Dear COVID-19: Singaporeans pandemic memories saved in diary entries, videos by project

Banner image from the ‘Dear Covid-19’ site. Image:
Banner image from the ‘Dear Covid-19’ site. Image:

An air stewardess spent her free time catching up with loved ones. A musician became a COVID-19 swabber as Singapore’s entertainment scene went dark.

These are just two of more than 700 diary entries now free for everyone to read, watch and listen to at Dear Covid-19, stories of diverse pandemic experiences collected since the project launched in May in the form of written entries, songs, and videos. 

In her diary entry, Singapore Airlines air stewardess Agnes Eng recounts working as the virus breaks out in Singapore, donning masks and protective goggles while tending to passengers. She was even stuck for four months in Germany before being lucky enough to fly back home via London. 

Though currently out of a job, she is grateful to be able to spend meaningful time with her friends and family.

“COVID-19, you really caught me off guard. Being a flight attendant has led me to be away from home most of the time but your arrival has allowed me make up for lost time with family and friends, so thank you,” her July entry reads. 

Out of work, musician Farhan Shah said the pandemic forced him out of his comfort zone to volunteer helping others. He swabbed over 1,000 migrant workers to test them for the disease ravaging their numbers, according to his July entry.  

“Thank you for forcing me out of my comfort zone. Thank you for making me uncomfortable. Thank you for making us think of new things that we have never thought about prior to your existence,” he said. 

Some celebrities like former actor Nat Ho and radio DJ Sonia Chew have also written about their experiences. 

Chew is thankful for having a job, a supportive partner, and more downtime despite suffering a great loss in income due to lost jobs. Ho, who was studying music in Los Angeles when the pandemic hit, is embracing the challenges of being in a foreign country but still manages to keep in touch with friends and family in Singapore.

Their stories are all part of the project organized by the National Youth Council to bring stories from Singapore’s COVID-19 outbreak online.

Injecting humor to the project are comic illustrations by satirical artist Highnunchicken which poke fun at Singapore’s COVID-19 measures. One of his illustrations shows a hoard of Singaporeans acting like paparazzi and pointing their phone cameras at a safe entry QR code, which people must scan to enter any facility for contact tracing.

Since the outbreak in January, Singapore recorded more than 50,000 confirmed cases and 27 deaths.

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