End of the year reflection - Goodbye 2020

WHO declared the coronavirus a worldwide pandemic on 11 Mar 2020 and sent the world into a frenzy, after the frenzy has escalated for a while. This sketch was done on 05 Mar 2020, roughly a week before the declaration of the pandemic. Probably that was the reason why everyone was looking so calm in this drawing. We were having coffee at the mall enjoying my last day of the school's mid term recess, not expecting anything. Mask wearing was only made mandatory by the health authority of Singapore on 15 Apr- a month later. At that time, only the sick who was seeing a doctor needed to wear a mask in public. Everyone else did not require one.

When mask wearing was made mandatory and a law, a handful of people, mainly elderly people including women resisted wearing one in public and were fined. But now, it would be unwise not to wear one. And after 8 months or so, we are all getting used to the practice now. This sketch serves as a remembrance of the days when we were free to do whatever and whenever we wanted. No mask, no movement restriction.

The sketch above was done on 8 March 2020, in retrospect, about a week before mask wearing was made mandatory. I was participating in a social sketching event named One Week 100 People. I was on my 5th day of sketching people and with this sketch, I successfully clocked 100 people in 5 days. It wasn't hard. A page like this would have at least 10 visible drawings of people, so counting the crowds in the distance the exercise was easy peasy. Phase II of Singapore's lockdown wasn't implemented yet so I think having a meal in a restaurant was still okay. Only the servers were wearing masks. Little did we know that soon there would be more laws on social distancing.

2020 was unprecedented, and strange. It was ironical that we celebrated and welcomed the year so wildly, at the same time, looked forward to a better year than 2019. Somehow, the latter looked better now. The new decade ushered in a new virus, a new way of life, a revelation that nothing is permanent. Things we have taken granted for are now things that we are missing dearly. We are all humbled by the fact that something so small could change the world so much. Men thought they could change the world and conquered nature. Men thought they are invincible, the world in the palm of their hands. Men assumed the advancement of medical sciences could do anything. No one has predicted that a little virus could stop planes, halt economies, crash financial institutes, topple government; systems that men have esteemed for so long came tumbling down like the giant on the beanstalk.
Yes we are fighting back. As we speak, millions are inoculated by the new vaccines. Will life go back to where we have left off after? Is the pandemic enough to bring men to their knees, forgo their trusted strength and rely on something bigger? (I don't mean E.T). Anyhoo, in any case, let's sweep the dust off our feet and look forward to new year ahead. Albeits a strange new world awaits us.

Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

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