Singapore’s so-called partial lockdown, Circuit Breaker, is coming to an end tomorrow on 1 June. I believe everyone living here is already experiencing some form of cabin fever and could not wait to go out.
Looking back, it is indeed a really unique experience to be going through as a nation. For the past 56 days, we have been staying at home as a way to protect ourselves from the COVID-19 virus. Who knew that a micro-organism could change the way we live and disrupt the economy? Now, the world will never underestimate the power of the tiniest living organisms living on earth. What other things have we learnt from this circuit breaker (CB) or COVID-19?
1. Both working-from-home and home-based learning are feasible.
I’m not sure if it is our Asian or traditional mindset, but somehow most companies in Singapore don’t offer to work from home(WFH) as an option. You will probably find a few MNCs giving their employees such work flexibility but not in the Civil Service sector. Strangely enough, the government is pushing for working from home arrangements to be continued even after the Circuit Breaker. WFH is now made default in Phase 1 and 2 by our government. This is all thanks to COVID-19.
Working from home is feasible for most of the office jobs and some even find it more productive to be working from home. It is the same goes for home-based learning. For the longest time, the Ministry of Education is pushing for Home-based and online learning. Because of these situations, we are ‘pressured’ to rely on technology to deliver online lessons.
2. Physical Social interactions are irreplaceable.
This pandemic taught us about relationships and how we should cherish the time spent with one another. Nothing is comparable to physical social interactions where we can get to enjoy the presence of one another. Zoom calls cannot replace face-to-face conversations. After Phase 1, you will be able to meet in small groups and visit your grandparents.
3. The Social Media ‘Pandemic’ is probably worse off than COVID-19.
The influence of Social Media is magnified during this pandemic. The amount of misinformation and fake news spread even faster than the virus itself. During this period, I find myself reporting more of such misleading or spam Facebook sponsored posts that appear on my feed. This is indeed very worrying because anyone, who is not that tech-savvy and have no knowledge of such spam news, will fall into the trap.
Do you remember how the whole world is scrambling or fighting for toilet paper at supermarkets? What’s all the panic buying about? News that stir panic and fear which made matters worst. Sometimes fear brings out the worst in humanity.
4. Use your wisdom.
Remember the time when our government advise us not to wear a mask only when we are sick? Back then, there were some medical experts who actually advise people to be wearing a mask as a form of protection against the virus. At that point in time, China has also already reported asymptomatic cases where people who carry the virus displayed no symptoms at all. Having that said, should we perhaps be more cautious and wear masks? Perhaps a reusable one so that we won’t run out?
Countries like Vietnam are pretty quick to react to the situation and thus was successful in containing the virus. I guess it’s all about having the wisdom to make decisions and be quick to act upon it.
5. We need time to be alone.
Not everyone may enjoy their family time at home. During this period, the news reported that there is a rise in family conflicts and violence. I don’t usually hear noises coming from my next block but during Circuit Breaker, I’ve been constantly hearing shoutings and cries from both parents and children. Sometimes I would hear occasional wall bangs or loud thuds during those tense moments.
Not everyone can stand cooped up for so many days in a flat unit especially when you are living in a really small unit with your family of 5. Is it even possible to do a video conference call with 3 young children in the house who are constantly fighting for attention? That is why some may prefer working in the office than at home.
It really goes to show how we, as an individual, need our own space to breathe and just be ourselves. Whether you are married or staying with your parents, you need a personal space where you feel safe and enjoy some privacy to yourself.
6. It is a privilege to travel.
Now that not everyone is able to travel and roam freely around the world, I guess that most of us will be stuck here in Singapore. Before CB, we were able to fly to many countries with our powerful passport. During holidays, I was able to make a short trip to Bali and other neighbouring ASEAN countries in less than 2 hours. But now, we are being barred from entering Japan because we are heavily hit by COVID-19. I could only sit in front of my Macbook to watch travel documentaries on Youtube.
This COVID-19 came in like a wrecking ball. But I am hopeful that things will get better. We just need to learn and adapt from it and prepare for the next crisis because life is never always smooth.