5 Ways Music Can Help Making A Pandemic That Less Stressful

As we continue to distance ourselves from one another, 2021 is beginning to not look any different as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to rage throughout the world.

While entertainment and literally anything in general is being canceled abruptly, people are starting to find more sources of entertainment mainly from devices such as using movie streaming services and also music streaming services among the many.

Times like these we need reassurance, we need the connection, and most importantly, we need to connect and share. We are all in this together and we are going to get better together no matter how long it takes. Here are five reasons to why music helps during a pandemic.

1) Music connects lives and stories

With streaming services such Spotify and Apple Music, music and playlist sharing are a thing and is easier than ever! Wondering what your friends are listening to? You can now visit their profile and check out some new artists. Want to share a playlist with your friend while he or she works out? You could easily do that now as well.

2) Sparks creativity and curiosity

Stuck at a seemingly impossible project and need new ideas? There are tons of music out there to help spark the mind into imagining and creating new content. Thinking about learning a new instrument? Well we don’t need to remind you that now is a better time than any to begin, especially with all the time spent at home,

3) Opportunity to try something new

Little did you know, that you don’t need to have prior music learning experience to begin mangling in music making. There are tons of beginner level music making tools out there such as GarageBand, Acapella, Djay and Beat Maker to name a few. Other than that, small instruments such as the ukulele and the Marimba are perfect to have around the house during this time.

4) Socializing and relaxing

Although tons of concerts and live events aren’t happening this year, a lot of them have been moved online. Take this opportunity to experience the new form of concerts virtually. In the meantime, the internet is full of recordings of concerts from the past that are perfect for any given time of any given day.

5) Stress reliever

During exceptionally stressful times, my is helps with decreasing our stress levels and also make our days that less depressing. Other than that, music therapy is something that’s y being picked up by many during these times and are proving to be essential when everyone’s locked up at home.

Malaysian Climate is A Perfect Recipe for Potholes, Here’s Why

A menace to both drivers and cyclists, the pothole issue isn’t a new one as road users in Malaysia know that manoeuvring the streets of Malaysia would require swerving around the ever-present potholes.

What started as a mere obstruction to many is slowly becoming one of the reasons to why road users are injured even killed, as seen recently with experiences from Science, Technology, and Innovation Minister Khary Jamaluddin who had been injured after falling due to a pothole and Ho Yan Fee who had died after skidding of another.

How are they formed?

Potholes are formed when water seeps into an existing small crack on the surface of the road and deteriorates further over time. Potholes varies in sizes and are caused by the expansion and contraction of water that has entered the ground under the pavement. 

This only adds on to the factors as road surfaces which develop cracks due to stress caused by traffic expands during daytime and contracts during the night. Roadway traffic only makes the matter worst as cracks are widen which allows more water to seep in and repeat the process. 

So why is Malaysia’s climate a recipe for potholes?

Unless you’ve been in doors all your life, you’d be quick to know that Malaysia has two kinds of weather, mainly hot and rainy. 

Throughout the year we see rainy days more than enough and scorching hot temperature on other days, higher number of potholes are developed when we experience the various flashfloods across the country and when the roads dry up later at extreme temperature causing cracks on the road surface which only worsens over time.

As the weight of cars and trucks pass over spots that have succumbed to way too much pressure, pieces of the road are quite literally shattered, creating what we know as the pothole we often see.

Irresponsible utility companies

Potholes are also mainly the work of irresponsible utility companies that dig up roads in order to lay down cables and pipes. After doing so, these roads are not properly patched up, eventually deconstructing the hard work done by those in the road maintenance industry. 

The lack of communication between agencies means that one would do the hard work of paving a road making it seemingly brand new, while the other digs a spot up for piping or other purposes. Unwanted cracks are created way before the weather comes into effect, which indefinitely speeds up the process of how a pothole is formed.

5 Ways To Improve from 2020

1) Detox and declutter

Treat a year as if going to be your body, whatever you take in reflects as a whole. Take a look around the house or your room, if you notice stuff you don’t need or stuff that has simply been there collecting dust for way too long, get it out. This doesn’t only work with stuff in the house but also works with your lifestyle, still holding on to that membership for the gym you don’t go to anymore or still have certain unhealthy practices? Well guess what? Now is a better time to detox than any.

2) Organize

Your schedule, your desk, your office or even your kitchen, 2020 was indeed messy and it’s easily noticeable with all the mess around you. Take the time to organize the mess that was 2020 in order to make 2020 a spacious and healthy one to look at.

3) Start small

You don’t have to start running every morning before work or quit your unhealthy snacking immediately, start small by taking one step at a time, such as taking a 10 minute walk after lunch or limit your sweet snacking to a bare minimum for the meantime; you could then move along from there.

4) Get out

We may have a pandemic going on now, but that doesn’t give you a reason to live off your work desk or sofa. An evening walk around the neighborhood would do wonders when thinking about the amount of time you’ve spent at home.

5) Meet someone new

This does not necessarily mean a romantic relationship as you have more friend-material around you than you think. The person that serves you coffee and the local coffeehouse or the group that plays badminton at your nearby sports center, relationships and communication are important during these times; all it takes is a simple hello to start something new.

World Introvert Day: 5 Ways to Live With An Introvert

Yes, the spotlight now is clearly on New Years Day and how it’s going to be the start of new beginnings, but a little known day comes just after the first of January which is in fact World Introvert Day.

A day to celebrate our friends and family who are the quiet ones and rarely the life of the party; World Introvert Day started when psychologist and author Felicitas Heyne published a blog post calling for a day for us quiet ones that are comfortable being out of the spotlight.

In a noisy world, those who are quiet are often overlooked, hence, a day to celebrate their uniqueness seems only fitting. In a bid to understand those who are less vocal and outgoing, here are five ways to live with introverts.

1) Accept

Even when you don’t understand their whys and whats, understand that people are different from you and that you can’t expect everyone to be out and about as you are. Nonetheless, introverts still want to feel welcome and you should do so in a way that isn’t too overwhelming.

2) Observe

Introverts pay extra attention to verbal and non-verbal cues around them, you should too. When coming on an introvert in a conversation, observe if they are too overwhelmed by you or if they are in anyway uncomfortable with the attention by noticing the various verbal and non-verbal cues they are sending out.

3) Space

Introverts love their space and have personal boundaries to wherever they go. Respect this by not pursuing or pushing them into a conversation or event that they don’t want to be at.

4) Spend time together wisely

Introverts aren’t the ones for pointless get togethers where the music is so loud that talking is almost impossible. When gathering with an introvert, keep things small and simple while avoiding places that could be too overwhelming for their sense; instead, opt for settings that allows conversation and space for introverts to simply be themselves.

5) Solitude time is essential

Every now and then, introverts would have to crawl up into their cave to recharge for the next big function. When your initiatives to gather together happen to get rejected more than usual, don’t insist and just give it time as you’d see them once more, whenever they’re easy to step out into the world again.

New Year’s Resolution? Here Are 5 Ways to Make Sure You Stick To It

How does one welcome new year? One of the ways is too create a simple New Year’s resolution to begin with, sticking to that resolution however would be the challenge as finding motivation became as hard as any especially since the downfall of 2020.

Fear that you might end the year forgetting what you had in store for the your schedule? Fear not though as here are a five simple ways you can create and stick to a New Year’s resolution.

1) Aim high but stay specific

Instead of wanting to “exercise more” or “eat more healthy”, consider options such as “taking a 30 minute walk before dinner on every weekday”, “avoid eating when it’s past 11pm” or “eating fruits before bed”. It’s important that these resolutions aren’t too vague as a little flaw in it could see you breaking that resolution even before the first month’s end.

2) Small steps are significant

Instead of jumping right to the finish line, take time to have those small steps. Sleeping early for an example isn’t a one step process as you have to organize your daily schedule for that first and also to consider cellphone usage at utmost. Break down your resolution and start small each day, this would help making your end goal that more reachable and reduce the chances of it being too overwhelming.

3) Follow a timeline and monitor progress

Very much like a school timetable, a timeline of your resolution would help keep you in place and also stop you from straying from it. Monitor it as you go while making sure that you hit your daily, weekly or monthly goals.

4) Accountability

When creating a resolution for yourself, you owe nobody a promise other than yourself. If that isn’t enough, consider a subscription that would aid your in your resolution such as a gym membership or audiobook streaming service; this way, the effort you gave to start this journey would help you see the end of it.

5) Acknowledge the process

If you think you’d make it in just days, you’re wrong. Whatever you set out to do, make it known to yourself that it takes time, just like anything else. Be patient and embrace the journey, you make it to the finish line in one piece either way.

5 Practices to Begin a Minimalist Year

Whatever the reason is, practicing a lifestyle of minimalism can in turn be challenging but also life changing at the same time. 

Gone will be the days of icky clutter and 2021 would be the year where less is in fact more. Like every other life changing decision, simplicity takes a few steps and patience to reel in while sometimes it takes a little boost to make that jump in order to see how happy the other steps would be.

Although you might not think of any, there are many things in your life that you can simplify, such as clutter, debt, home and schedule. These are a few ways to ensure that 2021 isnt going to be jammed pack out of the box.

1) Write stuff down

Visual aids are always a great way to begin if you want to take that first step towards making life simpler and more straightforward. What are the reasons that you want this change? Are you tired of looking at a messy cupboard or fed up of being stressed out at night? These are your whys, and they provide great motivation to keep you going, your reasons would help you remember when you need them too.

2) You really don’t need any duplicates

Grab a box, walk around your home, if you see something that you have two of, chuck it in the box. Two sets of the same hand-mixer, copies of the same book, two of the same mats for your bedroom, if you don’t see yourself using it for the next couple of weeks, chances are that you don’t need it.

3) Clutter-free zones

Clutter doesn’t only take up space, but it also causes unnecessary stress with many of this only adding on to what we’re facing right now in this whole pandemic. Declare clutter free zones in your home to ensure the utmost focus when needed. If you too enjoy that clean and clear environment, look towards expanding your zone each day in order to have that clutter-free home that you’ve been planning about.

4) Think less, do more

Whether it be eating, travelling or simply living, the time taken where you’re deciding on stuff is best spent doing it instead. Spend lesser time to decide on what to have for lunch, what to wear or what to make for your family dinner; try a healthy routine that you could use to rotate throughout the week where you’d have 2 or 3 dinner choices for example.

5) Travel light

Travelling on a holiday or simply travelling to work is best when you’re aren’t held down by baggage mainly in your pockets and your backpack. The next time you take a trip for the week, pack half of what you planned for initially; when commuting for work, take less cash if you don’t plan on using them all, especially with the amount of e-wallet choices we have these days.

Covid-19 Broke 2020, Will It Be Here to Stay in 2021?

Fast forward to June 2021, the Covid-19 pandemic has been happening for a year and a half now as the virus continues to spread slowly and very dangerously; half the world is still in lockdown as sights of healthcare workers in full body hazard suits just isn’t surprising anymore. At least 200 million are infected worldwide while 1.75 million are dead.

Before you start panicking, this is just one of the many scenarios that might play out in 2021. As we try to paint an early depiction of what to expect in 2021 in terms of the Covid-19 pandemic, this would definitely help as it works as a way to prepare for and even reduce infections for the upcoming year if possible.

Covid-19 is here to stay

Although their predictions vary with one another, modelers agree that Covid-19 would be here to stay, and the future depends on a lot of factors that are yet to be known, which also includes on whether a long-lasting immunity is developed, whether we can control the spread ad even down to the actions of governments and individuals.

According to Rosalind Eggo, an infectious disease modeller at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), we don’t really know what’s in store yet.

“A lot of places are unlocking, and a lot of places aren’t. We don’t really yet know what’s going to happen,” says Eggo.

Joseph Wu, a disease modeller at the University of Hong Kong, adds on that “the future will very much depend on how much social mixing resumes, and what kind of prevention we do,”.

According to nature.com, researchers have modelled how the pandemic has unfold and estimates up to 294 million infections globally by March 2021.

Working from home, again

The temptation to take a lunchbreak at your desk is strong when you work at home. But it’s worth taking a break where you move to a different space where work can’t reach you. Photo: Sebastian Gollnow/dpa/dpa

Whilst leaders such as Google has extended the work-from-home policy until June 2021, it’s all also dependent greatly on how fast a vaccine starts arriving. Working from home could even take a large part of the year as the World Economic Forum predicts the number of remote workers to double in 2021.

According to Enterprise Technology Research (ETR) who surveyed 1,200 chief information officers around the world, 72% of their workforce is currently working remotely; 48.6% reported that productivity has improved since workers began working remotely and only 28.7% of respondents indicated a decline in productivity.

“The productivity metric is proving that remote work is working,” Erik Bradley, chief engagement strategist at ETR, told Reuters in an interview.

“So we all thought that there would be some increase in permanent remote work, but we didn’t expect that to double from pre-pandemic levels. There would be huge ramifications of this in a lot of areas, whether that is real estate, retail, restaurant or transportation.

How soon can we expect normality to return?

Similar to the Australian bushfires in early 2020, this pandemic is like a bushfire, a worldwide one that is. A vaccine is the key towards a new beginning but we aren’t quite sure how many people are actually vaccinated and if it has helped reduce the infection rates.

As of now, Malaysia is set to receive its share of the vaccine in February while Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) has been extended well into January. Will we start seeing change then? Rest assured, it’s not going to take long for us to find out.

TIME Magazine Releases Top 10 Photos of 2020

The power of photographs could be an understatement especially when so much could be told with so little.

When it comes to 2020, most of our mind’s images of it could be pretty blurry as when we look back, it is as if we only saw one thing – the pandemic. On top of that, we couldn’t in fact remember all the places we’ve been and record all that has happened; So, how would you remember what you couldn’t even picture?

TIME’s photo department release their top 10 photographs of the year at every end of it, similar to 2020, they did so once more and made 2020 that much more personal to each and every one of us.

Meridith Kohut

Meridith Kohut for TIME Magazine

Pictured is the staff and patients at the Brooklyn Heights Medical Center. Thousands were killed by Covid-19 in New York City and millions more around the world. Taken on April 22nd, Kohut captures a lone Kyle Edwards gathering lanterns from inside one of the refrigerators that stored these corpses.

Newsha Tavakolian

Iran mourned as the assassination of major general Qasem Soleimani sparked hurt and vengeance in the country.

Hassan Ammar

AP Photo/Hassan Ammar

Hoda Kinno, 11, is carried by her uncle Mustafa after a massive explosion at the port in Beirut on August 4th. “I was taking pictures of everything when I saw men holding two injured girls on the highway opposite the port. I followed one until they reached a military vehicle that was being loaded with injured people to be evacuated to a hospital.”

Al Bello

Al Bello/Getty Images

A drop cloth hung from a clothlines, serving as a simple barrier between two family members who began embracing nonetheless. Bello captured the embraces over 45 minutes, including that of Sileo and granddaughter Olivia Grant, shown here. “They were long hugs,” he says.

Erin Schaff

Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Jacquelyn Booth mourning the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Hector Retamal

HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images

A man lies on the ground, merely a block away from a hospital in Wuhan, China. When they saw us, they shouted at us. They seemed to tell us not to get any closer,” Retamal remembered. After a while, others in protective suits arrived; they approached the man but would not touch him.

Peter van Agtmael

Peter van Agtmael/Magnum Photos for TIME

Trump went head to head with Biden for the U.S. hot seat, it’s hard to know what he knows at times.

Adam Ferguson

Ferguson for TIME

3 billion animals, that’s how much animals were killed or displaced during bushfire season in Australia. When on a photographic mission around Kangaroo Island, he noticed something grey afar. “As I approached, I realized it was a koala,” he recalls. A volunteer from a nearby fire-response team noticed and came over with water. “Under normal circumstances, the koala would have scrambled up a tree,” says Ferguson, “but it was exhausted and dehydrated as the woman approached with her offering and poured it on its head.”

Malike Sidibe

Malike Sidibe for TIME

George Floyd’s murder by police in Minnesota was the final straw for many as protests soon took over the country and lasted throughout the year. Being there, Sidibe says, “changed the way I view the world and how I carry myself in this world.”

Jim Huylebroek

Jim Huylebroek/The New York Times/Redux

Following a U.S. and the Taliban peace agreement, Huylebroek and his colleagues took advantage of this by visiting insurgents in the eastern Laghman province. “They welcomed us in a friendly way, but things felt a bit tense,” he says. As two children walk up to road and past the fire fighters, “For me,” says Huylebroek, “it shows the harsh reality in which children grow up.”

“Only Use Hands if You Have No Head” Eatery Settles Forehead or Wrist Dispute Once And For All

You’ve seen it more than once, customers to a restaurant or shoppers at a mall, there’ll always be people who end up using their hands for temperature taking instead of using their foreheads like how we’re supposed to be.

So that brings the question to which method should we use? To answer the question, an eatery in Singapore has resorted to leave a sign outside where customers are to have their temperature taken at a machine – Only use your hands to have your temperature taken if you don’t have a head. 

With some of us more clearly still more confused than the other, this one eatery is obviously fed up with all the connotation of “having your temperature taken”.  

Should get scanned for your temperature at the wrist or forehead?

Health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah said that having it taken at the forehead would result in the most accurate body temperature reading. However, Malaysians who were concerned about infrared rays perpetrating the skull and affecting the brain started the trend of using their wrists instead, causing a nationwide phenomenon.

Arms are not considered in temperature checks as they are the peripheral parts of the body, and extremities would have temperatures at the arms vary depending on environmental conditions.

The normal human body temperature varies from 36.5°C to 37.5°C, any temperature higher would be considered a fever.

Dr Noor Hisham also assured to the public on how there have been no reported side effects of scanning the forehead with infrared light

“We do not deny that many people are worried about side effects if they use the thermometer on their foreheads, but as far as we know, there is no scientific data that states it will cause illness,” he said.

Cellphones and Internet Usage In Prisons?

Getting involved with the outside world is an easier than said task when most of your time is spent behind bars with very limited face-to-face communication; for prisoners, most of them who rely on plain email hard copies are getting more and more out of the outside world, but with technology and the internet advances, things are beginning to be that much simpler for prisoners to reconnect with reality.

As weird as it sounds, it’s the way the world works now as pen and paper just don’t seem to be able to cut it anymore. Gone are the days of meeting up in person as virtual meetings, instant messages, and the ability to follow, like, post or comment seems to be the majority of the way we interact now, and there aren’t signs of us slowing down anytime too.

In practice, prisoners aren’t allowed to have cell phones, but in reality, they’re in fact all over social media. Sources told VICE that prisoners are able to post photos to Instagram and to tweet directly from their cell blocks and this is because of them being able to use contraband and illegal cellphones.

In Malaysia, the National Prison Department took an approach which allowed those behind bars to keep in touch with love ones and respective lawyer. This started when prisons nationwide were barred from having any visitors, following the Movement Control Order (MCO).

Since 2008, selected prisoners who have undergone higher education were allowed to use the internet for their studies. Open University Malaysia (OUM) was among the first who had offered higher education to prisoners where inmates would be offered an online and flexible learning system.

The prison had earlier allocated computer and internet usage for said inmates from 8am to 5pm daily with monitoring by management to ensure that it was only used for academic and learning purposes, which comes mainly from the OUM digital library.

For those wanting to try smuggling an authorized handphone though, Jabatan Penjara has an entire unit that is dedicated to preventing items of such. Known as the UKP (Unit Kawalan dan Pecegahan) or the Prevention and Control Unit, spot checks, zone patrol are utilized to ensure nothing gets past their sight. These men are also easily identifiable by their maroon berets and camo uniform.

They were also rumored to have beaten up inmates who tried smuggling handphones in as it is essential for drug businesses in prison. Phones with cameras are also believed to be able to threaten the reputation of a prison.

When successfully smuggled in, prisoners have an ingenious way to charge them though, with the use of fluorescent lights. As there are very limited to no plug points to work with, prisoners connect the charger to electricity wires from fluorescent lights inside the cells. By connecting wires from cell lights or even the CCTV camera to charge phone batteries, touching a live wire could also result in fatal injuries or even death.

Because of this, Sungai Buloh Prison cells disabled their lights because prisoners kept using them to charge their phones!