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What Is Normal Anymore?

This is my kombucha culture. Once a day, I taste it to keep track of how the brew is developing. It has very simple needs, requiring only tea, sugar, and time to grow. I suspect many of us in voluntary confinement are also realising that our needs are also very simple: food and drink, exercise, soap, access to information, rest, silence, and meaningful human connection. I want to acknowledge everyone who has subscribed and accessed the New Normal DigiDeck. It still needs tweaking and optimising but I decided to share it anyway four days ago while the circuit breaker’s still in effect. I suppose the timing couldn’t have been better/worse: PM Lee announced the extension of the circuit breaker in Singapore just 2 hours later. If you’ve already logged on and accessed the cards from New Normal, wonderful! But I know some of you are experiencing difficulties after subscribing and receiving a generic acknowledgement email. That's my bad. I’m here to remedy it.

  1. Head to the New Normal page.

  2. Refresh it.

  3. Log in, and click on any of these buttons to explore different card sets.

I’ve set the cards to flip open when you scroll over or tap them. This is intentional. Although New Normal is a digital deck, I want to retain the physical experience of flipping open a card as you would in real life. Apologies to iPhone users who aren’t able to tap and flip the cards. Doing so on a desktop browser shouldn’t be a problem though. So let’s say your next teleconference is on Monday, 27 April. I invite you to try using the three questions in Set 7 of Team Check-In as a way to catch up with your colleagues or peers. You might choose a question and have everyone share about it deeply. Or you might want to tackle all three questions if it’s a small group. Those questions are especially relevant now: I’m personally feeling the ill effects of too much screen time after three weeks of working from home. Give it a go! More importantly, I’d like to explore opening up an online space for us to talk. For starters, you could come on to find others to talk to using the digideck. You could also use the space to share about how you’ve been using New Normal, and how others have responded to the questions. If you need to vent to get something out of your system, it could be a cathartic space for support, commiseration, and encouragement. But I hope that once we’ve gotten the chance to mourn the past and acknowledge the present, we can start reimagining a better future after Covid-19. This issue concerns me deeply. While governments and businesses struggle to cope with the social, medical, and economic impact of Covid-19, our horizons have contracted to the here and now. When voluntary confinement ends, what kind of world do we return to? My hope is that we do not pick up exactly where we left off, and carry on with business as usual. This pandemic is surely exposing the flaws and cracks in our way of life, awakening new realisations about ourselves, forcing us to confront our expectations of what normal is, and inspiring a new hope for the future. I hope we can talk about those hopes openly and honestly, and slowly create that future together by speaking it into being, to say “this is my hope, and this is the price I’m willing to pay for it”. This online space could take the form of a private Telegram or Facebook group. I’ve created a poll for you to vote on which you'd prefer.


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