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  • Writer's pictureKara San

Capsule 202009

Burnout


Well, unsurprisingly, I've hit that point. Again. Pseudo-lockdown, zero social interactions outside my immediate family, books, Netflix, YouTube, work. There's nothing new. There'd been nothing new, no welcome break from my routine, since the end of March. It's been 6 months. I still have to turn down invites to meet up and eat out with friends; the eating out, I kind of understand from the way I did a library run yesterday and saw the 7pm crowd outside Swensen's at Clementi Mall, of all places. Not being able to meet up with friends (which don't involve eating out) or go for dance classes or even make lone trips to museums or galleries which don't require me to take off my mask? A little extreme.


I see my friends on social media talk about working until/past midnight or getting texts from colleagues on a Saturday night out, and I feel relieved at least I don't have to deal with that. One of my friends did say that it was their crunch time, which I suppose made a bit of sense. But shouldn't a line be drawn even then? For me personally, I don't even know what crunch time feels like because it's just been an extended "crunch time" at work since February and I'm exhausted in every sense. I have more leave days than I can take because taking even a day off means logging back on to a mountain of work and spending the rest of the week playing catch-up.


Just before my alarm rang this morning, I had a nightmare about receiving a call before work hours officially began, telling me to reply to an urgent email. A while back, I had a dream about being out with friends on a public holiday and bumping into a colleague who asked me to reply to one of their emails. It kind of feels like the working adult version of that recurring nightmare I had even after I got back my national exams results, in which I found myself having to sit for A Levels or O Levels again because apparently I wasn't done with them or I had to sit for them again regardless (even though, for one of those A Level nightmares, I knew even in that dream that I'd already been accepted into university).


Which leads me to the next segment of this post.


Work Ethics


The main "debate" I was following for this month, because it's a matter that resonates with me, is the generational differences in work culture mindset, probably sparked by the Delane Lim post.


Kirsten Han wrote this long Facebook post on (monetary) value, as well as an article on the toxic work culture of Delane Lim's kind of mentality as an employer.


I found those Kristen Han articles thanks to this blog post on all the things wrong with Singapore's work culture.


And finally, thank you Rice Media for this article on the problems of this outdated "Boomer mentality" in Singapore's work culture, because as we know, hard work isn't everything.


I've been seeing articles about other countries setting boundaries around work, making it a basic right for employees to not be contactable outside work hours. I asked myself, when will this happen in Singapore? Then I corrected it to: Will this ever happen in Singapore?


Hanging On


September has been a pretty hellish month which I'd initially thought was starting out slow, but somehow flew by before I knew it. In fact, this whole year seems to at once be moving at a snail's pace and flying by faster than I can process. I'm turning 26 in a couple of weeks and by this point, it makes no difference because I'm just going to spend it at home. No plans, except to take a few days off to read and draw, and keep my phone turned off so no one at work can give me a call or drop me messages.


I've been finding things to enjoy. I think, especially given the uncertainty of how long my parents expect me to have zero life outside home and my only going out activities are limited to going grocery shopping and picking up/dropping books at the library, I'm starting to see the need to put on that Studio Ghibli lens and ~romanticise~ the every day. Except it's hard when all I want to do over the weekends or after logging off from work is hibernate.


That said, there was one unexpected thing that made me incredibly happy this month: all of FTIsland's live albums (well, the Japan tours at least) are available on Spotify. That made about 10 years' worth of tours, and I got to listen to how they've grown over time. I've been a fan of them for over a decade now, so being able to slowly go through this audio-library of my favourite band of all time's music (I've yet to reach their 2017 tours), is a big deal for me.


Another thing that I've been doing, because it's somehow therapeutic, is watching YouTube videos, especially art and journalling videos. I especially enjoy watching the iPad journalling videos by A-Hong Paper Log. There's also this artist called Rinspirit_art, who does gouache painting, watercolours, digital paint, and (my favourite) ASMR drawing/sketching videos on her iPad. She mostly does Seventeen fan art, which is more than fine by me, since I'm also a huge fan of Seventeen.


At some point, I think maybe I should stop over-relying on fandoms and idol groups to give me so much happiness (especially in light of the Burning Sun scandal last year and the terrible disappointment that followed) but also, life is too short to try to justify why something as "trivial" as an idol group makes you happy.


Here's to hoping I get back at least a little bit of my sanity in October.


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