As an Employment Pass worker in Singapore, working from home during the circuit breaker period has not been easy. I have been spending more time alone at home as I am not able to visit my family in Korea and I no longer physically interact with my colleagues and friends.
The feeling of isolation I experienced was real, even more so than the risk of getting Covid.
However, my landlady Mrs Chan and her daughter, who lives next door to my studio apartment, have been kindly sharing tasty homemade food with me every day.
Mrs Chan has a rare talent in cooking and baking. Sometimes, during this circuit breaker period, I would open my door to a surprise. She would leave bottles of hot soya milk, soup and baked treats such as apple pie and ciabatta bread fresh out from the oven on my doorstep, sometimes attached with a handwritten note.
This unexpected gesture, prepared with love, has touched me deeply and changed my perception of the typical landlord-tenant relationships.
Before, we used to see each other from time to time. We would bump into each other when I am on my way out or coming home from work and have a friendly chat. But now that I am at home – going out only for essential grocery shopping or to exercise – we interact much more and message each other almost every day. She is always willing to offer a helping hand when needed.
Mrs Chan told me, “It is my joy and pleasure sharing food with neighbours and I am happy that you are enjoying our homemade food!”
When I came to Singapore to work in 2019, I barely knew anyone, but I am fortunate to be surrounded by many kind people such as Mrs Chan and her family.
As a small gesture to appreciate their delicious food, I bought them Korean ice cream and treats which allowed them to experience something from my home country.
Now I feel like I have a family in Singapore who really takes care of me.
Mrs Chan’s kindness has inspired me to pay it forward to those affected by the current Covid-19 crisis. I made a contribution to the #HopeAtHome initiative to do my part to support the urban poor in Singapore, one of the hardest hit groups by Covid-19. I hope it helps to spread the warmth and kindness that I’ve received in Singapore from Mrs Chan’s family.
Many would say there’s no kampung spirit in a modern city like Singapore, but I do believe neighbourliness is alive here and that Singapore will get through this crisis together.
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