Tomorrow

It’s my son’s birthday tomorrow.

It’s going to be a very different sort of celebration as we’re still confined by the conditions of the Movement Control Order (MCO) that is still ongoing in Malaysia, at least till the end of the month (or longer, depending on what the government decides).

I am a mixture of feelings. Generally speaking, a tangled mess of emotions.

First of all, we haven’t really done much to prepare for this occasion. (We barely made it to shop for some simple birthday gifts today).

Secondly, I feel sorry for my son, because he will not be getting the usual round of celebrations that most family birthdays call for: A meal with grandparents, a private celebration with us at home, and a birthday bash at school with his classmates and teachers.

All of that… not happening this time around.

He just has us. And we have him. (Oh, and our youngest son too, of course).

He isn’t complaining though. He’s already told us what kind of cake he wants and in what theme. He is at ease, confident, that having made his requests, it would be fulfilled in some measure tomorrow. He knows there will be a present, but even then, he didn’t make any specific demands about it.

He isn’t doubting in any way that there will be some form of birthday party tomorrow. Though, of course, my husband, our youngest son and I will be the only ones in attendance.

I guess at this young age he is still content with simple things.

Perhaps I shouldn’t despair as much as I am doing, and ought to laugh it off the way he does most of the time.

My crazy, happy-go-lucky boy version of Winnie The Pooh turns five tomorrow.

Maybe I should just let that be enough for now.

Never mind the new job that I’m barely coping with, and the mayhem and mess all throughout the home, and the fact that we are still uncertain about many things in the near future.

Tomorrow. I’ll have it all together tomorrow.

Words

I think I was born into the wrong era.

Society today prefers visuals over words. But for me, it has always been the other way around.

Perhaps if I lived back when letters, chariots and chivalry were the order of the day, I would have thrived more than I have in this lifetime.

Rather than merely garnering likes or comments on the webpages or social media accounts of my clients, maybe my words could have been used to persuade kings, to romance dark and mysterious strangers, or to convey the knowledge of mystical arts to hungry minds in remote corners of the unknown world.

Instead of being drowned in a sea of mindlessly shared videos out in the World Wide Web, perhaps my words could have sailed the seven seas and reached readers who would lap up every word in genuine eagerness. And there would be a chance they would even write me back, begging for more prosaic morsels.

But alas, I must concede to the ways of this generation.

Without an image to accompany this post, I will diminish the chances of anyone even bothering to read beyond the first sentence I have crafted.

Yet you might be that very slim exception, dear Reader. Here you are, after all.

Thank you for still reading.

Out

It’s April and I’m out of work.

Or at least that’s how it seems right now as I was more or less dismissed with an “I’ll get back to you later, I’m working on something” response from the client.

My guess is nobody would want to pay a freelancer like me at this time since finances may be tightening and the prospects for future business income may seem pretty bleak at this point.

Ah well. It’s not the first time that I have been without work since I began this full time freelance venture. It’s just that I can’t recall when this last happened, or how long it lasted (usually not long).

Anyway, it’s not good to leave my writing muscles unflexed throughout this period of work inactivity, so I guess the best way to stay in shape (mentally, I mean, mostly) is to find outlets where I can continue to write in some form or another.

I’ve been contemplating starting a social media mini series. I haven’t completely decided what it will be about yet, but I’m thinking something with positive vibes or a theme of hope would be good since there is so much fear and rumour mongering and depressing news going around lately with Covid-19 still in circulation.

Another thing I’ve sort of halfheartedly done (because in the past I usually fail at it) is sign up for the April Camp Nano. I couldn’t decide what to write about there, so tentatively I’m designating it as a collection of short stories, which I will write at random. Unless of course, some sort of direction or theme emerges along the way.

Meanwhile, life at home carries on in its usual fashion.

Today is just slightly out of the norm only in the sense that both hubs and I are already awake at 6+ in the morning (it’s usually only me) and there is activity in the kitchen already. Oh, and the Eldest One was awake out of the blue too (but hopefully, drifting back to sleep soon).

A grocery run may be imminent, and I do not look forward to finding out what is left or what dire straits we may actually be in soon. Sigh.

I’ve told myself I should write something here other than always journalling about real life. But I can’t seem to grasp any useful topic at the moment. I shall try next round, my dear Reader.

May your day today be brighter than the former, and may rays of hope shine amidst the darkness of your little corner.

Dawn

It’s Saturday. There is a lack of festive weekend vibes though.

Perhaps it’s the thought that we can’t go anywhere or do anything much. Or the fact that weekdays or weekends, they kind of all feel the same right now.

It’s Day #4 of the Restricted Movement Order (RMO).

Thanks to our stubborn countrymen, apparently the army will be called in to assist the police in ensuring we behave during this period and stay home as much as possible as we should. I’m searching for official news reports to confirm this. All I have for an info source right now was an SMS announcement, seemingly sent as a broadcast to us as citizens.

Well, anyway, it makes no difference to my family, since we had already imposed it on ourselves to not go out unnecessarily since last weekend, though the RMO wasn’t yet in place then.

Where we live, sandwiched between several highways and nearby public transport systems like the LRT, I still hear cars and lorries whizzing by. And the announcement bell sound used at the LRT station closest to us. It’s not terribly eerie. Yet.

I’m doing dishes, and have paused for a break. The rest of the family is still sound asleep. I am contemplating a bath. Will my youngest one awaken the moment I set foot into the bedroom?

Daily, we continue to hear of more confirmed Covid-19 cases. It seems we have become the country with the highest number of cases in Southeast Asia. Three deaths to date. It’s sad to note that this loss of lives has begun.

I wonder when everything will be back to normal. We are not in dire straits currently. I suppose I ought to be thankful for that.

We just restocked a fridge full of food which will probably last us for some days. The kids and us are all in one place. My parents and sis, though not living under one roof with us, stay nearby and as far as I know, are alright for the moment too.

But the hubs and I don’t know yet what income sources we will have come April, which will be upon us by the time the 14 day period of this RMO is done and over with. It’s unsettling, yet I believe worrying isn’t the answer.

Perhaps today will be the day we think of some brilliant idea to change things. Or tomorrow. I hope.

We’d already started quarrelling yesterday and it’s probably due to being cooped indoors as my dear hubs rarely takes to this kind of setup well. This, and lack of decent work to keep him busy. He has been repeatedly muttering how horrid it is that people get confined indoors like this. Ever the extrovert, he is. I should forgive him.

A gust of cool morning air has just blown in. It reminds me that it is almost 7am and my baby will probably be up soon.

I hope you are well, dear Reader. Be glad for the little things today. Much love from my corner of the world to yours.

In between

Dear Reader,

How is it like in your corner of the world today?

It’s Day #3 of the Restricted Movement Order here in Malaysia.

I am up early ahead of the rest of the family. Expressing breastmilk in a silicone collector as my youngest is not awake to nurse. Next in line for list of activities would be to put the cloth diapers into the washing machine and to gather the trash for my husband to take out when he goes out to get groceries.

Unlike many other families within the Klang Valley, we did not stock up food in anticipation of the Order. We only bought enough to last us for about a week during our last grocery run, and the week is almost up. Hence, I will need to plan meals very soon (within the next hour or so), and wake my husband to get to the stores as early as possible since we don’t know what stock levels are like in our neighbourhood stores yet.

From what I heard from a friend staying in another part of our city, it was crowded at the shops within their community. I certainly hope there won’t be too much of that where we are at.

I’ve generally always thought of where we live as being one of the quieter, less noticed part of Petaling Jaya. And yet, we kept hearing of Covid-19 cases in several nearby areas, giving us the notion that the virus is literally all around us. The most disturbing was the case of a preschool teacher who got it. This preschool had been opened recently at the mall where we normally go for our grocery shopping.

My husband only started taking this Covid-19 pandemic more seriously after he visited that mall on one of the days where they were still disinfecting the preschool and screening all shoppers seeking to enter the ground floor (where the preschool was located) for any signs for fever.

Now he finally wears a mask or brings a long a small bottle of hand sanitiser while he is out. He promptly cleans his hands upon his return from a trip out, and changes his clothes. There was an occasion where he even decided to bathe right away.

For our household, things aren’t too different during this Order than they are at regular times. This is because my husband and I are both self employed at the moment. A situation at work worsened around the time our youngest was about to be born, and so he left his full time job and has been in limbo since.

At the time the Order was issued by our Prime Minister, he had already begun taking on projects for this new consultancy gig he has embarked on. There had been relatively positive signs lately, and several possible work projects have been popping up.

On my end, my freelance writing work was finally beginning to settle into a routine after the abnormal activity I had over the past few months where I was serving a new client in a temporary role that ended in February.

Now everything is more or less slowing down due to the Order. We are wondering if we will get paid on time. Or whether there will be multiple delays and even a lack of work opportunities in the near future.

I know there are families out there with an even bleaker outlook to their household income sources than we have. Some cannot even work at all right now because their jobs require them to be out, or to be meeting people. There is no Work-At-Home option for them. I wonder how they will cope.

It’s only supposed to be a 2 week exercise, but my husband and I anticipate that this Order will be extended beyond just a fortnight. As it is, with the way many Malaysians are behaving, we might even see a far greater spike in Covid-19 cases. The thought is chilling.

I think of my two very young kids and I worry. They are happy with us at home at the moment. But will we be able to keep them happy and well once our funds run too low? Can we continue to afford preschool for our eldest one?

And what sort of world will they be growing up in, given the terrible turn of events that we keep seeing both on a local as well as global scale? I sometimes wonder if it would have been kinder to have not introduced them to this cruel, cold world.

But as I tried telling my husband last night, perhaps the best thing to do at times like this is to just keep looking ahead. To just keep focussing on the very next step. Because I think that’s all we have the capacity to do right now.

It’s daybreak now and I must go. I hope things are brighter where you are, my dear Reader. Till I return, I wish you a good day.

Small

I have tons of stories to tell. But I feel like they’re trivial.

While others have such grandiose topics to showcase their intelligence on, all I have are these tiny tales of things observed, discovered and experienced.

Having reached a midpoint of some sort in life, it gets harder by the day to convince myself that what I have in my head and heart counts for something.

It all seems so small.

Do I lack confidence? Not really. What I described is just a feeling, a sense of things; possibly right, mostly wrong.

What’s YOUR current view of life?

Do you see or feel what I have mentioned too?

Or perhaps you have moved onwards and upwards and have a better clue on what your life is amounting to and a greater discernment of what matters or doesn’t?

Continuity

I decided not to make a big deal out of the New Year this time around.

Typically, I would start journalling in a whole new notebook once the new year rolls in. But this time, I think I’ll just carry on at whatever random page I left off at last year.

Because I don’t want to waste the unused notebook pages. And maybe also because it would be a strikingly painful reminder each time I start off a new notebook how meagre my writing has become.

The kind of writing that fills up my private spaces. Not that commercial kind that I am forced to craft to help make ends meet.

It’s only been a few days into the New Year, but honestly, I feel it’s already gotten old. Or maybe it’s me that has.