Talk about habit

Go My Own Way

Habit, something we are used to, and something that we do unconsciously. Some have the habit of drinking coffee every morning, some have the habit of wetting their fingers with your tongue before counting cash. We all have some sort of habit, maybe you may not even realize it.

For me, I was so used to wearing watches that even when I’m not wearing one, I’ll still be constantly raising my wrist to check out the time, and I will feel rather “insecure” for the rest of the day for some reason.

Recently I had picked up a new “habit”… I have been wearing glasses for over 20 years, and last year I had lasik for both of my eyes, so there’s no longer a need to wear glasses. However, my old glasses wearing habit still persist. There were times I tried to “take off my glasses” before washing my face, there were times when I still shield “my glasses” from water spray or rain droplets. The worse was sometimes I felt that I can see things clearer when I’m wearing glasses, despite the glasses is actually just cosmetic without any prescription.

The same goes to photography. Say you are easily drawn to something and you unconsciously groomed the habit of photographing the same thing, even worse if it is at almost similar angle or composition. Some have the habit to shoot things dead centre, some have the habit to over-saturate their photo during post processing.

I believe it is hard to avoid having any habits. The key point instead will probably be whether or not you are aware of your habit, recognize it and stop it when necessary. Maybe you can make that your “new habit” instead? Till then.

Live within your means

It had never really struck me until I sit down, reflect and do the math. Netflix, Adobe subscription, Apple Music, Microsoft Office and etc. are just a few of the things I was paying for on monthly basis all along. I was working in sales, as long as I push myself, I’ll get my equivalent pay in return. Although I wouldn’t say I’m rich in any means, but those are the things that seem affordable to me all along.

With my job switched to non-sales role, my overall pay was reduced a little. Couple that with additional expenses after moving in to new places, my expenses and saving have gone haywire for awhile until I finally spend some time looking into it. Judging from what I really need and what I’m willing to pay for, I decided to make plans in restructuring all my expenses.

As a start, Adobe and Netflix will go, I can’t find justification to continue on as I don’t use them often enough to warrant a subscription. I’ll make do with any cheaper (or even better, free) alternative for now. Next will be Microsoft Office, I’ll make do with Apple’s apps and move most of my cloud backup back to local RAID storage that I already bought few years back. Gym membership from big names has been swapped to neighbourhood gym too. Flickr will probably be next.

The streamlining process goes on and on, and hopefully I can cut away all fats and live a leaner life going forward. “But you only live once”, yes, but still that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be leaving my responsibilities behind. I can still live the best without spending that much more. Perhaps this is a good chance for me to become a step closer to minimalism. Till then.

The Circuit Breaker

Social distancing

It’s almost a week into the 30 days long “Circuit Breaker” period, a period of time introduced by the government of Singapore to curb the spread of COVID-19. People are advised to stay home, wear mask when leaving their house, and only to head out for essential matters such as buying food and groceries. With this measure, hopefully we can contain the virus from transmitted locally and bring down the number of cases.

So how do I survived through the first couple of days? Well, nothing eventful actually, and fairly simple. As usual I woke up at 5am (yes, even at times like this) and instead of heading to gym (all non-essential services and facilities were closed throughout the period), I’ll either go for a jog around my neighbourhood or just do some workout in my house. I don’t have any equipment other than a piece of resistance band actually, so for this one month I’ll just focus on bodyweight or core trainings. It’s okay, there’s no point buying gym equipment at put them at home just to serve this period.

Once done, I’ll head to nearby market to stock up some groceries if required, otherwise I’ll be reading some news or catching up with a few videos, and I’ll have my apple cider vinegar as my “starter” and followed by a cup of home brewed coffee to start my day working from home. Yes, I’ve skipped my breakfast for the time being as I restarted my intermittent fasting routine, just nice during this period of time. Then I’ll cook my lunch and dinner, and end the day reading a few chapters of book.

How about weekends? Well, as a rather “introvert” person who enjoys all sorts of stay-at-home activities, I really have no issue surviving through the weekend. Read a few chapters more on the book, watch a movie, do some writing, spend some time in self reflection and sorting my mind, find some topics of interest and do some research on it, listen to music, take a nap… and there goes my weekend.

For others, this 30 days will be a gruesome one. People with no hobby, no interest, can’t live without going out and staying out will face tremendous challenge to survive. Already there were people who refuse to stay home, still head out and loiter around, still refuse to take personal hygiene into their habit, still refuse to wear mask… sigh. Seems like we are not far away from the extension of 30 days Circuit Breaker period.

The Singapore government has done a good job in controlling the situation, although I do not agree with some of their decision (such as late closure of border, isolation of dormitory for foreign workers), but they have been taking good care of their citizen and residents alike. All in all, I applaud their effort in managing this pandemic. Yes, on hindsight they can always do better, but apparently the world is not ready for a pandemic yet, no matter how hard we tried and prepared ourselves.

Okay, it’s been a long ranting post. Lastly, everyone plays a role in making sure the pandemic does not worsen. Stay calm, stay home, keep yourself clean and do take care of those who are in need as well whenever possible. Let’s work together and work harder to overcome this. Till then.

The state of 2020

“We should just write-off first half of 2020 and let the year begin in July.”

That was what my friend told me. Trip canceled, job lost, pay cut, income dropped, flight grounded, people died, tears dried. Up until the end of March, 2020 has been nothing short of chaotic and a mess. Most of our lives have been disrupted, many were forced to stay home, many were feeling helpless, many were feeling anxious of the uncertain future.

For me, I was fortunate that nothing much was planned for the first half of the year in the very first place. Disruption has been minimal, other than not being able to travel back to my hometown in Kuala Lumpur, some minor movement restriction, life has been pretty much “as usual” here in Singapore. I’m not sure if the measures implemented by the government were effective in curbing the spread of COVID-19, but at this point of time, there’s really nothing much I can do other than leave it to the expert to advise, and of course to wash my hand frequently.

For those who are restricted in movement, do take this opportunity to read some books (if you need recommendation, browse around my blog for some), learn some skills, don’t just Netflix and chill your time away. As the future is uncertain, it’s better to take every crisis ahead and turn it into an opportunity for the days to come. Also, stay safe, stay healthy and stay calm. We’ll get over this for sure.

The Outbreak

The new coronavirus (now named as COVID-19) outbreak occurred around end of last year, and it has been going on until now. It was believed to have started from a market in Wuhan, China which sold exotic wildlife that ended up on a diner table. The Chinese government has declared emergency and lockdown a few cities, WHO was notified, travel bans were in placed by some countries, and everyone has been working relentlessly to contain the virus from spreading and to search for cure.

And with the social media craze, we started to see all sorts of fake news emerged, irresponsible comments, wrong information shared and so on, making the matter worse. The most significant one would be how everyone is putting the blame on Chinese, and everyone started to stay away from them. There were those who blamed the Chinese government for hiding the truth. Here in Singapore, there were those who blame the Singapore government for acting slowly. Soon, people started to panic, hoarding face masks and sanitizers, which eventually ended up as people rushing to supermarket and started hoarding food supplies.

Before I begin ranting, let me put the record straight: I admit that I am one of those who are not fond of the Chinese government policies and the behaviour of their people while travelling abroad. I think most of us who dislike the Chinese shares similar reason. But to be honest, not all Chinese behave the same. I have Chinese national friends whom themselves hated these ill behaved Chinese nationals. Despite that, I feel sorry and pity them for being the one to blame in this case. With that said, let’s begin.

It could have started in anywhere

Unfortunately, an outbreak occurred. It started off in Wuhan, China. But this could have happened anywhere around the world, and I truly believe so. As long as we are not careful, as long as we do not ensure cleanliness in our environment, in the farm, or in the market where fresh produces are being traded, we run into the risk of contamination. So to put the blame solely on “because the people from Wuhan eat bats” leads you to nowhere.

I’m not too concern of the virus

The media (or social media) has played a role in spreading a lot of information, perhaps a little too much information, and causes panic all around the world. Yes, we should be aware and alert about the situation, but some irresponsible media will just focus on putting the blame on China, creating fear among public, making things become far worse than what it seems to be. Yes, the virus is contagious, it causes death, but you just need to take a look at the big picture to understand that all flu has potential to lead to death. And like all flu, everyone can take part in stopping the spread if and only if everyone puts their hands and heart into it.

I’m more concern about human stupidity

If there’s anything that will kill us for the next few months, it is undoubtedly our own stupidity. Unnecessarily hoarding stockpile of face masks has caused problem for those who really needs it a.k.a. those who are sick. When they can’t contain themselves, they will spread the virus to people around them. And sorry to brush your bubbles, wearing a face mask does not fully protects you from getting the virus. When people send masks to the outbreak epicentre, they get condemned immediately by the selfish individuals. In times like this, resources should be routed to those who are really in need in order to more effectively stop the pandemic, but I guess people will only care for themselves after all.

Don’t even get me started on those who wear mask inside-out, or those who did wear it on the correct side but yet not fitting them properly to cover their face. What’s even worse? People are reselling their stockpile of mask at overpriced rate to those who are desperately in need!

If we die, it will probably be due to our own doing

People in Singapore seems not content to hoard just the masks and sanitizers, they went out and continue their rampage to hoard on alcohol swap, followed by rice, canned food, instant noodles and rolls of toilet papers! What’s more, we have people scolding the Chinese in one hand, while on the other hand, the same person is not wearing a mask when he/she is feeling unwell! So what makes you different from the Chinese that you are scolding all day long? And it doesn’t end there, even the local medical personnel who worked day and night during this period were discriminated by the very own people they trying to save!

We can do better than this

So far, I only know of people in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan who are very vigilant when it comes to personal hygiene. During my trip to these countries, it is very common for me to see people wearing mask when they are feeling unwell. Sadly, this is not the case here in Singapore, even at critical time like this. Some complaint that government should hand out free mask, and when government did, they don’t even bother to collect and complaint “only giving out 4 pieces per house hold, that’s too little”.

Before we start to point our fingers on others, we should probably sit down and ask ourselves: Have we even done our part to stop the virus from spreading? I myself have not done enough on my part, I do not wear mask all the time when I was sick, and I should wash my hand a little more, and that’s what I set off to incorporate into my habit moving forward. Only when we take the first step of prevention, the spread of virus and diseases could be reduced.

Of course it wasn’t all bad in time like this. We have seen huge support from people who donated their wealth to the healthcare industry to combat the virus, and even small gesture like handing out free masks to those in need was heart warming. I really hope that everyone can just wake up and stop being so selfish. Everyone should start playing their part, otherwise the same saga will happen over and over again. It’s now or never.

So what should we do?

Wear a mask and seek for medical attention when you are feeling unwell. If you have been in contact with suspected cases or confirmed cases, report to the authority to arrange for quarantine or leave of absence. Ensure proper hygiene in your daily life. Eat well, sleep well to ensure your immunity stays strong. Avoid travelling to crowded places unless it is necessary.

Last but not least, make this as part of your habit and practice it daily even after this outbreak.