Monday March 23rd 2020
It has been a few years since my last regular blog series ended, so forgive me if it takes me a while to get back into the swing of it.
So…Monday. A new week, and it opened big:
My daughter is flying back to Singapore from Melbourne tomorrow. This was not an easy decision to make – her university has not gone fully online, and it is not certain it will, Australia has an excellent healthcare system, and she has supportive friends around her (even some in the same apartment block!)
Eight hours in a metal tube with a couple of hundred other people seemed like an unnecessary risk. However, at times like this, being altogether as a family is a great source of comfort and support. It was a decision of the heart, not the head. She will have to observe a 14-day Stay at Home. This is not strict quarantine – she will be able to leave her room and move around the house. Unlike most people in Singapore, she will be able to sit outside, although the small patch of land the house sits on cannot in truth be called a garden…
My brother (in Atlanta) has already kept his family home and isolated for a fortnight and, despite being able to get out into a good-sized garden, and the availability of open spaces, the strain is beginning to be felt. Three teenagers in the house cannot make for an easy life, under these circumstances.
My mother lives in a condominium at the end of our road (it’s a very short cul de sac), and given that she’s in her mid-eighties, we are maintaining some social distance. She’s in robust good health and takes a robust approach to life. This virus will not close down her life, although she’s no longer meeting friends. However, over the weekend she went from ‘whatever’ to full-blown paranoia, and won’t touch any surface outside her apartment. Her pockets are full of tissues to be disposed of once used to touch a surface.
So…all this before I even got to the office!
The first order of the day was to decide whether to close down the office for the duration. We’re in a serviced office (no co-working on-site, so it’s well-segregated), with twice-daily temperature checks and good cleaning services. Against that, very few people want to meet face to face, and there’s no practical reason each of us cannot work at home. So, we decided to keep the office open, but reduce meetings to a minimum, and use the office only if working at home proves to be too difficult (we all have children!), or we really need to meet for a specific reason. State schools are still open, so only one colleague is affected by school closures (international schools in Singapore have all closed a week early – their break officially starts next week.
Apart from that, it was a fairly normal day…phone calls, emails, finishing the brief for a website redesign, a discussion about the annual accounts. Just about the only thing that was not ‘normal’ was lunch at Papi’s Tacos on Seah Street, across the road from our office, where we had to fill in contact details before ordering. Then discussions about the logistics of getting the paperwork completed for investors in a UK property we are handling, and preparations for a meeting tomorrow with a client who is about to launch an antimicrobial hand sanitiser (timely!)
My older daughter’s imminent arrival meant we needed an extra shelving unit NOW, so it was off to IKEA with my younger daughter. She mostly spent her time catching Pokemon, but did help…a little. The store was noticeably quieter than usual, but I am happy to report that the chicken wings and Swedish meatballs are as good as ever.
So, Monday’s done, and who knows what tomorrow will bring.
If you have a few minutes to spare, do take a look at our showcase page.
Stay safe – and call someone to let them hear a friendly voice.