Will we have a new normal for a birthday party?
FROM A DISTANCE - Carmen N. Pedrosa (The Philippine Star) - July 19, 2020 - 12:00am

My family and I celebrated my birthday party as an attempt to function with the consequences of COVID-19 social distancing, no traveling and wearing masks. Weird but the idea came from a daughter who wanted to experiment if can have a birthday party practicing the rules in living with COVID 19.

Can we really experience closeness as a family using the internet? On this occasion we had one from London, another from Singapore, a family from Portugal and the others from Manila in different districts under lockdown.

Of all the guests, I was the most ignorant about the internet. The only experience I have had is what they call “teleconferencing”, which we now do twice a week instead of going to office. We follow the agenda and discuss issues without being physically present. I’m still learning it because my brain limits imagination and instead I worry how to join, discuss and leave the conference.

But how else to cope to continue business  and keeping in touch without traveling. Will we ever cope with COVID 19 using old formal? This is the  question being asked by many and to which there is no answer. The more optimistic think that once the vaccine is discovered we can go back to the old normal.

I belong to the more pessimistic. It remains to be seen what the future will be after the pandemic. But things will never be the same again. So we should begin finding new ways to practicing a new normal. Who knows? But at least we will learn slowly how to function and live, maybe also be happy.

We should begin now to find new ways to  cope post the pandemic. It may be almost impossible but we should keep in mind that change will be forced on us to cultivate new ways of living.

Teleconferences are possible, but a birthday party?

My family tried with one and its very newness was the stumbling block to the emotions that come with physical closeness.  Whether you were in London or Manila we decided on a Chinese meal. The piece de resistance of our family celebrations was Peking Duck but it came cold and dried and the hoisin sauce spilled on the pancit which is a symbol for a long life for the celebrant. Because of the new normal style for family celebration, the celebrant almost forgot to blow the  candle. Two grandchildren sang the Happy Birthday song but it was joyless for the singers to have an audience in the internet. Can they see us or can we be heard with our eyes and ears focused on the screen of our television sets?

All in all it was happy that we could all be together despite COVID 19 even if virtually. To be frank the attempt for  a new normal for a birthday party could not bring home the warmth of physical presence. And all the emotions that come with it.

I am happy that I will not have long to live in a new normal which is defined as “the computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment, such as a helmet with a screen inside or gloves fitted with sensors.”

There are many things that  can be done better with virtual reality but any new normal that does encourage physical closeness is not for me.

A new normal will emerge with virtual reality. Like the experience of holding a birthday party.

“What is the purpose of virtual reality? Virtual reality technology is used to create immersive experiences that can help educate and even entertain consumers. Outside of its popular gaming use case, virtual reality is applied in a variety of industries, such as medicine, architecture, military, and others.

If a new normal should come out like the birthday party we had, I am afraid I will not care much for it.

I may have its good uses in science but  it will not give the satisfaction of being close to the emotions of human beings. It will be another world.

As defined “ a digital experience that gives a real which nobody can see because it doesn’t exist in the real world. Virtual reality is like closing your eyes and experiencing the sound of music like as if you are in front of a live artist or at that exact place and time when the instrumentals of a song were being composed. It is experiencing things that do not exist.”

If creating a new normal needs using “Virtual reality,” I will resist it. I don’t relish “a 3D computer universe that one can access using digital technology. It comes with visual machinery attached to a computer to create the virtual experience. But others differ. ‘When you are connected to a virtual reality setup, the feeling is ecstatic as it looks so real.”

With virtual reality, you can take a trip to the moon and it would feel and look exactly like you just landed on the moon but in reality, you are just sitting in a chair in a room experiencing all this. Unlike a movie experience where you are stationed in one position looking at a big screen, virtual reality is much more different as you can move around and the computer world would be moving along with you.

The virtual reality world is usually very large and the person viewing can see everything around him/her. One can even access very detailed areas around the world. Virtual reality looks so real and is very interactive. It gives the viewer an opportunity to move around the environment he/she is surrounded in. People can easily get carried away in a virtual reality world because it makes you think like you are in an actual real experience and you react or respond to the world you experience around you.” This is the stuff of computer gaming.

COVID-19 NEW NORMAL
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