Day 12 – Fear
Today is Day 12, it was spent rather peacefully. I woke up around 9am, helped my peers with their work and did 2 “Yoga with Adriene” classes via Youtube. Adriene is good, I just love her energy and vibes, and I highly recommend to anyone who has not done yoga or is in intermediate level. I ordered lunch from Sumo Salad and though it was a little pricey adding up the delivery to Serangoon, my lunch was good. And it doesn’t hurt to support local F&B at this moment!
I spent afternoon falling asleep reading pages off “Do Not Say We Have Nothing”, no, it wasn’t boring, just that my eyes drifted myself to an afternoon siesta. However, I was awoken by my mom’s shouting. My aunty had broke down from the stress of taking care the needs of my granny (whom out of angst threw a glass onto the floor!) and her struggles from the constant working in a local supermarket.
“I am stressful, really stressed. I do not know if I will get the virus!! Work is so stressful!” the aunty said in hokkien
This left an imprint on me because I can relate closely. At retail, you simply do not know who you will be facing, and if you are contracted with the virus, it will not only be you, and many other people will be affected with you. We have to carry the shame and stress baggage. I always thought only I have such fear.
During the start when Covid-19 was first reported in Singapore, I had sleepless nights.
“Will I get the virus?”
“Will any staff get the virus?”
“Will Hock Siong be force to close if someone gets it here?”
“Will we be shamed if someone in our company has?”
“What should our BCP (Business Continuity Plan) be?”
“Will I be putting XXX in risk if we recall him back to work so often? He has to take the public transport!”
It was some very erratic and disturbed nights. But I gradually understand that events happen so fast and uncontrolled that there is no point thinking too much. From then, I started to segment events into 2 : 1) Things I can control and 2) Things I can’t control.
“While I can’t control whether I will get the virus, I will wash my hands, ensure hygiene whenever wherever I can”
“While I can’t control whether my staff will get the virus, I can implement procedures to keep their temperature, keep track whom they are in contact with, nag at them to wash their hands, nag at them to ensure their hygiene, print posters around the shop to remind them and provide detergent to motivate them to upkeep hygiene”
“While I can’t control what the government needs us to do if the worse happens, I know I have tried the best to my ability and things I can thought of”
ONE DAY AT A TIME
It is helpful living one day at a time at the moment. We all know this logic, but the fear of shame is an inner demon we have to battle personally. Because we have attachment to the things we are involved and passionate about.
Many weeks back, when Mr. Toh and I had a chat on Covid-19, and he said what we are facing now is an opportunity for people, especially my generation, to learn to adapt and overcome and to build an even stronger resilience. And that we must have faith that if we manage to overcome this, we will somehow overcome other things thrown to us in life.
It could not be more true. Sometimes, when I reflect, “heartbreaking / bad” events helped in shaping our resilience. Many years ago in 2013, our warehouse in Sungei Kadut caught a fire. The fire started around 10pm from the first unit along the stretch and by 6am, our unit (which was the 4th unit on the stretch) was completely burnt down. Part of our livelihood was gone.
At that time, our warehouse was filled mostly with linen and furniture and SCDF requested us to clear the burnt linen furniture debris as soon as possible so that they can do “damping”. I remembered feeling the worst and I recalled using the words “was as if burying a loved one” when I was speaking to a friend. We scrambled to find an excavator company that was fortunately nearby and a compactor bin company so that those debris could be disposed. The next few days, I remembered salvaging whatever furniture we had in the 5th unit that was flooded by water used to put out the fire but was fortunately not badly affected. I remembered as I was trying to sell those salvaged U-Legs vintage cabinet that we wanted to keep for ourselves, and a customer tried to bargain, pushing down our prices lower than what we could do. I just broke down and cried because I was too ashamed to tell her that we are selling these to raise money and our warehouse just caught a fire.
Many years had passed and that experience surpassed any physically or mentally tough situations I had, and that reminded me that: as long as we have each other and a clear hopeful mind, we can overcome everything.
I am sure everyone had their own experiences of the worst time of their lives. Didn’t we went through those days scarred, but still safe and sound? If you are facing a difficulty now, and felt that you are always fighting fire, think about how you resolved the previous situation which you initially thought was unresolvable. If you had always lead a peaceful life, good too, because it is time for you to start building this in your “CV” to think about what is within your reach to resolve the situation at the present moment. You may call this a distraction tactic, to distract you from the harsh reality. I agree, but it is a distraction to remind you how strong you can be.