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Dear Covid 19

Dear COVID-19,

 

It has been a strange past few months to say the least. Everything’s put on hold and nobody really knows how to feel about it. It’s definitely been a difficult first half of the year, with my own work having pretty much stopped due to the freelance nature of it. Everyone and everything has pretty much paused, and society has almost entirely shifted online.

As things go, I count myself lucky. I’m still young and healthy, I don’t have financial dependents and huge financial responsibilities – yet. And as families come, I’ve been lucky to have a relatively close-knit one. But I also feel an immense amount of guilt, in terms of being comfortable while many others aren’t, and that weighs on my mind a lot while still doing my best to not let that paralyze me.

As individualism and self-preservation is on the rise, we have to acknowledge that it is hard to exist without co-existing.

If anything good(?) has come from this, I’m glad(?) that the cracks in systems have been exposed, and that Singapore has started to take a harder look in the mirror. Instead of always touting itself as a perfect nation, for once we as a society have to collectively acknowledge the gaps; that we leave so many groups behind in the name of progress, and their suffering is on us; that even as individualism and self-preservation are on the rise, we have to acknowledge that it is hard to exist without coexisting. My hope is that the things we learn about ourselves here and now eventually transform into actual mutual respect for one another as human beings, regardless of what we do, and that we come out better as a society and species here on out.


But yea, I’m glad I’ve gotten a bit of a break if only for a while, sometimes this country moves a bit too fast for my liking – go to school, get a job, marry and die (not a very exciting narrative). So I think this overall slowdown, while not being ideal, was necessary, for everyone to just stop and refocus (sadly, I do think the comfortable will always just be so because they have no reason to care otherwise), but I do sincerely hope we change collectively for the better.

There’s a certain level of introspection that has come about recently that I’ve missed my entire life from the noise around me, and I hope that continues on even after this. I hope everyone out there is well, and that as an artist, I will one day create something that will give you comfort in a darker time like this, similar to the comfort I have received from artists before me.

Russell Goh

09 May 2020