After almost 3 months, I ventured outdoors. Singapore is an amalgamation of a tropical sized-down jungle and a concrete jungle coexisting symbiotically. It’s always great to chat up with grab/Gojek drivers, and know about the ground realities. It was even better to look out of window marvel at buildings festooned with flora and fauna.
We (assuming you are as ‘mea-culpa’ as I am), usually are lost in our digital bricks called smartphones, when at home, when outside, when in the MRT or taxi. But this time I conspicuously attempted to notice the streets, the buildings, and the sun and the sky behind them, filtering through the tinted taxi windows.
My grab hitch driver , owned a construction company. He casually chatted about the plight of construction companies in Singapore. ref . The construction sector has been closed for four months now. Additionally, most of the construction workers’ dormitories were the worst hit in Singapore. (Accounting for 44,044 cases of total 47,126 cases till date.) He emphasized that it’s not like the software/IT field where WFH is easily doable. Indeed. He ended up narrating more about Lexus vs BMW, and how he gave up on BMW, with its frequent troubles and finally settled for a Lexus. (And when did Toyota acquired Lexus ? Lexus is not even on F1 team what !! )
While coming back on Gojek, the full-time Gojek driver was lamenting the loss of tourists in Singapore. Even in the CBD, with only 50% workforce presence in the office, gig economy drivers aren’t able to do business as it used to be.
“Orchard road still has some traffic, but not what it used to be. Tourists from mainland China aren’t here anymore.“
When the lockdown started, all of us were sceptical, scared, and anxious. But the human mind is a work of marvel, how fast it acclimatizes to its surroundings and circumstances is astounding and sometimes ironic. Earlier I was disappointed about not being able to go outdoors and do the usual diurnal stuff. And now after these four months, my mind has humbled my existence. Living a caveman life, in this apartment, now going out seems Sisyphean. Like our ancestors, we have our tools for food and entertainment, cave paintings (read IG/FB posts). The digital life has overtaken the analog life.
My phone tells me about it weekly. 😦
I am pretty sure when things become normal again after this “new normal”, we all would have probably forgotten how all of this started.
Impact on Construction sector Singapore