With Phase 2's reopening just a day away, we thought we'd take some time to reflect on our time in "lockdown" AHEM I mean Circuit Breaker. We previously created a Spotify playlist based on the songs you felt best described your time in CB and we hope you enjoy it.
But why stop there, the COVID-19 pandemic has rocked nearly every aspect of our lives. From the physical ways we live and work to transforming the digital landscape forever, life in 2o20 looks vastly different from just a year ago.
This sudden change to what many are describing as the "new normal" has been difficult to say the least. Unemployment in Q1 has dropped to the lowest it's been in a decade, with many left wondering what comes next.
In response, we spoke to a student, a recently retrenched worker turned baker and two musicians to hear how they've adapted to these strange new times we live in.
The Budding Digital Animator & Videographer
Meet Jose, he's a 19 year old Digital Animation student at Singapore Polytechnic. He's currently doing a 10 month internship here at Circles.Life and you might have seen some of his stellar work while browsing Facebook/Instagram.
Being in the last year of his course (before he goes to NS) we asked him a couple questions on how the outbreak has impacted his life.
How COVID-19 has changed your internship experience?
Jose: I started my internship two weeks late. I had just gotten back from a holiday in South Korea (peak COVID), let's just say it was not a good idea. The plane was dead on the way back, and so was I when I received my two weeks Stay Home Notice. The first day in the office was odd. Everyone was socially distanced and it felt lonely and cold. It was difficult to socialise.
As the days went by, we were kicked backed to our own homes, where I am currently typing this. The daily zoom calls and slack messages were uncomfortable and distracting to start, but like everything else, I got used to it. Slowly, I grew closer to my colleagues, some of which I've never met in real life! Look Mum, talking to strangers online isn't THAT bad. A layer of awkwardness still lies in every zoom call, and in those moments, I miss having real life conversations without the weird background screaming and awkward muted mics.
How have you adapted to the remote working situation?
Jose: Weirdly, I think I've grown to be more confident. When you're alone at home, it's difficult to ask for help. I can't swivel my chair around and ask a colleague for their opinion. I can't bounce ideas off my co-workers unless I schedule a laggy video call. In this remote working situation, I'm forced to communicate more through text and messages.
At the back of my mind, I'm worried about being that one annoying guy that doesn't shut up, but when its the only convenient means of communication, I am left with no choice but to scream and shout with confidence through text.
What's one thing you're secretly happy about in this pandemic?
Jose: I am SO happy that I don't have to commute to work. I live in Pasir Ris and it would take me about an hour and a half to travel to the office pre-COVID. My work day starts at 9.30 and I literally wake up at 9am. Traditionally, I would have had to wake up at like 6.30am and die on the inside as I force myself out of bed. I would skip breakfast and rush out of the house even before the sun has risen.
These days, I get to sit in the comfort of my own home and use my own desktop instead of a small laggy laptop. I wake up at 9am and go to bed at 1am without once stepping foot outside my home. If I told this information to 2019 Jose, he would think I am living the dream!
The Rising Star Baker
One of our users, Christina, reached out to us with this heartwarming story about her friend Farikhah who had recently been retrenched but took a leap of faith and started a booming new doughnut business.
When COVID-19 first hit, Farikah had lost her job and was strapped with loans that she could no longer repay. She came to Christina asking for help and with some ingenious out of the box thinking, they decided to create a virtual coffeeshop: Cof.idCoffee (take a moment and realise the genius wordplay here 😍).
With close to zero F&B knowledge, they built a marketing strategy from scratch and began baking doughnuts and coffee in the backyard.
That was 3 months ago.
Fast forward to today and Cof.idCoffee now has several branches, a host of staff to handle a minimum of 300 doughnuts and latte orders everyday. The duo put a lot of effort into satisfying customers and have since built a loyal following that happily comes back for repeat orders very often.
Oh and did we mention they did all this remotely? Christina who is in Singapore has been using Circles.Life to connect with Farikah in Indonesia to collaborate and build their brand to what it is today.
Who knows maybe in time we'll see them on our shores too 😉
The Local Musicians
Discover by Circles.Life has always been big on the movement #SupportLocal. Since the start of the pandemic, we've found new ways to support local artists such as stand-up comedians and musicians by hosting virtual events.
How long have you been doing music? What drew you into the industry?
Ben: I started doing music professionally since 2013. Since young, my family would always have karaoke sessions every Sunday evening after dinner. Even though I didn't know how to read those Chinese words, but I knew I enjoyed myself a lot during that few hours of singing.
Adria: My interest in music developed since I was really young actually. My mum sent me to children mandarin singing classes at the community centre back then to brush up my language skills. But I grew up loving singing and have always enjoyed it, but only got more opportunities to sing when I was older and my friends will say "hey, you should try singing more".
How has the pandemic changed the way you view your art?
Ben: Initially before the lockdown, I was afraid that musicians will be forgotten. But to my surprise, EVERYBODY WAS HOPING FOR US TO SING ON OUR LIVE STREAMS FOR THEM.
I hold a firm belief that music is the only language that every human being on this planet can understand and that it's the only way to bring hope and happiness to people. This pandemic has somehow assured me that I am on the right path.
Adria: Well, I think these days with accessibility to social media platforms and all that, we're able to adapt how we present our art. A lot of us were stuck at home during Circuit Breaker period but that hasn't stopped people from sharing their art online. When you love what you do, you'll still find a way to do it.
Share your experiences on how you've adapted to this strange new world we live in.
Ben: During the first week of lockdown, I actually set a few goals for myself on what I hope to achieve by the end of the circuit breaker. It's like I'm living in 2100 where technology is so advanced to the point where everything is online and we do not have to move to get the things we want. For example, watching movies, learning from home, buying our meals and etc. We are all literally earning money from not stepping out of our homes.
I have seen some negativity on social media, musicians complaining about losing jobs and what not. Ultimately, I feel that human beings are made to adapt. I am thankful that I have a bunch of really supporting supporters that never fail to support me whenever I go on live on my IG on Mon evening. I even have names for my schedule. For eg, Monday - Monday B.L.E.W (Bringing Love Everywhere We Go), Wed 12 am I will release a short cover for NIGHT OWLS who sleep late like me (Late Night Series) and my covers would usually have a background story of it.
All in all, this strange world that we are living in forces my creativity to run a little wilder.
Adria: It did take a while to get used to this 'new normal', but it further emphasized how we'll never know what the future will bring and a good reminder to live in the moment. I've been spending time on new 'hobbies' like cooking and definitely also singing more. In fact, I recently uploaded two covers on my IG that I worked on during Circuit Breaker, those were really fun to do!
If you wanna hear more from Ben and Adria don't forget to get your tickets for their virtual jam session at 8:30pm, 21 June this Sunday by clicking here if you're on mobile or here if you're reading this on your desktop.
As we slowly inch back towards a sense of normalcy in the coming days, it's important that we remember to stay safe and be patient with ourselves. Like a certain HSM song, we're all in this together and if there's anything to take away from this article; it's that humanity will always...