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Kill time, not joy: How to be happy at home during the outbreak

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Fri, March 20, 2020  /  09:34 am
Kill time, not joy: How to be happy at home during the outbreak

Here are some ways to entertain yourself while you're at home during the COVID-19 outbreak. (Shutterstock/ New Africa)

In the face of the coronavirus outbreak, the United Nations has dedicated this year’s International Day of Happiness to spreading positivity amid the coronavirus pandemic.

This year’s motto “Keep Calm. Stay Wise. Be Kind” asks people around the globe to find positive ways to look after themselves and each other as the world faces the difficulties of the coronavirus, exacerbated by loneliness in quarantine and the need to kill time.

While there are the ever-present streaming services with plenty of shows and movies to choose from, alluring cooking channels on YouTube and games on various platforms, we've compiled some additional activities to keep you entertained and curious during your time at home.


Yes, this is finally the time to read that stack of unread books that you’ve hauled in over the years.

For those who prefer e-books, there are a number of online libraries that provide millions of books.

Z-Library is one of the largest online libraries in the world. It contains more than 4,960,000 books and 77,100,000 articles. The platform runs on donations and provide free e-books for members.

- Acclaimed writer Neil Gaiman offers free short stories and essays of his on this website, while younger readers can head to this website, with videos of Gaiman reading his best-known books such as Coraline and The Graveyard Book.

- An independent, radical publisher, Verso Books, is offering five free e-books on its website, including The Case for the Green New Deal, Yesterday’s Man: The Case Against Joe Biden and Feminism for the 99%.

- A Chicago-based independent publisher, Haymarket Books, is offering 10 free e-books until April 1, which include Naomi Klein’s The Battle for Paradise, Michael Lowy’s Ecosocialism and Angela Y. Davis’ Freedom is a Constant Struggle.

- These websites allow you to read books for free online: Smashwords, Open Library, Book Bub and 24Symbols

- Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho provides free e-books on his website.

- For storytelling time, American actresses Amy Adams and Jennifer Garner teamed up to create Save with Stories, a space where you can watch celebrities read popular children's books. They are also raising funds for Save the Children and No Kid Hungry.


I’ve decided to finally join to shine a spotlight on kids across the country who need our help and support during this difficult time. My friend @jennifer.garner and I are launching @SAVEWITHSTORIES – a spot to watch your favorite celebrities read your favorite children’s books. We are galvanizing as a community to support a new fund for a combined effort between SAVE THE CHILDREN and Share Our Strength’s NO KID HUNGRY (and a big thank you to our founding publisher, Scholastic♥️). ⁣ ⁣ THIRTY MILLION CHILDREN in the United States rely on school for food. School closures will hit vulnerable communities hard and @savethechildren and @nokidhungry are on the ground and ready to serve. They just need our help! ⁣ ⁣ These funds will help us make sure that families know how to find meals when schools are closed, support mobile meal trucks, food banks and other community feeding programs, provide educational toys, books and worksheets, and support out-of-school-time programs to help kids make up for lost time in the classroom. ⁣ ⁣ If you can manage a one time gift of $10, please text SAVE to 20222. If another amount would work better for you, please visit our website—link in bio. There is no maximum and there is no minimum—together we will rise and together we can help. #SAVEWITHSTORIES

A post shared by Amy Adams (@amyadams) on

Watch “live” music 

The pandemic has forced big annual festivals to cancel or postpone their shows this year, including Coachella and Glastonbury. However, you can still enjoy live performances of the world’s finest acts in the comfort of your own home.

- Ultra Music Festival, which has been canceled as a result of COVID-19, will present the Ultra Virtual Audio Festival on SiriusXM’s UMF Radio on Friday, featuring exclusive performances by Major Lazer, Afrojack and Martin Garrix.

- Coldplay's front man Chris Martin gave a virtual concert on Instagram as part of the Together, At Home campaign

The campaign, a collaboration between the World Health Organization and Global Citizen, will present a new performance each day. After Martin, John Legend and Charlie Puth joined the campaign on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.

- On Thursday, Boyzone singer Gary Barlow joined forces with Take That singer-songwriter Gary Barlow to sing "Baby Can I Hold You", a cover of a Tracy Chapman song that became a hit for Boyzone in 1998.

Barlow uses #thecroonersessions for those who want to sing along and chat with him on Facebook.

- Starting on Tuesday, Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard is streaming music sessions from his home studio daily at 4 p.m. PST (6 a.m. Western Indonesian Time) on Facebook and YouTube.

The Metropolitan Opera in New York is providing a free streaming service for opera enthusiasts to watch the legendary Met Opera in the privacy of their homes. 

Past performances have been available for free online since Monday and will continue until the Met reopens.

New performances go live at 7:30 p.m. ET (6:30 a.m. Western Indonesian Time) and will remain active for 20 hours.

The lineup for the first week is as follows:

Monday (March 16): Bizet’s Carmen (from Jan. 16, 2010)

Tuesday: Puccini’s La Bohème (from April 5, 2008)

Wednesday: Verdi’s Il Trovatore (from Oct. 3, 2015)

Thursday: Verdi’s La Traviata (from Dec. 15, 2018)

Friday: Donizetti’s La Fille du Régiment (from April 26, 2008)

Saturday: Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor (from Feb. 7, 2009)

Sunday: Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin (from Feb. 24, 2007)


Below is a selection of non-mainstream films if you want to venture out of the ordinary.

- Tanakhir Films is offering two months of free short movies, documentaries, experimental and feature films on YouTube.


SPECIAL STREAMING TANAKHIR FILMS⁣ ⁣ Jelajahi arsip film-film produksi Tanakhir Films, yang terdiri dari film pendek, dokumenter panjang, eksperimental, hingga fiksi panjang. Pilih film yang kamu suka, bagikan poster ini, dan tonton filmnya sesuai jadwal tayang.⁣ ⁣ Arsip digital film-film Tanakhir Films akan bisa diakses secara gratis melalui program Special Streaming di kanal Youtube kami atau di layanan streaming lain, yang akan diselenggarakan selama 2 bulan.⁣ ⁣ Program ini merupakan salah satu upaya kami untuk turut mengkampanyekan agar teman-teman tinggal #dirumahaja, di tengah krisis pandemik global yang tengah melanda. Karena, selain kami ingin kamu mengenal lebih jauh beragam karya Tanakhir Films selama hadir di perfilman Indonesia, kami juga berharap teman-teman berkontribusi dalam menjalankan tugasnya sebagai warga negara dengan tetap #dirumahaja.⁣ ⁣ #Tanakhirfilms #SpecialStreaming #filmindonesia #filmnasional #filmpendek #filmdokumenter

A post shared by Tanakhir Films (@tanakhirfilms) on

Each film, including Save Our Forest Giants, The Woven Path: Perempuan Tana Humba and the popular Ada Apa dengan Cinta 2, will be streamed for one week until May 15. Keep an eye on Tanakhir Films’ social media accounts for the schedules and any updates.

- Short of the Week premieres short films from emerging filmmakers every week, when new techniques and diverse cultural issues are championed.

- Journeyman Pictures features documentaries with provocative stories and challenging issues, such as child labor, domestic abuse and climate change.

- Award-winning British director Ken Loach is known for his social realism films, which deal with poverty, homelessness and labor rights. His YouTube channel features some of his works, including The Price of Coal and The Rank and File.

Visit digital museums

Many museums have provided digital access while the on-site buildings are closed to avoid human-to-human contact. 

- In Indonesia, museum enthusiasts can browse this website or download the Google Arts & Culture app on their smartphone.

Users can virtually explore the Sangiran Museum of Ancient Man in Surakarta, Central Java, and the National Museum in Central Jakarta through the app and can enjoy 360-degree tours of Borobudur temple in Magelang, Central Java, and Yogyakarta's Prambanan and Ratu Boko temples.

Users can also explore museums that are not under the ministry's care on the app, such as the Jakarta Textile Museum, the Jakarta Fine Arts and Ceramics Museum, the Batik Gallery of the Indonesian Batik Foundation (YBI), the National Monument, the Yogyakarta Biennale Foundation and Bali's Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA).

Besides using the Google Art and Culture app, the public also can access some museums through their official websites as listed below:

National Museum in Central Jakarta 

National Awakening Museum in Central Jakarta 

Basuki Abdullah Museum in South Jakarta 

Fort Vredeburg Museum in Yogyakarta 

National Gallery in Central Jakarta 

- In the United States, the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C. and New York are closed to the public to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The museum provides digital access to its collections online. It holds 155.5 million artifacts, works of art and specimens. 

If you are interested in ancient manuscripts, you can visit digitized manuscripts held by the British Library. The library has almost 900 Greek manuscripts and important papyri from the 1st to the 18th centuries. It also holds manuscripts from the British India era, Thai manuscripts, the Chakrabongse Archive of Royal Letters, Malay manuscripts, early maps of Singapore and selected papers of Thomas Stamford Raffles.

- Through Open Culture, viewers are invited to take a virtual tour of 30 world-class museums and marvel at millions of works of fine art that include paintings, sculptures, photographs and books. Among those available are the Van Gogh Museum, the Smithsonian's Freer and Sackler Galleries and the Guggenheim. The website also offers free e-books, movies and even language lessons. (gis/wng)

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