Hey there, thought I’d do a life update- something like a snapshot of the world now. It’s 30th May, 2020. We’re almost halfway through the year, and man each month has been crazier than the last. To summarise each month:

 

Dec: Covid19 outbreak started in Wuhan, China but it wasn’t yet international news.

Jan:

  • Abnormally dry weather and idiot arsonists cause Australian bushfires that threaten large swathes of the outback. It will take a few months to kill the fires, even with international aid and volunteer firefighters flying in.
  • Assassination of Iran military commander by US drone strike. The Iranians are enraged and it damn near sparks a war.
  • Trump sold the Saudis an additional USD 8bn worth of military aircraft and hardware, on top of the USD 110 bn he already agreed to.
  • Wuhan, China goes into lock down midway through the month and over CNY (25 Jan in 2020), amid a rising death toll and an overwhelmed healthcare system. Other cities follow suit as the Chinese leadership wise up to the severity of the situation. Petrol stations are shut, supermarket shelves are empty, and people are left dying in hospital corridors like its L4D2.
  • Doctors and nurses work for days at a time without rest and break down due to the sheer number of cases.
  • The international community (including Singapore) monitor with great interest. International air travel slows but Singaporeans the world over fly home in droves, trusting in homeland healthcare.
  • Schools close and Singaporean students studying abroad start to return as schools close.
  • Worried about Dad because of the high possibility of infection.
  • I get my wisdom teeth plucked on the 7th and 14th of Jan. Tried to be a hero and ate chicken rice 2 hours after surgery. Had to go lie down because of the pain. Lol.
  • Took painkillers all the way. Couldn’t do much but play RDR2, which is a great game.
  • I served an extra duty over CNY because CSM Alvin said I didn’t fall in in time. This was in December. I couldn’t find my beret and I feel betrayed. At this point, I hate Alpha Company and its leadership because we had a long spat over Offs and Leaves. I am so eager to leave the Army.

 

Feb:

  • Exports out of China grinds to a halt as factories stay shut after CNY.
  • Wuhan builds emergency hospitals in record time.
  • Various automotive companies like Ford and Tesla pledge to shift their manufacturing lines to build essential biomedical devices like ventilators (they are slow in coming)
  • Italy and Spain are hit very hard. US cases are few yet.
  • I collect N95 masks on behalf of Dad from the Singapore Medical Association. I am beginning to feel like a dumb pack mule.
  • I finally ORD from NS. Lewis voluntarily extends his service by 3 months to sometime May, but he’s in good with the Coy command team. I don’t blame him, but I’m not him either. Dion signs a short-term regular contract to work as a trainer in Medic Training Institute, but it comes to bite him in the ass when he gets deployed to the dorms/community isolation centres.
  • I get my first ticket. It hurts like a bitch because it cost me $400 and 12 points. It happened the night I booked in for the last time. I beat a red light but slowed down so we got caught. I spend the last days in camp agonising over the possibility of losing my license. I didn’t.

 

March:

  • US cases are on the rise. They will overtake China in the next month, but the Trump administration is extremely inept. He fights deployment of testing and advocates opening the economy again.
  • Singapore starts locking down. I queue at the supermarket as people panic buy.
  • Singapore moves to Dorscon Orange. Disposable surgical masks are given out to each household. At this point in time, the govt tells people not to wear masks unless sick. They later reverse this stance, but only when they are in the position to give everyone cloth masks. When they do, not wearing a mask is punishable by a fine.

 

April:

  • God gifts me with a scholarship to SUTD. It covers tuition fees and nothing else, but SUTD is close to home. I decided to pursue engineering because I like math and lost faith in the utility of PPE program. Yale NUS would’ve been really expensive and as long as I study something interesting and multidisciplinary, honestly, I will be happy.
  • There was trouble with Amazon as my account got locked after adding my debit card to different accounts. It took a few weeks to get Dad’s account unlocked too and for the PC parts orders to go through. I wanted to order it fast as I was afraid of price hikes when stock ran out.
  • AMD and Nvidia are planning on releasing much better CPUs (4000 series) and GPUs (RTX 30 series) but it will be Holiday 2020 before it arrives, and even longer on our shores.
  • Cyberpunk 2077 is due to drop in September, and Halo Infinite in Holiday 2020 (which basically means December or even Christmas)
  • Access to malls is restricted by numbers, markets by IC number.
  • Circuit breaker (lockdown/shelter in place) kicks in, barbers are closed on a dime. Reeks of poorer planning but what can we do?
  • Americans refuse to wear masks, cutting holes in them to breathe.

 

May:

  • Built my first desktop PC. I write this entry on it. I feel proud to have assembled it with Dan. It’s also a bit of a beast (AMD Ryzen 3600, RTX 2070 Super, 16GB 3200Mhz RAM)
  • Started playing Xbox Games Pass on PC. Seems like a good deal so far. Loved the Wolfenstein games.
  • I start Summer programme in SUTD. Happy to learn Math and am so far doing alright in class. Love asking and answering questions on the online forum Piazza and helping my friends.
  • I also start on an Undergrad Research project (UROP) dealing with Evaporative cooling in the tropics. It was really tough at first, figuring out how a literature review is meant to be written. Reading the research papers in the field was less daunting once I figured out the requirements. Chose this project because of the promise of learning Computational Fluid Dynamics, and also Big Ass Fans. The learning curve is steep, but the challenge is thrilling.
  • Gang attacks and slashings are on the rise. Police surveillance is also increasing with drones deployed in certain areas.

 

Now:

  • US police brutality hits a new low. 7 deaths and more in a few weeks. Violent riots and rampant looting ensue in Minneapolis. Trump adds fuel to the fire by tweeting “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”
  • The “Terror Bill” is approved by the Philippines Senate. Not sure about this but for sure it gives too much power to the government. It will not bode well for the people under Duterte, let alone future, corrupt presidents.
  • China passes a new National Security Act in Hong Kong. The country is rocked by protests and resistance from the public. They will go down fighting, and I believe Hong Kong will slowly but surely be muzzled.
  • Uncle Jake passes away suddenly after chest pain. Dad and Mom are grieving in their own ways.

 

Other thoughts:

My heart breaks for the world. I look ahead to my own future and I’m not sure what lies in store for me. I hope there isn’t a war.

I felt lonely a lot before school started, but now I feel stimulated, challenged and happy. I know it doesn’t make sense for a lot of people, but to me the forum is wonderful. Finally, I can talk about something I’m interested in with people who share that same level of interest, and the nature of the forum is like long form snail mail, in that we can prepare answers in our own time, which benefits me greatly. It was really hard to find people who nerd out about the same things in Army.

I’m also immensely grateful that writing and doing math have come back to me fairly easily. Thank God.

My mind is overly fidgety. It’s boiling over with nervous curiosity and energy, which can be good, but I can’t rein it in. Often, I zone out when I should be paying attention to important details. I can’t focus in conversations because half my brain wants to keep listening but the other half quickly gets bored and wanders. This is gonna be something I need to work on or its gonna get worse than it already is. I don’t like self-diagnosing ADD/ADHD/neuroticism or any personality typing, so I won’t. I just want to be happy, find interesting things to work on, and build a family with someone.

I’ll keep my eye out for that special someone, and I hope she and I can make each day interesting for each other, in a good way.

Regarding reservice, I am of 2 minds. On one hand, becoming a CSM would be kinda cool/prestigious or something. I don’t know, I ain’t never looking to have power over people, I just want a family I can call my own. But on the other hand, I’d probably be separated from my NSF platoonmates, I’d be under pressure and I wouldn’t get to slack. One way or the other, I’ll always wonder what the other option would have been like.


Alright, that’s it for this update. Thanks for reading.