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CNA Lifestyle

Asian zombies, Auntie Jenny and being stuck at home for a week (Part 2)

CNA Lifestyle’s Circuit Breaker Diaries series features musings on Singapore life in the time of coronavirus. One writer shares more of his diary entries for seven days during yet another random week.

I’ve lost track of time, and were it not for my diary with its days and dates, I’d swear Christmas is just around the corner. 

It doesn’t help that all the news is exactly the same, every single day. It’s as if all the journalists in the world have basically given up. “Why bother?” I imagine them saying as they fire up Netflix on the iPad.

Except for Khloe’s recent toilet paper stunt, the Kardashians have gone all quiet, so the days feel particularly unreal. At least I have my diary to keep me grounded. One day, decades from now, it’ll be the one thing that will remind me of just how strange these past few months have been. 

READ: Circuit Breaker Diaries: A week in the life of someone stuck at home with virtual yoga aunties


Singaporeans have this reputation of being docile and law abiding, but since this whole virus thing started, I’ve decided it’s all a front.

Every time I look down from the balcony, I notice quite a few people exercising in the condo carpark below. They’re not supposed to be doing that. And the other evening, when I was downstairs collecting mail, I saw a woman standing in the bushes waiting for her dog to finish peeing. She’s not supposed to do that either. Over our masks, she caught my disapproving eye and quickly looked away and tried to blend into the hibiscus.

I feel like I should report these people, but to whom? Surely the police have better things to do. And then I think this is exactly the sort of thing my mother would do, and it mortifies me to think I’m just one busy-body phone call away from turning into her.

READ: Circuit Breaker Diaries: Learning life lessons from The Beatles and Kit Chan


Auntie Jenny rang this morning to say she’d just washed her own hair for the first time in over 65 years. You could have knocked me over with a scone. “Wait,” I said. I realised I didn’t know what else to say, so I added, “What?”

Since 1955, she’s been going to the hairdressers three times a week and someone has washed her hair. But now…“I had to stand under the shower with water dripping down my face! Aiyoh!” she moaned. Although now that I think about it, I have always wondered how she ever gets anything done with her centimetre-long lacquered fingernails. But, still.

I haven’t seen her since we all went into lockdown, but if she can’t get to the hairdressers or the nail salon, she’s going to be a real hot mess by Jun 1. An 85-year-old hot mess.


Last night, at about 10pm, I was rummaging under the kitchen sink looking for a plastic bag when I found a packet of white sponges. It was all in Japanese, but a small sticker said it was a Magic Sponge and it cleans everything. It’s probably what the cleaning lady uses, and it so happened there was an icky brown stain on the floor that had resisted all my scrubbing.

Two swipes with the wet sponge and the spot was gone. Only, I now realised the real colour of the tiles was, when clean, several shades whiter than the rest of the kitchen floor. So, I scrubbed one more tile. Which only highlighted just how dirty the rest of the floor was. So I cleaned another. Then, still on my hands and knees, I edged into the lounge room, and eventually the hallway. It was 3am by the time I crawled into bed.

If I ever needed proof I’m OCD, my clean floors are it.


Everyone on Instagram is cooking or baking. Sourdough bread is especially popular, but I think, how much bread could you eat? I also wonder if it’s technically possible to get a yeast infection from eating too much bread. I wouldn’t be surprised. In fact, after all this talk about eating bats, nothing would surprise me.

And @antsandbeesg makes the most crazy beautiful cakes and cupcakes, and sets them all out on gorgeous linen with flowers and everything. It’s like something you’d see in a Martha Stewart Living magazine, only I think this is all photographed in his home.

I like to think that if I were to ever meet these people, they’d be the size of a truck. There’s also no way you could eat all that sugar and butter and still fit though the front door.

READ: Circuit Breaker Diaries: Ode to my neighbourhood barber and all the ghosts of haircuts past


I was FaceTiming Mitchell who said one of the drawbacks he’s found about working from home is that you can’t call in sick anymore. What would be the point? And who would really care about an MC?

“Plus,” he said, “there’s just no thrill about it, you know? Before if you were lying about being sick, you could always sneak off to the movies or get a massage, and feel naughty about it. Now, you’re just stuck at home and literally no one gives a crap!”


Jess told me I had to watch Kingdom on Netflix. “High quality Korean period drama, hot men in uniform, high production values, and zombies!” is how she summarised the show. I told her I didn’t have the range. Plus, for some reason, Asian zombies always seem so much scarier than the Hollywood versions.

So, that conversation took place at 7pm. At 8pm, I decided to watch the first 15 minutes. Just to see. I finished all eight episodes of the first season at 1am. And then I couldn’t get to sleep till 3am because I was so spooked by those mad zombies and that even madder queen with her milky white SKII skin.

Jess was so smug. “It’s like Dr Pimple Popper. Once you pop one…”

READ: Circuit Breaker Diaries: Listening to the sounds of my quiet neighbourhood


I just looked at my diary and worked out that, besides checking the mail, I’ve not left the apartment in four weeks. It makes me think of that poor woman in London who died while watching TV and they didn’t discover her body till, like, two years later, and her TV was still on. If this circuit breaker lasts any longer, that’s going to be me.

I remember reading the newspaper story at the time and wondering what brand her TV was. I was amazed it was still working after being on non-stop for two whole years. It’s funny where the mind goes when it’s confronted with this kind of tragedy.

I should take more walks.

Daven Wu is a lapsed lawyer-turned-freelance writer who’s accepting food donations.

Source: CNA/mm