Day 83 - Summing up the last 3 months.

— 4 minute read


We're moving towards a new phase of MCO, this time called Recovery Movement Control Order, and it's until end of August. Most restrictions are off as far as I can see, apart from indoor sports and probably some services that would involve crowds. Interstate travel is allowed but not overseas travel.

So by tomorrow, the lockdown, including the strict initial MCO and the looser subsequent conditional MCO, will have lasted for about 3 months, or 12 weeks, or 84 days.

During these 12 weeks, much has happened. Most political happenings I've alluded to, so I won't sum it up here, but I thought that it would be useful to have a summary of things that I've done so far during lockdown time to have an overview in one place. Thus, the following:

  1. Blog posts written: 46, about a post every two days. Coming from someone who had a writing block for many years (couldn't write anything that was not work-related), this was no mean feat. I'm proud of myself.
  2. Books read: 8, and some few half-read ones that are stacked on the nightstand. Had a ten-day literary escape fest.
  3. Home improvement: The house is in a much cleaner and more liveable state at the moment compared to the same time period last year, when I was constantly travelling. And the garden has been completely transformed. I think I have 40-50 species of plants in the space of my two balconies and I'm still growing more. I've harvested vegetables that I've personally grown from seed. I cannot describe how rewarding it is.
  4. Art: Painted the landscape from my balcony. It's still not finished, but I'll work on it when the mood comes back. Many self-portraits but they are mainly drawings, tried painting some but none worked out. Experimented with ink and visual journalling. For several weeks I was stuck and couldn't draw anything. But I think I'm getting back into it again.
  5. Music: Picked up the guitar again. Learning it systematically now and I'm pretty excited about the progression into deeper waters. At an earlier stage in the lockdown I was learning some song on my ukulele, but now that I have my guitar fixed (it had a broken string) and have a structured course I'm following, I think I'll be focusing on the guitar.
  6. Online courses: Finished two courses on Computational Social Science, one more week till I finish Guitar for Beginners. East Asian Confucianisms has taken a bit of a backseat but I hope to catch up this week. Many more courses to follow before the end of the year. Also, just bought a course from Domestika on illustration techniques today, which I hope will help me with my visual journal.
  7. Work: delivered a couple of talks, wrote some articles, did some covid-related research and other things. The Histories of AI Cambridge reading group is under way, and I've been reading a whole lot of new stuff on my own and expanding my knowledge. There are some exciting plans in the pipeline and I'm waiting for things to unfold so that I can start.
  8. Random stuff: built solar cooker, got into birdwatching for a bit. Cooked and baked. But so did everybody else in lockdown.

Now that I look at the list, it seems that I was able to fit in a lot, amidst personal challenges and a global health and financial crisis. In retrospect I think I was able to direct a lot of nervous energy and lockdown anxiety into productive avenues, even though it felt like I was just doom scrolling through news sites all the time.

As you may suspect, all that was leading up to the following: I'm stopping the regular lockdown updates as of today. I'll still update whenever I have something to say, but I won't count the days anymore or feel obligated to write to keep the regularity.

The lockdown blog posts started off as some whim that I somehow kept up for three months, but it was also taking up bandwidth from other things that I would like to work on more. The visual journalling for instance, which I'm excited to embark upon. Words has always been the easiest way for me to communicate, but of late I've found that there are places that words can't go. Maybe lines and colours might help. Let's see.