Editor's Picks: What We Look Forward to in Phase 3 of Singapore's Safe Re-opening
What do you miss most about life before Covid-19? In the almost eight months that have passed since the first Covid-19 case was confirmed in Singapore, we have adapted to many changes as we find out more about the novel coronavirus—home quarantine, working from home, and general social distancing when we are out in public.
Since Phase 2 of Singapore's re-opening, which began on June 18, things are slowly but surely adjusting to what the government calls a new normal dubbed Phase 3, where activities including social, cultural, religious and business gatherings or events as well as day-to-day activities for seniors would resume, albeit with safe distancing measures and limitations on group size in place.
As daily case numbers begin to decrease—the last reported number of cases was a total of 48 on September 14—our editors share what they look forward to most when Phase 3 arrives.
“Half a year has gone by in a blink of an eye, and we're now finding ourselves closer to Christmas. But amidst the chaos over the past few months, I've come to notice and appreciate the digital initiatives helmed by individuals who wish to rally groups of communities together.
Whether it's to benefit others who have been terribly affected by the pandemic through pay-it-forward exercises, to virtual music festivals assuring those in self-isolation that they're not alone, it's heartening to know that there are people who constantly have your back.
In Phase 3, should the conditions allow for it, I look forward to being back on the dancefloor at Zouk, Marquee and its sister bar, Avenue; revelling in the company of people I know and love, and dancing to a slew of feel-good throwback tunes again without a worry in the world.”
—Amelia Yeo, writer
(Related: Zouk CEO Andrew Li Wants People Clubbing In The Cloud)
"The circuit breaker period experienced in Singapore was unprecedented, to say the least. Somehow, as a nation, we managed to endure the trying period of not being able to see our extended family, partners as well as friends. Many of us turned to various apps and platforms to stay connected and keep ourselves entertained, which was helpful. About two weeks before Phase 2 arrived, we were allowed to visit our grandparents—and this is something I was extremely thankful for.
We've come a long way now as most social activities have been restored, albeit with tight restrictions for our safety. I don't mind it at all since dinner sessions have become more intimate, but what my friends and I miss the most is heading to our favourite karaoke joint after dinner. There's something special about singing (and rapping) off-key late into the night with your best friends who are always up for a good time. It has been our annual New Year's Eve activity, too, so here's hoping we get to ring in 2021 the same way. To the staff at Ming Arcade's Cash Studio: we can't wait to be back and we hope you miss our beautiful voices too!"
—Andrea Saadan, assistant digital editor
“As a homebody, I must say that I've enjoyed the convenience of having my purchases delivered to my doorsteps as restaurants and shops go online (we have the hardworking deliverymen and riders to thank for that!). The silver lining on restrictions for social gatherings in Phase 2, to me, was that we could surround ourselves with the people who truly matter, and connect on a deeper level—something that's often lost when you are hanging out in larger parties.
At the same time, one thing I'm looking forward to in Phase 3 is the return of pop culture conventions like Singapore Comic Con and C3 Anime Festival Asia where I get to dress up and meet with like-minded friends from the community. It's always an enjoyable time to see them and catch up in person while exploring merchandise booths and watching performances.”
—Chloe Pek, senior writer
“During the Circuit Breaker period, I dropped off some baked goodies to a good friend, and all I wanted to do was to give her a big, warm hug… but I couldn’t. Physical contact is such a human necessity: those words never rang more true.
So when Phase 2 begun, having small gatherings of five guests at home felt like a luxury, and I don’t mind the restriction on numbers because that just means that there’s more meaningful time spent with each friend.
That said, of course, having a bigger group of family and friends over when Phase 3 comes around is what I’m looking forward to. Fingers crossed that it will happen by Christmas but if it doesn’t, that’ll just mean that we will appreciate our next Christmases more than ever.”
—Daphne Chen-Cordeiro, digital content director
“After being on partial lockdown for two months, it was a breath of fresh air to be able to dine out in small groups during phase two. With social distancing measures in place, most restaurants operated like it’s business as usual. That can’t be said about buffet restaurants, whose core business of extravagant feast and self-service concept wouldn’t thrive in this pandemic.
Thankfully, these dining places were able to pivot their business by offering a compact à la carte menu—served tableside—so food lovers like me can enjoy their delicious creations in a safer manner. However, I still miss the thrill of exploring the various live kitchens and counters and randomly picking the dishes I want to try. When Phase 3 kicks in and buffet restaurants return to normal, I look forward to an indulgent buffet meal at The Line—home to 16 live kitchens offering a wide variety of international and local fare.”
—Dudi Aureus, digital dining editor
(Related: How The Buffet Experience In Singapore Has Changed To Cope With Coronavirus)
“For a homebody like me, the government-mandated stay-at-home period was god-sent. I spent quality time bonding with my mum, watching her favourite television series with her. But even I was itching to go out and be social, which I did with one-on-one catch-ups with my besties during Phase 2.
However, what I’m really looking forward to are the house parties with our larger group of friends—we’ve all known each other for over 20 years—where we catch up on our lives and play with their children (who thankfully return home with their parents once the day is over!). We missed our annual National Day durian party this year—and three babies were born during that time. So I can’t wait for the next time we can all gather. Don’t tell my friends, but I truly miss them!”
—Hashirin Nurin Hashimi, sub-editor
(Related: The Best Durian Confections in Singapore)
“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women, merely players—and theatrical works bring to life these oft-quoted Shakespeare lines, and more.
While the Covid-19 pandemic has made theatre experiences more accessible—with local and international practitioners offering recordings of past shows online—I still miss the thrill, verve and vigour of live performances. I look forward to the day when we can return to theatres near and far to see beloved works and new scripts recreated on the stage soon.”
—Hong Xinying, managing editor, Tatler Homes Singapore
(Related: Events in Singapore that You Shouldn’t Miss in September 2020)
“Travel has always been a big part of my life—I consider it my biggest passion, my creative reset, and the best form of education. The pandemic has resulted in a virtual standstill in travel and being grounded has offered me the opportunity to do things I wouldn’t normally have the time for, from doing personal projects such as Checking In: Bringing The Hotel Home, a digital coffee table book for charity I launched in July, to spending weekends exploring Singapore on my retro-style bicycle.
Five months in, however, I’m having itchy feet like everybody else and I’m excited to pack my bag and experience that thrill of going somewhere again. I’ll probably take fewer but longer trips when travel resumes, and the first place I hope to visit is Japan. I plan to spend two weeks taking it slow: go on long hikes followed by a relaxing dip in an onsen, pop into craft boutiques and second-hand stores, but most importantly indulge in proper Japanese food (I’m especially craving for negitoro-don in this cheap and cheerful place near Shinjuku station).”
— Kissa Castañeda, editor-in-chief
(Related: 6 New Hotels To Stay At During Your Next Trip To Japan)
“With Phase 2, more sporting activities could resume under strict safe distancing measures. And I was really glad for I have probably completed my quota for home exercises for the year. But I am looking forward to when we can go back to the pitches and play regular, full-contact football. (For now, the rule is only 5 people a session and it has to be non-contact.) This way, my buddies and I can finally enjoy our weekly sessions of the Beautiful Game on the pitches at Turf City. Can’t wait.”
—Terence Lim, editor
“As much as I love to cook, dining out is something we enjoy quite frequently as a family. It’s almost always filled with opportunities to bond—discovering new loves and favourite versions of old loves, and having a laugh while trying new foods and dishes. It’s a chance to check out new restaurants and visit our favourite haunts and chefs.
Dining in a slightly larger group is something I enjoy occasionally. Nothing too large or impersonal; no one likes dining with a crowd. It’s just that two families at a table can add up to six or eight diners. And it’s especially satisfying when you have children who are budding gourmands.
To boot, dining well is even better when the experience is shared, particularly with close friends and family. Good company elevates the dining experience. And let’s not forget that dining in a larger group allows us to try more dishes.”
—Don Mendoza, dining content director