We’re well into Phase 2 and maybe some of us are feeling a little anxious. It’s normal to feel stressed as we adapt to the new normal. During times like these, we’re thankful for those who are out there helping Singapore tide through this period. There are many frontline and essential workers putting themselves on the line for us and they deserve our support and appreciation.
These include our healthcare workers who have worked tirelessly during this period to treat COVID-19 patients — sometimes even well past their usual hours. How about our favorite hawker stall aunties and uncles who still get up at 4am to prepare the dishes we love? Not forgetting the food delivery riders who work tirelessly to deliver that laksa to us.
We’ve managed to ease into the situation with the help of these everyday heroes — the Kampong Kakis, Guardians of Good and Merry Messengers. Read on to find out if you know any of these types of people in your life.
Kampong Buangkok may be the last kampong in Singapore, but that doesn’t mean the kampong spirit can’t live on anywhere else. In fact, it’s more than alive in our community, with our family, friends and neighbors — our kampong, if you will — who have been getting us through the COVID-19 situation.
We won’t even have to look far, let’s start with our family members. They’re always ready with words of encouragement and support, and some of us can be sure to count on our loving parents for hearty home-cooked meals when we work from home.
And we all have that one friend who calls us weekly just to check in, or the buddy who sends us surprise food deliveries. Whether you need help or just a hearty laugh, the presence of these friends makes getting through this period so much easier, and for that, we have much to be thankful for.
Be it the aunty who leaves a bottle of hand sanitizer in the elevator for communal use, or the kind soul who always stops to help a senior with her groceries, our neighbors are definitely another group of people to be thankful for. In fact, entrepreneur and ultimate neighbor Nigel Teo is bringing back the kampong spirit with GoodHood.SG, an app that allows neighbors to advertise their home-based services and share their resources. The location-based app also allows users to request and offer help to one another, which could be really useful for elders who live alone, or people with disabilities.
We definitely owe it to our Kampong Kakis for helping us maintain a sense of normalcy in these uncertain times. They’re always there for us despite the physical distance, and sometimes just knowing that we’re not alone, even in the face of adversity, is all we need to get through this together.
Guardians of Good
During this time, it might be tempting to sit down and do nothing — but not for this group of Singaporeans, who have taken it upon themselves to do some good for the community. Masks Sewn With Love is a community project that’s definitely worthy of applause. People of all walks of life have volunteered to help sew reusable cloth masks and distribute them to the community. To date, they’ve worked together to donate more than 20,000 masks to frontline workers and needy families in the community. It’s no mean feat, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the collective effort of everyone involved.
Independent photography collectives such as Giving Prints SG are also putting their picture-taking to good use, by selling their photography prints and donating all proceeds to HOME (Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics), an organization that aims to provide financial, legal and emotional support for migrant workers.
It’s safe to say that even in unpredictable situations, we can count on people like our Guardians of Good to share hope in the community, and actively be the change they want to see.
While we were living the stay-home life, it really wasn’t all that bad thanks to Merry Messengers, a group of people that brings happiness right to your doorstep and makes staying at home more enjoyable.
Home-based businesses simply continue to deliver, and in more ways than one, if Hari Raya Puasa this year was any indication! The holiday was just a tad different this year as it took place during the COVID-19 situation, but thankfully vendors adjusted quickly by moving their operations online. Vendors such as Indulge by Che’La and Home Sweet Oven continued to make and deliver delicious Raya goodies to homes through Ramadan e-bazaars and delivery platforms, making sure celebrations (albeit over Zoom calls) could go as planned.
For some of these vendors, these businesses have become their only source of income so it’s especially important now more than ever to support our Merry Messengers. Sure, we’re allowed to dine in at restaurants again, but you can still save yourself the hassle and use Jiak, a community-made directory of hawker stalls to easily make an order for delivery or pick-up. They have a section for home-based businesses as well, which means quality at-home snacking is always within reach.
It’s important to keep our minds and bodies sharp, and being indoors doesn’t mean our options have to be limited. Seniors who miss their activities at neighborhood community centres might enjoy SilverGood’s weekly livestreams on Facebook. Different hosts cover a variety of interests, from listening to traditional Chinese music to learning different stress relief techniques from health experts. Online social interactions through shared, digital experiences like these are great for seniors, who can participate in these activities while staying at home.
Speaking of, schools have reopened and it’s back to the grind for students. Some may need extra help with their studies, and it’s heartwarming to know that they can turn to the community. COVID-19 Tutoring Support for Students (CTSS) is an initiative that offers free online tuition services to those without access to private ones. This has also been a welcome solution in the midst of the COVID-19 situation as students are able to still get the help they need while adhering to social distancing rules.
Despite being indoors most of the time, we’re able to keep our minds sharp, our bodies fit, and our tummies full, with the help of these Merry Messengers. From tech-savvy food providers to online content creators, we truly have them to be grateful for keeping us going strong.
Do you know someone in your life like a Kampong Kaki, Guardian of Good or Merry Messenger? You can show your support to these everyday heroes through the SG United Digital Appreciation Board. Here, you can pen your notes of appreciation to frontline and essential workers, as well as members of the community who have helped or inspired you during this period.
Want to help out with the COVID-19 response through community action? The SG United portal has plenty of volunteering and donation opportunities to consider. If you have any new ideas for ground-up initiatives, you can also send them in to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a difficult time for everyone but it’s definitely heartening to see individuals and the community stepping forward to help one another. This is truly the spirit of SG United. Stay Strong, Singapore!
Header image: Guilherme Santiago / Unsplash