Sing If It Makes You Happy

The Quarantine Diaries, Part Five

Hengtee Lim (Snippets)
Human Parts
Published in
13 min readDec 17, 2020


Dark empty city street at night, save for a lone dark figure.
Image courtesy of the author

This is part of a series of short stories. To read them all, head here.

When the virus put the city into lockdown, my friend Takeshi made me go out with him to Shinjuku every night. He was a freelance writer with dreams of becoming a real journalist. He saw the virus as an opportunity. A big one.

“Most television stations won’t send their own reporters out on the streets,” he said. “Do you know what that means?”

“That it’s too dangerous to go outside?”

“No. It means there might never be an opportunity like this again.”

“You mean to catch the virus and potentially die?”

“Why are you so negative about this, man?”

“Because we’re in the middle of a citywide state of emergency due to a viral pandemic?”

Silence on the other end of the phone line. Thoughts swimming in desperation.

“What if I give you a mask? How about that? Will that help?”

“A mask?”

Even if you asked me now, I still couldn’t tell you why I said yes.

The streets of Shinjuku were mostly empty, but people were still around. There were still…



Hengtee Lim (Snippets)
Human Parts

Fragments of the everyday in Tokyo, as written by Hengtee Lim.