With Singapore approaching the tail end of the Circuit Breaker, (amounting to almost two months of lockdown) and economic activity in Singapore gradually thawing, life will never be the same as before. Social distancing and the wearing of face masks in public will be the new normal moving forward, whether you are in a mall, retail outlet or a restaurant.
During that time of the circuit breaker, I have come to realise that I am starting to miss a few things that I used to enjoy before the pandemic hits.
1. Bubble Tea
No one will know for certain when bubble tea outlets will open again. But I am expecting real soon. And that mean snaking queues for Singaporeans wanting their bubble tea fix. Singapore is passionate about bubble tea. A lot of people here cannot resist a good cup of milk tea with a generous serving of ‘pearls’ in their favourite beverage. I miss bubble tea a lot as well. Although I don’t drink that often, but there is always something about a enjoying a good cup of bubble tea after a long day at work. I am looking forward to the re-opening of bubble tea shops when the circuit breaker measures are lifted.
2. Going to the cinemas
The last time I went to the cinema was to watch the last instalment of Star Wars on IMAX. I believe I watched it at Shaw Theatres, in Changi Jewel, in December 2019.
Ever since then, I have not had the opportunity to watch any movies in the cinemas. Now, almost half a year later, I miss going to the cinemas, watching a good blockbuster on a big screen. I remember looking forward to catching Christopher Nolan’s’ upcoming summer blockbuster, Tenet, but even then, I am not sure if the circuit breaker will be lifted in time to show Tenet in local cinemas anytime soon. So many blockbuster movies have been postponed or distributed directly to streaming websites nowadays. The movie industry has completely been decimated because of the pandemic (as far as earnings a studio get potentially earn through cinema distribution is concerned. It will take a long time before we can see a packed hall full of cinema goers enjoying a movie on the big screen together again.
3. Cafe hopping
Singapore have a vibrant but nascent cafe culture. Opening up a cafe is tough in Singapore. There is great risk and high costs for any budding entrepreneur who wishes to break into the F&B industry by opening up a cafe. And cafe-hopping is a must-do activity on a weekend. There is just so many cafes all around Singapore, but with Covid-19, I worry about the viability of these small upstart cafes. With social distancing enforced for the foreseeable future, it is no longer certain that these cafes with their sky-high rents will ever be able to survive without the foot traffic that they used to enjoy on any given weekend. I love coffee and I love brunch on a lazy Sunday. But I feel that the pandemic will change the experience of cafes forever.
4. Window shopping all day long
I don’t really shop a lot, but when I do, I can spend the whole day shopping and I shop hard, buying lots of things not just for me, but for my friends and family. That means shopping during the end of the year, when Christmas is just around the corner.
It’s june, and I have not bought a single new apparel for myself. Not even online. My spending habits have changed and I spend more time shopping online than at the actual retail stores. Sure, online shopping is growing rapidly and retail growth has been tepid in recent years due to the convenience that online shopping brings to shoppers.
The last big ticket item that I bought at a physical retail store was the Dunhill leather backpack, from the Belgrave Collection. It is the most expensive backpack I have ever bought, setting me back almost S$2600. But it was worth it. The leather is supple and the craftsmanship is exceptional. The bag is made in Italy and I bought sometime in January or February, just before the pandemic became full-blown. Looking back, the bag was probably one of the few leather-made goods to have come out from the country before the nationwide lockdown was imposed in Italy to stem the devastating spread of Covid-19 within their borders.
Now, in the midst of the circuit breaker, I am working from home, unable to use the bag while commuting to work. So I am just at home admiring the bag, keeping the leather clean and supple, looking forward to the day I get the use the bag for work.
5. Attending live performances
Similarly to cinemas, I miss attending live arts performances, stand-up comedy, and even concerts, seeing the venues full of people, looking forward to an evening of fun and laughter. The last performance that I attended live was by SRT, a play titled “Lifespan of a Fact”. Ever since then numerous upcoming performances were either postponed or cancelled in Singapore. No doubt it will be a long while before such events can be reinstated in Singapore, and as long as Covid-19 remains a threat, it remains a threat to anyone who attends such events in the future without proper social distancing and contact-tracing efforts in place.
Because of the pandemic, the travel industry has been decimated. I cannot travel, and there are no tourists coming in and out of Singapore. Tourist sites are closed and public events (indoor and outdoor) dotted throughout the 2020 calendar have been cancelled. Because of that, I am unable to use my newly bought camera, the Fujifilm X-Pro 3 and take photos. Formula 1 is up in the air. National Day celebrations is uncertain and all other public and outdoor events that are held on an annual basis is basically cancelled till next year.
Photography is my hobby and in December 2019, I bought a brand new camera from Fujifilm. I made the correct decision in getting that camera and it is by far the most enjoyable camera I have ever used. But because of the circuit breaker and the ban in travel, I haven’t found an opportunity to go out there and take interesting photos.
I am looking forward to travelling again soon and take wonderful photos. The last time I used the camera was when I attended the Singapore Airshow back at the beginning of 2020. It felt so long ago now, but in fact, it has only been a few months since I used the camera.
So there it is. These are my six things that I miss doing ever since the pandemic started raging around the world.