29 April 2020
A quick visit to the supermarket has at last made the lack of groceries apparent—at least where I normally go. The shelves are starting to look empty, products that were almost never unavailable now are. The just-in-time supply chain that was celebrated for its efficiency is showing us its downsides: stocks are few and far between. Yet, to chide a system that worked for us beautifully for over a decade just because it failed us in such an exceptional circumstance would be unwarranted. A lot of places around the world are undoubtedly worse off but this is no time for comparison. It is simply a case of the war coming too close to home for comfort.
As for the rest of the world, a few observations can be made: one, the discussion is moving from fighting COVID-19 (which our healthcare systems have slowly come to terms with) to dealing with the various implications of the nationwide lockdown. At this point, we will be better off erring on the side of caution and extending the lockdown but some governments may have other plans in mind. Two, the earth has promptly moved on: monsoon has set in and early this morning we had what I call level two showers (that is where, if you were driving, you would have to turn your windscreen wiper up to level two).
Finally, and perhaps most scarily, the events of the past month or so are slowly starting to feel like faded memories. The intensities of the struggles we faced as a civilisation early this year have become unusually hard to recall. The desperation that was all around us feels unreal—like it never happened. There is a sense of misleading calm and control, as though this was a phase that has finally passed us. I hope against hope that I am the only one feeling this way, but I doubt it. The implications of this can be staggering: we will not learn from the events of this year; we will repeat our mistakes again. It is ominous, nonetheless it is so.