“Sunset in My Hometown”: Another Writing-themed Korean Movie You’ll Like

Writing and publishing industry and writers are considered boring. They are worlds seen as nests of bookworms and nerds and scholars and ultra introverted, eccentric, soft spoken individuals sitting all day long at their work desks all alone.

Somber and dark profession.

But this movie shows you that with some literary talent you have in brain, the only thing you can achieve is not only becoming a published author.

You can be a rapper like the protagonist Kim Haksu. Moving to Seoul and leaving his small hometown that scarred him for life, the young man hoped he could start anew in a big metropolitan and get popular with his rapping knack thanks to his literary talent of composing lyrics and poetry since his early years.

Having a bitter relationship with his father, Haksu was called by someone from the hospital his father was treated for his colon cancer. Advanced stage. So the situation had to be serious but Haksu, blinded by his avenge towards the irresponsible dad, never thought it was. He thought his dad just wanted to screw him again and again.

Sunmi turned out to be the mysterious caller and she still had that crush on Haksu just like in their high school days. An unrequited love it was. Haksu loved Mikyung instead. But Mikyung, being a playgirl, did not want to be steadfast with only one single guy. She kept open in her relationships with these boys even in her post teenage years.

Haksu was confronted by so many blasts from the past. He had to encounter lots of people from the past that brought him a lot of pain and grudge. His literature teacher who stole his poetry notebook, for example.

But he also had to pay his being a bully in the past. A kid he used to bully had become a gangster in the hometown and tried to take revenge on him while he could not leave the town because of a groundless accusation from the local police.

A movie that makes us rethink the definition of home. Sometimes running away from the past is impossible. Somehow you will be dragged and sucked to the past again and this past will envelope you without mercy until you resolve everything. No escape. No exit. Just deal with it now or you will never move forward in life.

Park Jungmin nailed it again. And for his mud fight scene that bruised his smooth facial skin which is a highly treasured asset for men in Korea, he deserved 5 stars from 5 from me. Brilliant acting. (*/)

This Seemingly Endless Coronavirus Malaise

This national hibernation in Indonesia is expected to be prolonged.

I guess you know why.

People are not very manageable. They have no proper support system when a total lockdown is applied. Therefore they get of out of home to make a living. But some also just don’t give this pandemic a single damn. They feel safe and immune to it. Until they are infected.

The government are relatively lenient to enforce the laws. I have no idea why this faux pas occurs and keeps recurring. Public officials made funny remarks, underestimating the danger of the new virus. They send mixed messages to the public. So confusing we laymen bicker with each other. Embarassing. And the leader sends a signal to play with linguistic elusion when bombarded with questions. That “mudik” carries a different meaning from “going home”. One ridicule after another.

As if this is not enough, they plan to spur the tourism industry to make up the loss the nation is suffering from the pandemic by the end of 2020. All is decides when even the cases are mounting still and the peak of the curve is not flattening. Thoughtless and senseless. This is what happens when economic growth is everything.

The Stubborn Ego

A friend shared this story of his wife telling her that he should not go to the nearby mosque for Friday prayers in time of pandemic. His wife in great length spoke that his actions could just put the small family at risk. He may see people unknown at the mosque and only God knows where they are from. And he abode. Half heartedly.

Then came the time when his wife wanted to go shopping for groceries. Not luxuries. So she thought the nearby supermarket would be okay. Just before she got out ouf the house, the husband asked if she may just need to get the groceries their household needs from the nearby stores. In walking distance.

“How could we doubt going to Allah’s house when we can freely go to a supermarket when no guarantee we catch the virus or not?” The husband stressed.

Then the wife almost shed tears. She thought bad about herself, saying she did not mean to prevent him from observing Allah’s command.

Both have their own justification. The husband wanted to justify his ego by showing his religious obedience. That no matter what happens God comes first. Nothing else matters.

The wife wanted to justify her ego, too. But she showed different urge behind her action. She wanted to get the groceries at the cheapest price. Her family deserved the best stuff to eat but still the stuff must be best priced. Nothing else matters to her.

Just stop it, you both!

I too have my own ego who to satisfy.

By judging you both are fanatics of your own causes.

Your own justifications.

Your own excuses.

That bias is actually everywhere to see.

It is all about who wins the argument.

“Came to Me and Became a Star”: Love among the Financially-Challenged Middle Class Youths

Money is the root of evil. That might be true in many cases. But in this movie, money is the root of heartbeak and loneliness. So to speak.

Gangseok is a young man who is so unlucky. Despite his looks and intellegence, he has to beat the burden of debts and costs of his dying mother who is in comma for like a decade. He works days and nights to repay his student loans and also debts.

He met with Hajin, a girl who is looking for a prospective husband.

They fell in love but the problem arose when the two failed to reach agreement on how they should go on with their romantic relationships.

Gangseok lived in a student hostel because it is very affordable. But he knew he had to sacrifice his convenience a lot.

Hajin experienced financial troubles after the toy company she worked for had an import problem. Her salary is cut down, making her increasingly unable to survive in Seoul on her own. She could not pay rents for months and was forced to move out. She then came to the student hostel Gangseok lived and felt miserable about her own life. And even worse, she had to accept the fact that she could not see the sun as the room has no window at all.

At first both of them were not aware of the fact that they lived in the similar building but then they did and found it “apalling’, as Hajin put it.

Hajin wanted so much a man to support her financially as she was at the time struggling to stay afloat. To find Gangseok debt stricken and just as financially challenged as she was made her disturbed. She then came to a decision to break up with him. The young man plead that Hajin stayed with him and promised her everything was going to be alright. He promised to work hard and support her while still paying out his unconscious mother’s hospital bills.

But Hajin doubted him. She did not want to wait in uncertainty. So she left him and finally Gangseok made up his mind to rent a tiny and clean apartment with a small window for her though she just would not even mend the relationships.

Gangseok finally died in the arson at the student hostel causes by a desperate middle-aged man left by his family members after a bankruptcy.

I saw them as a middle class because they are part of the society and they are paid for their skills by contributing to the country through the formal sector. They can afford nice clothes and car rent and property rent but they just get so unlucky because the situation and the system of our current economy just will not allow them to overcome their life problems.

They are not poor. They have their basic needs fulfilled but they are still struggling to stabilize their life and finance. And sadly it is partly because of the ignorance of our society. The systemic failure of our civilization to protect them from being impoverished.

The failure of the government to provide an affordable housing.

The failure of these youths to control their wants and fulfill their needs as the top priority.

The failure of employers and companies to pay their employees at a cost that enables them to lead a decent and dignified life.

I definitely like this movie a lot for the lessons we get.

But first and foremost, let me give them 5 stars for their plot and message for us to notice and learn. (*/)

Pentingnya Jaga Pola Tidur di Masa Pandemi

Hi guys!

Welcome back to my podcast after a while yaaa. Haha.

Sebelumnya gw lebih banyak bahas soal tidur sebagai perbaikan kualitas hidup.

Nah, gw kayaknya masih mau fokus ke masalah itu karena seperti kita ketahui di masa pandemi dan isolasi mandiri ini, gw sering dengar keluhan ada orang yang insomnia.

Bukannya di rumah bisa tidur semau kita?

Ya iya sih kalau kita nggak ada tanggungan kerjaan.

Buat yang kerja dari rumah, tidur cukup juga masih bisa jadI masalah lho meskipun mereka tidak harus bangun lebih pagi buat commute atau melakukan perjalanan ke tempat kerja.

Di masa pandemi ini mereka yang kerja dari rumah juga nyatanya masih ada yang merasa kurang tidur.

Kenapa?

Ya karena pekerjaan mereka masih bisa membayangi di mana saja di suddut rumah. Padahal rumah selama ini kita anggap sebagai sebuah istana yang memungkinkan kita istirahat, jauh dari hiruk pikuk kerjaan.

Eh, tapi di masa pandemi, rumah kita malahan jadi neraka dunia karena urusan kerjaan juga masuk ke dalamnya.

Dan bagi mereka yang sudah punya rumah tangga dan tanggungan anak, urusannya bakal lebih pelik lagi karena bayangkan saja harus mengurusi pekerjaan lalu tanggung jawab sebagai orang tua atau pasangan secara bersamaan.

Fiuh!

Buat mereka yang nggak ada kerjaan di rumah, masalah juga bukan berarti tidak ada.

Bisa jadi mereka yang tidak bekerja ini adalah korban PHK, atau perumahan, atau cuti tanpa dibayar oleh perusahaan mereka.

Mereka yang tidak ada kegiatan di rumah juga mungkin adalah pekerja lapangan yang bisanya kerja saat di luar rumah, misalnya supervisor proyek. Mana bisa kalau tidak ke tempat proyeknya langsung? Masak mau Cuma video call sama pekerja? Kan nggak bisa juga.

Belum lagi masalah terhentinya pemasukan buat mereka yang nggak ada kerjaan ini.

Klop, makin streslah. Akhirnya tidur juga tidak bisa.

Terbayang-bayang kan? Bagaimana dengan masa depanku?

Jadi singkatnya, yang masih bisa kerja, stres juga karena kerjaan terus membanjiri. Dan mungkin bertanya, sampai kapan bisa terus bekerja? Apakah jangan jangan aku akan di-PHK juga? Atau akankah ada pemotongan gaji?

Yang sudah tidak bisa kerja juga resah, tidak bisa tidur malam dengan nyenyak sebab masalah hilangnya sumber nafkah sudah di depan mata.

Besok saya, anak istri mau makan apa?

SALAH KAPRAH KERJA SAMPAI LELAH SELAMA PANDEMI

Oke pagi ini gw baca kalimat yang cukup menghenyak di instagram @theatlantic. Begini bunyinya:

“Have you been feeling pressured to use the pandemic as time to work longer and be more productive?

Are you more exhausted than before?”

Terjemahan bebasnya begini:

“Apakah selama ini kamu ditekan (atau tertekan) untuk memanfaatkan pandemi sebagai waktu untuk bekerja lebih lama dan lebih produktif daripada sebelumnya?

Apakah kamu lebih capek daripada sebelumnya?”

Kalimat-kalimat ini sangat relevan buat kita yang masih bisa bekerja di masa pandemi ini.

Ya gw juga denger bahwa ada sebagian yang berpendapat:” Udah deh nggak usah banyak ngeluh dengan kerjaan elu. Lihat orang lain sudah banyak yang mati nggak bisa makan, kelaparan, di-PHK, jadi kalau kami masih bisa kerja, bersyukurlah…”

Sekilas kalimat ini memang maksudnya baik ya.

Mengingatkan kita untuk bersyukur.

Oke, mari kita bersyukur.

Lalu what’s next?

Bagaimana dengan kelelahan kita?

Apakah perlu dipendam saja, disangkal dengan mantra “alhamdulillah, gw masih bsa kerja hari ini. Gw nggak boleh ngeluh. Gw harusnya bahagia.”

Kayak penyangkalan banget ya.

Dan itu sebetulnya nggak begitu sehat juga buat kesehatan mental kita.

Jadi kayak bingung.

“Loh kan memang merasa capek tapi kok nggak boleh bilang capek?”

Mungkin kayak gitu protes diri kita kalau ditekan untuk diam dan bersyukur.

Tapi kemudian gw merasa tersentil dengan kalimat Tricia Hersey yang mengusung #RestMovement, sebuah gerakan sosial untuk mendorong orang-orang yang bekerja sampai burnout untuk mengendurkan jiwa dan raga mereka sedikit lah selama pandemi ini.

Begini kata Tricia:

“We are brainwashed by grind culture. Productivity is a scam and it’s something that is socialized in us in Western Culture.”

Haha, sebenarnya gw agak nggak sepakat dengan bagian “western culture” karena kenyataannya budaya timur termasuk indonesia juga. Masih ingat kan peribahasa “rajin pangkal kaya”. Sebagian orang kerja rajin banget tapi toh mereka nggak kaya-kaya kan?

Grind culture atau budaya kerja keras sampai tujuan tercapai itu sebetulnya bukan monopoli Barat saja kok. Di Timur kita juga mengenalnya. Terutama di budaya Asia Timur ya. Di budaya Indonesia sendiri mungkin ada tapi menurut gw ga terlalu sefanatik masyarakat di Asia Timur.

Di satu sisi grind culture atau hustle culture ini bagus karena masyarakatnya jadi sangat terpacu untuk bekerja, produktif, menghasilkan. Lihat saja bangsa China, Korea, Jepang. Semangat kerja mereka gila-gilaan kan? Pun bangsa Amerika. Dan tunggu, kayaknya budaya kerja keras sampai mati ini memang sudah menjamur di seluruh dunia karena ya, dominasi dan hegemoni bangsa-bangsa tadi itu sangat kental di seluruh dunia. Makanya kita yang bangsa-bangsa lain merasa: “Wah, hebat banget ya, semangat kerjanya tinggi. Rajin banget dan profesional.”

Di Indonesia sendiri, gw merasakan grind culture ini makin kental. Apalagi dengan adanya semboyan “kerja kerja kerja” itu ya. Kerja terus? Kapan istirahatnya? Manusia kan bisa sakit. Bisa gila kalau terus menerus kerja.

Di sisi lain,masyarakat jadi kayak kehilangan semangat menikmati hidup karena hidup adalah kerja dan kerja adalah hidup. Jadi begitu pekerjaan mereka hilang atau gagal, hidup juga rasanya runtuh. Kiamat!

Padahal ya nggak segitunya juga, bukannya menggampangkan juga ya.

Tapi gw percaya semua masalah ada jalan keluar selama kita masih mau berusaha dan berdoa.

TUBUHMU PUNYA HAK REHAT

Kutipan dari Tricia Hersey berikutnya yang relevan dengan kondisi kita sekarang adalah:

“Capitalism wants you to believe that your body is a machine and it doesn’t belong to you. We’re saying no, your body is not a machine. It belongs to you. You can rest now and you have a divine right.”

Mungkin ini terasa sangat menggetarkan bagi mereka yang sekarang lagi punya pekerjaan yang menuntut untuk lebih produktif selama 24 jam 7 hari seminggu. Sudah kayak menggadaikan jiwa untuk kerja.

Dulu masa revolusi industri di Inggris orang bekerja sampai belasan jam sehari di pabrik. Kemudian diperjuangkanlah agar bisa bekerja 8 jam sehari dan 5 hari seminggu. Nah sekarang itu sudah tercapai tapi kemudian teknologi informasi membuat kita terus terkoneksi dan kita pun kembali ke masa kelam itu lagi, mau atau tidak kita mengakui. Buat buruh kasar, justru lebih mudah untuk memisahkan kerjaan dan kehidupan pribadi dan keluarga tapi buat buruh intelektual dan kerah putih tidak! Justru buruh kerah putih yang makin tidak terlindungi sekarang ini. Kantor bukan lagi ruang fisik tapi ruang mental yang bisa menyusup ke kamar tidur lewat satu pesan di WhatsApp, satu email di kotak masuk.

ATUR WAKTUMU

Jadi kembali ke pemikiran Tricia Hersey tadi, di masa pandemi ini mungkin kita memang harus bersyukur masih bisa bekerja di rumah.  Tapi jangan lupa manajemen waktu kita agar tetap bisa beristirahat dengan baik dan optimal. Karena di rumah terus selama masa isolasi mandiri ini juga bisa melelahkan secara psikis dan emosional dan mental. Kalau kelelahan fisik sih mungkin tidak begitu terasa karena malah kita lebih sedikit bergerak.

Saat jam kerja, mari kita bekerja. Dan saat jam kerja usai dan tidak ada pekerjaan yang sangat amat darurat, akan lebih baik kita tak perlu bekerja sampai mati-matian hingga lembur dan mengorbankan waktu istirahat dan kesehatan mental kita.

Podcast ini mungkin juga relevan dengan semangat May Day 1 Mei nanti. Selamat untuk para pekerja di rumah yang juga bergulat dengan risiko dan kelelahan mereka sendiri, yang berbeda dari pekerja medis dan lapangan. Jadi bukannya pekerja di rumah tidak alami stres. Mereka juga mengalami stres tapi jenisnya cuma berbeda dari yang bekerja di luar rumah. Jadi ‘privilege’ bekerja di rumah itu juga sebetulnya ada ongkos yang harus dibayar, yakni dengan kesehatan mental.

Happy May Day!

7 Precious Lessons from My 30 Days of Working from ‘Home’

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WFH: Working from home or hell? (main qimg 10e6397a06762a9aaa8556627c74c747)

This week marks the fourth week of me working from home (which is not home at all because I’m away from my family). And I should say it has been a tormenting yet empowering experience.

As a writer, I’m no stranger to this style of working. With a laptop and internet connection, I’m good to go. I can rely wholly on information technology to keep myself well fed and lead a decent life.

Yet, what makes the current work-from-home experience different is Coronavirus. It’s a milder version of Spanish Flu in 1919. It has a lower death risk, i.e. 3-4 percent, some claim. Therefore, we might not have to worry too much. Still we cannot completely forget the fact that the new virus is so contagious, and it can be not so lethal to some but very lethal to others. And there is no fine line to distinguish those who have better chances to survive and those who won’t survive after being cobtracted by the novel Coronavirus.

I myself have started working from home since 19 March 2020. This is actually several days late compared to the Jakarta gubernatorial declaration. I still could witness Jakarta and its last hectic days before it was withering like a ghost town, though not completely.

I should say that my takeaways from the whole month of working from home are as follows.

Manage time wisely

Stick to your previous daily schedule. Of course you must apply some adjustments here and there. But try to be as faithful as possible to it. For example, before the pandemic, I exercise almost every morning outdoors. But with all these physical and social distancing policy being implemented throughout the country, I must forget about it and try to modify my habit.

Why can’t I just stop working out? First and foremost, because workout is more than just a lifestyle to me. It helps me stay sane especially when I am so stressed out right now. Second, workout helps me boost my immunity system, which later helps me combat Coronavirus symptoms in case I get infected.

Speaking of other routines, I voluntarily postpone them all without making excuses, such as my weekly gymnastics exercise. Because it’s risky and the hall is also closed and inaccessible by public, I simply have no options but to pick other alternatives of exercise like yoga or home workout with resistance band and dumbbells and my own body weight.

Though sometimes I’m tempted to binge read or watch at night, I know it won’t help me work with my full level of mental clarity and focus during daylight. So I try to be disciplined with my bedtime, too, because I strongly believe that a good and satisfying bedtime is fundamental to my well-being.

Shower regularly

You may think I’m lying but working from home with your body washed by water and with your body glistening with sweat and dirt offer different sensation. Water helps me, and hopefully you too, reactivate that brain in the morning, which needs to be working till the end of the day.

Showering in the morning after a good morning workout also clears out ‘those dark grey clouds from the sky’. Suddenly you feel everything is brighter and a lot more spacious. I’m serious about this.

Stay connected always

Thanks to technology and the internet, you can stay connected without even leaving your home. At first, I felt too shy about my screen time. “Really, should I just be more liberal towards this?” I thought.

But again, this pandemic is a whole new situation for us to experience. So this is an exception as well. And during exceptional times, some ‘violations’ are forgiven.

I’m not saying we should be lenient about screen time but accept the fact that your smartphone or laptop is now being the one and only tool you’ve got in hand so you can satisfy your needs as social creatures. So if you feel a bit lonely, it’s okay to turn on that laptop a little bit longer or chat with friends on Zoom or Microsoft Teams for hours.

Reach out to humans

I know we are destined to be a social creature who needs in-person interactions. So once in a while, you can still make interactions with other humans around you with your surgical mask or cloth mask worn correctly to cover your mouth and nose and keep a minimum physical distance of 1 meter.

Do things you’ll be proud of later

This could seem like a torture. I mean, daily chores and deadlines could be this type of things. But those are things you do to survive, to feed yourselves. But these things are your channels of vitality, your creativity outlets, with which you can become a true and liberated self. As for me, those may mean projects of my own. It has nothing to do with money, financial gains, profits, or loss. It is beyond economic spectrum. Doing this useful stuff may give meaning to our seemingly empty and meaningless life.

Do things to have sheer fun

You naturally do these without having to consult with others. These could be your hobbies or pastimes. It’s very much absolute liberation that gives no or very little value to other people. Only you can draw benefits from these things. I sometimes indulge in podcasts or nostalgic songs or even Korean dramas.

Laugh while you can

Watching comedy shows or sitcoms like “Friends” may be of great help for those who are depressed because they cannot get out of house. Or maybe you remember that hilarious coworker and decide to drop him or her a video call to entertain yourself.

I find consuming Covid news all day long ruins my mental health slowly but surely so this has to be kept at its lowest level. Stay updated but don’t be overly updated. Being obsessed with the latest development of the pandemic is killing our souls.Just listen or watch to news once a day and get back on your life track soon. It’s not that you don’t care about what is going on around you but to be sane, choose things you can do about and take control of, such as how many times and how thorough you wash your hands with soap every day. The rest is things you cannot control such as the death toll tally of the coronavirus pandemic. Do what you can to help improve the world in ways possible for you and then refocus on your life. (*/)

Government to Ban Annual Festivity of Idulfitri But Sorry, It’s Too Late!

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Indonesian Muslims’ Idulfitri is approaching in 33 days but the president announced the travel ban on the day way too late. (Photo by Chattrapal (Shitij) Singh on Pexels.com)

It’s officially banned by the government. Mudik or the annual ritual of going home to see parents, siblings and extended family members on Idulfitri is banned.

But the timing is way too late…

This alarming attitude of indecisiveness of Jokowi’s administration is to me annoying, and taking its toll day by day after a massive number of workers earning a living in Jakarta have decided to go home to multiple small towns in Java and other islands as Coronavirus continues to ravage the capital of Indonesia.

In fact, this has happened since the last month (March 2020) and Jokowi has taken no firm steps at all, saying the government never completely bans mudik but people had better not go home in the period of self quarantine.

For those who migrated to Jakarta to make money like me, this decision means a lot. It means we don’t have to buy round tickets this year, which is good for our financial stability during these difficult times, when massive layoffs have occurred and triggered an upcoming public demonstration on May Day (Labor Day) this year in Jakarta. Some people just don’t quite care about their safety because they’re abandoned down there in the bottom of the societal ‘pyramid’ and ‘food chain’, so why don’t they just get of their homes and let their aspiration known to the government?

Yesterday, I also received a call from my father, mentioning his concern that I’m unable to go home for our family’s best interest. First, they know by expecting me to come home, they put me at risk of getting infected along the trip. We all know that public transportation is maddeningly dirty and unsanitized. Second, they know I might be carrying Coronavirus from Jakarta, which so far is classified into the red zone (area with the most rampant level of positive cases of COVID-19). And South Jakarta, where I am currently living, is one of the hotbeds of the virus. Needless to say I must stay put until the pandemic is completely overcome. No buts. Seriously.

As part of white-collar workers, I feel so much blessed and I’m saying this not to offend others. I take this privilege to stay at home and work from home all the time to support people in need in the society.

Radar Banten, a local news outlet in Banten province, just announced Yuli, a poverty-stricken person was found dead at home after 2 days of not having meals at all. And this is why some people are just ‘ignorant’, because they have no choice to make. They have ONLY two options: to obey the government’s self-quarantine policy to stay at home at all times and die hungry like Yuli did or to put their health at risk by making money outside.

People who have less financial stability are angry now after the government applies PSBB (Pembatasan Sosial Berskala Besar or roughly translated as, Massive Scale Social Distancing) because they don’t find any immediate solutions and guarantee from the government.  How can they survive? How can they be fed? How can they pay their rent fees if they still have to rent?

On the other hand, the government seems to be overthinking and slow to make decisions in these very very difficult times. And it is so sad to witness there are more and more victims falling because of the slow and long chain of bureaucracy.

I’m ranting here because I have no other places to go to tell you how disappointed I feel about the current government to handle this pandemic. So shamelessly incompetent.

What makes it even worse is that the government fails to show their exemplary attitude and behaviors towards this pandemic. They are not solid. They are conveying different messages and that is constantly annoying. People are sad and sick and the government has gotten them even more troubled.

I’m not political. I didn’t even give the last election a single f*ck. But when an oligarch’s carelessness has jeopardized the entire nation, we as laymen should tell the truth. That this ship we are in together are sinking and those who are in charge of the ship are less than skillful and trained to deal with the situation well. (*/)

COVID dan Infeksi Paru

Jika Anda pernah menderita infeksi paru-paru, apakah risiko Anda tertular Coronavirus juga semakin tinggi?

Jawabannya tergantung. Tergantung pada tipe infeksi paru yang Anda derita itu.

Infeksi paru bisa dibagi menjadi dua kelompok utama. Yang pertama ialah infeksi paru yang meninggalkan bekas. Infeksi ini misalnya yang disebabkan oleh penyakit tubercolosis (TB). Mereka yang pernah menderita TB biasanya memiliki paru yang lebih lemah akibat infeksi yang pernah mendera sebelumnya meskipun memang sudah sembuh.

Kemudian tipe kedua adalah infeksi yang tidak meninggalkan bekas pada paru-paru. Dengan kata lain, paru-paru masih relatif berfungsi baik sebagaimana sebelumnya. Fungsi paru-parunya bisa kembali ke normal.

Tentu mereka yang pernah menderita infeksi paru jenis pertama akan lebih berisiko saat terkena Coronavirus daripada jenis kedua. (*/)

Benarkah Lansia Lebih Rentan terhadap COVID-19?

Dari data yang dihimpun pemerintah, kita ketahui bersama memang mereka yang sudah berusia lanjut bisa berisiko lebih tinggi terinfeksi Coronavirus. Namun, seiring dengan berjalannya waktu diketahui juga ada pasien yang masih berusia muda namun meninggal dunia akibat COVID-19.

Nah, kita jadi bertanya-tanya: apakah benar usia lanjut memang membuat kita rentan terhadap serangan COVID-19?


Sebenarnya bagi mereka yang berusia sepuh, peluang untuk pulih juga masih ada. Jadi, bukan sebuah vonis mati bagi seorang lansia saat terkena Coronavirus. Seorang lansia masih bisa pulih asal ia memiliki kondisi kekebalan tubuh yang prima. Dan sebagaimana kita ketahui kondisi kekebalan tubuh manusia bisa berfluktuasi. Ada yang masih muda dan imunitasnya bagus dan kuat. Namun, ada juga yang meski masih muda sudah sering sakit. Sebaliknya juga para lansia. Ada lansia yang masih memiliki kekebalan tubuh yang relatif baik meski rekan-rekan mereka sudah melemah.

Jadi, sebetulnya usia bukanlah faktor mutlak untuk menentukan apakah seseorang berisiko tinggi tetapi faktor lain yang lebih berperan kadang ialah ada tidaknya penyakit penyerta atau penyakit ‘comorbid’ yang menyertai usia lanjut tersebut (misalnya diabetes, penyakit jantung, dan sebagainya). Lansia dengan penyakit comorbid tentu harus lebih waspada terhadap Coronavirus dibandingkan lansia yang reatif sehat dan bugar.

Yang tak kalah penting ialah kondisi kekebalan tubuh kita saat Coronavirus menyerang, yang juga didukung oleh status gizi yang terpelihara tentunya. Virus apapun akan dengan mudah masuk dan merusak tubuh tatkala sistem imunitas tubuh kita sedang tidak dalam kondisi prima. Inilah salah satu alasan juga mengapa paramedis yang kelelahan karena bekerja tanpa istirahat bisa rentan juga terhadap serangan Coronavirus. (*/)

COVID-19 dan Rokok

Seperti yang saya kemukakan di judul, di tulisan ini akan saya kupas mengenai hubungan COVID-19 dan rokok serta perokok. Kaum perokok baik yang pasif dan aktif ternyata rentan untuk mengalami gejala yang lebih parah jika terinfeksi COVID-19. Jadi merokok membuat manusia rentan terinfeksi COVID-19 dan jika mereka nantinya terinfeksi, gejala-gejalanya bisa lebih parah daripada yang seharusnya.

Mengapa bisa demikian?

Alasan pertama ialah karena rokok bisa menurunkan fungsi organ pernapasan kita terutama paru-paru. Padahal paru-parulah organ yang menjadi sasaran Coronavirus (COVID-19). Dengan pernapasan yang sudah rusak karena rokok, kondisi paru-paru sekarang akan lebih rentan terhadap serangan COVID-19 tentunya.

Kedua ialah karena rokok melemahkan sistem kekebalan tubuh kita. Perlu diketahui bahwa sistem imunitas kita sangat kompleks. Ia juga mencakup komponen-komponen kecil seperti lendir dan bulu-bulu halus di sepanjang saluran napas yang menjadi bagian dari sistem pertahan tubuh dari serangan Coronavirus. Bulu-bulu halus dan lapisan lendir di sepanjang saluran napas ini juga melemah karena teriritasi oleh asap rokok. Peradangan yang terjadi apalagi secara terus-menerus setiap hari akan memberikan celah bagi mikroba seperti Coronavirus untuk masuk ke dalam tubuh.

Kegiatan merokok sendiri sebenarnya juga sudah mempertinggi risiko penularan Coronavirus karena perokok cenderung menyentuh bibir dan hidung dengan jari-jemari mereka yang belum tentu bersih dari virus. Merokok juga bagi sebagian orang adalah aktivitas sosial, ajang berkumpul dan mengobrol sehingga sangat riskan untuk menularkan virus.

Para perokok juga kadang batuk dan ini juga bisa memperbesar risiko penularan Coronavirus kepada orang lain di sekitarnya. Droplet bisa terpercik ke lawan bicara yang kebetulan berada di depan si penderita yang merokok.

Risiko bagi perokok pasif juga ada. Merokok tidak cuma ‘bunuh diri’ tetapi juga ‘pembunuhan’ karena sebenarnya kita membunuh perlahan orang lain di sekitar kita yang tidak merokok. Mereka memang tidak menyalakan rokok dan mengisapnya tetapi turut mendapatkan racun yang disebarkan rokok itu.

Merokok juga tidak cuma membuat perokok pasif (secondhand smokers) juga menderita. Bahkan perokok pasif lapis kedua (thirdhand smokers) juga bisa terkena dampak negatifnya. Perokok jenis ini adalah mereka yang terkena racun dari asap rokok yang menempel di permukaan pakaian, sofa, meja, tembok dan sebagainya. Mereka ini bisa jadi adalah anak-anak yang orang tuanya merokok di rumah. Sehingga walaupun orang tuanya sudah tidak merokok saat anak-anak itu bersamanya, tetap saja racun itu bisa terhirup masuk ke dalam saluran napas. Apalagi jika rumah atau ruangan tersebut memiliki sirkulasi udara yang buruk, residu racun rokok bisa bertahan selama berbulan-bulan.

Ada perokok yang menganggap bahwa saat pandemi ini menjadi saat yang tepat untuk berhenti merokok seterusnya. Sementara itu, ada juga perokok yang menunda karena berpikir bahwa toh juga efek positif berhenti merokok ini tidak akan segera muncul begitu berhenti merokok. Jadi terus sajalah! Salah! Memang mustahil untuk mengembalikan kondisi kesehatan tubuh hanya dengan berhenti merokok selama beberapa hari tetapi dengan memulai berhenti saja sudah ada beberapa perubahan positif dalam tubuh. Jadi, berhentilah merokok sekarang bagi Anda yang masih merokok demi menjaga kesehatan tubuh dari serangan Coronavirus.

Mungkin dorongan berhenti itu masih ada tetapi dengan meningkatnya stres akibat kondisi ekonomi yang turut melemah saat ini, perokok juga menganggap aktivitas merokok menjadi pelarian yang makin tidak bisa ditinggalkan. Hanya saja, mari kita berpikir lebih bijak. Apalah artinya tenang sesaat tetapi harus diganjar dengan meningkatnya risiko menderita gejala-gejala terinfeksi Coronavirus yang lebih parah akibat penuruna kondisi kesehatan kita secara umum akibat racun rokok.

Sekali lagi, berhenti merokok memang tidak seratus persen menjamin Anda kebal dari Coronavirus tetapi setidaknya Anda menekan risiko tertular dan menulari orang lain dengan menghentikan kebiasaan buruk ini segera. (*/)

Cara Tiongkok Mencegah COVID-19

Selama merebaknya Coronavirus di Tiongkok, warga Tiongkok terutama di provinsi Hubei dicekam ketakutan dan stres. Ini karena mereka harus berdiam di dalam rumah mereka selama berbulan-bulan hingga pemerintah memperbolehkan warga keluar agar penyebaran virus tersebut bisa dikendalikan.

Warga di Tiongkok pun beralih ke dunia maya untuk tetap bisa melakukan komunikasi. Para siswa belajar di rumah; para pekerja bekerja di rumah; berbelanja juga dari rumah. Mereka juga diwajibkan memakai masker wajah dan juga harus mencuci tangan sesering mungkin agar memperkecil penyebaran virus yang bisa melalui droplet (tetesan cairan tubuh misalnya ludah atau sejenisnya dari penderita COVID-19).

Setelah wabah mulai terkendali, warga Tiongkok tidak serta merta bersukaria dan meninggalkan kebiasaan mereka untuk menjaga kebersihan. Mereka masih menerapkan jaga jarak fisik (physical distancing) dan mencuci tangan dengan sabun setidaknya selama 20 detik sesering mungkin apalagi setelah keluar dari rumah.

Meskipun kasus COVID di Wuhan sudah reda, bukan berarti kita di Indonesia juga boleh lega. Karena di wilayah kita sendiri kurvanya terus menanjak dan belum menunjukkan ada penurunan. Maka kita jangan sampai meremehkan cara-cara pencegahan ini karena memang meski membosankan tetapi jangan sampai terlewatkan dalam keseharian kita agar peluang tertular dan menularkan COVID-19 ke orang lain apalagi orang yang kita sayangi bisa ditekan.

Mereka terlatih sedemikian rupa untuk memakai masker dengan menuruti prosedur yang ketat. Tidak asal memakai. Ini karena sebagian orang secara sembarangan memakai masker dan cara mereka memakai masker yang kurang tepat malah bisa menjadi celah untuk tertular virus.

Kiat memakai masker:

  • Pakailah masker yang sesuai dengan kondisi lingkungan sekitar Anda. Artinya, Anda harus memperhatikan lingkungan dan risiko penularan COVID-19 di tempat tersebut. Di tempat atau lingkungan yang memiliki tingkat risiko penularan yang sedang hingga rendah, pemakaian masker medis sekali pakai akan membantu mencegah penularan. Hanya saja, masalahnya di Indonesia akhir-akhir ini suplai masker medis ini sangat terbatas dan bahkan para tenaga medis saja kekurangan. Maka WHO (organisasi kesehatan dunia) menyarankan pemakaian masker bahan kain untuk warga awam yang tinggal di rumah, di luar lingkungan yang berisiko tinggi. Bagi mereka yang bekerja atau tinggal di lingkungan berisiko penularan tinggi (misalnya tempat-tempat publik seperti stasiun, bandara, dan sejenisnya), sudah tentu wajib mengenakan masker bedah sekali pakai atau bisa juga masker N95 dengan rapat dan mengikuti prosedur yang ditetapkan.
  • Bahkan jika seseorang masih berstatus negatif atau tidak merasa menderita COVID-19 pun diwajibkan memakai masker. Apalagi bagi mereka yang sudah menyandang status orang yang dicurigai (suspect) menderita COVID, penderita COVID-19, dan mereka yang baru saja pulih dari COVID-19. Mereka bahkan seharusnya mengenakan masker pelindung yang tidak berkatup sehingga hidung dan mulut mereka sepenuhnya tertutup rapat seperti masker N95 atau seri di atasnya masker N95.
  • Bahkan jika Anda bukan tenaga medis tetapi terlibat langsung dalam upaya penanganan dan pengendalian penyebaran COVID-19 di lapangan, pemakaian masker bedah sekali pakai atau masker N95 adalah wajib agar risiko tertular bisa diminimalkan. Bahkan jika ada mereka bisa memakai masker dengan filter partikel sekali pakai.

Sudah memakai masker? Jangan bergembira dulu. Pastikan pemakaiannya memenuhi standar dan prosedur yang direkomendasikan oleh kalangan medis. Kenapa penting? Karena jika kita abai dengan prosedur pemakaian masker yang standar ini, efek perlindungannya bisa malah turun atau bahkan nihil alias tidak ada.

Prosedur memakai masker adalah sebagai berikut:

  • Sebelum mengenakan masker, cuci tangan dengan sabun dan air mengalir selama setidaknya 20 detik agar kulit tangan benar-benar bersih dan steril dahulu.
  • Pastikan dengan baik bagian muka dan belakang serta atas dan bawah agar perlindungan masker bisa optimal. Kekeliruan memakai tentu akan berdampak pada efek proteksinya pada kesehatan kita.
  • Pastikan kita mengenakan bagian berwarna hijau muda atau biru di luar. Sementara bagian masker yang berwarna putih menghadap muka kita. Bukan sebaliknya.
  • Pastikan masker menutupi hidung dan mulut. Jadi jika ada orang yang mengenakan masker tetapi cuma menutupi mulut, artinya cara memakainya kurang benar dan perlu diingatkan agar tidak terjadi di kemudian hari.
    Selama proses memakai masker, jangan menyentuh bagian luar dan dalam masker Anda! Apalagi sampai jatuh atau terkena benda-benda lain yang tidak dapat dipastikan steril atau tidak.
  • Bagi mereka yang berada di lingkungan berisiko sedang sampai rendah, jangan mengenakan satu masker yang sama selama lebih dari 8 jam sehari. Begitu sudah 8 jam, lepas dan gantilah dengan yang baru. Untuk mereka yang berada di lingkungan berisiko tinggi, kenakan masker bedah sekali pakai maksimal 4 jam. Jika sudah 4 jam, lepas dan gantilah yang baru.
  • Saat mau melepas masker, tarik kedua tali di sampingnya. Bukan mencopot dengan memegang bagian muka!

Yang patut dicamkan adalah bagi mereka yang paranoid ada yang sampai memakai masker 2 atau 3 buah sekaligus dengan harapan akan meningkatkan perlindungan. Hal itu tidak perlu sama sekali karena tingkat perlindungannya sama saja. Yang terjadi malah Anda bisa susah bernapas. Jadi, kenakan satu saja masker yang baru dan bersih (bukan masker second atau refurbish atau bekas pakai!).

Tiongkok juga menerapkan sejumlah langkah untuk mencegah penyebaran COVID-19 di lingkungan kantor. Berikut adalah langkah-langkahnya:

  • Memakai masker bedah sekali pakai dengan benar. Jika tidak ada masker bedah sekali pakai, kenakan masker kain dengan prosedur yang benar di atas.
  • Cucilah tangan dengan sabun selama setidaknya 20 detik sesering mungkin.
  • Hindari menyentuh wajah dengan tangan yang masih belum dicuci dengan sabun.
    Jika bisa tidak menggunakan lift, silakan. Jalan saja lewat tangga, karena dengan tangga akan bisa leluasa menjaga jarak. Sementara itu, dengan naik lift, kita lebih susah menjaga jarak fisik. Namun, jika memang terpaksa, hadapkan muka ke dinding lift. Bukan ke depan pintu lift sebagaimana yang kita bisa lakukan sebelum wabah ini merebak.
  • Utamakan penggunaan ventilasi alami (baca: kipas, lubang angin, dan jendela). Sebisa mungkin hindari penggunaan pendingin udara karena penggunaan AC mensyaratkan udara yang disekat. Padahal penyekatan itu malah lebih mempertinggi penularan virus di lingkungan kantor.
  • Jika memungkinkan, hindari berinteraksi secara tatap muka dan tetap menjaga jarak sekitar 1 meter dari orang lain di kantor.
  • Menghindari acara-acara sosial yang berpotensi menciptakan kerumunan sehingga jaga jarak susah dilakukan.
  • Jaga dan pantau kesehatan kita sendiri. Dengan mendeteksi dini, kita bisa melakukan karantina diri lebih awal sebelum menulari orang lain dan juga menjalani perawatan lebih dini agar peluang pulih lebih baik.

On Staying Sane in the Self Quarantine Period

Learning some of the tips of staying sane and healthy mentally and physically during this God-knows-when-it-will-end period of self locking. Tips from Scott Keely written on New York Times site has been a mini bible to those who are frustrated as to how they will go on with lives.

You can write a novel at home on your phone while you literally have nothing else to do other than taking a nap intermittently throughout the day.

FOLLOW A SCHEDULE

Hah! This is it. Stick to my routine. I knew it!
I always spend my morning working out (well, now I have to work out indoors, which is why it feel a bit different) and during the self quarantine period, not moving my body is just feeling awful. I feel like I were wrecked inside out.

Work schedule is maintained in the same time slot from 8 am to 5 pm. On this schedule, I have to say I work longer hours at home. I’m so lucky that my team members are mostly morning people. Few designers are night owls but that is just an exception.

Why do I have to work longer hours? Because one, people think working at home is just sitting down with your laptop opened. Hell no! I’m single, making me have more freedom in terms of household liabilities, but still I have to take charge of myself. I have to order foods for myself, clean up the room, and sometimes wash the extra laundry. And this all needs more time. The time I spend stuck in the traffic jam is now transferred to this self-care and self liability business I cannot hide myself away from.

Also, working at home means people also think you can be online at any time and get the job done without you having to move a single major muscle of your body (legs). Just grab your gadget and reply that email at night.

We all know too well how much this costs our mental health. This borderless work time frame is really an invisible trap! This is why I have to remind myself of unplugging and freeing myself from the work stuff whenever I think possible (as long as the deadline is met). And when you feel like you feel don’t like doing it, you instantly feel guilty because hey so many people out there are laid off and jobless and how dare you complain about this job while you’re still having it and get paid for it and live comfortably of it? So insensitive, a voice in my head keeps shrieking. Okay, make it stop. I’ll work longer. Period.

PACE YOURSELF


Everyone has their own pace. Some are just so fast and agile and crazy with their life hacks. Some are just lazy and incapable of managing their own time and things. Sad.

I’m just between these extreme ends of spectrum. Sometimes when I feel motivated I work at a faster pace and get things done way faster. But when my mood drops, I turn a sluggish worker.

Sometimes I make myself start the day earlier, making me achieve more things on that particular day. And there are days when I just get absorbed by a useless activity (Instagram feed exploration) to finally regret it at the end of the day.

GO OUTSIDE


Oh my goodness, now I know how people want bigger houses. They have lawns and backyards and some more outdoor green space to stay sane and healthy. And I don’t have it currently! I feel so f*cked up.

Living in downtown Jakarta just makes it even worse as I know this is the most densely populated area where most people can spread the virus more easily. So even if I can go outside and get some sunshine, I have to put myself at risk of getting infected as the outdoor space is public one. Everyone has access and in these challenging times, these spaces are closed temporarily. No one can enter them for whatever reason. It does suck to be me right now.

What I can be grateful for is the fact that I have a window facing the sky, allowing the sunshine and fresh air to go inside my room.

KEEP A HOBBY


Yoga and writing on my blog are my saviors. I thank God that I’m not that type of person who cannot sit still. Well, I love workout but not that I want to do it all day long outside.

KEEP A JOURNAL


Yes, this is something that I have been doing for more than a decade. So I’m embarking on an ambitious endeavor of writing a personal journal chronicling my own experience being trapped in a small rented room in Jakarta during the COVID-19 pandemic. Maybe worth publishing some day in the future. Who knows?

In my journal I always try to mention at least three things to be grateful for on that very day. And it helps me in some way to stay positive during physical distancing era.

TAKE TIME TO CONNECT


Technology helps me sane, too. This is why I think the current 2020 pandemic is not as boring as one in 1919. We have limitation here and there still but we can keep updated with a lot of tools. You just name it: radio, social media services, and television. Information is all there to consume. This is unlike what we experienced in 1919 when people had less access to information and entertainment while being isolated.

LISTEN TO (REAL) EXPERTS


Every time I consume content, I make sure it is worth consuming by checking the sources. I don’t want to tire myself out consuming trash or hoax. Enough! My mind deserves better food for thought.

STAY CONNECTED


Physical distancing doesn’t mean socially and emotionally separated. I sometimes feel so involved and engaged in a chat with people that I know well like my friends without me having to see them in person. And we’ve all been doing this for a long time since the last decade so I don’t think we have troubles to stay connected with technology during the self quarantine period.

There are actually more ways that we can think of to spend this much time at home. As for me, I’m trying to get my writing project done. (*/)

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