Four weeks is admittedly an unusually long time to be cooped up at home. It’s akin to being on house arrest, but with the occasional privilege of stepping out to replenish essentials, albeit with a real risk of running into authorities.

Not everyone is cut out for the stay-at-home life, which means social birds have resorted to using all sorts of video conferencing platforms to nurse what modicum of sanity is left of them, while others – like most of us writers who are accustomed to working from home – cope by binge-watching movies and TV series. Pro tip: avoid food channels at all cost, and maybe cut down on those nap times. Or not.

On the flip side, many have found good use of the given time, and with rumours of a possible extension of the movement control order (MCO), there’s really no better time to indulge in some self-development activities. For Afiq Afify Anuar, the trigger point came from watching a Netflix documentary called Formula One: Drive To Survive.

Afiq, a freelance designer/illustrator by profession, had never applied his creative depository in the field of automotive graphic design. Since 2014, he often dabbled in arts and architectural design, but more recently established his own apparel and graphic design company called AkuDesign.

But the unrelenting effects of self-isolation actually bore fruit for Afiq, who found inspiration after watching the aforementioned documentary. “I was beginning to get bored during this period of MCO,” he said. “After watching the documentary, I began wondering, how would our national cars look like if they were given the same level of image and modification as the cars that I’ve seen in the show?”

As you can tell from the illustrations above, the Proton Saga, Proton Juara, and Perodua Kancil remain distinctly recognisable, despite the absurdly flared wheel arches, fat tyres and exposed eight-cylinder engine. They somehow work in these sketches, to be honest, and the results themselves are fairly impressive for a guy who regards himself as a non-car person.

“For many years, people have pictured 2020 to be this dystopian future with super advanced technology and flying cars, but reality is far from it. These illustrations of modified cars, to me, are a closer representation of the culture and imagination of the people at present time, compared to the much lauded flying cars,” Afiq opined.

Once he’s satisfied with the first three designs, Afiq went to work with a Land Rover Defender, which was actually commissioned by one of his customers. “In a short matter of time, the work began as a simple hobby to pass time, but it turned out to bring joy to some people, and at the same time allowed me to make some money. This really was unexpected,” he added.

Who knew that a seemingly insignificant pursuit of creativity could be rewarded on so many levels? Perhaps what we can take away from this story, despite the barrage of negativity brought upon by this novel coronavirus, is that joy and fulfilment truly comes from within.

Once this blows over, the new normal will likely be very different. And as history has shown, time heals all wounds. Until then, keep your hygiene game strong, spirits high, and hopes up. Stay safe, everyone.

A portion of this piece has been translated from the original story written by our BM counterpart.