We’ve repeated this phrase so many times until our faces are bluer than the coloured side of a disposable face mask, but it doesn’t help to say it one more time, with feeling: 2020. Has. Been. A. Crazy. Year.
We’ve been through 1 month, 3 weeks, and 4 days of Circuit Breaker, followed by a slightly relaxed Phase 2 of Singapore’s reopening that left many sixth members of groups asking for the jio.
Just 3 days ago, we began Phase 3 of Singapore’s reopening, which doesn’t feel much different from Phase 2, but is nevertheless a step in the right direction for Singapore.
With activities from our pre-Covid life set to slowly but surely make their way back into our lives, there’s a lot to be hopeful for in 2021.
As the clock strikes midnight, there will be hopes, prayers, and wishes made for the new year. They usually go “I wish to lose weight”, or “I wish my Mother-in-law will not call me so often”, but this year, we’re certain it’s going to be pretty different.
What wishes will you have this New Year’s countdown? We make some calculated guesses:
1. “I wish we can visit Johor Bahru.”
It’s been too long since I’ve gotten up early to catch a crowded bus and wait for hours in line at Customs just so that I can stuff my face with food 75 per cent cheaper than it is in Singapore.
Since Malaysia issued the movement-control order (MCO) on Mar 18, 2020, Singaporeans have not been able to take that monthly JB trip for 9 months (and counting).
However, things are looking up.
On 10 Dec, a Facebook post by Minister of Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan revealed that he had discussed opening the borders with Johor chief minister Hasni Mohammad.
Who knows? We might be able to start shopping our heads off at City Square Mall very soon.
2. “I wish to watch live music.”
Sure, livestream concerts have been great for local artists to get back on the stage and share their craft with the rest of the world, but nothing beats listening to music live.
Your craft beer and $20 burger will never taste the same if there’s no live band playing an Ed Sheeran number for the 10th time that night.
Watching a Baybeats livestream at home on your computer can’t compare to sweating it out at the Esplanade as the music reverberates your entire body.
Our favourite international artists are also missed, though it might take quite a while for international musicians to start touring again.
However, live music in Singapore is making a comeback. The Esplanade is starting to host local musicians and artists with safe-distancing measures in place to keep everyone safe.
This is a great time to start checking out Singapore music if you haven’t already done so. Our Spotify Spotlight series is a good place to start.
3. “I wish to eat a buffet the proper way.”
The last time I was at a Korean BBQ place, I held back when ordering my 50 plates of meat, afraid that it would be met with a condescending stare from the service crew.
Buffets have now transformed into a la carte-style buffets where you’ll have to order from the staff or write your order down. It’s a great measure to minimise cross-contamination, but it just doesn’t feel the same.
Having your food served to you at a buffet just doesn’t match that satisfaction of walking back to your table with a plate stacked with food. I felt like a hunter in the 15th century walking home with a fresh kill to, literally, put food on the table.
I’m thankful, however, to be able to still enjoy a buffet once in a while because of evolved measures and procedures to keep everyone safe from the virus.
4. “I wish to have large family gatherings.”
There are many large families in Singapore, and although we’ve moved on to Phase 3 of Singapore’s reopening, we are only allowed to invite 8 external guests for a family gathering.
As a result, some families have had to split up their gatherings during festive celebrations or communicate via Zoom or Skype.
The coming New Year and Chinese New Year celebrations will leave many people yearning for the company of their full extended family.
While it is very important to abide by the measures of Phase 3, it’s going to feel different when your 4th aunt isn’t there to ask you when you are getting married or why you don’t have a boyfriend/girlfriend yet.
Hmm, on second thought, maybe it’s not that bad.
5. “I wish to travel.”
Who don’t want? Everyone’s wanderlust metre must be super high right now, as most of us would not have been on an overseas vacation in a year.
A year doesn’t seem long, but the idea of not being able to hop on a plane to Bangkok on a long weekend must be devastating for seasoned travellers.
This wish for leisure travel, or rather, affordable leisure travel, might not come true in 2021, but it’s still going to be top of everyone’s mind.
In the meantime, at least we’ll get the chance to save up for a big trip once the vaccines work and everything goes back to normal sometime in 2077? Just kidding.
6. “I wish to stay healthy.”
Ah, priorities. Yes, this should be first on the list, but somehow, taking my own food at a buffet sounded much more appealing than personal health at the time of writing.
Staying healthy this 2021 should be everyone’s top priority, not to mention a social responsibility to keep others safe and healthy too.
This year, even as we make wishes for travel and big gatherings, we ought to also look back at how far we’ve come, and continue working towards keeping each other safe and healthy.
So here’s my 2020 New Year’s Eve wish for you: Stay healthy, think positive, and let’s go eat a buffet soon!
This article was first published in Wonderwall.sg.