Earth Hour

Monday, May 11, 2020

A Man- a novel on identity
I just finished reading the novel, A Man by Japanese writer, Keiichiro Hirano.  This is Hirano's first novel translated and published in English, but he's written several books already.

A Man revolves around a family lawyer, whose former client asked him to investigate the mystery behind her dead husband. The family of the dead man informed the woman that her husband was not their kin. The lawyer had to solve two puzzles: the real identity of the dead man, and what happened to the person whose identity and past he claimed as his. Through his investigation, the lawyer learned the meaning of our identity and the memory and legacies we leave,  

 Hirano covered a lot of topics, aside from the meaning of identity, he also touched on racism, middle life crisis, and relationships. It also gave us a glimpse of the complicated Japanese law on the family registry system. A Man is a great read, especially if you enjoy a good mystery.

A Man
by KeiichirĊ Hirano, Eli K.P. William (Translator)
295 pages
Note: I read the Kindle edition of this book, available through the Kindle First Reads program under my Amazon Prime subscription

Sunday, April 26, 2020

COVID 19: Things You Can Do While in Quarantine

You probably know by now that the Expanded Community Quarantine (ECQ) imposed by the government has been extended again up to May 15.  The quarantine covered the entire island of Luzon, including the capital region of the country, to prevent the coronavirus or COVID-19 from spreading.  When it was first implemented, the ECQ was supposed to end after a month.  Since the number of infected persons continued to rise, the government extended it up to the end of April. 

Just two days ago, the government decided to further extend the ECQ to up to May 15 but only in certain areas where the infection remains high.  Unfortunately, the National Capital Region remains under strict quarantine.  That means we still have 20 days before us.  

I've been working from home since the start of the ECQ, and that kept me entirely occupied in the last 39 days.  If you have been spending the past five weeks just binge-watching on Netflix, then you must be screaming by now to get out of the house.  Relax, there are other things you can do in the next three weeks.
Try decluttering your closet.  I spent the weekends during the quarantine going over my clothes.  Since I didn't go out much, my clothes remained hanging in the closet, and I realized that there were a lot of them.  I tried Marie Kondo's spark of joy method during the first pass, and I ended up with fewer clothes. However, my clothes were still packed tightly, and I next used Joshua Becker's suggestion to ask myself, "Do I really need this?" Some shirts and pants didn't pass the test and went to the 'donate' box. I am still working on this, and I will do my shoes next.

Remember how we keep on putting off reading our books because we do not have enough time?  Well, the next three weeks give you enough time to read at least one good book.  I have already read some books in between doing my work. You can even start blogging about them after reading.

You can also start or go back to your hobby.  When prices of vegetables went up a few days after the start of the quarantine period, I told the people in the house that we will use the empty pots in the garden to plant our own vegetables.  The Department of Agriculture is giving out seeds for those who want to start a vegetable garden in their yard.  We haven't done it yet, but with two extra weeks, I think we can begin to become urban farmers.  Some people even started crocheting tiny couches for their cats!

The President said that the best time to lift the ECQ is when a vaccine is already available.  There are about 70 teams around the world working on developing a vaccine.  If all things go well, we may have a vaccine by December this year.  However, if something goes wrong, it will take up to the second half of 2021 before we have something to fight the virus.  In the meantime, relax and let us all be safe and stay at home,

Monday, April 20, 2020

Those Pesky Straps of Havaianas Flip Flops

I have several pairs of Havaianas flip flops, but I cannot use any of them.  Do you know why?  All of them have broken straps and mostly on the left side.  

The first time it happened to me, I blamed myself for being so careless, I thought it was because I used it for hiking on rocky terrain.  The next time it happened, it snapped without any reason.  It just happened.  This problem happened again and again.

Havaianas flip flops are not cheap for something so familiar to many Pinoys.  We wear this footwear every day.  But they are from Brazil.  With its price, users like me would expect Havainas not only to be the most comfortable slippers but also durable to withstand regular wear.  But no, my flip flops didn't even last more than a year.  And I only wear them inside the house or occasionally, to the grocery.

I once tried to look for replacement straps for one of my pairs, but the store clerk said they do not have any.  She even tried to convince me to buy another pair because they have new designs.  

Whenever I clean my room and run across these useless Havaianas, they remind me of that incident.  When some of my non-Havaianas slippers got old and worn out, a friend took out their straps and put them in some of my broken Havaianas.  They fit!  I now use strange-looking pairs of Brazilian flip flops around the house with no apologies.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

COVID-19: Be Ready

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted almost the entire world.  It can affect anyone of us at any time.  While we should continue with our daily life, how does one prepare for the day under these medical circumstances?  I found this very helpful poster from the United Nations site and I wish to share it with you.  I hope you could find it helpful.

Be safe everyone.  Always wash your hands and as much as possible, #STAYATHOME.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

COVID 19: What We Need to Know

photo: CDC
As my contribution to the fight against COVID-19, beginning with this post I will share information about the disease. To avoid spreading wrong information, I will directly quote my sources which may include the WHO, the Department of Health, the CDC and other reliable sources.  The information may be already available online but I believe in casting the net a little farther to reach more people.  

Let's begin by knowing what COVID-19 is.  According to the World Health Organization (WHO), COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus which was unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.  

So far, the WHO believes that people can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick.

The WHO points out that the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who get COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.

The video below gives a better understanding of COVID-19 and how you can protect yourself and your love ones from the disease.