It’s been a week or more since I last posted. It is a bit unusual, when I had been keeping up a rather regular habit of journalling since the beginning of the year, particularly when I began telecommuting since mid-February. As I mentioned (I think), it isn’t as rosy as some may think or imagine, or I am just not managing it well enough or making it work for my benefit while balancing that with my responsibilities as an employee.
Nevertheless, things have seemed to be spiralling southwards, and just a few days ago, the cusp of a weekend no less, our Prime Minister delivered a sombre speech that confirmed what many of us had been suspecting or expecting. We are an entitled and spoilt bunch who needed the stick to be wielded before we would comply. Even then, the government has not been entirely harsh to impose a total lockdown, with the various exemptions to ensure that our tiny city-state stays operational in key and essential services and sectors. As a small state, we cannot afford to just shut down like what some other countries have done, because we have too much at stake. This makes it much more challenging for the government to balance economic feasibility and the health and safety of the populace.
I am quite proud and impressed with the agility of the authorities, despite many naysayers, at every single initiative they put out. From a total turnaround of the budget that would have been approved and ready to be delivered by the Finance Minister in February, the virus probably caused that to be discarded and I shudder to think of the overnighters that many involved have had to pull to put out a whole new budget in record time, for three support packages that have been announced.
The ‘circuit breaker’ is due to kick in tomorrow. In the lead up to 7 April, most and myself included, have been in a frenzy to create a stockpile of sorts (yet again) to prepare for the stay-in. Despite that the authorities have relentlessly tried to assure us that there is zero need to stockpile or hoard, we also want to comply with their advisories to minimise heading out too often and therefore social interaction, hopefully that during this one-month period, we can help to flatten the curve of infections. It is disconcerting that since a couple of weeks ago, the numbers have been rising rapidly despite the safe-distancing measures announced.
I was among the statistics that remained stubbornly adamant on being part of group exercise classes, although the numbers in classes have been drastically reduced. It doesn’t reduce the risk of spread though because we see different people in each class we go, especially when we do not just visit one yoga studio since most these days partake in a variety of fitness regimes. What about those who had regular social gathering with different groups of friends, colleagues and of course, family? There is just so much potential for an asymptomatic person to become a super-spreader. For that, I have been careful, to reduce meet-ups with friends (almost none) and family. I no longer have interaction with colleagues since February so that is one channel closed.
While I was preparing for 7 April, I was buying stuff that I thought I may be needing this one month which I can avoid heading out to restock should they run out. Things I can’t stock would of course be perishables, and that would also give me the opportunity to head out and get some air, aside from the regular daily exercise I can make myself stick to.
The feeling I experienced in the lead-up felt familiar; it was like those times when I was scheduled to travel to some faraway foreign country for the first time, some unknown city that little is known about by myself or people I know, and not knowing what is there and what I should expect. In the past when I was scheduled for audits in such places, I would then be stocking my luggage with items that I may potentially not be able to buy when I am there. It kind of feels that way, only this time, it isn’t a trip I look forward to (not even with trepidation); it’s just something I do not want to be on yet I do not have a choice.
Is this further isolation, and at the end of it, what kind of person would I emerge as?
It is a lot of uncertainty and fear I won’t deny. I understand now how even for people are supposedly introverts, community interaction is still fundamentally important. What more, I am not entirely an introvert. Maybe an extraverted introvert?