Adapting To A New Normal

I’m sitting at day 71 of WFH and adapting to the new normal now that MCO is slightly lifted. We are slowly easing ourselves to how things were before but it is not quite the same yet as we leap into a conditional MCO.

Apart from the usual sanitizing and temperature checking at entry point of retail outlets, we’ve advanced to scanning QR codes. My first encounter was at a drugstore, Watson, and I was surprised the country started implementing this. That was my first of many QR code scanning experience since. On one hand, it’s probably a great tool for tracing back potential COVID-19 patients but it also means the government knows where we have been. Feels like Foursquare but only the government knows.

While temperature checking is now a norm, does the security staff or retail staff actually know what to do when the temperature is above and beyond 37.5°C? What are the next steps? It feels like we’re doing this for the sake of doing it without any proper guidance of what is next. I might be wrong and I hope I am.

My first dine out in two months was at my trusted neighbourhood Chinese restaurant within a small mall. At the entrance, we’d scan the QR code and take the temperature. At the restaurant entrance, take another temperature reading and fill up a form which has details of date and time of visit and contact number. I actually wonder where does all these information go and what actually happens to them.

In an event someone who is COVID-19 positive was at the same mall I went, are they going to inform everyone else who has visited the mall on that day to get tested? Or does this extra measure is a method of scaring the public and making one more careful about their surroundings?

On the topic of being mindful of their surroundings, every cough and sneeze in public is now going to scare people. It is human nature to have a reaction, what more during a pandemic. As someone who sneezes quote a fair bit and sometimes have blocked nose as well caused by my sinus, how do I ensure I am not alarming those around me if I have to let out a row of sneezes? Quite fortunately I have mastered the art of sneezing internally and producing very minimal noise which still doesn’t mean from time to time I won’t be letting out a big ah choo!

The latest trend is also to sanitize every 5 minutes. Quite hard to remember not to when almost every restaurant, retail outlet and sometimes even beside lift buttons have a bottle on standby. I remember back when sanitizers were not a thing and people who carried them around were either seen as someone who has OCD or a germaphobe, look how times has changed.

Something that I have been practicing since before is to not crawl into bed in ‘dirty’ clothes. Dirty by default is clothing I’ve worn out of the house and has been exposed to germs and bacteria from sitting on public chairs in restaurants, etc. I never understood how one can sit on their bed once they got home from a restaurant even though it was just a short 1 hour out of home. The thought of bringing germs into my bed and then sleeping in it feels disgusting in itself. I always had the habit of showering right after I come home and getting into a clean set of clothing and I am glad this pandemic has finally made others realize this as well.

One good thing that came out of this is that we’ve taken leaps and bounds as we move towards a cashless society. We’re finally getting there and this pandemic just speed it up for us! Before the outbreak of the virus, restaurants and retails were very selective on who they want to partner with and some even restrict themselves to “Cash Only” which is so 2000 and late. Merchant sign up for companies like Grab and Touch N Go has never been easier and I guess you can say this outbreak was a blessing in disguise for those in this field of work.

Here’s to 2020, where we all learn to be homebodies.


Cheers to a more colorful 2020 ahead!

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