A chronological COVID-19 log and how it affected life in Singapore

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Asia » Singapore
December 31st 2020
Published: May 23rd 2020
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If I were to look back at my life at some point in time, this was how 2020 / 2021 meant to me. I remembered that I had just returned from Bhutan when the first COVID-19 case reached the shores of Singapore. Before long, the whole episode unfolded rather quickly.

Initially, I started to maintain a log to track my daily movements in case contact tracers knocked on my door. Overtime, I decided to include some of the details below:-

23rd January 2020 - First COVID-19 Case reported in Singapore. The first few cases were imported, predominantly from Wuhan, China.

1st February 2020 – Final edition of My Dawson Heritage Tour. MC annual CNY reunion luncheon.

7th February 2020 - Dorscon Orange declared in Singapore. Panic buy at supermarkets islandwide over the weekend and the shelves were stripped bare in no time.

8th February 2020 - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong appealed for calm during his first televised address on the COVID-19 situation in Singapore

19th February 2020 - Work from Home (WFH) rehearsal

6th March 2020 – Final overseas travel in 2020 for a 3D2N getaway to Pekanbaru, Indonesia

10th March 2020 – Final face-to-face training seminar at Queenstown Library

13th March 2020 - Final day of working in the office after a grueling meeting session

16th March 2020 – Work from Home (WFH) commenced

18th March 2020 – Final facial appointment

21st March 2020 – Final face-to-face meeting at Queenstown Museum

21st March 2020 – First two COVID-19 deaths reported in Singapore, two months after the first cases emerged.

22nd March 2020 – Final meal gathering with friends at Wild Seed Café

24th March 2020 - The 32nd Tokyo Olympic Games originally slated to take place between 24th July to 9th August 2020 is now postponed to the summer of 2021.

26th March 2020 – Collection of hand sanitizer courtesy of Temasek Foundation

28th March 2020 – Final meal gathering with family at Canton Paradise Junction 8. By now, social-distancing was the norm. There was an air of uncertainty as cases continued to spike over the weekend.

5th April 2020 – Final dining out at Ichiban Sushi Alexandra Retail Centre. Guess I won't be having sushi and sashimi for a while.

7th April 2020 – Circuit Breaker (CB) started

8th April 2020 – First Zoom meeting with Tanglin Halt Heritage Tour Team

12th April 2020 – Final outdoor run in the park without my mask on

14th April 2020 – Mask wearing now made compulsory!

17th April 2020 – Rene Liu’s sensational performance proved that online concert is the way-to-go!

25th April 2020 – Dick Lee “Home” was sung across Singapore in appreciation of the front-line personnel and foreign workers for their contributions

3rd May 2020 – First Zoom meeting with the Museum Team at Queenstown

9th May 2020 – Aaron Kwok’s online concert kept many glued to their screens on a Saturday evening

12th May 2020 – First haircut after 49 days when hairdressers were allowed to resume business. Safe Entry put into use for the first time.

15th May 2020 – Company-wide fund raising efforts for the Healthcare Professionals and Foreign Workers raised more than $200,000 within a week. That would provide more than 19,000 lunch sets for Healthcare Professionals at SGH and NUH as well as care packs for the discharged Foreign Workers.

16th May 2020 – First travel outside my hood to Serangoon NEX, some 2.6km away.

17th May 2020 – First Webinar, Let’s Talk about Queenstown.

26th May 2020 – Crossed the 50th day Milestone of the Circuit Breaker (CB) today. Masks distribution for the third time to all households in Singapore.

1st June 2020 – Circuit Breaker (CB) ended with a rendition of Stephanie Sun's cover, "We Will Get There" led by local singing sensation, Joanna Dong. Singapore reported zero community infections today, a first since 23rd February 2020.

2nd June 2020 – Phase One Safe Re-Opening commenced, Work from Home (WFH) arrangements continued in the meantime.

6th June 2020 - First sushi meal after 63 days. A $7.80 takeaway from Cold Storage, Serangoon NEX.

8th June 2020 - Received a heartfelt handwritten card in my letterbox this afternoon. It's been a while since I last met my friends.

19th June 2020 - Some sort of normalcy returned as Phase Two Safe Transition commenced today. The only thing that I really missed during this period was the dining-in experience at my favourite eateries. Finally, this became a reality from today.

20th June 2020 - First dining out after more than two months @ Gonpachi Ramen, one of my favourite eateries. I ordered the "Around-the-World" variety, which represented hope that we could resume travel again in the near future.

21st June 2020 – Okinawa / Seoul trip shelved for at least 12 months based on the validity period of the credit voucher from Jetstar Asia. Traditionally, the birthday week is a time for me to getaway from Singapore. But this year is different.

21st June 2020 - Attended the first virtual "My Holland Village Heritage Tour" to learn more about the area's rich history.

26th June 2020 - Went back to Museum @ My Queenstown in the morning to catch up with the folks. Finally resumed my facial appointment after more than 3 months. This time in a brand new location at Stevens Road.

29th June 2020 - Masks distribution for the 4th time courtesy of the Temasek Foundation. Each individual is entitled to a pair of reusable face masks that retails at $8.

4th July 2020 - First dining out with family at Hajime Tonkatsu & Ramen, MyVillage after more than three months.

10th July 2020 - Singapore's 13th General Election (#GE2020 #MakeYourVoteCount) held in the midst of the pandemic. Polling extended by 2 hours to end at 10pm due to snaking queues appearing in many polling staions islandwide. An additional day of rest for me in 2020.

11th July 2020 - By the time the official results trickled in after 3.30am, the Opposition had made historic gains in Sengkang GRC while retaining seats in Aljunied GRC and Hougang SMC amid a wider margin. In Aljunied GRC where I voted, the Workers Party took home some v60 per cent of the vote share, a massive 10 per cent swing towards their favour. In total, the Opposition captured 10 seats in Parliament while the PAP popular votes dipped to 61 per cent from a high of 69 per cent in 2015.

12th July 2020 - A belated birthday treat from KW at the Larder Cafe in Serangoon Gardens.

20th July 2020 - NDP goodie bag aka "Singapore Together Pack" distribution for all households in Singapore. It came with generous portions of face masks, hand sanitizers and a thermometer among others.

21st July 2020 - A walk in the Singapore Botanic Gardens after a long hiatus.

9th August 2020 - A staycation to mark SG55 at Hotel G around the sub $90 price tag. With overseas travel still impossible, this was closest to a vacation in Singapore.

6th September 2020 - First virtual school reunion was held successfully this afternoon. It was an afternoon of nostalgia with intimate stories of Queenstown from the old school boys and girls of former Birkhall Primary.

21st September 2020 - Masks distribution for the 5th time courtesy of the Temasek Foundation again. Since the beginning of 2020, we had collected quite a number of free reusable masks from the authorities. I had to admit that the quality of the masks were getting better (breathable) each time.

26th & 27th September 2020 - This weekend marked the return of Tanglin Halt Virtual and Physical Tours after a hiatus of 9 months. Our last heritage tour was held on 24th November 2019 when I had a chance to deliver the contents in Mandarin.

18th October 2020 - A 2-night staycay at One Farrer Hotel Singapore to mark the start of autumn. Traditionally, this is one of my favourite seasons of the year to travel without the summer crowds and hefty prices.

30th October 2020 - Enjoyed a free 15 minutes trishaw ride along Little India courtesy of the Indian Heritage Centre.

6th November 2020 - Attended my first physical tour of 2020 at the NUS Baba House followed by a memorable meal at Mariner's Corner.

9th November 2020 - Back to the office for the first time after a hiatus of seven months and survived with my face mask on for 14 hours! My plan is to work in the office every Monday to get used to the routine.

9th November 2020 - Popped by at the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre after work today for the "Singapo人" special exhibition.

20th November 2020 - In preparation for Phase Three, Trace Together token collection started at my hood today.

23rd November 2020 - Met my buddy, H for the first time in as many months for lunch at the office.

30th November 2020 - Masks distribution for the 6th time courtesy of the Temasek Foundation. The latest "breathable antimicrobial 3D masks" were produced by local company, Proshield. They came with four different sizes to provide a better fit!

5th December 2020 - Visited the Singapore Flyer for the first time since it opened in 2008 courtesy of the Singapore Rediscover vouchers.

14th December 2020 - Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that Singapore would enter Phase Three of the pandemic fight on 28th December 2020. The Covid-19 vaccination would be made voluntary and free-of-charge to all Singaporeans / PRs in 2021.

28th December 2020 - Phase Three Safe Nation commences from today. Gathering of up to eight persons is now permitted.

5th April 2021 - Further relaxation of workplace rules. Up to 75 percent of workforce could now return back to office.

11th April 2021 - First staycation for 2021 @ D Hotel, located within historic Tiong Bahru enclave (circa 1930s)

7th May 2021 - Singapore's passports validity to be reinstated back to 10 years. Good news for aspiring travelers even though it remains a big question mark when overseas travelling could happen.

8th May 2021 - Sporadic local community infections led to new measures to restrict social interactions. Effectively, this brought us back to Phase 2 of our Covid-19 response.

10th May 2021 - More than 3.1M dosages of the vaccines had been administered as of this date. About 1.28M or 22 per cent of the populace had completed the vaccination program.

16th May 2021 - Further tightening of Covid-19 measures (aka Phase 2 Heightened Alert) including a ban on dining-in until 13th June 2021. I had my last dine-in meal at Ma Maison Tonkatsu to mark an end to my Japanese-inspired staycation.

30th May 2021 - Received my first dosage of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Serangoon Community Club. I was feeling really lethargic after the jab but my body recovered quickly after a good nights' rest.

11th July 2021 - Completed the inoculation exercise this morning after receiving my second dosage of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

2020 / 2021 represented a sort of vacuum and lost era for many of us as we tried to confront the challenges that came with it with varying degree of success. While activities like overseas travels were no longer permitted during the pandemic, there were new activities that we could do to make our lives as meaningful as possible. Surprisingly, the travel bug did not hit me as hard as I envisaged given that the travel restrictions were firmly in place.

In the midst of WFH, I had learnt how to cut my own hair when my hairdresser was closed during the CB. I also found time to update my long overdue travel logs, attending online seminars and concerts as well as exercising in the comfort of my own home. I learnt how to use Zoom to meet-up with my friends and casting videos from my phone to TV for home entertainment needs. It was also fun reading through the many Lonely Planet Magazines that I had subscribed over a decade ago and reliving those memories that I had my footprints on. Finally, I also learnt how to steam my own char siew baos and roti pratas for breakfast on the many mornings that I stayed indoors during the pandemic.

One thing that remained unchanged though - I still preferred the aroma of my black coffee with no sugar!


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