Monday 16 March 2020

Cancel culture: I started working from home last week because of coronavirus outbreak

This column has not been cancelled.


It seems like everything else has been cancelled or postponed because of the coronavirus.

Movies that were supposed to open this month, A Quiet Place Part 2 and Mulan, have been postponed indefinitely.

Next month is No Time To Die for James Bond so the movie has been rescheduled to die another day in November, as 007 is no match for Covid-19.

Fortunately, tomorrow never dies. But what if tomorrow never comes?

It was shipping expert and former Boyzone studmuffin Ronan Keating who said it best: “Life is a roller coaster, just gotta ride it.”

Speaking of cute white guys who sing, A-ha cancelled their Singapore concert because even they can’t take on the coronavirus.

Or take the coronovirus on.

Fortunately, the virus also repelled my mortal enemy, quasi-jazz musician Kenny G, from performing here last month.

Unfortunately, it was announced last week that the greatest thrash metal band ever that is not Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer or Anthrax – I’m talking about Testament – cancelled their March 25 concert here.

Fortunately, the Scorpions and Whitesnake still performed here earlier this month because it’s bats we have to worry about.

You know what else is not cancelled? Qing Ming.

Despite the outbreak and advisory about social distancing, my mother still insists on making her annual pilgrimage to Choa Chu Kang Columbarium next month, and my sister and I have to accompany her.

Isn’t there some restriction on events with 250 people or more (not counting the dead)?

It would be rather silly if we end up dead from visiting the dead.

Hey, life is a roller coaster, I remind myself. Just gotta ride it.

Last week, I was on my way to work when I received a call that I didn’t have to go to work any more.

Has work been cancelled too?

Not quite.

Someone in my office has been quarantined and so now everyone, including me, has to work from home.

For the first time since the outbreak, the coronavirus has affected me personally.

Three weeks ago, I found out that someone living on my street was a confirmed case. Even though it was a bit disconcerting, life pretty much went on as usual.

But working from home is a big change for me. No one never expects your life to turn into Fifth Harmony song.

When I received the call, I didn’t know whether to feel happy or sad. I just felt disoriented. Life is a roller coaster, just gotta ride it.

Going to work without having to “go” to work is weird.

There’s no buffer period during the commute for me to transition from my “home” mode to “work” mode.

What’s the difference between the “home” mode and “work” mode?

The level of forbearance.

Besides saving time and money on the commute, the other obvious advantage of working from home is no dress code.

I could be working naked. (Because Singapore is hot, you know, and I don't have air-conditioning.)

My colleagues could be working naked.

If I just imagine them working naked, should I report myself to HR?

Another benefit is that my colleagues won’t complain about me playing Boyzone a bit too loudly because they’re somewhere else.

It’s a sign of the times, girl.

Could this become the new normal? Do I want it to become the new normal?

I’m just a little old-fashioned, but I still find it more efficient to talk to each other in person than through messages.

Even if I have to put on clothes.

Good thing I don’t have to wear anything to write this column.

Oops. Perhaps it would have been best if I had said nothing at all.

- Published in The New Paper, 16 March 2020

Hello Smong!

Hope you're doing well, and keeping safe. Thanks for making my day - I survive on puns and jokes, and had been hanging on to Arnie's reply to where he got his toilet rolls - Aisle B, back - for a week :) And now, your column today will keep me smiling while I work from home (fully clothed).

Ronan is my favouritest artiste, so I had instantly forgiven him for his shipping gaffe... here's a tribute to his song titles, and also to you for providing the best reason to read Today!

The way you make me feel, giving me brighter days - if I don't tell you now, I might be lost for words. Back in the day without Covid-19, we did not have to stay so far away... Still, I am blown away by the efforts everyone's putting in. I love it when we do the SG-United thing, up until the point I realised it was not Covid-19 related, but Dorscon Pink instead. I cannot say I wouldn't change a thing, or can bear to do it all over again, especially the long goodbye from my dear colleagues - we are on a worldwide mandatory Work From Home order - all promised solemnly to be clothed for our team video calls).

Thank you, and please keep up the great work!

Best regards,