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 Ansgar Cheng, Dental Specialist in Prosthodontics, to find out more about what he has been busy with.
Q: How are you spending your time during this circuit breaker?
Time for reflection
In addition to reading, I spend time reflecting. Reflection is lifelong. I’ve went through life for 50 over years already, it is never too early to start reflecting.
I’m actually doing more training/ running too. We know that there are different views on whether people should go out and exercise. However, in my humble opinion, there are two groups of people who exercise now:
- Those who suddenly find they have time and want to occupy themselves, and also partly, they understand that exercise is good for the body. Exercising may be able to help fight off infections or lung disease. It is never too early or never too late to start.
- There is another group of people who exercise right now – the NUTS. :p
The concern people have is whether they should wear a mask when they are doing exercise. Well, in this circuit breaker period, the idea is to isolate people, one from the other – to have minimal contact between human beings. The virus is like a baton, we are currently passing it from human to human. The circuit breaker is to stop the passing. Once we stop the passing, the virus cannot survive by itself and it will not be passed on to the next person. Therefore, we need to reduce human interaction – exercising on your own (rather than in a group) is one of the solutions. Human interactions that cannot be avoided, such as with your family members, will have to continue. Otherwise, we try to eliminate or reduce all other human interactions.
Hence, the strategy for my exercise is that I do it at a time when there is nobody around. I wake up as early as 2am in the morning, head off to exercise at about 3am, and finish long before sunrise. Doing that, I see no human and car traffic. It is less hot and I can run around half naked (with nobody staring at me). Also, sometimes when my wife wakes up, she has to ask “did you sleep or did you run?” She will have a hard time to guess, even though most of the time I would have went for a run. With this strategy, I can actually focus on my training more as there is nobody distracting me.
I also spend my time fixing a few model cars. This has been my hobby since I was five! The cars I build are 1:10 scale remote control cars. I build and conceptualise them but I have never race/driven them. Each car takes numerous hours to complete – starting from conceptualizing the design, fabricating the parts (manually or CAD-CAM) to building the model car.
Q: What do you like most about the circuit breaker period?
Singapore always have more than 300 days of blue skies every year, however if you look out nowadays, we have even nicer, cleaner blue skies. The air smells crisp.
Singapore has animals like otters and birds like hornbills. We are seeing more of them now. If you look at the birds carefully, you may even spot birds that you have never seen before. These birds are coming in because there are less air traffic.
More space on Orchard Road
At Specialist Dental Group, we are considered an essential service and we still have to serve some of our patients who are emergency cases or in pain. I still go to the office daily, mixing in clinical treatments and teaching over the internet. I recently conducted a seminar between the graduate dental students of Hong Kong University and National University of Singapore and it was an overwhelmingly good learning experience for me.
Don’t be surprised, at the end of the circuit breaker, we will see even more animals/insects and happier human beings. By then, we will have the liberating experience of coming out of the circuit breaker period. Now, we can’t even take it for granted that we can grab a burger from our usual burger place.
Q: What is the second thing you think you will do after the circuit breaker ends?
When this circuit breaker period is over, I don’t think it will be totally back to normal yet. There may be another toned down form of circuit breaker guidelines from the government to protect our fellow Singaporeans.
However, when possible, jogging to the nearby supermarket to check out some fruits with my three girls (two daughters and my boss) at the supermarket will be a great outing to start off.
I am also looking forward to running those 35km-long runs with my crazy fellow runners on the weekends.
Q: Any other thoughts?
As a professional, we know the fact is this kind of situation had happened numerous times in the history of planet earth, across different species. The mankind that we know of, is a result of evolution – survival of the fittest (适者生存). Fitness, is a relative term. However, the Chinese phrase 适者生存 is more appropriate because it means “survival of the most adaptable”.
We can’t change our DNA, however, we can change how we use our DNA. Country, business, personal health alike, it is the same formula – to be able to adapt. The mankind that we know of right now, is a result of numerous adaptations and for sure, many of the friends and families of our grandparents, went through that as well. It is up to us, to modify our mode of survival to adapt to the future, which is always, ever-changing.
As a layperson, this is the time to reflect on our roots. The beginning of any reflection is to gather adequate dosage of humility, to figure out our core value.
Looking at the history of Singapore (mankind at large), the 90’s was better than the 80’s, and the 80’s was better than the 60’s. It is safe to project that 2030 will be better than 2020 and 2010. There is no doubt that Covid-19 is causing pain and disruption all over the world currently. There is no attempt to sugar coat the situation, however, we have to live in the moment and plan for the future.
The future will be bright, even though we will see road blocks from time to time. Mankind has always been able to overcome various challenges. The best is yet to be.