National Day 2021: 5 Things We Can Do For A Brighter, Post-Covid 19 Singapore
Article by Vienna D’Cruz
Graphics Design by Josh Saguinsin
This year, for the first time in our 56 year history, we will not be celebrating our nation’s achievements with a National Day Parade on August 9th. While this can be seen as yet another unwelcome occurrence brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, we at Verz Design are taking the time as an opportunity to reflect. After over two years of travel restrictions, the challenging Circuit Breaker, 2 Phase 2 Heightened Alerts and a postponed National Day Parade, how has our society changed?
As a homegrown SME based in Singapore, we hear from our colleagues on what they envision a post-Covid Singapore society will look like. We compiled 5 key things we have appreciated during the pandemic and hope they continue long after we achieve herd immunity so that we can move towards a more gracious and caring post-pandemic Singapore.
1. Wear A Mask When Feeling Unwell
While mask-wearing is still mandatory, we envision a more comfortable, mask-free future on the horizon. With that said, we hope Singaporeans will follow the positive example countries like Taiwan and Japan have set of wearing a mask to the clinic or on public transport when sick. Whether it’s the common flu or a persistent cough, by wearing a mask in public, you protect others from the harmful germs you might be carrying. The pandemic has shown us the immense risks our frontline workers face by working in the healthcare industry. Let us do our part to keep them safe by wearing a mask when we visit the doctor, clinic or hospital.
2. Self-Isolate To Protect Others
Keeping Singapore safe is a collective effort and it requires everyone to take responsibility for their actions. In addition to wearing a mask when visiting clinics, it is also necessary to recognise that your infection or illness has the potential to spread to others around you. We hope Singaporeans have used the pandemic to develop the discipline to self-isolate and not attend social gatherings or go to work when they don’t feel well.
Companies need a well-planned Work From Home arrangement put in place so employees do not feel the need to come into the office when they are sick. This is important because they might spread their germs to other colleagues resulting in even more employees falling ill. Circuit Breaker has taught us the importance of trust between employers and employees so that they can rest assured that work is taken care of regardless of whether it’s in the office or not.
3. Introduce Staggered Work Timings
Under P2HA, many find it unsafe to stand or sit so close to other passengers on public transport in the event they might have Covid-19. As Singapore slowly edges towards reopening, public transport needs to be less crowded to reduce the likelihood of another cluster.
For years Verz Design has observed staggered work timings to ensure everyone is more comfortable on their journey to work. We hope that as more companies stagger their work timings, public transport will be less crowded with more breathing space for commuters. Similar to point 2, for companies to do this, employers need to establish trust with their employees. They also need to place an emphasis on work productivity instead of reporting time.
4. Start A Campaign For A Civic Minded Society
The government has launched a variety of campaigns in the past to enact social change within our society. Remember the Speak Mandarin Campaign and Singa the Courtesy Lion? While the current efforts are directed to encouraging Covid-19 vaccinations, a government campaign promoting a more civic-minded society will stand us in good stead for the future.
With mounting uncertainties about the future, we believe the only way forward is to be prepared for the unexpected. and to work together. We will get through each challenge as one united people. A government campaign will help us build healthy habits for a modern Singaporean society.
Common examples illustrating why we need healthy habits:
- After meals at food courts, it is common to see people coughing or spitting into tissues. They then leave these tissues on their plate or tray to be cleared. Having germs intermingling with cutlery and utensils is unhygienic. People should dispose of their personal use tissues separately.
- People who talk in crowded lifts may be unaware that they are spraying saliva on unsuspecting strangers in the process. Lifts are enclosed environments where it is easy for germs to spread from one person to another. By pausing conversations in the lift, it is safer for everyone.
- Using tissues when you cough seems obvious. But have you ever had to shake someone’s hand after they have just coughed into it (pre-covid of course)? Ensuring you use a tissue and hand sanitizer is important for good hand health. It also shows some respect to the person you are meeting.
5. Create Better Living Conditions For Migrants
Our numbers were alarmingly high during the first wave of the pandemic back in 2020 with record numbers coming from migrant worker dormitories. With developers charging considerably high fees that are paid to construction companies, it is reasonable to expect decent living conditions for construction workers. However, Covid-19 has shown regular Singaporeans like us that this is currently not the case. Migrant workers play an essential role in our country and have significantly contributed to the fabric of our nation. We hope the government will establish a minimum standard of requirements that must be met by all dormitories and work proactively with construction companies to ensure migrant workers have more humane living conditions.
In this time of reflection we listened to national day anthems for inspiration. Stephanie Sun’s National Day Song in 2002; We Will Get There is still as relevant as ever.
Then things weren’t the same, the life that we knew had to change
We’ve struggled through, the darkest storms
We thought we couldn’t tame
Together we’ve tried, as we stood side by side
I knew we’d build a new world
A world of hope for ever after
By working together as one Singapore, we hope our post-Covid 19 future will be as bright as we currently imagine it to be. Verz Design wishes everyone a very Happy National Day!:)