10 things I've learned and appreciated during #covid19

March 28, 2020

(Note: I first wrote and published this on Facebook this morning, 28 March at 1.30am. Sharing it here as a memory of what is happening right now in Singapore during the #covid19 crisis, as a personal reflection.)


1) It's very important to have personal savings to tide through rainy days or its one big thing to worry about. And am glad we have such great national reserves for precisely this thunderstorm.

2) Also important and grateful to have a job that still gives me a monthly salary. That being said, I have been deleting all shopping emails now in light of a recession. None of that matters, or helps. It made me realise how important enduring, good quality goods are and how little we really need to live well.

3) I learned that our eggs come from as far as Ukraine. And appreciating that we are not completely reliant on any 1 country for food or tourism and our government has thought through a lot of things in advance given our circumstances (e.g. not enough masks so give to frontliners).

4) We need at least 3kg of rice and 15 packets of instant noodles per person per 2 weeks to stockpile sensibly. No mention of toilet paper.

5) Information is power. I learned that data science and visualisation is super important in showing projections and concepts such as social distancing to #flattenthecurve to the public. I also believe that communication transparency by the gov gave Singaporeans a peace of mind and awareness of an invisible virus, due to vigilant contact tracing and public releases of case details/clusters, especially in the first 100 cases. If we knew how infection occurred during a dinner, or workplace, it becomes more real.

6) Existing knowledge has been reinforced around public hygiene and socially responsible behaviour, like not going to work if you have the cold/flu and hand washing. I automatically wash my hands now whenever I enter a new room, for 2 birthday songs. Soap and water, so important.

7) Virtual social groups are the next best thing to social groups who help each other. Even if its just the sharing of useful or insightful information. Loneliness from working from home and being isolated can get a bit much. That being said, I'm grateful my work allows me to #WFH and all the tech is there for friction-free contactless comms.

8) Bill Gates actually predicted this pandemic 5 years ago and said we're not ready to cope with it. And now he's come out to say that nobody listened to him and we are still not ready. I hope we can use this experience to prepare for the next; SARS was a small dry run for Asia that made a big difference still.

9) This pandemic is a stress test of the most extreme level for governments, politicians, citizens and philosophy, even. It can devolve to a blame game just as quickly as international cooperation can happen. I learned that there's 2 models out there: the early China model (lockdown, treat) and the South Korea model (test, contact trace and isolate). I am grateful we followed the latter - it will be even more chaotic if we go into lockdown with schools closed, but the government is assuring us it won't.

10) And lastly, while most Singaporeans are sensible and listen to the gov and abide by the rules, nothing can stop us from getting to the food we want or need, or try to go out and socialise "one last time". There's always covidiots all around the world, including Singapore. Hope you're not one of em, and learned something from this pandemic like I did! 😷

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