ST Photojournalist Takes Us On Candid Journey Through Frontlines Of Covid-19 Battle In Singapore
The past months of the Covid-19 outbreak has seen countless efforts made by Singaporeans paying tribute to frontline healthcare workers.
One Singaporean, however, took a different approach.
Straits Times (ST) photojournalist Neo Xiaobin ventured into the heart of the Covid-19 battle in Singapore General Hospital, documenting stories – even from beyond isolation ward 68 – in a series of photographs.
Let’s take a look at some of her best photos.
ST photojournalist captures intensity of life for medical staff
The anecdotes of hospital staff missing Chinese New Year reunions, birthdays and other important dates are but a small fraction of sacrifices made by frontliners.
From staff selflessly giving their time to man screening counters, to contact tracers working round the clock gathering information, healthcare workers have their fair share of work cut out for them.
Aside from the intense, long work hours, Ms Neo’s photos truly depict the intensity of what a day-to-day is like for these workers — even the minute details.
Her most liked photo in the series shows mask marks on a senior resident following the transfer of a suspected patient to Ward 68.
Another photo depicted the extensive procedures medical staff need to take after handling suspected or even confirmed patients.
Though not explicitly stated, many who saw Ms Neo’s photos could see the grueling nature of the work these people have to do on a daily basis.
Finds herself on a different frontline than SARS outbreak
Ms Neo who had some experience working as a patient service assistant at Changi General Hospital (CGH), recalls feeling “the pressure of the N95 mask against (her face)” during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003.
Setting out to reveal the challenges faced by frontliners, she says:
Today, as a photojournalist armed with a camera, I find myself on a different frontline with a role to document, inform and educate.
Her visit also reveals heartwarming stories she heard during her time there. One of which is of an isolation ward nurse going the extra mile to play music from her phone over the intercom for an intubated patient — just so he wouldn’t feel lonely.
Amidst the struggles of facing rejections from cab drivers, these hospital staff find joy in many small gestures as well.
Ms Neo captured an image of a cork board in Ward 68, pinned to the brim with letters and illustrations of gratitude.
She also spoke to senior staff nurse Ms Teo Yen Yee, who is in her 40s, who shared an exceptionally moving moment when a Grab driver insisted on showing his appreciation with a token and handwritten note.
Indeed, it has not been easy to see the bright side to such a dim situation, but these professionals have continued pushing through to serve others nonetheless.
Singaporeans are thankful
Since Ms Neo published her photographs, there has been an abundance of positive comments, with many thanking her for documenting such moments that truly inspire.
Countless others also shower healthcare professionals with nothing but praise and respect.
Even SGH dropped a comment, thanking Ms Neo for her photographs and everyone else for their kind words.
You can view the full album here, featuring 35 photos.
Uncertain but hopeful
Though there is still plenty of uncertainty as to when this pandemic will end, one thing is for sure — there is still hope among us.
We remain indebted to these brave, committed frontliners who work around the clock just so everyone is safe.
No words can begin to describe how thankful we are for their efforts. Not only do they perform an incredible service for this nation, they also inspire many in a dark time like this.
We hope that they will also be taken good care of just as they have done for the rest of us.
Featured image adapted from Facebook.