You struck like an earthquake and shook our lives up entirely. You surged through nations, oblivious to race, language or religion, and took innocent souls with you as you swept across the earth. Life as we knew it to be would forever be changed, forever clouded in the darkness which you have cast upon human history.
You gave new meaning to the word “lockdown”. In the face of an enemy invisible to the naked eye, you created a race against time for us to adapt to, and you proved to be more deadly than any arms race we have ever faced.
You denatured human communities and penetrated into the fabric of society, resulting in social distancing measures and restrictions for daily interaction being implemented.
I never thought that I could miss meeting up with close friends and loved ones so much, as I pray for their safety and health daily, hoping that the day I can see them face-to-face again comes soon.
I miss having the freedom to leave the house without the need to put on a mask, for a breath of fresh air, a change of scenery. I miss being able to go on adventures like food hunts, exploring new places of interests, attending exhibitions and festivals, and the like.
I miss the convenience of obtaining practically any goods and services within urbanised Singapore, and not having to queue and fight to stock up on necessities like toilet paper and other commodities. I miss being able to call for fast food delivery past midnight. I guess there are things that we have taken for granted of, things that we only realise are so precious to us once they are no longer as accessible as before.
The most worrying predicament for me since the arrival of COVID-19 would have to be getting back our livelihoods and the recovery of the economy. Given the amount of resources predicted to be channelled into the fight against the virus, we are expected to be set back by a few steps in terms of social development and economic growth.
The Global Economy being affected would also mean changes in the future for my career, which I am still in deep consideration about. The industries which would still prove to be relevant to societies after surviving the fight against COVID-19 might be vastly different from before the arrival of the pandemic.
I have been struggling to cope during this COVID-19 season, as I thrive on social interaction and this is a period where I am unable to fulfil such needs. I have been feeling depressed about the lack of connection with close friends and family, even though we can “stay connected” through video calls and other forms of communication, it is not the same.
I have also been feeling anxious about the future, as this season has shaken certain beliefs and values; things which were important before do not seem to hold as much weight anymore. For example, no amount of money in the world would be worthwhile if one’s health has deteriorated. Nor would it be worth losing treasured relationships for the material things of this world. In this regard, the stage of figuring out beliefs and values important to me are pivotal to how I am going to live my life moving forward.
I am giving it much thought. But I am still stuck with many questions and I feel that only time will give me the answers. The only thing which is certain is change, and I am trying to remain hopeful for things to come.
Life on this earth is short. We have to cherish every moment that we live through as if it’s our last. We have to strive for the people and the things we love because there may come a time when we will be unable to, though our spirits are willing. Determine who these people are and what these things are, and be proactive to show love, to fight, and work hard for the treasures in your life.
I am grateful that I have a support system in my family, my parents who have been with me in every life experience. I look to them as anchors in my life, that no matter how far I venture in life and sometimes I may get lost, I know that I can always count on them to refocus my values and ground myself in steadfast beliefs. I am thankful for my close friends and loved ones, significant individuals who are also crucial to my strong support system. They are the ones for whom I strive to be better, as we walk through this season on the journey of life together.
COVID-19 has taken away the life that I had grown accustomed to, the comfort of living in cosmopolitan Singapore. It has taken away the transient sense of security which I took for granted.
However, COVID-19 has also given me opportunities. The opportunity to think and ponder, to meditate and to determine the priorities in my life. It has given me the opportunity to try out new things. One interesting thing which I would never have tried if not for COVID-19 was to grow my facial hair and see how far I could take it. This came as a pact with a few close friends, and together, we would see each other’s moustache and beards grow. It was an interesting experience because we felt that there was no better time than this season, as we would be donning our masks whenever we stepped out of the house, so whenever we met anyone else, this would be our secret pact that we kept just to ourselves.
Most importantly, COVID-19 has taught me about hope, that even in the darkest times, we can hold on to hope. Hope for a better future despite the changes, hope that we will eventually win this battle against the enemy, as we learn about it and grow to be stronger than it.
Lastly, I would like to take this opportunity to extend my warmest gratitude to all workers battling on the front lines, without whom the peace and safety of our dear country would not be maintained. Stay healthy and safe, and we will emerge victorious!