Often, I feel that living in Singapore is like living in a bubble. A well-sheltered bubble. So I crave to have different experiences, not willing to settle in this protected zone.
Thus with my free-spirit nature, I wander the world to learn different cultures, meet new people, broaden my mind and to experience life.
A wild child
So I see myself as a wilful child of the nation; the one who is always trying to run away. Wherever I go, I can be as wild and rebellious as I can be because at the end of the day, I know I can return to this safe harbour. Upon my return, Singapore is a mother who receives me with her open arms and ultimately accepts me for who I am.
I’m not the most patriotic person in the country, but it doesn’t mean I love her any less. Like most families, I struggle with the love-hate relationship. But no matter what, I know my root is here.
Saving for rainy days
Decades we’ve invested in nation-building were not just the facade of Singapore we showcase to the world. Over the years, we have also accumulated our national reserves.
There have been countless occasions where we questioned when can we withdraw our money from the reserves. Is it time yet? It is for rainy days the government said.
That leads us to ponder how much money is inside our reserved funds. We will wonder if the money has already been squandered away due to poor investment foresight. You cannot blame a Singaporean to entertain such thoughts since they never disclosed the actual amount.
Since independence, we managed to navigate through different crises. From the Asian financial crisis in 1997 to SARS in 2003 and the global financial crisis in 2009.
2009 was the year we dipped into our national reserve for the first time to save our economy.
Today marks the history as the second time we reach deep into our pockets as our Finance Minister, Mr Heng Swee Keat announced an S$48 billion Covid-19 Resilience Budget to help save jobs and giving some financial support to aid Singaporeans.
Covid-19 Resilience Budget 2020
This budget is targeting to support workers and to protect their livelihoods, support self-employed freelancers, offer some financial support to families, support businesses allowing them to stay afloat and supporting the CoVid-19 affected sectors.
Naturally, this concerns me because I am at the front of the pack getting the first blow. I made the conscientious choice to be a freelancer knowing that I am taking the risk with no job security. I am grateful for the fact that in difficult times like this, the government moves swiftly offering this resilience budget 2020 covering freelancers as well.
While the handouts will help to ease off the financial load, on the other hand, I am not used to be at the receiving end because it is not a small amount either.
You can argue that this is rightfully our money so we should not be pai seh* about taking it back. Since young, we have been “brain-washed” that we earn our keeps. We have learned not to depend on the government or anyone for handouts. Thus, every Singaporean works hard for our money.
For now, every little bit counts.
With the global economy at jeopardy and people are asked to stay home on a large scale basis is a strange time where no one has experienced before. We are also navigating on the unknown as we learn new information about the virus day by day.
Since January, our authorities are working hard to keep the CoVid-19 situation under control. Some make the hard decisions implementing measures to control the coronavirus spread, while others ensure we have enough food supplies and well-stocked supermarkets. Also, not forgetting those who have helped put our supplementary budget together.
Our frontline medic team faces our invisible enemy head-on while many unsung heroes who work behind the scene. For example, the people doing contact tracing, people cracking mysteries of new clusters and airline crew who bring our people back home from all over the world and many more! Everyone contributing in one way or another. #SGUnited
Tough time don’t last but tough people do
The cabinet of ministers has not been through Singapore’s independence, the early days of nation-building and days where Singapore tries to make a mark on the world stage. However, they prove their capabilities and display leadership qualities as we continue to battle this invisible enemy together as a nation.
If Mr Lee Kuan Yew is still alive, he would be very proud of our people.
No one knows how hard or how long this rain is going to keep going for. All I know is, this is the rainy day the government has been talking about. And this is the period we had been getting ready for.
This is a bubble I call home
Putting our differences aside, today, I stand as a proud Singaporean. That Singaporean who lives inside the bubble. Thankful to be in this bubble that shelters me from the thunderstorms. When the storm is over, the sky is clear, watch me fly. I will take off to wherever my heart (& wallet) takes me. No matter where I will be, I know I will return to this place I call home.
* a sense of shame