Sunday, February 09, 2020

Unforgettable Chinese New Year 2020

Last day of Chinese New Year

Today it marked the last day of Chinese New Year, which was also called Cap Go Meh (meaning the fifteenth lunar) or Yuan Xiao Jie 元宵节 (the Lantern Festival) or also known as Chinese Valentine's Day.

This year the atmosphere of the overall Chinese New Year was rather special and it was mainly due to the arrival of special guest from Wuhan, China - the Novel Coronavirus or nCoV- that spread not only to Chinese people or within China, but to any other nationalities and all over the world.

List of 33 confirmed cases and its relation up to 8 Feb 2020 (Pic source: CNA Channel News Asia)

Since Singapore was among the top countries often visited by Chinese people, whether it was for business, meetings, working, visiting, and so on, it was inevitable that the nCoV reached to us pretty soon.  This had caused a stir among Singaporean who rushed around trying to stock up masks, sanitizer, cleaning products as a way to prevent the spreading and maintain the personal hygiene.

Our Lohei or Prosperity Toss Platter from Chinatown Complex Singapore 

Yesterday my friends and I embraced ourselves to go to Chinatown Complex Hawker Centre in order to have our Lohei or Prosperity Toss celebration and dinner. Initially we were worried too to choose the place there because it was a well-known hawker visited by both local and tourists. But I thought that there was affordable and nice Yusheng there where I used to patronize years ago and I wanted to introduce it to my friends.

I was quite appalled when I saw no crowd. I mean, usually this place was crowded like hell! There would usually a plate of Yusheng ordered in every table and 'Huat ah' (meaning to welcome prosperity)  shouting would be heard one after another while tossing the mixed vegetables in the air).

With my Mala Partners ^_^

Even when we finished our dinner (around 8pm), the area was quiet. Many shops were closed too near the temple area. Souvenir shop seller complained to me that their sales were not even reaching S$500 on such Friday night as the result of nCoV.

Temporary ban visitor from China (Source: wikipedia. org)

From 1st Feb 23:59 our Singapore government had stopped anyone who had visited China for the past 14 days to enter, or transit through Singapore. Ahh..., no wonder lah why the tourist area became so quiet.

I also thought the MRT would be crowded and I would not get seat, but I was wrong. We managed to get seat and there were many empty seats on and off. When reaching home, I started checking my phone and receiving many pictures. Then only I realized where all the Singaporean went that night.

The DORSCON chart (Pic source: CNA Channel News Asia)

It was yesterday that the announcement of DORSCON alert were raised from Yellow to Orange. Many 'kiasu' (scared to lose) and 'kiasi' (scared to die) Singaporean were rushing down to supermarkets to hoard the basic necessity products, such as: rice, instant noodle, canned food, cleaning products, and so on. The supermarket website was also not functioning due to overwhelmed shoppers and not enough stocks.

Few photos circulated among social media while queuing at supermarket in Singapore

The photos of empty racks, super long queue, and people wearing funny stuffs were circulated around the social media, stirring panic not only within the country, but also affected our neighbor countries like Indonesia.

Today many Indonesian friends of mine sent me messages asking about the situation here. They were also receiving those photos circulated online and was wondering how Singapore had become like this while there was no single case up to now in such a huge country with more than 260 million citizens in Indonesia. They conveyed their worries towards my families and my safe being.

Wuhan Virus VS Kiasi Virus (Pic source: Facebook)

Even this Saturday morning when I walked to supermarket to see the situation myself, as early as 9.30 am, a super long queue had already been there. Everyone was having shopping cart full of things both at upper and bottom part of the cart. They stood there and were patiently waiting for their turn to pay. I saw many unattended carts and baskets too that were abandoned by shoppers who did not have patient to wait for their turn.

Non of our family members were hoarding stuffs like that, thankfully!!! Because we had stored just enough food for our daily necessities which I had bought during CNY promotion period, such as: 5 packs of instant noodles, 2 packs of egg noodles, 2 packs of 5 kg rice for the families of 5 at home. I considered it to be enough for the time being and truthfully I would not feast on instant noodle on my daily meal. I would rather buy vegetable from nearby supermarket and eat it with, just enough for our meal. Otherwise we could still purchase bread from the convenience shop.

Another picture distributed online (Pic source: Facebook)

And since I stopped working, I had a habit of taking simple meal in my everyday's life. Plus I believed in 'I eat to live rather than I live to eat.' So basically my hubby and I took this incident calmly and I could relax at home reading and sleeping rather than queuing at the supermarket.

So far I also had not worn any single mask even when going out. The only mask that I had was the 4-piece mask that our government distributed once per household (which apparently not enough for 5 of us, but eventually, we still had to feel grateful as not every government gave out the mask away to their citizen, ie. Hong Kong, no matter how little the number given was). And although I had the hand sanitizer, I never brought it with me as I had no habit in using it and believed more in the power of washing hand with soap or using wet tissue to clean hands when required.

There was no spray to kill bacteria too at home. The most we added on was adding a small cap of Dettol into our washing machine when washing clothes to kill the germs, that's all.

Full moon at Buddha Tooth Relic Temple - Singapore 070220

No one knew when this virus would stop spreading. In fact, there were still many people not yet coming back to Singapore due to the travel ban (including 30,000 Chinese national who held work permit here in Singapore). It was definitely affecting the economy (especially on tourism and airlines), which reminded many people of 2003 SARS outbreak.

For now we could only pray that we could overcome this storm peacefully and prayed hard that the situation would be under control. May all sentient beings be healthy and happy, free from suffering and the cause of suffering, life full of peace and joy. Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu. 

Update news as Sunday 9 Feb 20 (Pic source: the Straits Times)

P.S This morning 9 Feb 20 when I woke up, 7 new cases were announced and it had added to a total 40 cases, and this time it even included the Taxi and private hire car drivers, which were worrying as many people were expected to be fetched in and out every day in their course of work.

However, do not let our guards down to prevent the virus by keeping up with the personal hygiene practice, staying at home more when necessary (instead of roaming around), taking care our health by eating healthy food, drinking more water, vitamin, honey (to increase immune system), and so on. Keep calm and stay away from rumour, which only added unnecessary fear and distress. Stay strong Singapore and let's join hand together to overcome this wave. Take care and good luck!!!

(Fyi, to read the latest Singapore news you could visit the MOH website, CNA or Channel News Asia, the Straits Times (Singapore local newspaper), and so on).

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