When the COVID-19 outbreak started, my husband and I took the opportunity to educate our two-and-a-half-year-old daughter on the virus and instill good hygiene practices like washing her hands and avoiding touching her face.

After she told us that her childcare teachers had taken her temperature many times throughout the day, we explained to her why it was important for them to do so, and told her about all the brave people out there who are fighting the virus for us.

When we asked if she wanted to thank these individuals, she said that we should, so we decided that we would use her hongbao money collected during Chinese New Year to prepare gifts for individuals like SCDF and SPF personnel, community volunteers, cleaners and teachers.

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Over the past two weeks, our family prepared handmade flowers, thank-you notes and candy packs to be distributed to these heroes. My daughter has been very excited and eager to help, and to my surprise, she even coached her eight-month-old sister to say ‘thank you’, as well as reminded my husband to distribute the candy to many people.

Image Source: Sarah Yee

We started by visiting Ci Yuan Community Club to give our goodies to volunteers who were distributing masks. To seek out the cleaners in our estate to thank them, I took my daughter to walk around the blocks in our area. We also prepared the gifts for all her childcare friends since some of their parents could be working on the frontline too.

Image Source: Sarah Yee

Subsequently, we visited Sengkang Fire Station, Hougang Neighbourhood Police Centre and Ang Mo Kio Fire Station to give our candy packs to the frontline officers. And we are planning to deliver the packs to people working at Tan Tock Seng Hospital and the National Center for Infectious Diseases, and if possible, some of the full-time National Servicemen who helped to pack masks for every household.

Everyone we have met so far has been very happy and surprised by our gesture. Some also said that they were touched by our efforts, and find it to be a great source of motivation. They were especially surprised to find out that we are not Singaporeans (both my husband and I are Malaysian PRs) and felt moved that we were appreciative of their sacrifices and had kept them in our thoughts.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak in Singapore began, I have noticed a lot of negativity being spread, and this has affected my mood too. It was disheartening to read nasty comments online, and to see the way some people have overreacted to the situation.

It is my family’s hope that everyone can help to spread more positive energy, so that even though we worry about the situation, we still remember that life goes on, and spare a thought for those who are making sacrifices for us.

Sarah Yee

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Top Image: Sarah Yee