Singapore Circuit Breaker, What I’ve Learnt During These 2 Months

Being on the planet for more than a quarter of a century, the past 2 months has been an interesting period. Its the first time, that large populations of people are confined or forced to stay home in Singapore. The only two outdoor activities is to go out to get a meal/grocery shopping or exercising, everything else is forbidden with the possibility of fine and jail time if you do not obey the circuit breaker rules.

This period has been rather interesting for me, as like others its the first time I am confined as an adult and not only that, stuck at home with everyone in the family. 🤣 

Here’s what I have experienced and reflected during this time which made be realized that there are some positives and negatives. Its a good thing we didn’t add on to the divorce rate or birth rates, just got through it as a normal family unit.

List of Positives to Share

  • Dedicated Kids Time – Home based learning and the moving of June school holidays to May initially was a pain as it made working from home a challenge. But it has helped provided me with the opportunity to spend more time with them. In a nutshell, seeing them growing up something that working parents don’t really get to see or experience much off which is a good experience.
  • Personal Exercise – As exercising is one of the key activities that is allowed, this is something I do off more which helps me improve my body weight and health. Apart from that, its also a good time to bond the family as we now have the time and reason to exercise as a family unit.
  • Family Time – Its a first being able to spend 24 hours a day in close proximity with your immediate family for 8 whole weeks. This isn’t going on a holiday or taking a short break to spend time with family. I doubt the mass majority of us don’t spend so much time together before the circuit breaker. These much time together really helped bring us closer and made me appreciate my family and helper a lot more.  
  • Saving on Petrol – With limited traveling, the need to top up petrol over the past 8 weeks is almost non existent. This has led to lower oil prices as people stay at home, cleaner air since we don’t need to drive as much versus previously.
  • No Singapore Pools – Gambling opportunities have been relatively limited during circuit breaker as Singapore Pools, 4D, Toto and sports betting takes a break as well. Personally, I think its a good thing as lesser people have the chance to gamble away hard earned money. For the first time, people who buy on a weekly basis have no choice but to go cold turkey. Would be interesting to see if Singapore Pools traffic picks up to pre-crisis level.

Negatives of Circuit Breaker

  • Higher Utilizes Bill – First thing that comes to mind is the higher electrical and water bills. With multiple laptops and air conditioning operating longer at home, they tend to suck up more electricity which I see an increase by 40-50% while the need to get my aircon maintained earlier or more frequent due to the increase usage.
  • Missing Work Boundaries – Don’t you miss the daily commute to work, getting to dress up for work? Our personal and work boundaries seems to be reduced, its a must now for you to block out time slots that states “Do not book” so that you can get some downtime. If not meets are back to back to back, as the occasional “Hey can i talk to you” is non existence now.
  • Co-Workers Interactions – Water cooler talk is now gone, as we have to embrace social distancing plus work from home doesn’t allow colleagues to interact as much as they used too. The occasional breakfast, lunch or tea break is now, replaced with meeting invites with Zoom or Hangout video call links. 
  • Non Immediate Family Interactions – If you are one of those who visit parents or in laws on a frequent basis, this is definitely a negative impact during circuit breaker as we couldn’t visit them during the circuit breaker period. So the only way was through whatsapp video calls or facetime, thank god for it.
  • Social Distancing from the Fridge – I cant break away from the fridge, the temptation to head for the fridge or kitchen to grab a snack is so high. WFH can take is toll on your weight if you don’t control, after all your kitchen now becomes your office pantry and the stuff you purchase is what you want to eat unlike the pantry which is not catered to your personal preference.

As we head into Phase 1 of circuit breaker, I am looking forward to head back to some normalcy. Its been awhile since we met our loved ones, friends or colleagues for face to face meals or simple catching up for kopi or beer. Lets just not hope there would be a wave 2 or 3 which could stop the whole economy again.

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