Coronavirus- an expat’s view from Singapore – Masks and migrants.

Coronavirus- an expat’s view from Singapore – Masks and migrants.

On 7th April, Circuit Breaker came into force.

80% of the workforce are now working from home and the use of public transport and traffic volume has decreased by more than 70%.  To prevent the spread of the virus free masks have been distributed and on Wednesday 15th April, it became compulsory to wear them outside the house. Only young children, (up to two years old), and those engaged in strenuous exercise are exempt. Breaches are enforceable. First-time offenders get on the spot fines of $300 (approx. £170), a second offence sets you back by $1,000, (approx £560), and a third offence will see you in court. The average salary in Singapore is $4,500 pcm so these measures have teeth and the Police are using them.

6,200 notices and 500 fines have been issued for flouting social distancing measures since 7th April.


I anticipate that adherence will be high, not just because the population is generally compliant, but because the number of CORVID-19 cases is shooting up.

Yesterday, there were 728 new cases, which means that the virus is taking hold in the migrant workers community. Indeed, a breakdown of yesterday’s figures shows that 680 cases concerned migrant workers, 26 of whom were residing outside dormitories and 654 within. I mentioned in last week’s blog that overcrowding and insanitary living conditions for migrant workers were a longstanding cause of concern. Sadly those are now being borne out. We can only imagine how these vulnerable men feel when they see their roommates carted off by ambulance.

Talking of ill-health, last Monday, I dived into my new exercise routine. Emma, one of the readers, recommended Joe Wicks, so I decided to postpone the NHS couch to 5k programme for a week and spend it with Joe instead. It started so well. I completed the first workout, stomached the aches and turned up the next day. Same result. I loved it but by Wednesday morning my right foot looked as if it belonged to a chubby little baby. In my enthusiasm, I had forgotten that I had spent the first eight weeks of 2020 in an orthopaedic boot and that, since my early 20s I had been warned off high impact exercise. So sadly, Joe Wicks and couch to 5k has been shelved in favour of yoga and a brisk walk.

We all know that walking is good for your mental health but for some, in times like these, a long walk is only a sticking plaster to treat a much more debilitating condition. Some mental health practitioners are stepping up to offer free guidance.   Anxiety, in particular, is on the rise. I suffer from anxiety so would like to share what I’ve done over the last four weeks to reduce my anxiety to a manageable level.

  • Week 1
    • I restarted daily worry hours in a quiet and private spot during which I identified, questioned, rationalised and accepted my anxieties. After five days, I was able to get off the spinning wheel and see things more clearly.
    • I created a weekly work planner which included reading, writing, contacting family and friends and going for walks.
    • I started blogging to force myself to focus on something.
  • Week 2
    • I introduced two family routines revolving around food.
      • the first dealt with mealtimes. We decided that breakfast had to be over by 9.00am, lunch should be at 1.00pm and dinner/supper at 6.00pm. The knock on effect was the creation of wake up and bedtimes.  We also insisted that Tom’s computer and phone were removed from his bedroom at night.
      • the second covered our diet. Friends in the UK had found that days were merging into one so we made a schedule to differentiate the days. On Sunday’s we’d have a roast; Mondays was leftovers with salad; Tuesday vegetarian; Wednesday Tom’s choice; Thursday, Richard’s choice; Fish on Friday; TV supper on Saturday.
    • Tom was to have a three hour break from screens.
    • I was to use my phone as a timer, working uninterrupted for 75 minutes at a time.
  • Week 3
    • I allowed the new routines to bed in.
    • I reintroduced my weekly coffee with friends but over Zoom.
    • I started to Zoom with friends in the UK more frequently.
  • Week 4
    • The new routines started to feel normal.
    • We indentified voluntary organisations we wanted to support and donated to them.
    • I accepted and organised more social events on Zoom.
    • I allowed Tom to organise himself for school e-learning and tried not to intervene too much.
    • I introduced vigourous daily exercise which failed spectacularly.
  • Week 5 – this coming week
    • I will introduce daily yoga / meditation sessions.
    • Lunch will eaten at the table not in the bedroom during the working week so we get a break.
    • We will make a list of films from which we can chose on TV supper nights.
    • We aim to finish work no later than 5.30pm.
    • I would like to go on a virtual tour somewhere once a week.
    • I would like to start working on some of the suggestions in this poster.

This is just what I’ve tried and it’s working. I think the key is regaining control of one’s imagination and sense of perspective, understanding the anxiety and gently soothing it away. Anxiety can be totally crippling so don’t belittle it and don’t allow it to be dismissed. Just try reduce it to workable levels.

Sermon over.

I haven’t seen many inspiring videos this week so I trawled through Youtube and completely fell in love with this. Its best watched on the TV with the sound up so you can imagine you are there.

Thanks for dropping by and see you next FRIDAY 1st MAY. Until then stay safe and well.

With love from Singapore.

Dawn over Singapore by Tatyana Kildisheva @kildiphoto

6 Responses to Coronavirus- an expat’s view from Singapore – Masks and migrants.

  1. Thanks Liz
    Great to get another persons approach to tackle our long days
    Well done
    I look forward to my weekly update

    • Hi Louise, Good to hear from you and thanks for your comment. I’ve loved seeing your recent walking idea. We’re all finding/stumbling our way through. Will ping you with next week’s post.

    • Hi Annabelle, Thank you for your lovely comment. It was my pleasure and I’m glad it chimmed with you. Keep strong. You have got this.

  2. Thank you Liz. I love reading your blog.
    I am grateful for any help to focus so thanks for your suggestions. I’ve really enjoyec cooking and baking, especially when my daughter (21 this year!) is too!
    I can almost hear you talking the blog to me! and sending a virtual ((hug)) Xxx Jo 🙂

    • Hi Jo,

      Great to hear from you and thank you so much for your comment. The blog was my way of trying to focus because I was like cat after a laser light. It’s great to cook. There’s something very special about cooking with love particularly if you can do it with your family. Thanks for sharing that. Loved your comment about the hug – sending you another one. Take care and stay safe. PS Please wish your daughter a very happy 21st on the day.

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