During the circuit breaker period in Singapore, we are encouraged to stay home as much as possible. In this edition, we interviewed Dr Ben Wang, Dental Surgeon with Postgraduate Training in Periodontics, to find out more about how he is using his time.
Q: How are you spending your time during this circuit breaker?
When the circuit breaker measures in Singapore were imposed, restrictions were implemented in every sector including dentistry. I had no idea how long dentists would be restricted and how quickly we could return to normal practice.
Initially I was worried and feeling helpless. I spent the first part of the circuit breaker at home spending precious time with my family and preparing for various assessments.
After a few weeks, I realised these restrictions to our normal lifestyle could be here for months. I decided to take control of the situation and start doing something more positive. I saw Singapore’s Ministry of Health calling for temporary personnel to aid in work such as swabbing, lab analysis, administration and management of the migrant worker population in which the virus had spread more broadly.
I am thankful to have the opportunity to look after a few hundred healthy migrant workers in an isolation area. My role is to be responsible for a team in the smooth and efficient operations of the isolation properties in which these migrant works reside. The shift is 8 hours of 50% solid manual work and 50% office orientated work. Examples of daily tasks include:
- distributing of food
- ordering groceries
- facilitating check-in/ check-out
- arranging for periodic swabbing
- handling public relations
- maintaining the properties and so forth.
The physical side of the work is intense as most of the time there are no air-conditioning in these properties. The office orientated side is more relaxed.
Q: What do you like most about the circuit breaker period?
The circuit breaker has provided many people including myself with a lot of free time on our hands. This has allowed me to spend more time with my family and to do some fun things which I had not done in a long time. I switched on my PlayStation 4 gaming console for the first time in over a year, played some computer games and watched a few movies.
I also took on some of the roles of my maid during this period. I feel that I understand the needs of my son better than I used to.
This free time has also given me an insight into the field of property and personnel management which I never imagined I would enter.
Q: Any other thoughts?
My respect goes out to the migrant workers who come to Singapore to provide for their families at home. Many of these migrant workers are in very labour intensive physical work such as construction, manufacturing, transportation, plumbing, etc. They are essential to servicing the infrastructure of Singapore and I hope once the pandemic is under control we can better appreciate their contribution to this Nation by improving their living standards.
This is by far the worst pandemic in modern times since globalisation. It is unlikely governments will allow another situation like this to get so out of hand in the foreseeable future. If you are like me – been at home inactive and worrying about the future, then take control of the situation, don’t let the situation control you.