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10

What is COVID-19 and How Has It Affected Us?

COVID-19, a term used to describe the pandemic happened in 2020 all over the world.

The most searched word at the moment and the dreaded word in almost every one's mind.

So what is COVID-19? and what has it done to change mankind thus far?

COVID-19 or Coronavirus as we initially called this virus, or some people referred to it as Wuhan Virus, since it was from  the City of Wuhan in China.

Effects of COVID-19 

Because of this virus, it changed a lot of things in this world,

  • force human to make changes, and
  • discard their usual lifestyle,
  • some businesses even had to change their mode of operation, and
  • some were forced to close down being badly affected by this.

Governments all over the world initially treated it as just another flu type of virus and some were ill prepared for this, eventually every country decided to follow China's way of dealing with this pandemic by locking down the whole city.

Lock Down, Restricted Movement Stay Home Order, Circuit Breaker

To deal with the human traffic so as to curb the spread of this COVID-19 pandemic, there are so many names or terms used, such as:

  • Locking down the city,
  • restricted movement,
  • stay home order or
  • circuit breaker as Singapore decided to have a more subtle name for their action.

One of the lock down effect was the closing of border, and this restricted the movement of people from one country to another, even for country with proximity like between Malaysia and Singapore, which was linked by a causeway,

One the busiest border crossing in the world, whereby at least 300,000 used the causeway to move either way between the two countries, it was practically deserted during the MCO (Movement Control Order), the term used by Malaysia, and Circuit Breaker, the term used by Singapore.

Industries Affected By Lock Down

The first industry badly hit by this closing of borders is the airline, most of the airlines decided to cancel their flights, and have the air crafts grounded, the only flight operating was mostly the cargo plane, which carried the essential goods from one country to another.

What To Expect Post COVID-19?

Now people are talking about post COVID-19, what is going to happen, and what can we learn from it.

Impact

SARS had some impact on human.

When at the height of it, people were talking about being hygienic and so on.

Cleanliness was the top priority, even in some restaurants, they would not have the cutlery on the table until the customers were at the table, places like Pizza Hut used to have the fork and knife on the table, even though there were no customers, but during SARS, they decided to keep all the forks and knife.

And now COVID-19, the situation was worse, restaurants had to close and only allowed takeaway.

Luckily with the advance of technology, and the emergence of APP, people can now order food online, and APP to search for food delivery, and most of the food outlets decided to work with the delivery companies, this is to ensure they still have customers during this challenging time.

Work From Home

Work from home became a norm for most of the companies.

This may become the norm even after post COVID-19, this will definitely affect the office building owners, as their office rental incomes may be badly affected post COVID-19.

Once the lease period expired, some companies may review the need, and decide to cut down the size of the office space, since most companies have already had ample practices during the lock down, and work from home for few months, this will help the companies to save quite a substantial amounts on rental payment for office space.

With the reduced office space,  less electricity consumed, less office stationery used, the productivity of the staffs may improve also, it may also help to improve work life balance, especially in Asia countries, whereby working long hours in office is the norm.

Adapt & Innovate

Business will have to adapt to the new norm in operating their businesses, after learning from the lock down and making changes during the lock down, if the businesses are not prepared to deal with the new norm, they will be phased out post COVID-19.

The one which can adapt faster and be prepared during the lock down, and hit the ground running after the lock down, will be the one which will gain more and achieve a greater height.

“Times and conditions change so rapidly, that we must keep our aim constantly focused on the future” – Walt Disney

https://www.pexels.com/@samerdaboul

Even though times are bad, and difficult for most of us, especially those in business, when COVID-19 affected every one in one way or another, however, this not the time to cry and whine about it, so much uncertainty about the future, and how to survive in this uncomfortable situation, we have to start taking stock of the situation, and learn something from this, the earlier we accept this, and move on and start making changes, innovate and adapt to the new norm, the earlier we come out victorious and stronger, to face the challenges ahead.

To move forward, we need to make profound changes, and move out of our comfort zone and innovate.

In scientific term, as stated by the American physicist and philosopher Thomas Kuhn, a concept called Paradigm Shift, which means a fundamental change in the basic concepts and experimental practices of a scientific discipline.

We can relate the changes we need to make to survive COVID-19 as a paradigm shift, since we need to make a profound change in a fundamental model or perception of ways we do our works and live our life.

What Businesses Should We Do In Case We Want To Start A New Business?

discuss business@cheeshi

During the lock down or Circuit Breaker as in Singapore, only certain businesses are allowed to continue to open, the rest needed to work from home or shut down completely.

Businesses involved in food and beverage, basic groceries, logistic, medical supply, health care, waste management, transport and telecommunication business are still open during the lock down.

Food stalls, fruits stalls, vegetable and meat sellers are doing brisk business during the lock down.

Super markets and groceries shops are also doing good business during the lock down because people still need to buy the necessities.

long queue at supermarket check out, @cheeshi

Restaurants, coffee shops and hawkers center operated in the following manners:

  • can only cater for people who buy foods for take away, and
  • no dine in is allowed, and
  • this created good business for delivery people.

For manufacturing entities, during COVID-19, it is obvious that those involved in health care and medical supply businesses are in great demand.

Factories involved in manufacturing surgical masks, disinfectant, gloves, medical PPE, ventilators and medicine were operating during the lock down.

On the other hand,  those in other types of manufacturing which are not essential would have to stop operation.

We can see from this lock down, what types of businesses still need to operate, and no need to take forced rest.

What Types Of Businesses Are Badly Affected?

COVID-19 affected Hotels business badly since the borders are close, travelers could not cross over from another country, if the lock down last few months, the hoteliers will have problem surviving unless they have a lot of cash reserves.

What about Transport business like taxi and buses?

Fewer people were taking the transport because of the stay home orders, they will only ferry the people who are in the essential business.

taxi returned affected by COVID-19 @cheeshi

As mentioned earlier, one of the badly hit is the airline, no cross border traveling mean the airline need to ground their planes and in the case of Singapore Airlines (SIA), SIA re-designated some of their crews to help out in hospitals, to attend to those who were not in emergency medical care, this is to enable the professional and trained nurses to attend to COVID-19 related cases.

What Can We Look Forward To Post COVID-19?

  1. 1. Change of business model

If the business wants to survive post COVID-19, what do they need to do?

  • They need to innovate and
  • adapt to the new norm, and
  • adjust the business model,
  • take action and
  • create results
  • instead of stand still or
  • shut down completely and
  • blame the pandemic for the chaos.
  1. 2. Prepare for the future

In time of crisis like what COVID-19 has created, it is important that business people

  • show some better character in this high stakes challenge, and
  • focus on objectives that can produce results.

And here I quote the Singapore Minister favorite words – to think two steps ahead, we also need to set long term goals in order to meet the uncertainty and challenges ahead.

  1. 3. Embracing new digital solutions and technology

This is the time

  • to review and
  • analyze what we have been doing, and
  • make adjustments and
  • adapt
  • so that we can be well-prepared for the future and
  • no time to whine on the losses and
  • lost opportunities.

https://www.pexels.com/@pixabay

  1. 4. Have a good game plan

Post COVID-19, we must have

  • a good game plan
  • so that we can focus on our primary objectives and
  • focus on our secondary objectives,
  • prioritize key initiatives and
  • take action
  • to ensure we meet the clear targets despite the uncertainty and so many unknown factors.

We learn along the ways, and make amends, so that we do not lose our focus on the task ahead.

Just like what Sir Winston Churchill said “ Don’t let your crisis go to waste!!”

You may also wish to read and learn about COVID-19 in my post, please HERE

WallStreet Forex Robot 2.0 Evolution

If you have any questions or wish to share your experience on this topic.

Please feel free to leave your comments, questions and your experience in the feedback space below.

I would be glad to get back to you and thank you for your feedback, comments and sharing of your experience.


The COVID-19 has so far shown a lot of social issues and discussions on everyone’s mind, at least it brought us to really think, about what were going on in our daily life, which we took it for granted, most frequent discussed subject is the plight of the foreign workers in Singapore

One hot topic in every one's mind is the foreign workers, whose infection appeared to make everyone worried, that Singapore was one of the epic center of the pandemic of COVID-19

As at 9th May 2020, the total numbers of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Singapore was 22460, you can go to this site to see more details

WallStreet Forex Robot 2.0 Evolution
As MOH Press Statement showed majority of the cases were in the dormitories, where most of the residents are the foreign workers who come to Singapore to work.

Social Media had a a lot posts and commented about the conditions in the dormitories, and there are not shortage of negative comments about the foreign workers.

However, how many of us do really put ourselves in the foreign workers’ shoes and look from their point of view?

I like the Facebook post where the speaker said about the plight of the foreign workers, you can see the Facebook post here .

We will not go into details of these, neither are we going to comment.

There are a lot of comments in the social media.

Comments in Social Media

You can find comments in the social medias as follows:

  • Facebook,
  • Whatsapp,
  • Twitter,
  • Instagram,
  • Telegram,
  • or whatever social media channels you are used to surfing..

You can draw your own conclusion based on whatever you know and read

Let's learn about the plight of the foreign workers, who make an effort to come from their home countries, be it Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar or Nepal and China to come to Singapore, hoping to earn some money, so they can provide a better living conditions for their families back home.

Third party account of migrant worker experience.

This is a third party account of what a migrant worker encountered.

I happened to know him, and close with him, and treated him as one of my friend.

It may not be the same with other migrant workers, or it was just sheer bad luck on his part that he worked for a monster employer.

Perhaps, for those in the countries mentioned above, they may want to think twice, before they decided to embark on this journey to financial freedom, which they think they can achieve in Singapore if that is what they are thinking.

Merlion Icon of Singapore @cheeshi

The Journey Begins

For some of them, in order to take that first step to come out, from the comfort of the home country with the family, they have to borrow some money and pay to the local home agents to come over to Singapore.

To them, it is a new beginning, some agents  told them , that they could make enough money, and good money which they might not be able to make in their home countries, so they thought.

However, the reality of this harsh truth strike them, when they touch down in Singapore, and when the Singapore Agent met him at the nice airport called Changi Airport.

Changi Control Tower @cheeshi

To make it to Singapore, some of them incurred so many debts, having to pay the home agent, as well as the Singapore Agents who charged the big amount for bringing them in.

The reality and the fantasy

Every one thought the foreign workers earn a good salary by coming to work in Singapore.

Especially In the construction industries.

Since the employer who hired him provide almost every thing. Therefore the foreign workers have sufficient money to remit back to their home countries.

So that was what every one in the public thought. The government said all foreign workers from the above mentioned countries could only apply for S Pass or Employment Pass, and there is a minimum salary if you applied for the two Passes.

The workers from the above mentioned countries could not apply for the work permit.

Conditions for hiring a worker from oversea?

Based on the requirement of Ministry of Man Power of Singapore (MOM), before a company brings in worker from the foreign country, the followings need to be done.

  • the employer has to apply for necessary papers,
  • Include a copy of the employment contract which clearly state the salary offered
  • Salary to the new foreign worker is SGD $ 2,400, the minimum salary scale for the S-Pass, you can check the criteria of S-Pass in this link,

Now the foreign worker thought he would be paid SGD $ 2,400 per month for working in Singapore.

SGD $2,400 will be quite a substantial amount for them back home.

This will help to ease his financial burden at home.

The different between Ideal and Reality

As I mentioned earlier, sometime the ideal is not the reality, and the truth hurt.

The reality does not conform with the ideal, but confirm it.

The renowned French Novelist Gustave realized it well, and made everyone know that - Reality does not conform to the ideal but confirms it.

In the Facebook link I shared earlier in this article, the speaker was doing a survey - on how much a foreign worker was making a month, and the result showed the amount was quite low, and he was quite right about the amount.

How much does a worker make per month?

Let’s have a closer look at how much actually a foreign worker makes per month.

Based on his contract submitted to MOM, it should be SGD $ 2,400.00

When he reached Singapore and reported to the employer, direct from the Changi Airport, his boss most probably told him that his salary would only be SGD $1,500 per month the most, if not SGD $1,000.

So every month, when he has his salary, he would have to withdraw SGD $ 1,400 and pay back to the boss in cash, assuming the employer told him his monthly would be SGD $ 1,000. This was similar to the modus operandi of a decided case in this link.

What most Human Resource (HR) will do?

  • Then the HR would inform him,
  • HR needed to deduct the air fare for the flight from his home country to Singapore,
  • more bad news for the foreign ensue, HR would inform him that he needed to go for medical checkup
  • before the MOM issued the S Pass, and
  • to go for medical check up, he would have to take leave to do so,
  • and since he would not be working, HR will deduct his salary
  • for being absent from work.
  • Assuming if the medical check up took one day,
  • then HR will deduct one day pay from his salary for the month.

After a few days when the medical report was ready, and he need to go and collect the report, and submit to MOM, again he needs to take leave of absent, and again, the HR would deduct his salary.

Dormitory/Accommodation Charges

Since he would most probably stay in the dormitory, the employer arranged that accommodation for the new worker, the employer supposedly paid the dormitory operator, for his workers staying in the dormitory as per his contract of engagement.

HR would then tell the foreign worker, that the company will deduct the rental paid to the dormitory from his salary.

The deduction will include
  • the bed rental,
  • service charge,
  • laundry service and
  • whatever charges the dormitory has.

From the above, we can see, in the first year or two,  the foreign worker financial situation is not glossy after all..

Working Hours

Now on the working hours, the followings are some of the situations:

  • they have to work long hours, and
  • most of the time beyond the legal working hours per day,
  • as stipulated in the Employment Act of Singapore, and
  • this is very common in Singapore, employers expect the workers to work long hours, and
  • if they are absent from work for even an hour,
  • Employers will deduct their salary,
  • on the other hand, even though they work beyond the normal 8 hours,
  • the employers will not pay them for the overtimes put in,
  • the employer would claim the contract stated that clearly,

For foreign workers working in the construction industry, if the authority such as MOM, NEA or others penalize the company for any delay in completion of work or fines.

What would the company do?

  • The usual practice is to deduct the salary from the workers,
  • The workers would take the blame for the faults,
  • which resulted in the penalty for the delay or violation of regulations.

So we can see the plight of the foreign workers, and their ideal working environment in Singapore, which is quite different from the ideal situation.

Quote on Reality and Perception

To quote a message I came across in Quara. Com

I quote “ Yes, undoubtedly the reality does not conform to our perception, of what an ideal is, but it does confirm what an ideal actually is in its own unique, beautiful and authentic way, perhaps that’s the reason why it is called ‘REAL ITY’. Unquote.

This could be something for those back home in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Myanmar and the subcontinent of Asia, who are contemplating to come to Singapore to work, to consider, before they think this is the way to escape poverty.

For Those Who Have Made It, What Are The Options?

For those who had made it,

  • Enduring the first two years of hardship, and
  • Saving as much as they could,
  • In order to repay the debts borrowed, and
  • Having some savings to go back to home land
  • After the end of the two years contract.
  • A good life lesson for them,
  • Make them the wiser,
  • Enrich their life
  • Some change their employers
  • Other Companies may offer a better deal for them
  • The deals may be better than the deal of first two years.

Some of them move on to a better pasture and finally managed to make some savings, and see the light at the end of the tunnels.

What future foreign workers need to look out for?

Potential workers who want to make the trip, it would be better that they consider their other options:

  • such as equip themselves with better knowledge
  • so that they can come here via the Employment Pass
  • Employment Pass which for that status will fetch a better salary than an S- Pass holder,
  • Hence the financial burden will be lesser and
  • it would also be easier for them to land a better job after the first contract end
  • if they find the first employer was not to their expectation.

Alternative Solutions For Would Be Foreign Workers

People who are still in the above mentioned countries, you may want to consider other options such as

  • it would be easier for them to try some online business, and
  • earn some passive income to supplement their household requirement,
  • instead of just dreaming of the good jobs in Singapore which may not be the case.
  • Tech savvy workers can learn new knowledge easily
  • better for them to embark on online training,
  • Use internet to earn some passive income

Perhaps they can look at this WA website, and learn some good lessons on doing internet business and subsequently achieving financial freedom.

In Conclusion

If you have any interesting pictures and views about this COVID-19 in term of social impacts on foreign workers, and wish to share your views, feel free to do so in the comments section.

I welcome your positive feedback and opinion, time being, stay safe and stay healthy.

11

COVID-19, the dreaded word in 2020 which has caused a lot of havoc all over the world, despite the fear and worry, COVID-19, what can we learn from this?

Because of this pandemic, medical experts were asking us to stay at homes as much as possible, in order to break the spread of this virus.

Social Distancing is the common words everybody and media is using.

Photo taken at one of the eatery

Just how effective is Social Distancing in curbing the spread of COVID-19?

No one will really know the effectiveness, how does this come about in the first place?

To a layman on the street, he will interpret it laterally, that the distance between him and another human has to be at a certain distance.

However it appears the social distancing is more than that, and it seems a lot of governments do not seem to convey the right messages to the people at large.

Measures Taken By Government In Fighting this pandemic

The government implemented the following Social Distancing measures:

1. Distance between two persons in public.

2. Cancellation of mass gatherings to avoid contact.

3. Restriction of travel.

4. Closure of schools and use home base learning by using internet.

5. Closure of work place of non-essential business to reduce the contacts

6. Quarantine of suspected infected patient and the contacts.


I am not going to elaborate in details of the above measures.

I will just write something about this, while being held up at home due to the measures!!!!

Because of this stay home measure, no one can go to work, other than those who are in the essential services:

Such as utility companies, telco, supermarkets, food and beverage outlets,

For those who never cook at home, and so used to eat at food courts or restaurants, they need to adapt and start ordering online for food delivery.

COVID-19, had affected almost all the industries and businesses.

Airlines need to ground their air crafts and because of this, the demand of fuel was lower.

The oil production is also affected, and oil prices tumbled so much, at one time, it even reached negative level.

Since fewer people were traveling and public transports also made fewer trips, this contributed to the lower of demand of fuel too.

A lot of drivers decided to stop driving taxis since there were less passengers and this had affected the taxi companies.

So are we going to see the new norm after this pandemic finally leave us for good?

For once, at the moment, due to less traffic on the road, in the air and so on, the pollution due to the emissions from the transports is less, and we can see clearer sky.

Likewise, factories had temporarily stopped production unless they are in the production of essential goods.

As a result of which, there is less use of air conditions and equipment in these industries.

The less usage of air condition and equipment also contribute to the improvement in the air quality to some extent.

The pandemic is really an eye-opener for a lot of people across the boards.

We sometimes consider some jobs not that attractive, for example, a delivery man job.

Suddenly these types of jobs are in great demand and a profession highly regarded.

Hawkers stalls are doing quite good business, as there are a lot of takeaway of foods and less cost involved in washing the plates and cutlery

Manufacturing companies which are in medical supply, health industries are doing well.

The demands of sanitizers, disinfectant, masks, glove, PPE, shoes and thermometers are high.

In view of this,  some factories converted their production lines to make all the medical supplies.

In China, Most of the car manufacturers converted their production lines to product gloves, masks, shoes and PPE.

Even reported that Foxconn, the OEM part suppliers of IPhone, refitted their productions to produce masks.

So were most of the garment factories in China, refitting their production lines to produce the necessary medical supplies.

With the near standstill of the economy, are we seeing the new norm of economy post COVID-19?

New Norm Of Economy?

A company's income is another company/consumer expense.

For example, if the airline is not flying, as travelers are not flying, so airline will not have income,

following which, all the air crews may not have their salary paid, unless the airline concerned has Hugh cash reserve to sustain the non-operating.

Assuming the air crews were not paid or only paid half, hence their purchasing power will reduce.

This will have domino effect , because the air crews will not spend, and the other industries will have no income since no one is spending money.

So if every one stays at home, no one has income, consequently  no spending power, at the end of the day, what is going to happen?

Do we go back to the time of barter trading, whereby I had this item, and you have what I need and you need what I have, so we exchange goods?

I am looking forward to pricing adjustments, since this work from home for most companies tell us one thing,

That they do not really need such an office space, so,

Does it mean office property prices will come down? even in Central Business District?

Home Base Learning

One of the good thing from the social distancing is the home base learning.

Bearing in mind kids nowadays always glue themselves to their mobile devices, and do not bother to study, or revise their study when they are at home.

They go to school as if it is  because the parents say so.

Immediately after school, the hands will be on the mobile phone, regardless of whether they are taking the meals at home or outside.

School kids were so happy, when the government announced the schools will be closed until certain dates.

"Hooray" no need to go to school, then it dawns on them that the device which they like so much because of internet connection, they have to use it  to do home base learning.

Now they realize the internet connection which they like so much, which give them enjoyment, now also give them some hard time.

The plus thing of this home base learning is; after this pandemic is over, the teachers can change profession and become internet broadcaster/presenters.

Since they now have ample experience in broadcasting through internet, courtesy of their on the job training  when giving lessons to the schools children.

Opportunity to keep fit

For those who stay at home and need to keep fit, this will be the time to learn how to keep fit when at home.

What one can do at home to do the exercise and burn the necessary calories.

For those who really want to challenge their body fitness or who are in burn yoga,

You can try burn yoga while working from home. You can click here to learn more about burn yoga

Learn and sharpen cooking skill

As for some who seldom cook and so rely on hawker foods, it is the time to learn and practice the cooking skills.

Finally these people get to use their kitchen to do some cooking.

After all nowadays there are so many tv channels or Youtube,  one can learn about cooking, just follow YouTube tutorial and so on.

Photo taken by Chee Shi
What can we learn from it?

Does Social Distancing lead to panic buying? Or

Announcement by government which was sometimes not clear enough, was the main cause of the panic buying?

Hoarding of toilet papers?

One phenomenon of this COVID-19 pandemic is the hoarding of toilet papers, tissue papers, even alcohol swipe which the diabetic patient use before they administer their medicine.

The hoarding of toilet papers not only happens in Hong Kong, Singapore or Malaysia.

It even happens in USA and Australia and European countries.

My friends in Hong Kong told me why the Hong Kong People buy a lot of toilet.

The hoarding of toilet papers was due to the rumor, that since Hong Kong get their supply of toilet papers from China.

China had instructed that all the toilet papers production line need to divert the raw materials to making of masks.

Apparently there were in short supply at one time, so the people in Hong Kong got panic and decided to stock up the toilet papers.

As for Singapore, toilet paper and tissue papers hoarding were of different reason.

What did the Singaporean do?
  • Apparently people in Singapore are very creative,
  • they put two pieces of toilet papers in between the mask and tissue paper,
  • the tissue paper will be the one which come into contact with the mouth and nose,
  • with the toilet paper in between the tissue paper and mask,
  • even though it is a 3 ply mask.

Anyone knows the reason for the hoarding in Western Countries?

In Summary

One of the good things of this pandemic is - nowadays people will queue to buy their goods at the market.

COVID-19,What can we learn from it?

So we have to look at the positive of this outbreak of the pandemic and take action to ensure we can cope with life after COVID-19.

If you have any interesting pictures and views about this COVID-19 in term of social impacts,

and wish to share your views, feel free to do so in the comments section below.

I welcome your positive feedback and opinion.

For the time being, stay safe and stay healthy.