The Heightened Alert which began on 16 May 2021 has moved into Phase 3 since Monday. Social gatherings of 5 persons and below are allowed and hopefully dining-in at eateries and hawker centres will resume next Monday. We are still working from home and most of us are generally getting by. However, the situation has caused job loss or reduced income for several breadwinners who were mainly cleaners or helpers in coffee shops, hawker centres and restaurants.
We have been directing such families to the government’s COVID-19 Recovery Grant-Temporary, where they will receive one-off support ranging from $500 to $700 and rendering them further financial assistance for at least 3 months. In the last month we have supported 130 families and while the funds have gone some way in alleviating their anxiety about meeting basic needs, the strain of the pandemic is evident as we speak with them.
Many tell us that they have been feeling very insecure after their experience last year and the Heightened Alert has heightened their feelings of insecurity. There is also a sense of fatigue as this “marathon” of a race to a post-COVID-19 world takes a toll and in unexpected and sudden ways too.
A COVID-cluster at a nearby hawker centre has resulted in several families serving a Quarantine Order. There is much anxiety among neighbours and one breadwinner who spent most of his time at work, was initially very reluctant to receive any help when he was served a Stay Home Notice. As he did not socialise with his neighbours, he imagined that no one would be concerned with his predicament. So, putting on a brave front, he told us that he will just survive on instant noodles as he always had during difficult times. However, he calmed down when we explained to him that his wife and children had many friends in the neighbourhood and they were genuinely concerned about the family’s well-being.
So, he eventually agreed to connect with a neighbour who was a familiar face. We then passed some funds and super-market vouchers to the neighbour who picked up the groceries from a shopping list provided via WhatsApp. The groceries were then dropped off outside the door.
The family was very appreciative of the neighbourly concern, and we believe they would do the same for others should the opportunity arise.
Wishing you good health and peace of mind.
Giving connects two people, the giver and the receiver, and this connection gives birth to a new sense of belonging. – Deepak Chopra