We ask questions of our community of partners, young authors, parents, teachers and students on issues that matter to them.
This issue’s question: How has the pandemic affected your life?
Andrew & Regina Tay, Licensed Owners of UEC Centre 88 Marketplace, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
On the morning of 23rd January, the news on the lockdown of the city of Wuhan, Hubei, warned us that things would not be the same again. But life was as usual until the first case in Sabah was spotted on the 12th March. Six days later, the lockdown took effect.
Staying home has never been an issue to us but staying home for several weeks has brought mild anxiety to Regina. We tried to find ways, means and time to avoid having nothing to do. We would walk around, clean the house, read books, watch media news and keep ourselves busy. At home, it’s busy in a new normal way.
Our lifestyle has changed and so are the value of our wants and needs. Do we still fancy a huge bungalow, a luxurious cruise holiday, travelling to great destinations or owning a brand new limousine? No, we now prefer facemasks, sanitisers, good health, food supplies and other essentials.
This lockdown period has nevertheless reinforced our spiritual commitment. There are no physical gatherings of church activities but we attend more online Sunday services than before the lockdown. We received many requests for prayers and intercessions, thus keeping us on our toes to pray more for others than usual.
We know we must embrace for the changes after the lockdown and things will not be the same again. Life may look normal but we believe people will have new visions, new choices and most vitally, they will be healed in their grievances. They will be stronger and well prepared if another crisis approaches again.
Before the pandemic, I was often out and about. Not only for work, but I’d go out with friends or go out for meetings as part of my volunteering work. I’m also pretty involved with things at my church, so my various commitments often led me to be rarely at home. Though as the pandemic hit Singapore and the circuit breaker was implemented, I found myself at home every day. All of a sudden, I had so much more time to myself as meetings and other social engagements were cancelled. My fluttering about was brought to a standstill. This new stillness was unsettling at first, and in an attempt to ease that anxiety within me, I took up cooking, cleaning, and trying my best to be busy and productive. But I eventually found great comfort and rest in the stillness. I learnt how to be kind to myself and take each day one step at a time. I realised that nothing will happen if I stop moving. I’ve come to appreciate a slower pace of life and accept the uncertainty of what the future may bring. The light at the end of this tunnel may seem dim, but nonetheless it’s there and I can rest in that light.
Before this period, a structured routine. School, CCA / extra classes, dinner, homework. On weekends, tuition, more homework. Our only guarantee for family time was on Sundays, where my father had insisted we dine out. During this period, I would wake up later, complete lessons, and done! Workload had been reduced and I relished in this sudden abundance of time. My family ate, baked, played games. I zoom with my friends, watched Netflix and read lots. I have been given an opportunity to rest. But I have been lucky. The negative impacts of the pandemic did not reach me, and I am thankful.
Before the pandemic, I can go to school, attend my friend’s birthday party and go shopping with my family. I can go swimming and play monkey bars at the park. During the pandemic, I cannot do all the above activities. I have to use Google classroom to complete my homework and our teacher uses zoom to communicate with us. The coronavirus has affected a lot in my studies. There will be no UPSR exam for Year 6 students this year. We will not have our sports and graduation day. But I can play ping pong at our house compound with my sister, play handphone games or do other indoor exercises. Since I play the violin, I will practice it every day. Recently, my violin teacher use WebEx online for my violin classes.
To be honest, I kind of like this COVID-19 life just because I can play more handphone games with my friends. However, I still wish this COVID-19 stuff never happened. I wish I could go back to school to meet my friends soon!
Loi Tong Fu
Sitting by the window, missing my friends. I miss the sound of the cars honking, the roads feel emptier. I’m stuck at home most of the time because of the situation. Before this situation, I went on many play dates with my friends, I was able to go to school and I could go out whenever I wanted to. I was as happy as a lark. However, the tables turned when the COVID 19 virus started to infect many people and now Singapore is in lockdown. I’ve been stuck at home. I miss my friends, relatives, teachers and school. I also feel that there is more homework and I’m always in a hurry to submit it. Although, I manage to squeeze out some time to do the things I love. Such as, crafts and making videos. I recently made a video on an experiment where you make a simple cake using only Oreos, milk and a microwave. It tastes luscious! I also realised that this situation woke up many people and made them more aware of their health, including me. I hope this situation passes quickly and I’m praying for those who are infected to get well soon.
My family and I spent the one-week school holidays on 14th March in my grandfather’s fishing village. We bought lots of seafood when we returned home. Then the government announced a lockdown. I felt happy and excited because we would have a longer school holiday. After it was extended several times, I felt bored as I could only stay at home. I started watching youtube to learn how to make simple and easy breakfast. I made scrambled eggs, fried rice, french fries and fried noodles! I started using many apps such as zoom, facebook live and google classroom. I also helped my parents to do household chores. I hope this covid19 can be overcome as soon as possible and I can have back my normal life.
Tang Jia Yin
I’m just a typical tween with a penchant for fantasy novels and portrait sketching. Not to mention an enthusiast of Korean dramas as I’ve been studying the language since I was eight years old and I speak and write Korean fluently. Not to belittle the seriousness of the pandemic, but I don’t mind it. Some things have changed, but I make the best of it. Home for me is a boisterous place which I share with my two sisters and a menagerie of various animals, which are a constant source of entertainment. I haven’t stepped out of the house in two months, but I still hang out with my friends, albeit digitally now. Home-based learning has encouraged me to go further and learn new skills by watching videos on YouTube and practising. It’s also satisfying to see superfluous self-imposed beliefs just melt away as people adapt and become flexible to the rapidly changing situation. People say you need to get out there to broaden your horizons. I have been doing just that by staying at home.
Covid-19 has inevitably taken control over our lives. Since graduating from junior college in 2019, I spent my time hanging out with friends and looking for internships. I travelled to Osaka and Penang with my family and friends over the December holidays. Consequently, I started working in a law firm while taking driving lessons. The lockdown which started in April forced my plans to a standstill. While the future seemed bleak, it had proven to be a blessing in disguise. I spent more time with my family. My relationship with my mom which was once strained, improved. I had learnt to cook from her and developed a liking towards baking to combat boredom. We took this opportunity to deliver food to relatives and friends during these tough times. My time in solitude also allowed me to reflect on myself and focus on self-care while keeping up to date with issues around the world.
Nur Eva Elisha
My life has changed a lot since the pandemic. I am stuck at home with almost nothing to do. I cannot go out to play in the playground, I cannot go to school, and I cannot even step of of the neighbourhood often. I really miss my friends and teachers. Previously, I thought this would have been fun, but now I have changed my mind. All I can do is look at my classmates through the computer screen. Some of my friends do not even on their camera and microphone, so like my teacher says, sometimes it feels like she is talking to the wall. On the flip side, school hours have reduced and my parents give me more screen time.
The Earth is now resting, free from carbon emission and the animals can walk freely and roam the earth as rulers. But unfortunately, their reign won’t last long and Earth will be back to its normal state. I learnt that Europe and America are not dealing with the crisis well. Same as Spain and Italy, so to say. The world has changed so much in this pandemic and I wonder how long will things take to get back to normal again.
Ever since the start of the lockdown, I have been staying at home and attending my online classes. During this pandemic, I am not allowed to go to school and visit others. I miss my friends and family because I am restricted from meeting up. I do miss going to school and learning in a classroom. I believe learning in a classroom is more efficient than at home where there are a lot of distractions. Example: my brother. It’s war every day. I feel that we have argued about twice a day. It makes me want to leave the house and live on my own. I’m also very bored when it comes to staying at home. I miss wearing shoes.