Circuit Breaker Diary: Week 1

Tuesday, 7 April

Woke up to the realisation that it is a circuit breaker. Thankfully some colleagues sent me some links on free courses on Pluralsight. Still trying to get used to work from home. It feels odd, because I never optimised my house for extensive work from home (WFH). How I wish I bought a good chair when I could.

First day of circuit breaker went on fine. Bought lunch from an old-timer stall which I have known for many years. Forbidden fruit tastes sweetest, after all. Trying to see what kind of connections I could remake. How many friends do we cross paths with, only to lose sight of them? Maybe Facebook has its benefits after all, keeping acquaintances within easy reach. But virtual connections do not beat the real one. Now I cannot go play sports with my friends for a month.

Wednesday, 8 April

A teleconference and then a Toastmasters meeting in the evening by video conference. Does that feel like a typical workday? By the time my 5 hours of virtual conferencing ended, I felt really fatigued. Did I really stay rooted to the chair for the whole duration of the calls? Maybe I need to be smarter and deliberately insert breaks to mitigate this.

Remembered that a communication trainer once mentioned about the importance of non-verbal communication. Through a camera, it is more difficult to infer visual cues as these can be selectively obscured by how the recipient chooses to focus his or her camera. For instance, can you really tell someone is lying over camera, if we do not have the opportunity to see his or her palms and feet? Or maybe to be confident that we sense trepidation in his or her voice as opposed to connectivity lag? Maybe we have all taken these non-verbal cues for granted in text messaging, and hence communication is more tiring. Thus, the advice to us was to OVERCOMMUNICATE. Does this not sound like how air traffic control works? But I guess OVERCOMMUNICATION means plenty of redundancy, and missing pieces of redundancy suggest that the message did not quite get through. That is partially why aviation is so safe nowadays. Feeling a bit sad now, because so many planes are grounded.

Thursday, 9 April

Some days into Pluralsight’s Java course. For someone that uses Python, learning a language like Java (properly) has its difficulties, but I am getting the hang of it. The large monitor screen at home helps. I realised that I am quite privileged during the circuit breaker; thinking about those who are out of work admittedly hurts.

For those who could leverage on free material during circuit breaker/lockdown/any isolation event, good, we are privileged. How about those who are now mandated away from their workplace, and are paid based on hours they clock in? Or some friends who are years younger than me, in their graduation years, only to enter the economy in potentially the worst time in years.

Friday, 10 April

How good is this Good Friday? By now I have tried to reconnect with quite a number of friends. Interestingly, some other friends have decided to play some sort of Bingo thing on Instagram. Looks like people are already bored. Would they sound deranged by Week 3?

Spent my Good Friday testing a new Capture-the-Flag (CTF) format after being invited by a fellow infosec buddy. Had fun for two hours. A bit slow, but at least I am not that rusty! It’s fun to make new friends while working through challenges.

Saturday, 11 April

I realised I no longer keep myself peeled to the news on COVID-19 updates. Usually a few people update me, either through private message, or the flurry of daily responses to every piece of COVID-19 news.

I was thinking about the possibility of not being able to find a prophylatic method to stop COVID-19. During the night, I was educated on the current research work in different areas of COVID-19 mitigation and treatment. Heard about “monoclonal antibody treatment” for the first time. In short, training the immune system to detect targets, and create antibodies to mitigate them. Reminds me of some random reading I did on incurable viral infections such as HIV, and how I ended up reading about CD4 and CD8 T-cells and the complexities of the immune system. Biological systems are complex; this was why I didn’t study biology in JC. I preferred simple systems.

Sunday, 12 April

The lady who saw my tingkat can said that it was cute. Changed from an old-fashioned cylindrical one to a cuter one that resembled an apple. Who said the only Apple products are Macs?

Also I thought it might be nice to write this to share one thought I had each day, now that circuit breaker gives me time to think. Maybe a diary-writing habit, or at least a 15-minute reflection session daily is helpful. (Interjection from my recent readings on OODA loops: maybe also include mental model training.)

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