Year 2020 Recap: The year when time stopped but did it? [Part 1]

As if one doesn’t need reminders already, year 2020 was awful for most but was it really? Can a year be significant and insignificant at the same time? Nonetheless, I think it is worth recording what happened to my year in 2020 so that I can reminisce over it in 10, 20 and 30 years to come.

The following will be my attempt at recalling what happened each month so that I can make sense of year 2020 and use it as a way to comfort myself in the fact that I did MAKE something out of year 2020.

January: What an exciting time it was. The first month of the year. A new decade. New things are springing forth. How will the world look like? Will I ever finish my Master’s thesis? I’ve only just finished collecting my research data and already it was overwhelming. I was trying to finish it before Chinese New Year. I had some fun with my partner, watching my first live performance with him at the Piano Jazz Festival held in KLPAC.

February 2020: It was still a busy month as I try to finish writing the final chapters of my thesis. Freelance work kept me busy all the time. I shared did a cell sharing at a children’s home and shared a song that I wrote about Joshua’s battle at Jericho. Valentine’s Day was the day I presented my candidature defense, sharing my research results to a panel of lecturers. It’s kinda nerve wrecking but I grow confidence that I know not from where when I present my data. It was a successful presentation and I was asked to make further corrections before final submission.

March 2020: More stuff is happening by now. There were more and more news about a mysterious flu-like virus. Many countries were closing their borders including Malaysia. A lot of stringent health checks going on at immigration points. This is when the world stood still towards the end of March. Suddenly the need for more resources for online teaching is increased compared to many years before. I fell into some sort of depression as I saw the news of travel and work restriction. I thought it shouldn’t affect me much. Piano lessons will be conducted online and I could still work. Although I spent productive time discussing online teaching approaches to find a silver lining, I still went down the rabbit hole. My brain refuse to function and I couldn’t really get on completing the final touches of my thesis. I had an existential crisis. What’s the meaning of my Master’s degree if the world stops? A lot of self-doubt. I was quite paralyzed for two weeks and this crept into the following month.

April 2020: Lockdown was suppose to end in the middle of April but an extension ensued every two weeks. It just goes to show how bad it was gonna be. Every evening, I would have this ritual of checking the infection rates. It got worse and worse over the month. To occupy my time at home, I would join musical hands remotely with some musician friends and created fun music videos like these. Meanwhile, I eventually mustered what’s left of my self-esteem and completed my thesis and had frequent revisions with my supervisor. I spoke a lot to my supervisor about the current situation: the future of education and work. It was a time of reflection and observation as we see how the world adjusts itself to this invisible flu. During this time, I had my cello lessons with my tutor via WhatsApp. Such interesting times.

May 2020: As an educator and musician, I tried my own best at bringing joy to friends with my recorded music or share music that is being broadcasted around the world. It’s around early this month that I was almost done with the thesis correction. Writing the dedication reminded how far I have grown as an academician and educator; there is still so much to learn. Then on the 12th, I conducted my first ever online workshop and it was about the fundamentals of recording . It was a scary and amazing experience at the same time. I roped in Kimberly, a good friend to help host the workshop with me. Since it was the workshop, it was really chaotic. For whatever reason, the Zoom session couldn’t manage the number of people who signed up and there were nearly 90 individuals who signed up. In the end, we had to send out a new link so that everyone could get into Zoom more easily. It was around this time that Zoom received a lot of backlash for its lack of security measures. People were getting zoom-bombed. It was also during this time I learned a lot of new things like streaming a live video and figuring out why OBS is causing my new laptop to heat up so much. Finally at the end of the month, I send in my thesis for examination. It was a huge relief for that period of time.

June 2020: The moment I was relieved of my thesis writing, I started planning a lot of online workshops for music teacher development. Primarily, it was to help them use available technology for online lessons. At the same time, it was also freelance work. On the sides, I was also developing tutorial videos like this. It was fun experimenting but a lot of work at the same time. I thought this is probably my future in the long run – freelance work. I also had more free time and created cover videos like this too. I also found time to write a few reflective articles about my music learning journey since young. This was the same month where I started a series of live stream video from my Facebook page on online music teaching tools like these.

— To be continued—

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