These are stories from Singaporeans who sent us their COVID-19 reflections. Share your stories here.
Contributed by Veen Seah, 35, homemaker:
During the Circuit Breaker period, wet market stallholders and hawkers were working, providing us with fresh groceries and cooked food. Many of them are older seniors. I am filled with respect towards them, and I admire their resilient spirit. Although many people were working from home, and the government guidelines were for seniors to stay home and stay safe, these elderly stallholders and hawkers were working long hours, toiling to earn a living, and to provide us with essential services - food!
I hope that we, as a society, are more appreciative - be prepared to pay higher prices and service fees for both raw and cooked food, so that market stallholders and hawkers can be fairly compensated for their work, and enjoy a decent wage/standard of living. I am doing my small part, by buying fresh food from the wet market and some hawker food on a weekly basis.
Contributed by Oh Siew May, 49, writer of Scaling Walls - My Story, speaker and voice for the special needs:
Being born with cerebral palsy does not stop me from getting my dream come true. I published a book about my life journey. I hope to create more awareness for special needs. People always have the wrong impression of people with disabilities. They think if we are born disabled we are unable. I want them to know that we are otherwise. Given a chance, we can also contribute our part to society. I hope to bring hope to both my peers and their parents. I also took part in the vertical marathon together with the YMCA. As an ambassador of YMCA strong Inclusive vertical marathon was really a challenge for me due to my physical condition but this does not stop any of us. YMCA inclusive climbers made it last year. Each of us are different yet you guys made an effort to hear our individual story, understanding the difficulties we face out there. I was always being judged and mistaken for unsound (not being able to communicate, look like alien 👽). This is really a great platform to many who do not bother to understand us. I took part in Relay Majulah Run last year too. Relay Majulah Runners are from all walks of life. This inclusive relay is really all about dreams and supporting one another in many ways as one! Our goal is to raise funds for the 67 charities.
My hope is to create awareness and more job openings for the disabled. I want to do more to help normal people like yourself to understand us more, so that you all can accept us for who we are. Life is full of challenges but if we never give up, we will see light. Every one is different in a way but when we see beyond the disability you can see the beautiful sight too. No matter how hard life can be now, as long as we stay positive we can be happy when you help others.
Contributed by Han Phay, 30, start-up founder:
This crisis is the perfect foundation for a nation to emerge resilient and strong, with innovation and daring. A entrepreneurial nation built not on traditional metrics of success, but citizens that dare to speak truth to power and try new things never done before. As a startup founder, having been in the entrepreneurial ecosystem has taught me lessons. These lessons showed up in our national crisis too. I see the parallels in our common story. The roadmap of a startup, emerging as our nation faces adversity and risk.
One hope I have for Singapore is: to use this opportunity to grow as a nation towards an entrepreneurial culture that embraces failure, and celebrates creativity and innovation.
Contributed by Peony Tan, 56:
During the Circuit Breaker, people seem more aware and considerate because of a common enemy: the COVID-19 virus. I felt assurred that Singaporeans woke up from a self-centred lifestyle. I realised we need to learn how to start a conversation without getting on each other’s nerves. The fast-paced lifestyle where we assume that everyone holds the same values as us should be reviewed. The misunderstanding, jibing and sarcasm hidden behind anonymous identities on social media is a widespread problem we need to address.
One hope I have for Singapore is: for people to know what a good conversation is and not to undermine one other. One thing I am doing to bring Singapore closer to my hope is to listen. Be gracious, it always works.
Contributed by Ramli Bin Puteh, 66, self-employed:
The Covid-19 has made an impact on the lives of many seniors. Unlike other Singaporeans who can turn to video conferencing, e-commerce and other forms of online entertainment, many senior citizens are feeling lonely, isolated and neglected.
One hope I have for Singapore is: To show care and concern to this group of seniors by helping to stimulate them physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually by reaching out, listening to them, interacting, communicating and befriending them during Covid-19 period.
Contributed by Kelly Koh, 48, Accountant:
As a volunteer to a family of an 89-year-old man and his 58-year-old mentally disabled son, I helped to inform the town council about their leaking kitchen basin. The town council contractor not only assisted this family to fix the issue, he even gave them two face masks and bought them lunch. I felt so touched that there are such warm-hearted people in Singapore.
One hope I have for Singapore is: For us to take action to help each other to build a cohesive society. And for the government to help citizens as its first priority.
Contributed by Julianna, 21, student:
Home-based learning (HBL) was quite a new experience, however, I would prefer the traditional classroom setting than online learning. Some of us feel like we are lagging behind others in HBL because the learning environment is different and we are more focused and can get things done more efficiently when we are at school.
One hope I have for Singapore is: To progress as one and not to leave any student behind because they do not do well academically.
Contributed by Ivy Operiano, 40:
During the Circuit Breaker period, I got to spend more time decluttering, to reflect and to take care of my family and myself holistically. I felt that a crisis like this one forces me to be creative in handling it in a productive way like what values or skills I can learn. I cannot just be sad and focus on the crisis. It’s better face it with positivity.
One hope I have for Singapore is: To stay united and emerge stronger. I will support the government rules and regulations, pray and do my best as an ordinary citizen to help in whatever small way I can.
Contributed by Tan Rong En, Caleb, 19, student:
I saw a video online on raising money for the Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund and was inclined to donate to give my support. I felt that even a small donation from what I saved can make a difference to the community who are struggling to make ends meet. But it would be an impactful gesture if everyone can play their part to donate if they can.
One hope I have for Singapore is: For Singaporeans to be gracious to serve others no matter the cost. I hope to help by donating and volunteering with like-minded people to stir up the Singaporean spirit.
Contributed by Wan Yi, 32, Teacher:
During home-based learning, I had to teach from my own bedroom… as much as I felt vulnerable, my students must have felt the same way. This is a good experience for empathy-building and growing a shared experience.
I hope that no child should feel ashamed of his/her room or house.
One thing I hope to do is: opening up conversations about social inequality, social mobility and empowering my students to come on board with me to be champions of change through our community projects.
Contributed by Michelle, 18, Student:
I realised that in the midst of the trying times, many of us do try to extend a helping hand, while looking out for each other. It makes me learn the impact one can make, even by a small simple gesture of checking up on others, of standing in solidarity with those in need by donating, all these can make a huge impact on how strong we can stand as a community.
One thing I hope to do is: Having tough, difficult conversations with friends and family to discuss how we can help the vulnerable, using that as a platform to encourage others to donate, to volunteer, can eventually send out shockwaves, that incentivize everyone to help each other out and leave a lasting impact.