Everything’s going to pot these days.
The Dutch certainly thought so which explains the long lines outside those Amsterdam establishments that sell all things cannabis just before the city locked down in early March. For another thing, Mexico’s agreed to the wall separating it from the United States: with the number of Covid-19 infections in the US (450,000 and climbing), the Mexicans are even contemplating its funding.
And have you thought about the future? Like explaining to our grandchildren that 2020 was Year Zero when the fateful consumption of the bowl of bat soup in Wuhan, China, set into motion a train of events that eventually created the Great Global Toilet Paper Shortage.
Like having to explain why so many teenagers in the 2030s are called Quarantine. You might even say a new cohort is set to become the new millennials – the Quaranteens.
Things have come to a pretty pass these days with lots of people in self-isolation and, hence, bored out of their skulls. Let’s face it, a quarantine period combines the charm of a Muhyiddin Yassin press conference with all the excitement of double entry book-keeping.
So, what’s a bored fellow to do? As Tennyson might have said: “In this lockdown, a bored man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of his mobile phone.” In short, by the time we wake up in the morning we can easily kill at least 45 minutes just going through our various WhatsApp messages.
It is Good Friday as I write this. And truly I say, blessed is the messenger for he is humorous and shall inherit the mirth.
It first started with easily recognisable songs with a lyrical twist. All manner of songs have been given the treatment since, ranging from Bohemian Rhapsody to our very own Alan Perera’s dig at our Woman Minister’s sexist obsessions with his classy take on Elvis Presley’s Don’t be Cruel (“Don’t be cruel / Be my Doraemon”).
Indeed, almost all the songs on The Sound of Music seem to have been used to parody the outbreak. The best may have been the twist on How Do You Solve a Problem like Maria (Corona?) with its memorable last line How Do You Stop A Whacko From Tweeting?
Then there are the jokes. I have received good, mediocre and terrible ones but have read all anyway. I have nothing but time, duh! A doctor-friend of mine from Ipoh, for example, sent me a particularly memorable one. It went thus: Breaking news – Spanish King tests positive for Covid-19, confined to his aircraft. Newspaper headline the next day: “The reign in Spain will stay mainly on the plane.”
Then there are “fake news” messages which are equally irritating. Example of one I believed because it seemed eminently plausible: a person did not have Covid-19 if he could hold his breath for between 10-20 seconds as this showed there was no fibrosis in the lungs.
Earlier this week, however, the CNN doctor, the good Sanjay Gupta, rubbished this claim. He said there was no such evidence and any shortness of breath was all it took to be sufficiently alarmed.
During the 1917 flu pandemic, the poor sods had no television, no mobiles and, as my daughter might have said, “no fun.” But this is the 21st Century, life goes on and we now have Zoom.
Which is why we, in Singapore, are having an Easter party with our former neighbours in Malaysia via Zoom. We’ve already stocked up on the essentials.
Like chips and beer.