It feels strange to watch the US going through the virus paranoia from half a world away. Mostly it’s heartbreaking to watch what looks like a country unprepared from top to bottom. What felt harsh in the beginning here in Singapore now feels like a relief. We have had “social distancing” measures implemented for almost 2 months now. Our kids (or us) have not had any sports games, assemblies, or group activities larger than 40 people in that time. The kids teachers aren’t allowed to touch the kids (both Avery and Mrs Sapna are saddened by this rule). It seems only Americans still shake hands… But despite all that, the government has made a concerted effort to keep the economy functioning here. School is still in session and work still continues. Base line life is still normal. Grocery stores are fully stocked (including toilet paper). How do they do it? People follow the rules here. Yes, there are strict repercussions for people who violate orders here (expulsion from the country, fines and imprisonment). Beyond that though, there is communication. At any time I can log onto the ministry of health website and see exactly how many cases Singapore has. I can see where they live and what “cluster” they are a part of. We currently have no cases that are considered “community spread” or that are untraceable. The government here goes to Herculean lengths to trace every case. We had one school have a case (thankfully not ours). They closed for a long weekend, disinfected and reopened. To me what’s most important is I can also see exactly what I should do if I am concerned I have Covid 19 (you plug in your address and they tell you exactly what clinic to go to, I tried it out, and it gave me 35 options within 2km). That alone is heartening. Luckily we haven’t had to try that out, and hopefully we never will. This communication, led from the top, is what gives a feeling of safety. Sadly, the top in the US is such a mess, I don’t see how this could be possible. How can a government so at war with itself come together in our time of need? I guess prayers are all that’s left.
Contrasted with the US:
On a happier note, if I can give any advice, if your spring break plans get canceled, make the best of it and enjoy things closer to home. Beach? Safe! Hiking? Awesome! There really are a lot of things to do if you think about it.
What’s happening here? Regular life. I met up with a group of women yesterday for a bike ride on the paths in the east coast park. It was so fun and easy to rent bikes! I will definitely take the kids back soon!
This morning we had Avery’s parent-teacher-child conference. What a lovely format! We all spoke together about her strengths and what she wants to work on moving forward. We continue to love Mrs Sapna and are so proud of Avery. This move has been very hard for her, but she’s working very hard and we couldn’t be more proud!
To leave on a “funny” note, I’ll discuss squat toilets in more detail. As an American, we sometimes forget there’s a larger world out there that doesn’t live as we do. For many people sanitation is not something to be taken for granted (if you are quarantined, can I recommend the Netflix show, “inside bill’s brain”? It’s about Bill Gates, but also about his foundation and they explain the sanitation issues better than I would). Anyway, for millions of people, they only have access to pit latrines or squat toilets. When they travel to more “first world” locations it’s possible for them to not know how to use a “regular” toilet. Hence, why we see signs like this many places:
Yesterday at the hawker, I took some pics to demonstrate.
As I said before, to date only Avery’s squatted. Another new thing for us in Asia is paying to go to the bathroom. We’ve not encountered this in Singapore, but in langkawi we did multiple times. You have to go? 1.50 ringitt. Want toilet paper? Another ringitt. After our mangrove tour, Avery had to pee, so we paid her 1.50 and off she went (not sure if we paid for toilet paper, she probably dripped dry). She came back out and casually informed us, she couldn’t find the regular potty so she used the squat. She didn’t seem wet or any worse for the wear. All those camping trips coming in handy now! Bad parenting on my part not going into the bathroom with her, but I didn’t have to go and it was 1.50!
That’s all I have for today. Keep washing those hands and stay healthy!!! 💕💕💕