Pandemic Diary: Diary Review Video Binge Watching

When we are too tired of keeping updated with the current affairs about coronavirus and the death toll numbers, the Internet whose day is commemorated on October 29th every year offers solace and temporary escape.

So instead of judging how silly our government is at handling the pandemic situation, I try to be more positive by having a good time watching these videos of Joanna Borns (Instagram handle: @jbornz) invading other people’s privacy through their diaries and love letters.

If you’re not familiar with her, she used to work for BuzzFeed. The video above was released in February 2018 when she was working for the news outlet.

I fell in love with her style of privacy invasion. That’s because she got an access to the past through love letters and old diaries sold on eBay. So what she was doing was actually legit. And I appreciate that she never mentioned real names and published diary owners’ real faces. She focuses more on the interactions, the psychological conflicts, the language (outdated slang), and basically how ordinary people in the past lived their everyday lives. This is awesome.

Brons’ privacy invasion never gets boring.

What struck me most is the fact that no matter how boring and monotonous someone’s life seemed to be, their lives could store some surprises and shocking events. No matter how mundane they looked.

Wondering what was kept inside those letters.

One of the diaries was kept by a household mother who raised two children. The day never went by without the records of her kids’ misconduct, acts of rebel, or simply acts of cuteness.

But when things were under control, she sat down to scribble a poem or two in the diary. They could be about her husband, her kids, or her neighborhood. You can take a look at the poems in the video below.

Musty but goldie

And this diary is one kept by a male college student. He was undergoing a lengthy breakup process with his girlfriend. What was most exciting is that the breakup wasn’t conclusive until the last entry. It’s like reading a novel with an open ending. Neither bad nor good ending offered by the author. Readers are left with a great deal of curiosity as to what would happen at the end.

Such an edgy young man…

What I love most is the cursive handwriting these people of the past used. I must confess I am one of very few people in 2020 who still write in cursive because it feels easier and smoother. I wrote in block letters back then at school and college but then I switched to cursive mode ever since because I realize I am a real old soul.

Thanks for the work you do for the old souls like me, Joanna.


(Sealed With A Kiss — Just learned this acronym which was popular back in the 1930s when exchanging love letters was so cool)

UPDATE: MAY 8th, 2022

YouTube notified me that Joanna just released a new video after a hiatus. Can’t miss it!

Here she dissects a girl’s diary written in 1908, more than a century ago.

Pandemic Diary: That Crumbling Sense of Fairness, Justice and Equality Before Law

COVID-19 has brought us to an unprecedented epoch when again and again authorities fail to give us protection and safety.

Instead, they spread profound anxiety, confusion, psychological and mental fatigue, pessimism, and even anger.

While the US has found its new hope with Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris, Indonesia has just found another source of irk.

A right-wing organization idol came back only to destroy completely the law enforcement and government’s credibility amid the already-chaotic pandemic.

While the entire nation is forced to observe the seemingly strict health protocol and everyone wears masks in fear of getting a severe and pricey fine, this man was openly allowed to hold a wedding reception his daughter was having.


And after all the public condemnation, several scapegoats are held responsible for this humiliating faux-pas. (*/)

Pandemic Diary: The Ugly and the Bad Faces of Education

A university student somewhere in Indonesia died after having fallen from a tree. The poor reception at home made him climb up the tree to get better reception.

Another climbed up his house roof and got electrocuted. Now he is pleading so that doctors won’t amputate his extremities.

A young girl was beaten to death after her parents – her biological ones – felt annoyed by her failure at keeping up with the online learning demands which are crazy in this pandemic. Unable to explain the materials in person, most teachers just send assignments after assignments via WhatsApp, while hoping their students can read textbooks and parents can help along the way. But parents are tired and they are frustrated thanks to job loss and economic downturn and mental breakdown for the uncertainty and hoax running rampant about Covid-19.

The young girl body was buried and her twin sister cried days and nights until the public and police found out the truth.


But I also know parents who can afford a pricey tuition for their kids writing course while their kids are doing okay and excel in class. Nothing to fix. Just to ensure that these boys can remain on top of their classes. And all is possible with the online classes on Zoom in their comfortable houses and high-speed wireless internet connection available in every corner of it.

The discrepancies are stark.

Almost tragic and heartwrenching.

But again this is real and happening around me.

Pandemic Diary: A Block that Lifts

As a writer, I know what writer’s block means.

This pandemic is also a block. For all of us.

But instead of pushing the gigantic block that gets me in the way to my destination, I want to climb over it.

I want to step on it.

I want to get a better point of view on it.

And I want to make the most of it.

So here I am, trying to monetize my writing for almost free of charge.

You can find me and support my writeups on (my account is @akhlisnulis) which is a platform for content makers including writers.

But unlike on WordPress, here readers who are willing to support me financially can simply pay for a premium access to the content I create.

Not that I am tired of writing on this wordpress blog but sometimes I think writers need rewards they deserve for their intellectual toil.

Don’t you think so?

Hope all of you can survive the pandemic…

In the meantime, keep grinding.

Don’t stop!

Pandemic Diary: The Thin Air and Me

Pandemic Diary: Infinity and Beyond

Rice field which I love so much
A tiny, fragile yet majestic creature
You can stand up alone but cannot live alone
Meditative walk
Dewy petals
Purple marvels
All I need is breeze
Staring at Krakatoa

Pandemic Diary: The Fall and the Rise of Giants

I heard the news of Joe Biden being the US president-elect. Kamala Harris also deserves a praise for her soothing words. She brings more decency to the US administration, I hope.

I guess pandemic gives us a lot of time to ponder and plan and carry out some revolutions in our civilization.

We have lost so much because of this pandemic but we will always get other things that can replace what we have lost. So no worries. This is what life works.

Just keep going.

Changes are inevitable. So be accustomed to them.

Including our change of behavior of consuming content on Facebook and Instagram, two platforms where privacy violations occur most. Hideous!

Pandemic Diary: Malls That Refuse to Die

Malls in Jakarta have been opened since June 15th, 2020 after being closed for 3 frustrating months.

The online shopping experience can never replace the freedom of leaving home, curtailing screen time, going to malls and taking a stroll and dining.

But of course, pandemic won’t let us have fun like before. We have to come to terms with the fact that the government only allows malls and cafes to be open and at service between 11 am and 8 pm. Ridiculous as it may sound (because they normally open between 10 am and 10 pm), we can’t complain.

New Normal Protocol is definitely a must for all visitors or you can be fined for hundreds of thousand of rupiahs. But what makes people worry more is the loss of money that is already tight for most of them. So they wear masks. They don’t want to be fined. They don’t give coronavirus any of it.

It’s been months since the last time I had my massage and malls allow me to enjoy such luxury. Of course the massage parlor won’t allow any unnecessary physical contact. My muscles felt loose but the pre-pandemic massage experience was still unmatched. Sorry.

Night life is still as bustling as it was. Pandemic cannot kill Jakarta’s economy. Well, the coronavirus choked us but we managed to get some air between the chokes.

Pandemic Diary: Defying Gravity

Pandemic Diary: Life Goes On

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