Zoom Meetings And Other Things That Need To Disappear After Covid-19
Experts say that this pandemic could change the world, but nowhere is change happening faster than on social media.

Gym selfies have been replaced by Zoom workout selfies. Cafe cupcakes have been replaced by home-baked banana bread. Pictures of you and your friends dining out have been replaced by pictures of you and your family dining in. All that is solid melts into air as the circuit-breaker turns the world upside down and inside out, transforming homes into offices, and perfectly good coffee into undrinkable shite.

However, it is important to distinguish Covid-related progress from Covid-induced idiocy. 

Here’s a list of things which deserve to die once the Pandemic abates:

This Instagram Story Of A Zoom Workout

This is actually a picture of Erasmus but who gives a shit.
If a man does a leg raise and no one is there to hear him grunt, was the leg raised or not? Spinoza first posed this question in his famous philosophical treatise ‘How To Get Abs In 3 Weeks’, but the answer has eluded philosophers to this very day. Hegel, for instance, believed that fitness was a dialectical process between trainer and client, while Marx believed that workers have nothing to lose but their low self-esteem. It was radical, but not as radical as nutritionist Peter Kropotkin’s Paleo manifesto ‘The Conquest of Bread’, which advocated cutting carbs in favour of lean meats and crunchy seeds. 

However, my favourite fitness influencer is Ludwig Wittgenstein, who said: “Whereof one cannot gym, thereof one must be silent”. Interpretation has been contentious, but most modern philosophers agree that he meant: NOBODY CARES ABOUT YOUR GODDAMNED ZOOM WORKOUT.

Gyms have closed, but gym selfies are apparently immortal. Even when the last dumbbell has rusted into nothing and the squat rack returned to nature as a home for rhesus monkeys, we will somehow find a way to smugly inform our friends: “Hey, *psst* I worked out.”

Bubble Tea

Taiwanese street food is the reason they're not in the WHO.
Some people seem to think that China is the reason why Taiwan cannot join the WHO. This is fake news. BBT is the real reason why Taiwan has no say in the WHO. 

XXL Fried Chicken Cutlet. Brown Sugar Milk Tea. Peanut Ice Cream Crepes. 

Asking Taiwan to join the WHO is like asking British American Tobacco to host a Lung Cancer Survivor Support Group.

Zoom Meetings

Zoom meetings combine all the fun of a real meeting with the efficiency of a pigeon courier. One person talks, whilst the rest of us stare at the camera as if we’re getting our passport photos taken. Before every discussion begins, there must be three polite rounds of “no no no sorry you go ahead” until the person speaking has forgotten what he or she wanted to say.

When their memory recovers, their laptop mic gives way. However, because nobody is sure if it’s the mic or their own speaker who is at fault, so we sit around for a full minute politely listening to the static as if we were attending a live performance by the Berlin Philharmonic. A charade which only ends when someone finally snaps and goes: “Oi, we can’t hear you. You are breaking up.”

After which, there is no real solution except to stop talking and revert to typing.

WFH forever also means videoconference forever and I’d sooner subject myself to a daily prostate exam.

Quarantine Baking

Every newly-minted home baker after pulling a brownie from the oven.
It was not so long ago that baking was being touted as a solution to anxiety and depression. Those slightly older than Twitter would also remember Julie & Julia, an incredibly boring movie where a young woman copes with her stressful job at the 9/11 victims hotline by making chocolate tarts—for herself. If we go back further in history, we would no doubt discover historical accounts of Austrians making croissants to deal with the rise of Napoleon, Italian kneading focaccia as The Black Death crept slowly inland, and Jews broiling bagels while Moses called down an airstrike on Egypt.

Which, of course, leads to the inevitable conclusion that our answer to Covid-19 must be banana bread. Not just one loaf, but an Everest’s worth of flour, water, and sugar. People who were previously incapable of boiling eggs have suddenly donned aprons and conjured rolling pins out of thin air.

Why is it always baking, may I ask? For once, I would like to witness a catastrophe where the response is to make soup or noodles or perhaps even an omelette. Yet, for reasons unknown, tragedy is always followed by gluten as if it were the natural law of the universe.


Millennials Doing TikTok

The first google search result for Gen-Z is a Mckinsey slide deck, which tells you everything you need to know, really.
I don’t really understand the appeal of TikTok, but then again, I did grow up in a long-ago time of MSN messenger and dial-up connections so slow you would finish masturbating when the image was 50% loaded. Asking me to understand Gen-Z is a lost cause. The best I can do is to smile politely and feign enthusiasm for what they’re selling (themselves, mostly). Most of the time, talking to them feels like talking to my lawyer about tax evasion—I just sit there, mute and uncomprehending, and waiting to sign off on a check.

Most millennials are in the same boat, but they refuse to admit it because it would be easier to pass a cairn of kidney stones than to admit irrelevance.

Hence, the large number of millennials suddenly jumping on the TikTok bandwagon during the circuit-breaker. I think it’s partly boredom, but also a desperate desire to cling onto the last shreds of youth via whatever means necessary—even if it entails self-humiliation; writhing like an eel while nubile youngsters look on in pity. 

This is, however, sadly all too common as millennials fight for social media relevance as if it were the last lifeboat on the Titanic. This publication, sadly, no different, even if we pretend to be. Hence its inclusion on this list at gunpoint.

Relatable Covid-19 Content

In fact, this entire article was forced out of me at gunpoint because my bosses decided they want relatable Covid-19 content, but they have no idea how or what. Like every media outlet desperate to stay relevant despite fuck-all happening, I am forced to write shitty articles with neither angle nor content, just to pad out an empty space in the editorial calendar because god forbid that we should go one fucking day without making a bid for virality. 

That’s why this editorial is dumber than a brick. That’s why it’s more heavily padded than even my O-level English model composition when I had nothing to say about ‘freedom of speech’, but was forced to say it anyway.

Sadly, we’re not the only ones. That’s why I actually pity  the Lianhe Zaobao reporter who fabricated a story without the user’s permission. Perhaps he didn’t want to do it, but was forced to by his editors to fill a space. He was, after all, just an employee and probably afraid to lose his job at this juncture.

So please, let this madness end. We do not need any more dumb ‘relatable Covid-19 content’. Everyone knows that the circuit breaker sucks and even introverts are feeling the burn and have no idea how to self-care under lockdown. The world has come to a standstill, but our inner life need not go into lockdown just yet.

Do you have a job vacancy? Do NOT send it community@ricemedia.co. Contact me at panjie@ricemedia.co. Like Hyman Roth in The Godfather, I always make money for my partners.

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