Today marks the 27th day ever since the circuit breaker measures have started. Instead of calling it a lockdown, Singapore decided to be innovative and call it a ‘Circuit breaker‘ period where strict measures are put in place to slow down the spread of the virus. God knows how long this virulent virus will be around but one thing for sure, things will never go back to the Pre-Covid-19 times. The post-Covid-19 world still poses uncertainty and economists say the world looks bleak. As to whether things will deteriorate or not, let’s remain hopeful that all these things will pass – just like how we have overcome the previous crises.
I hope I am not painting a negative picture of what seems like an apocalyptic world. The issues I’ve raised can be overcome with some wisdom, innovation and creativity. Whether all of these things mentioned will come to pass or not, it does not matter as long as we are willing to let go of the past and adapt to new situations.
1. Global food insecurity
There are anxieties over food security especially in Singapore where we have little land and resources to grow our own fresh produce. According to a news report by Channel News Asia, 90% of our current food supply is imported from overseas. Any disruptions in the global supply chains will definitely result in an increased strain on Singapore’s food supply.
We are already starting to see that the global Covid-19 lockdowns and stricter air travel restrictions have already affected the food supplies of not just Singapore but many other countries as well. The US is already facing dwindling supplies of meat and poultry due to the shutdowns of slaughterhouses and meat processing facilities owned by major US meat suppliers.
Based on the law of economics, when there is a drop in supply, the prices will go up. As such, I believe that food prices will start to shoot up. And when this happens, the ones that suffer the most are probably those living in low-income homes or poverty. Thus, there is really a need to bump up our local food production and perhaps invest in fast-growing crops.
And will we be consuming less meat and poultry since it leaves a higher carbon footprint and takes a longer production time? Most likely. Vegans, vegetarians and animal activists are probably going to rejoice.
2. Home is where we belong.
With the travel restrictions imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19 globally, it is almost impossible to travel leisurely. Singaporeans who are working, studying or living abroad have made travel arrangements to come back home. Looks like most of us are ‘force’ to go back to our homeland to spend tie with our loved ones. It might not be such a bad thing after all. Our dreams of travelling and working abroad be dashed by this Covid-19 crisis by nothing is more valuable than relationships. I believe that with this pandemic, stronger relationships between family members and friends will be forged. Though there will be disputes now and then, we’ll grow stronger and cherish each other more.
3. Travelling becomes a hassle.
Now that we can book a plane ticket and fly to anywhere around the world, we just had to find other ways of getting a retreat and experience the world virtually. Could there be more travel virtual-reality experiences in future? Instead of travelling to remote places, perhaps we ‘virtual tourists’ could be ‘Zooming‘ with a tribal family living in Mongolia?
I love travelling and enjoy the feeling of being in unfamiliar places. But I also know how tourism can impacted the locals and environment negatively. Maybe we all needed this break. I believe there are ways where we can inspire each other without having to travel. Of course, nothing beats being there physically to experience the real world. But perhaps this will be best way for mother nature to reset its button.
Could immunity passports be a thing? Not till a vaccine is ready. Even then, will you go for the Covid-19 vaccine jab? How much will it costs? Who can afford it? Will travelling become a hassle in the post-covid-19 world?
4. More work-life balance
Working from home is possible. Having a 4-day workweek is possible. The world didn’t believe this until Covid-19 came. Now that most of us are working from home, I don’t think we can uninstall Zoom and go back to our traditional meetings and work stations. Moving forward, companies will have to innovate and rely heavily on technology to collaborate as we move away from large-scale meetings and conventions. Social distancing is here to stay, at least till the end of 2020.
Working from home is a blessing of its own. We can now skip the office gossips, long redundant meetings, casual chit-chat sessions over lunch and focus on the essential part of our work. Fast and efficient workers will not be penalised for ‘working too quickly’ as compared to most of their peers who prefer working closer to the deadline. There will be more work flexibility. Holding multiple jobs would be one thing. Side hustling will be common among most of us who has a variety of skill sets to offer. In the post-Covid-19 world, there will be more time for us to pick up a new hobby, cook our own meals, do some yoga or exercise and breathe. The enemy ‘stress’ would be non-existent. Should we toast to that?
5. Security issues over personal information
On hindsight, we will face more security and data breaches in the post-Covid-19 world. Now that more people are going digital, there will be more privacy and infringement issues as our personal and other sensitive information are being encrypted and stored in databases. How comfortable are we in sharing personal information online? How much can we trust authorities with our information? Are they able to keep our personal information secured? Online scams and credit card frauds will be more rampant than thefts and robberies.
Cybersecurity now plays an important role in ensuring the safe use of the internet and technology. Will there be such a thing as tech securities and polices? Perhaps the future war isn’t a physical war between nations but a cyber-war. This brings us to this interesting question of whether keeping an army to defend our country is redundant or not. At the start of Covid-19, our army boys were sent to pack surgical face mask for all Singaporean households. The front-liners of any future war is not the soldiers but us.
On a final note on the post-Covid-19 world
Social distancing, wearing masks and washing hands may very well be a new norm. But there’s more to that in a post-COVID-19 world where there will be new societal norms and trends. Things will just never be the same. Rather than feeling uncertain, anxious or fearful, be hopeful that good things will come out of this pandemic. The things around us may be shaken but what’s unshakeable is the biblical truth. I can remain hopeful because of Him.