Saturday, March 7, 2020

In Praise of Singapore and Pickles

New trend, you saw it here first, it's called the mask snap. It hurts. Sorry Ernesto.

What a difference 3 weeks makes. My previous post now looks almost prophetic, western world. I feel compelled to write about what's happening here, in case we're still in the future.
1. Our Mental Health Suffered
Much of Asia is working from home, in small apartments, often with their children unable to go to school. Normal social engagments have changed. VPNs and networks in China are strained. People have worried about their parents, struggled to get supplies or medical care, and have faced very lonely quarantines. We worried about the unknown. The stress and anxiety are worth attention.
It's ok, we made our own fun.

2. Singapore gave us Beautiful, Delicous Data
Singapore has been agile, swift, and informative in its response. In addition to our daily Whatsapp case alerts, we now have full cluster data, like this.
Yes, that's right, every single case is linked and clustered. Majulah, Singapore.
Certainly not every country can do this, but data really helps when worrying about the unknown. (As do extensive testing, quarantines, and enforcement). 
So despite the population density disadvantage, we feel lucky and patriotic to be here.
3. Our supply chains have recovered. 
There were a couple of bad weeks. But please don't worry, it seems toilet paper will go on sale in ~4 weeks in the western world, so hold tight. (Here's the Laura in Singapore prophesy this week). 

4. The Economy, on the other hand
Flights are cancelled, restaurants are half-full, tourist attractions are empty. This part is also worrisome.
Some people still went on Prison Death Ship holidays, inexplicably. (It's not clear if the passengers are allowed to leave the ship). 

5. I sought new hobbies
It turns out that travelling (for work, in particular) takes up a lot of time. So, I've been making probiotic pickles, since they're good for your health. My kosher dills are stellar. Looking for more stress-free, non-group-oriented hobbies, (sportless), please advise.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

How to Mask

Here's what it's like in Singapore now; we are in code orange. Due to being such a fabulously global, interconnected country, we have the highest number (and rate per capita) of Covid-19 cases outside of China and the terrifying Japan cruise ship. So what does this mean? For starters, this:
Are you a doomsday prepper? Got a fortified bunker of food, respirators and water purifiers? Great, you're in luck! Everyone else will face very limited/no stocks of masks, hand sanitizer, thermometers gloves, wipes, and rubbing alcohol.
Here in Singapore, the third densest country in the world, this is scary. We have ordered from far and wide, stayed up until midnight to await new stocks, and suffered from stress and anxiety. (Which is admittedly nothing compared to the mental health impact on those in much of China with limited movement.)

And even antibacterial pet-wipes are wiped out!
Why do we need this? Well, in Singapore, with world-class medical facilities, of 75 cases, 5 are in ICU, and only 19 have recovered. So while the global statistics can be confusing, in Singapore we get daily alerts for all cases and contact tracing. I don't like the ICU, so to me, that's why.
My online shopping portal has morphed into a bit of a zombie shopping haven - here are the suggested categories on the main page.
Last week, we had panic buying, with toilet paper, instant noodles, and rice clearing off the shelves temporarily. This week, it has gotten better ($66 SGD = $62 CAD = $47 USD).
So, for those of you overseas, where this may seem distant, I would urge you to consider a few doomsday prepping activities. Apparently, mask supplies are now limited globally.
Also, it takes a surprising amount of practice to don masks correctly, and to avoid touching your face (which I do on average 400x per minute). Barry is shown here attempting alternative styles.
Above is the Singapore Valentine's meme. Below, Sarah and Ernesto's Valentine's day.
I have redecorated to enable doorway and mask hooks at the doorway (ed. note pink mask is just for demonstration purposes, as it's not actually reusable).
Masks do not need to prevent you from taking selfies, of course.
It's important to still have fun, and to smile with your eyes. (Sarah says this is called smize).

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Display an Easy Grace, Cackle with Glee

We went to the mountains near Mount Fuji to try to get some zen. Barry is not always good at zen.
From this temple, you should be able to see Fuji. We drove all the way to the base of it and still saw nothing but clouds. But it's ok, we know how to make our own fun.
Ideally, with ramen with extra egg.
Some good ice cream flavours were available: cookies vanilla, purple sweet potato, sesame, and wasabi!
Here's Barry in a higher state of zen, making his own handroll sushi.
Then it was time to go Engrish shopping! "Stars can't shine whitout darkness", is it an autocorrect?
There was a surprising amount of Flench
This picture frame involves French wrapping paper with a touch of newspaper, and the history of France!
These frames come in apple and lemon-flavoured!
We also found "Freezing Wine". Is that fake ice wine?
While masks have sold out in Singapore, Japan still has flavours - help your breath AND your health with lemon-mint!
As usual, many Engrish lessons are true. The ideal life does have a feeling of cleanliness.
Again here: displaying an easy grade and being filled with rapture - easier said than done. I think that's why it's been for long time L' VE searching.
Chubby, being round and lovely, seems easier.
Today I plan to cackle with glee at least once today.
Everyone loves used napping material!
And the Robot does make the restaurant stronger.
And, two closing thoughts:

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Laura & Barry try to appreciate art.

Barry and I tried to appreciate some art.
We were partially successful, with the mist in the background, but we also got confused, as Barry shows here.
More success with the interactive art - here is Barry as a sculpture.
More Barry and Laura sculptures.
This is what happens when you lay on your arm too long.
Then we got into the Delorean and went into the future.
In the future, art is made with lighy which moves when you touch it (though it's not a touch-screen).
It is not easy to photograph with our cameras from the past.
This interactive light exhibit, called Teamlab Borderless, also has a climbing forest.
Plants grow on the floor where you're standing!
There was some psychedelic.
Kids got to draw their own light art, which then swam around.
Once we returned to the present, we started seeing sculpture everywhere.
And we really appreciated the giftshops. This one sells ear jewelry!
Rapey broaches.
The Cold/Lovey dog and the hedgehog dilemma, which is deep.
Finally "Everyone call me sea angel" and "You like my fluffly tail, are not you?"