COVID-19 and me

Malaysia has been on a partial lockdown since 18 March. Today is 16 April. Here are some of my thoughts and learnings:-

  • Life can be unpredictable. Did I imagine in February that Malaysia would have a stay-at-home order? Not at all. This is unheard of. I had been contemplating how for a few decades, life has remained quite the same with no real upheavals. This is a real about turn. A real 180 degree change.
  • In February, I was still at the same job with no newness to it. By mid-February, it felt like a new opportunity was birthing although admittedly, this came unexpectedly. In late February we were caught up with the perils of politics and a swift change in government and I had a new job.
  • In early March, I was trying to sort out logistics of changing jobs. Did I envision a work from home situation? No. Although I’ve always liked the prospect of working from home.
  • In terms of work planning, we were looking at things across the causeway like a far removed situation, a ‘that won’t happen to us’ situation but also being optimistic and thinking ‘this too shall pass’
  • By mid-March, like a falling axe, we were all told to work from home. The whole office, the whole country. It didn’t feel like an axe to me but I remember my last day in the office, while everyone was working from home, I had gone in and there were just a few of us there. We were sorting through things, finishing up what we could in the office. I also packed up. I packed about 85% of my things due to some advice. And I’m glad I did. If I do return to the office, it will seem like the apocalypse, I imagine. Things untouched for a few weeks. The city must be like Left Behind, devoid of life, the remnants of what was. Will things return to normal?
  • The rest of March and April was spent at home. I was on holiday for 3 weeks. Not that that meant much. I closed up my old job and started a new one. All while living through an apocalypse.
  • We say to stay at home is to save the vulnerable. I have to remind myself that staying at home means that we are not overwhelming the healthcare system. The Malaysian healthcare system has always taken the over-cautious approach. We don’t do too many clinical trials but only observe what has proven to work. It’s good. Our curve flattening is working out well.
  • Was it easy to survive the last 28 days? It’s a mindset moment. The first week, everyone was freaking out about having to stay-at- home. I like staying at home. There is no pressure to go out. I realise that I miss sitting at a cafe. I also noticed I can live with very little. In fact, all of us can live with very little. And this is a mindset moment.
  • God is good. In the first week of the stay-at-home order, I had to look into the Bible and figure out about Divine Providence and the sovereignty of God. He wills all of this for our good. Mariah Carey was part of a viral “He’s got the whole world in His hands” campaign that, looking back now, is truly uplifting and brings a lot of comfort.
  • I saw how important it is to have the right perspective and the right mindset. Sure, we can complain and keep focusing on the injustice and the negativity but can we change the current situation? No. We must adapt and look at it positively. It’s hard to help people who can’t get their head around it. I get it that some times they don’t mean to be this way. But how do we get them out of the rut? Maybe they feel lonely and abandoned. Maybe they have no purpose and nothing to look forward to. Which is why faith is important. There is something to look forward to.
  • Do I believe that God’s got my back? I do.
  • As a person averse to change, I would never have changed jobs amidst a global crisis. Yet things moved about and here I am. When my father was first diagnosed, I turned down a pretty good opportunity to be there. Do I look back and wonder? Yes but I also know God’s brought me this far not to forsake me.
  • I fear what I don’t know. And yet throughout this stay-at-home order, I feel safe and secure. Almost upbeat. Regardless of what is happening around me or to me. I have heard bad news. I’ve experienced bad news myself. But I feel cheerful inside.
  • I’m scared of disappointing. I’m scared because I know I am a limited being with a lot of weak spots. I worry what others see. And so through this job change amidst an apocalypse, I can only live day by day. Don’t look too far. Live in present.
  • I’m grateful that my God has my back and He’s taking care of everyone I love by keeping them at home and safe. And that means He’s taking care of you too.
  • He’s got the whole world in His hands. The world is healing. Rivers are turning blue, the skies are blue, the birds are chirping, the sun is shining bright and I believe this rest the world is experiencing is God’s way of resetting it in some way. When Noah was in his ark, it took God 40 days and 40 nights to reset the environment. I wonder if it will be the same for us.


New Year New Phone

I was gifted a Samsung Galaxy S7 edge in 2016 by my sister and have been using it till now. It was a 32gb and I have been maxing out the storage for at least a year now. Even with a 64gb SD card, it seems that it’s not enough. I suspect it’s just all the background files that are taking up space on my phone. Even clearing the cache from apps doesn’t help. If I reformat it it should be be better. Before Android 8, when the S7e updated, it would lag very bad. I had a lot of problems with it. But after doing a hard reset, it became very smooth.

Anyway, because of this memory problem and the dying battery, I felt I needed a new phone. My S7e battery was draining very fast. I needed to plug it in at all times and if I charged it up to 100% and used it continuously for an hour or so browsing through my social media and Chrome, the battery will drop by 40% or more. Also I think there were some issues with connections (4G) some times.

But other than that, I have had no complaints with my S7e. It’s light, it’s thin, the screen’s good (although yellowing now), is still being updated (although I don’t think it will getting Android 9) and the camera is very very good. Even when compared to some of the newer phones, the camera is very good. Who really needs a quad camera set up? My apps rarely crashed and although it does feel a little laggy (that I think a reformat will clear up), it’s still a really good phone. It did get hot quite a lot of the time though. I used to put it in the freezer to cool it down.

I started looking at other phones to see what to get. Should I get a flagship or a mid-range? There are so many options now. I was looking at the Honor 20 Pro, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, Huawei P30, Huawei Mate 20X, Samsung Galaxy A70, OnePlus 7T, OnePlus 7 Pro and the Realme X2 Pro.

I wanted a big-ish screen and I wanted to have an SD card slot which some of the phones above did not have. Especially the Honor, OnePlus and Realme.

Also recently, I decided that I might want to get the Samsung Galaxy Tab A with S pen to read with so I didn’t want to spend so much on the phone. I was really quite convinced about the Realme X2 Pro and the OnePlus 7 Pro because they came with a lot of RAM, 12gb and 8gb respectively.

The Redmi Note 8 Pro seemed like a good balance. It was half the price of the Realme X2 Pro and the specs are decent. Besides the MediaTek SOC (I had some experience with them a long time ago) everything seemed OK and it came with a dual SIM with SD card hybrid slot. My Redmi Note 8 Pro comes with the 6gb and 128gb configuration. This is the official model. I noticed I could have gotten an imported 8gb and 256gb configuration but I think I’d prefer official warranty.

Coming from an samsung galaxy S7 Edge, the experience so far has been pretty good. I really like the Always On Display on my S7E so that was one of the first things I noticed. Screen-wise, I think you can tell the LCD vs AMOLED. But my S7E is yellowing anyway.

I like all the things I can customise in the Xiaomi settings. I like there are fake buttons at the bottom because I really like the real button on my S7e. I feel MIUI is OK so far. Don’t like ads in their File Manager. I liked the Google ‘set up my device’ function. So easy. When I got the phone, it was on MIUI 10 but last night, I got MIUI 11 and noticed a Phone-to-Phone set up function. Too bad. But otherwise, I have no complaints with how Google has done it so far. I like dual apps functionality on MIUI. Now I don’t need Parallel apps anymore. It eats up a lot of storage.

I haven’t decided if I want to put 2 sim cards into my phone yet. I transferred my sd card from S7e into my RN8P and noticed that when I take a pic, RN8P does not automatically save the photo into my sd card like the S7e. I liked this feature. I don’t know if I can set this yet. But I think I’ll look into that.

I connected the RN8P bluetooth to my car audio and listening to spotify, it sounds a little tinnier compared to my S7e. Not sure why yet.

I don’t like the swipe up gesture that leads to Mi Browser. On my S7e when I swiped up, it’d take me to my apps drawer. I liked that I could search for apps on my phone in S7e without having to go into Google to do that. Also, now that MIUI does not have an apps drawer, I had to put the apps into folders so I can access them quicker. We’ll see how I feel about this.

The phone was a little warm when I was setting up the phone but other than that, I haven’t noticed anything untoward yet.

So far the phone feels faster than my S7e. Luckily I hadn’t reset my S7e yet because I still needed the authenticator app and I wanted to make sure that the login to my apps on the RN8P were working before I did anything drastic and lost access. I think I’m going to appreciate that the Xiaomi camera allows me to capture QR codes. My S7e camera doesn’t have that function, I think.

I set up my fingerprint which seemed quite easy to do and it unlocks my RN8P really fast. I disabled that on my S7e ‘cos it wasn’t really very good. I have not tried face recognition yet. Not sure if I want to yet. Xiaomi is good because they give a soft TPU cover in the box. So the phone is protected right from the start. I like that it comes with a cover for the charger so it protects it from dust. I don’t know if I like that the RN8P camera protrudes a bit. I’m afraid that might get scratched easily. Should I get a protector for the cameras? Afraid that might mean cloudy photos.

I got a cheap tempered glass to protect the screen from now. Very smudgy but at least it protects the phone for now.

Moving from a Samsung to a Xiaomi was effortless. I like that Xiaomi does not force us for now to sign in to Mi Cloud or Mi services. Unlike Samsung that I feel forces us at times, it’s good that Xiaomi does not force us to set up an account with them. The only thing it forces us to do is use mi Browser. I also like the 3 finger screenshot gesture.

The themes that I can access and things are OK. I don’t think I’ll use them though. The RN8P is definitely weightier than my S7e with a leather case and also a little large in my big hands. Not sure what it’ll be like if I have to carry it around yet.

Also I turned off the App Vault (‘cos it’s not necessary and the shortcuts are not stuff I use every day) and I turned off the swipe up and open Mi Browser for now. The alarm clock is a bit soft too. Also with MIUI 11 you get it with nature sounds. Very cool. Also I like the double tap to wake phone. Inasmuch as I miss my Always On display on my S7e, I think it will help me be more focused and not look at my phone as much or be distracted by incoming notifications. I might turn off the wake lock screen for notifications function. Also I used a bit of Google Assistant because it seems to be quite integrated on the RN8P. Perhaps I’ll use it more in coming days but it has been quite accurate so far.

We got 2 Redmi Note 8 Pros. My sister got one and I got one. She got the green one that looks really good and I got the white one. My sister said hers came pre-installed with games but I’m pretty sure mine did not. So strange. We got it at the same time and from the same shop. I think is because I did a hard reset again and did not start installing stuff on first turn on. She didn’t bother to do that.

One thing I really love about my RN8P is that it comes with a 4500 mah battery. Because I had battery problems on my S7e I’m hoping the 4500 mah will last a long time (at least a day’s use) without needing to charge it. After I bought the phone, I noticed that the screen is TÜV Rheinland certified and has anti-blue light function which is great and that it comes with a liquid cooling system to ensure the phone doesn’t get as warm. Also a major plus is that the phone comes with an IR blaster. My sister had the Redmi Note 4 Pro before this and she found the IR blaster very useful. So I am glad that Redmi still includes it. It’s a major reason why we purchased this phone. My sister’s RN4P had a power button problem so that’s why she changed hers as well.

If I weigh this, I almost bought the Realme X2 Pro for twice the price of the Redmi Note 8 Pro. So now I can get my Galaxy Tab A with S pen and have a new phone at the same price as an expensive flagship. I think that’s wonderful.


Privatising my Past

I decided to hide my old posts again. We’ll just start from here.


Re-reading my private posts

Update: I managed to import my posts! And I had to re-arrange some of them and I believe some are super private because I took them from my private blog and I can’t be bothered to sift through it all. I’m just going to lay it all bare for all and sundry to see and read. Also had to re-date some of my posts so the sequence for some are wrong. I doubt anyone will care. But I can’t believe I still have blog posts from 2006! I stopped blogging from 2011-2014. I think I had some false starts in 2012/2013 but I didn’t save those. Bummer.

Update 2: I managed to import my Xanga posts! Holy crap. From 2003! Some are superiorly cringe worthy. I doubt anyone’s ever going to read them. I struggle to go through them myself. And I was so honest in some of them. And so open. Wow.

I put a lot of my posts since 2014 into private mode and I cannot believe how smart I sound in some of them. I can’t believe I wrote them!

If only I had kept my posts from 2005 on this blog. Maybe I should re-import them? I’ll think about it and figure out how to do it. I spent so much of it processing my grief but I think I’ve come out stronger. But by removing it and moving it, it’s helped a lot too. Instead of dwelling on it but maybe it’s time to return it to give my blog more body. I erased so much of the dated nonsense like American Idol posts and what not. Haha. Who knows. Let me think about it.



I have been thinking of starting / restarting a blog for the last few weeks.

I realised some times I have thoughts that seem very out of place in my world. Maybe they are too blatant, too direct or too judging. I don’t mean to come across that way and it’s maybe how I process things. Like I need a platform to discuss or more like ‘for people to hear me out.’

I have realised it doing in whatsapp groups or facebook walls may not be the best place even though you have a ready audience. Twitter is still OK ‘cos it’s short form.

I currently own 2 Twitter accounts. One of them I use for politics and nobody knows it’s me. I hope nobody knows it’s me! The other one I use to do more personal tweets. Separating my political thoughts from my @pigduck was a conscious decision because it just allows me to be more free to troll. Also it’s safer so people don’t connect dots. I get quite a lot of impressions on my political Twitter handle which can be exciting. I’m glad there are people out there who agree with my thoughts. Some of them want me to show myself but I like being anonymous for now.

I do hope that writing will help me structure my thoughts and help me express myself so I don’t offend people. And if people want to be offended by me they can come here and read it in a processed way instead of me saying it aloud and in their face without a filter.

At first I thought I wanted to percolate my thoughts on another domain anonymously. I still haven’t quite decided. The problem with doing it at is that there’s some form of ownership and exposure. Like people I know will link it to me and I am fearful I will not be very honest and I’ll write in endless roundabout riddles. If I wrote elsewhere, nobody would know it’s me and I can just do verbal diarrhea and that would be great. I could write openly about faith, politics and life without some stigma following or people in real life thinking something of me. Boxing me. Although I’m quite a square box as it is, I don’t like being typed.

Am I ashamed of my thoughts? Some times. Haha. Should I be apologetic for my thoughts? Probably not.

Percolating is a good word. I imagine something brewing, dripping slowly and being filtered. I wish that for what’s going on in my head.

When I first got this domain, in 2005, pigduck was hardly a common word but now there are so many pigducks in the world and these people are stealing my identity and signing up as pigduck on new platforms. OK fine, they are not stealing my identity since I don’t own ‘pigduck’ but I think I should find someway to trademark it.

I was thinking I should spend some time planning what I would like to write and not do a as-it-comes kind of thing. Writing does seem like a tedious act. You have to spend time sorting the thoughts and then typing it all out coherently. Would having a personal journal be helpful? Maybe but then there’s no audience. Haha Do I need an audience? Some times. I think when we write there will always be an audience.

Most people these days have become so advanced when it comes to blogging. I remember back in the day when people just wrote whatever they felt like but now you need to have it tagged and sorted or even have 1 blog for 1 topic. Not 5 topics in 1 blog like what I plan. I can imagine my categories will be varied. “Percolating, Dear Diary, Dear God, Music, Life, Faith, Politics, Reviews, etc”

Back in the day, I also remember how I wanted to do vlogging. Nowadays the equipment is so affordably accessible and people make such professional videos. Although recently, I was thinking of doing a podcast but I’m unsure what topic I feel I can talk endlessly about. So it’s best just to let me say my piece here. For now. Till I find my voice. Till I’m brave enough to say it aloud.