of bazaars and the throngs of people that will balik kampung for Hari Raya, but it's also probably not feasible to go on for another one month like this until Hari Raya is over.

The next phase, whether we call it an extended MCO or a lessened MCO, will not be business-as-usual. They might loosen the restrictions, but it will not be a complete lift. I don't really see how we can open malls and such for the time being. As long as we don't have widespread testing, we are going into the world blind. While I find it infuriating that people in the US are protesting for lockdowns to cease, if they're doing it out of economic desperation I do understand and sympathise. Not all of us can sit pretty at home and weather it through. For those who can, I'm sure that many are also wearing thin.

I'm feeling a little restless myself. It's not that I want to go anywhere. It's more the stagnation of things, of every day being just a slight variation of the day before. Things don't feel like they're moving.

It's this empty feeling that whatever comes next will just be underwhelming like how life feels now. The feeling that there is nothing much to look forward to. I'm trying to convince myself otherwise - that I do have my research project that I'm building bit by bit, or my painting is almost done and then I can put it on the wall, or the cookies that were not here yesterday, but are here now. And the new batch of tempeh which I made out of black beans.

But during down times, inevitably there is that sigh of discontent: "Is that all there is?" Homemade tempeh, when it has been made three times, ceases to be awesome and just becomes tempeh.

Today my mum got my dad to deliver bags of food to me because she misses me :)) Among the goodies, the highlight was a small mountain of siu yuk (roasted pork belly). I feel blessed. Ok maybe life is not so bad after all.

I gave her some tempeh (what else) and some home-baked cookies, plus fat young leaves of my limau purut plant, plus a couple of other things. Later in the afternoon my sister called and we had a chat. Everything is going well at home.

Ah. Just got the news that the MCO will be extended for a further two weeks. Until May 12. On whatsapp groups now we're chatting about the extension and I guess the general feeling is that reopening now would be a bad idea, at the cusp of Ramadhan. The certainty of extension helps assuage the restlessness actually. Resignation is transitioning to a more positive acceptance. I'm sure I can find something fun to do at home in the next three weeks.