Boy you are one cold mother******- almost as cold as my ex who social- distanced me before it was cool. You sure have made life a lot stranger to say the least. I’ve been staying in a lot mostly because you’re outside being a jackass.
You put the beat down on my industry. First to go were the live gig performers when the bars had to close. Then went the theatre folk when you shut our sacred spaces. Finally, the commercial and TV shoots had to go down swinging before the circuit breaker.
So it’s been tough for me to work from home. My parents seem to have had enough of The Nick Show, guest starring: His Dancing Pecs [cue thunder and lightning]. Not to mention they’re such lousy tippers.
But despite the giant storm of suck you brought in, you did give me interesting observations, lessons and silver linings. For one, I found out that I can survive on shockingly little. While putting money into the economy is important, god damn did I realise how much I spent on useless s**t in the past. I guess thanks are in order for helping me with my HDB fund.
I also learned that it’s all going to be okay. Being productive is great but it’s okay not to be. Achieving new goals is a rush but it’s okay to fail. In the first two weeks of the lockdown, I was mad at work projects, diet and exercise. By the third, I had binge-watched all six seasons of Community, drunk a vineyard’s worth of wine, had a mini breakdown on hearing the news of the lockdown extension, and came back to my senses with some help from my friends.
I got to spend more time then ever with my parents, time that I would have definitely taken for granted otherwise. You think you’re so bad, COVID-19? Wait till you see the film I plan to make about teaching my mother how to use Zoom. It will be called My 3-Day Odyssey into the Impossible. I’ve also reconnected with my pops, whom I’ve been talking, drinking and cooking with. The craziest part? I enjoyed it. Tremendously. It’s a far cry from my early life with him, so it’s great we’re making up for lost time, thanks to you.
It seemed like we were doing pretty well against you. Kudos to the gahmen and our front-liners for all their efforts. But man, couldn’t help but hit our migrant workers hard, could you? But I will say that you shone a light on how we, individually and as a society, value this community that helps us build, well, everything. Which is to say, not much. But you know what? You’ve managed to cause a big enough stir to push for the betterment of their living standards while also helping us to reflect on how we all (top brass included) could use a change in mindset.
It sucks that this lesson came at such a great cost but I guess that’s what you’re here to teach us, yeah? So you get credit for that, too.
But now let’s just talk about us. Just you and me. I’m a performer, regardless of the damn medium, be it TV, theatre or shower. I had wondered: If you shut down the film sets and performance spaces, could I still call myself an actor? Could I reliably consider myself an artist? The answer is, “F***ing yes, bitch.”
Your only mission is to destroy but you’ve also made the acting and freelance community come together like never before. I have seen wedding singers and musicians discussing ideal home broadcasting equipment with actors and film crew members in online forums. I’ve read some wonderful comments from people who have vowed to watch a live theatre show after all this is over because they enjoyed the ones they caught online. I’ve spoken with musicians, aerialists and fire dancers about ways to host online workshops and what a pandemic-free future holds for us.
My first theatre family, the cast from Fat Kids are Harder to Kidnap, has its show scheduled in August and you are very much not invited. While I can’t guarantee it will go up as planned as we brace for further circuit breaker restrictions, I can tell you that the work will go up somewhere in some form.
So while some have called you the “War” of our generation, I think that’s giving you too much credit. What you have done though, is create a generation of warriors.
While this is titled as a letter to you, I have to be honest and say it's more of a shout-out to the frontline workers, our migrant brothers and sisters, and even the government. And to those who are overwhelmed physically or mentally, please remember help and support is a holla away. I know that not all our fights are equal, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be there to lift each other up.
To my beloved industry, I hope we will keep on building this incredible unity between the extended communities as we move forward into the new normal. Art will survive, but Cobitch19 won’t.
P.S. I found out that I look like a buff “老夫子” when I grow out my facial hair. So that’s one more thing to thank you for.