During the circuit breaker period in Singapore, we are encouraged to stay home as much as possible. What are our dental specialists doing? In this edition, we interviewed Dr Steven Soo, Dental Specialist in Prosthodontics, to find out more about what he is up to.
Q: How are you spending your time during this circuit breaker?
A: I initially thought I would have a lot of time, but the home-based learning (HBL) workload for my older daughter in P3 and younger in K2 has taken up a lot of time. The idea that you can just leave them to it is totally false. Between solving technical problems like disconnecting to constant encouragement and bribes, there isn’t much you can do apart from sit with your child. At least I am learning rather more Mathematics, Science and Chinese than I thought I would at my age.
Anyway in the time I do have, I picked up my guitar again. I brought it back from the United Kingdom (UK) and in the Singapore weather, it rusted a bit. It was looking generally unloved.
The model is a Washburn N4 and it was handmade in the USA. It is the signature guitar of one of my favourite players, Nuno Bettencourt, previously of the rock band Extreme. I have seen them several times in concert but unfortunately missed him when he played at the Singapore Grand Prix a few years back.
I saved up and traded another guitar for this which was one of the first models to be imported into the UK. I must have been around my mid 20’s so this guitar is quite old now and has a lot of sentimental value.
I cleaned up as much tarnish as possible, piled the bare wood finish and changed the strings. It is now back to its former glory even though my guitar skills are also a bit rusty.
I also recently became interested in 3D photography and joined the London Stereoscopic Company.
This was formed by a group of stereoscopic photography enthusiasts who provide tips on how to take 3D photographs and view them and also produce a few books on interesting and rather obscure topics.
One of the founding members is Brian May, lead guitarist of Queen. He not only is a legend amongst the rock fraternity but also competed a PhD in Astrophysics that was put on hold whilst he concentrated on the band. Incidentally Roger Taylor, Queen’s drummer started off training in London to be a dentist. Dentistry’s loss was rock music’s gain.
Last year was the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing and I bought a book of theirs documenting the US space program and the book was amply illustrated with 3D photos.
Brian May is also a collector of stereoscopic photos and probably has the largest collection in the World. I bought another book “Diableries” which features stereoscopic viewing cards that were highly popular in the late 1800’s and showed the Devil and his assistants in various French political satirical scenes and were seen as a commentary on the politics of the time.
So Brian May is really a British eccentric and all the more interesting for it. Inspired by this I made my own stereoscopic camera and during this CB period will try my hand at still life.
In the area of fitness, I recently took up running around Chinese New Year 2020. There are many accomplished runners in our clinic. However, I am pretty much a beginner, usually to be found on 2 wheels.
I bought my first serious pair of running shoes and started running at Toa Payoh Stadium. However, now that it is closed, I have found a very quiet route nearby where I hardly see anyone… social distancing! I am proud to say that I have now reached a fitness level where I wouldn’t embarrass myself amongst the runners at work.
I also get to spend time watching Netflix. We went to Vietnam at Christmas 2019 and stayed at Hoi An near Da Nang. I had a vague idea of Vietnam’s history but “The Vietnam War” is an excellent series documenting the history from the French occupation to the end of the war with the US. I would strongly recommend it. It is a very detailed 10 part series and gives a very balanced view of events as they interview all sides involved.
The music sound track is excellent too and I certainly learnt many things which gave me a greater appreciation of how Vietnam is today and the suffering they endured.
Q: What do you like most about the circuit breaker period?
A: Definitely spending time with the kids. It really is an eye opener to see what they are learning and I really appreciate the hard work the teachers put into their HBL. We often get messages late at night gently reminding us on what hasn’t been completed!
The teachers are also usually looking after their own children as well as uploading assignments and marking work from 40 kids!
I am also fitter than I have ever been in my life and hope I can make the time to keep this up.
Q: Any other thoughts?
A: Covid-19 arrived unexpectedly and lives have been affected in ways we couldn’t have imagined. Behaviour has changed and some countries have coped better than others. A sense of making it up as we are going along I think is due to not having experienced this before.
A concerted global response would have been more effective in tackling this crisis, but I didn’t see that happening. What I did see that was heartening is how people have come together and the acts of generosity and kindness give a lot of hope that we are stronger together.