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Dear Covid 19

Dear COVID-19, 

 

Because of you, I lost all of my jobs. 

Because of you, I overheated my laptop. 

Because of you, I eat meals at regular times. 

Because of you, I get to watch Channel 8 dramas at nine. 

Because of you, I do not have to wash my hair every day. 

Because of you, I have more time to pray. 

Because of you, I find my house nicely arranged.  

Because of you, I feel my life has changed. 

 

If you ask me whether the glass is half-empty or half-full, I’m tempted to choose the former. 

 

It’s difficult to see it as half-full when you have taken away two things that are the most important to me – human connection and freedom. I miss hearing the catchy “welcome to Uniqlo!” chant. I miss seeing a vegetable stuck in my friend’s teeth.  I miss the smell of Ion Orchard. I miss fighting over “小辣” or “中辣”. I miss the feeling of wearing shoes. 

 

Ever since you arrived, I’ve been worried about many things. How do I find a boyfriend? Will I be able to teach my mother how to use Zoom without getting impatient and raising my voice? When can I afford a Dyson hairdryer? Are my friends taking care of their mental health? My mind is all over the place. But, the biggest worry that remains is: what’s next and what does the future hold for us after you’re gone? 

 

I don’t know. I stopped trying to make future plans because I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Perhaps, I was wrong about the glass being half-empty. Maybe there isn’t a glass, or water, in the first place. 

I miss hearing the catchy “welcome to Uniqlo!” chant. I miss seeing a vegetable stuck in my friend’s teeth. I miss the smell of Ion Orchard.

To be very honest, I haven’t been coping well. My mind is racing all the time, thinking of new TikTok ideas, worrying about the second-half of 2020, fantasizing about what it is like to be married. I have trouble focusing and find it very hard to be in the present. Knowing that I won’t get this amount of free time ever again, should I be productive or rest? 

 

I’m a dancer but lately, I seem to have also developed a slight anxiety towards dance. I don’t want to train. I don’t want to teach. I don’t want to move. So then, what happens when you begin to hate what you love? 

 

God picks you up. 

 

“You tried and you tried, and I saw you wrestle with, every how, every why, I was right there listening. So just fall into the mystery, I’ll meet you in the melody, so please try, just to try again.” 

 

On 20 May 2020 5:09pm, God met me in my meltdown through a song. It was “Dear God” by Cory Asbury. I played the song about thrice, just to immerse myself in the presence of God – a feeling I haven’t felt for a while now. After which, I found myself staring into the space between my window and the wall outside, I see a tiny slit of the sky. A couple of minutes doing nothing all. The best couple of minutes I’ve had since the start of the circuit breaker. 

 

What if hope isn’t a feeling, but a choice? I think I’m beginning to see the glass as half-full. 

 

As much as you have robbed me of peace and stability, today I choose to thank you. Thank you for giving us time, where we can rest or do the things that we’ve always wished to do. Thank you for giving us a chance to reset and restore relationships at home (I would never have imagined filming a TikTok video with my mother). Thank you for giving us an opportunity to evaluate what really matters in our lives. 

 

Thank you for teaching us an important lesson on gratitude – to be thankful for every little thing and not to take things for granted. You are able-bodied. You can breathe and move. You have a roof over your head. You have food to eat and water to drink. You have electricity and technology. You have a mother who cuts fruits for you and leaves it in the cupboard while you are busy with a Zoom call. You are privileged, what more could you ask for? 

 

But still, I can’t wait for you to be gone. I wonder what life will be like afterwards. Will everything return back to normal? Nobody knows. What even is “normal”? 

 

After you’re gone, I look forward to a society that is less individualistic, treasures human relationships more, values health more than anything else, does not take things for granted, lives in the moment, and moves at a slower pace. I look forward to a society that expresses more love and concern for each other, even behind our masks. 

 

Crazy thought. Hear me out. What if, just what if, the water is on top, and the empty space is below it? 

Minying Zhu

25 May 2020