Twice tested, twice failed

Two More Lines

So for the second time, I have contracted COVID-19. I was infected the first time last year. It seems this time the effect is a bit more severe compared to the previous time, with my body temperature reaching 38.1° Centigrade for over two days. Even after registering with the MySejahtera app and applying for Quarantine Leave from work, things went on as usual. I ran online classes – thankful that my wits are still holding up. The only blow was that my friend Dan (and Star Trek Adventures player over Discord) was supposed to come for a visit. Because of this, he was forced to cancel. All in all, I think I have to monitor myself for Long COVID. How will this infection affect me in the long run? Has it been affecting me neurologically? I have no idea. Addendum: Ain too became infected the day after I was. We […]

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Saliva test kits

Two Lines

It has been almost two years since the pandemic officially kicked off in the country. After many mutations, the former denizens of the Tenth Floor (now in Transitory State) are now infected by the virus. At time of writing, there has been 440 million infections and 6 million deaths worldwide, while in Malaysia there has been 3.5 million recorded infections and 33 thousand has died because of it. Now we are part of the statistics. We are thankful to have been triple vaccinated, so the symptoms have not been as severe as they could be. For me I have been experiencing fever and sore throat, especially at nights. As such we are all now in a 7-day home quarantine since our first day of infection, while monitoring our vital stats to be submitted to MySejahtera twice daily. Here’s hoping for the best.

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We wonder when the pandemic will end

Second Pandemic Eid of 2021

Sure, we had Aidilfitri a couple of months ago. Before long Aidiladha was before us. As usual we stayed at home. I imamed the Aidiladha prayers for Ain & Irfan. Ain made laksa johor with the help of my colleague Azreen’s pre-packaged spice. Ultimately we stayed at home and watched TV. (I put on The Empire Strikes Back for the most part.) And that was how we spent our second Aidiladha during the pandemic.

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Some Hisham

English Theatre Arts 2021 Final Week Video

I was given a mission to run the English Theatre Arts co-curricular course once again this semester. After seven weeks, we completed the entire run. Like last year, yesterday morning we carried out the seventh and final week  performance under the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, this semester after preparing for a live online performance the students who are on campus informs me that there  would  be an internet outage until Tuesday, three days after our performance day. Within 12 hours, the four theatre troupes led by their directors, produced full videos of their plays. Each student acted at their respective locations recorded  it and sent it to the editor. After the editing, they sent it to me in time for a livestream session. In a worse turn of events, unlike last year, I was unable to connect to YouTube live to livestream their video. This was after a […]

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It's a Pfizer

A Vaccine Nation, Part 2.

Previously on “A Vaccine Nation”… Yesterday afternoon, I went to my second vaccine injection session snuggled between two classes. As of now, I am fully vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine. I hope Ain and Irfan get their vaccination dates on MySejahtera quickly. We need a lot more for vaccinated people so herd immunity can be effective.

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I am vaccinated

A Vaccine Nation

Today is Opah Irfan’s birthday. Happy birthday, Opah Irfan. Additionally, today was the date the MySejahtera app scheduled my first COVID-19 vaccination injection. However, Ain nor Irfan were still unscheduled. We believe that my blood pressure condition automatically grouped me early with citizens who are at high-risk. It cannot be stated enough. It is unbelievable that we are living through a real, honest-to-goodness planet-wide pandemic. Ain drove me to the vaccination site and waited in the car. When I was in line, I asked one of the medical personnels if it was possible for Ain to be given a shot today since she was close by. After the lady visibly consulted with two officers, she informed me: no. When my number came up it did not take long for me to reach the injection booth even though I went through the check-in table, the confirmation table, the briefing and signature […]

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Then we headed for Bukit Jerneh

The Outbreak Aidilfitri II

Previously, on “The Outbreak Aidilfitri”… It has been 12 lunar months since the last Hari Raya and now Eid has returned, just in time for another nationwide lockdown. So that means we are unable to balik kampung again during the festive season. We had actually planned to spend Eid at a hotel but I decided against it for safety’s sake. For both days of Eid, we went for drives all around the state, staying away from crowds and other humans in generals. Day One On the First Day of Hari Raya, we went to nearby locations taking family photos. We stopped near Irfan’s history teacher’s house because of the greening bendang padi there. The riceplants were starting to sprout at their tapak semaian turning their nursery plots green after a month or so of being mud brown. We also went to the Grape Farm at Sungai Batu Pahat. But we […]

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Ain in Lumut

Aidilfitri After The Lockdown

During hari raya, we were unable to cross state borders to balik kampung thanks to the COVID-19 quarantine. It was not the first time for us. As the MCO downgraded because of the reduced infection rate, we discovered that we were able to travel back to Sitiawan to meet up with Atok and Opah. We thought it would be good to celebrate Aidilfitri with them, and we could check up on them after the months of relative isolation. The first morning, we took our late family hari raya photos. The sun shone brightly. Later that day, the sun decided to call it quits. Suddenly it rained There was a torrential downpour in town. According to later reports, it submerged parts of the streets downtown. It never rained this hard in recent decades here in Sitiawan, so this must have been a freak rainstorm. Because a construction crew was building a […]

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A masked man

Back in the Office

I had been working from home for almost two months because of the Covid-19 outbreak movement control order. It was bound to end. The order came from up top that the administrative and executive staff had to begin working from our offices on Tuesday, the day after the Nuzul al-Qur’an break. There were, of course, procedures and measures lined out for us to adhere to. So, here I am back in my office. I ran two classes from the office remotely today.

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Close up

Theatre Arts Final Livestream

The English Theatre Arts co-curriculum class of 2020 have finally reached the end, which meant it was time for the final performances of their plays. The first and second classes in past years performed live, the former in a classroom and the latter on stage, for their seventh and final week. However, the third class were unable to perform live on stage thanks to the Covid-19 outbreak. Not only it was forbidden to hold mass gatherings (such as a stage play), most of the students if not all were away from campus at their respective hometowns under light lockdown. So I decided for the students to write screenplays instead of stage plays, then film their parts separately. Each troupe had a director, writer and video editor as part of their non-acting crew members. They submitted their scripts for assessment and their videos so I could organise a livestream of their […]

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Images of Week 11

Remote teaching using Google Meet is quite satisfying in its own way, though I do still prefer live face-to-face meetings. The online sessions are enhanced by sharing screens of the slides I have to present, links to videos the students need to view and Google Forms that required filling in. Here are images from Week 11 of the semester; one screen capture per class throughout the week.

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Travelling outdoors

Outdoors After Two Weeks

I have been cooped up at home for more than two weeks. The last time I left the driveway was to fill up the water bottles with the potable water vending machines. Since then I have been spending most of my time planning for lessons, running lessons, uploading online learning material and monitoring the students’ output. This takes up a great deal of my time. I am used to working from home for fives years before I came to work here. I do not mind working from home at all and could happily spend the rest of my life teaching from home. However, the virtual paperwork and other class management duties has worn me down. I have never felt so emotionally and physically exhausted before in my life, without being clinically depressed. Yesterday, the government has allowed two persons from a single household to travel by car. So Ain and […]

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Chief Aramaki on Kahoot!

Remote Teaching Thoughts

After three weeks, I have formed some thoughts on remote online teaching as one is wont to do. First of all, here are the tools I have been using to teach. Tools of the Trade For synchronous teaching, i.e. where students are required to be online the same time as I am, I have been using Google Meet to address them. Also, I have been using Google Forms embedded in Google Classroom for the students to mark themselves as being able or unable to join the class. If there could not, then they should write their reasons why. This is not a punitive requirement because I, and the department, need to know what issues arise during these sessions with which we could improve them. As an aside, I have been using Discord for the last two weeks. Also, I employ our classes’ respective WhatsApp channels (which everyone in the class […]

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A new beginning

Newly Minted OS

The Situation Last year some time, I upgraded the Linux Mint on this laptop from 17.0 to 17.3. In the last couple of months, I pushed it higher, upgrading from 17.3 to 18.0 to 18.3. However, this was where I hit a brick wall. I was unable to upgrade further because of an mdm display manager issue. None of the troubleshooting guides I read solved my problem. Additionally, the 18.3 build I had was noticeably getting slower to boot up AND it froze for three minutes or more intermittently. The freezes were happening a lot when I had a Nemo file manager window open. Saving on LibreOffice also immobilises the machine. This was a frustrating new development. Even more worrisome, because I had to use the machine for online teaching. Finally, I have been wanting to use the latest Discord and Blender programs (among others). There are no new 32-bit […]

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Home team at night

First Tarawih of the Plague Year

Ramadhan Mubarak, everyone. Tonight was Ramadhan Eve. We had our first Tarawikh prayers of the year, during a semi-quarantine pandemic-based lockdown. Ramadhan usually brings joy, but with the outbreak everyone feels fear and uncertainty. The authorities have suspended congregational prayers at the masjid to prevent spread of the Covid-19 disease. This suspension also covers Friday and Tarawikh prayers. Some places in the world do feel a disquieting woe and sadness as thousands die of the plague. What will the future bring to us all?

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A celestial being

A Little Seraphim

During the plague year, Irfan rediscovered his drive to build Gundam plastic models. He decided to purchase a GN-009 Seraphim Gundam from Mobile Suit Gundam 00. It was smaller than the usual Gundam as it was part of the Seravee Gundam. This mobile suit which belonged to the private paramilitary organisation Celestial Being only showed up for a few seconds in an episode of 00. Only thing for Irfan to do now is to get a Seravee so they could dock together.

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