Love In The Time Of A Novel Coronavirus
Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel, Love In The Time Of Cholera, may as well have been about the novel coronavirus pandemic. First of all, it likens the emotional suffering of lovesickness to the physical plague of then-trending cholera. So too, is the situation with coronavirus, where the emotional toll of coping with coronavirus affects society as much as the physical burden of disease. Personally, I’ve found that the days I feel worst are not the ones when (more) bad news about (more) countries involved hits. It’s the regular days that have been disrupted that stand out starkly.
On Valentine’s Day, instead of going out on hot dates, we celebrated Quarantine’s Day with colleagues over sunflowers & bubble tea. In fact our little caper made it to the Sunday Times on March 8th. Time-honored celebrations of love like big wedding parties have been postponed on account of social distancing.
Coronavirus, in an age of disruption, you take the cake.
Love In The Time Of Calories
Yet, as true Singaporeans, our love for food will not be quelled. Recently, I was transferred from Team C to Team A. I’ll admit to crying over a gorgeous scrapbook they put together for me. Subsequently, I posted about being anxious about joining a new family. To encourage us, Violet Oon was kind enough to send a couple of “Petit Feasts” party platters as a treat. This may be a small gesture on their part but it meant the world to us.
As Team A is diverse in background and nationality, it was my pleasure to introduce them to Peranakan cuisine. Vegetarians savoured sayor lodeh while meat lovers devoured beef rendang. As for me, I went straight for the dry laksa. Chef Violet’s recipe for laksa is different from my husband’s and I enjoy both permutations very much.
When we’re not at work, my new team takes food therapy to a whole new level. On our days off, Team A throws axes when not lawn-bowling or stand-up-paddleboarding, in order to boost morale. And before or after each event, there is a hallowed meal we enjoy. After throwing axes at Turf Club road, we headed over to Slappy Cakes. We had a grand time playing medical pictionary with pancake batter. On another evening, we had a sumptuous homecooked feast.
I can’t explain the bonding that happens over food, but it’s the best therapy I know for stressed healthcare workers. Practically evidence-based!
Love In The Time Of Conversations
In my last post, Reality Bites As Coronavirus Spreads, I mentioned being on radio one weekend with Glenn van Zutphen & Neil Humphreys. This month I was grateful to chat with Hossan Leong & Mr Miyagi on The Hossan Leong Podcast for Spotify & Apple Podcasts. Here’s our conversation on Episode 6: https://youtu.be/n9UIv2vch_M.
Although conversations seek to educate and draw out fresh perspectives, sometimes information is superseded by new data as time goes by. But that’s okay. The situation is dynamic, as is life. It is the actual process of discussing, debating and provoking that is meaningful. So let’s keep going. Post about your experiences; share meaningful data. Be emotional: vent, cry, laugh. Be tolerant: let others vent, cry, laugh. After all, we’re all in this together. Furthermore from what I hear, we’re in this for the long haul.
The Most Important Love Of All
And how can we sustain ourselves in this long-haul battle, when answers are scarce and hope is dim? Along with other frontliners in this battle against the coronavirus, much of our job is about selfless sacrifice. However, with age comes the realisation that without self-love, warriors break down more easily: physically, mentally and emotionally. My favourite social activity, feasting with friends, is rendered trickier during this time of social distancing. Personally, I find writing & sketching great solo activities for relieving stress. My most indulgent treat for myself last week was a facial at Epion Aesthetics at Tudor Court. Because I went straight after a long night shift, my dry skin & weary mind appreciated it even more.
Finally, I’m going try to sleep more. I’ve a remarkable list of excuses to avoid sleep: shift work, kids, homework, time for friends. But I think, if I don’t put effort into good quality sleep, it isn’t the coronavirus that will do me in, but my own folly. Wish me luck as I seek sleep this week!