MS Speaks

Opinion: Staying At Home During ‘Circuit Breaker’ Is Hard, But At Least I Get To

Getting To Stay Home & Feel Bored About It During ‘Circuit Breaker’ Is A Privilege

This piece is part of MS Speaks, a segment in which MS News reporters share their honest views on current affairs and trending topics.

‘Circuit Breaker’ is ending in less than 2 weeks, but staying inside isn’t.

Although the measure ends in less than 2 weeks, we still won’t be able to meet in groups or go out leisurely for at least another month.

Every day feels like a repeat of the last. I jump at every opportunity to go out, whether it’s a trip to the supermarket, going to the minimart just below my block, or to collect the mail.

I’ve started taking pictures of the outside world during car rides because
I miss it that much

It’s safe to say that I hate staying at home. But then again, I realised that I should be grateful for that. After all, I’m safe with my family, during the chaos of the outbreak.

Just pause for a second here and hear me out.

Stay home may have its difficulties, but it keeps us safe

Looking back at the last 45 days of ‘Circuit Breaker’, I can’t say I’ve done anything productive apart from working, and perhaps excessive baking.

I’ve baked 6 sugee cakes, 4 loaves of banana bread, muffins, carrot cake, cupcakes, and even made chapati twice since 7 Apr

Between the thousands of TikToks I’ve scrolled through and dyeing my hair pink to take my mind of the fact that I’m wasting the best years of my life stuck at home during a global pandemic, I’ve realised one thing.


I should be thankful that I’m cooped up at home. In fact, many millennials like me, should be.

Me and my freshly-dyed pink hair at the petrol kiosk during an essential
grocery shopping trip

Staying home keeps us safe, reduces community transmissions, and lessens the risk of clusters forming.

Of course, it brings its own set of difficulties to the table, like adjusting to working from home arrangements or home-based learning.

However, these problems can be easily solved, for many of us at least, and surely, we can make an exception for a global health pandemic?

Not everyone gets to be bored

What many of us don’t realise is that boredom is a sign of privilege.

I baked these after watching Bon Appetit’s pantry desserts video. It was the only productive thing I did that day 

The fact that I’m bored means that I’m not worrying about employment, finances or even getting infected.

Chocolate chip banana bread I baked at 11pm one night, that did not make the pandemic
– or my anxiety about it – go away 

On the other hand, many are struggling to make ends meet, whether they’ve been let go or their businesses are suffering.

Some have turned to delivery jobs for work, social distancing enforcers, basically whatever that puts food on the table.

Such great stress sometimes even manifests in the form of domestic violence.

Most of us don’t need to escape our situations

“What about families who don’t have a lot of space at home?”, one radio host asked a psychiatrist, during a Q&A session about dealing with tension under one roof.

“Well, I can only advise that they try to maintain some distance, even if there isn’t a lot of room. Have some quiet time,” the psychiatrist replied.

He might have tried his best to answer, but as someone living a smallish HDB flat, I can attest that his advice wouldn’t be as effective in reality.

After all, reports of family violence have shot up, even with all the measures to help us cope in store.


I don’t have a picture-perfect, 2-parent, 2-child household, and I know what it feels like to be wronged by those who should care for you.

Even then, I can’t begin to imagine the situations of those who have no choice but to stay inside with their abusers almost all the time, in a high-stress situation like this.

I had the choice to remove myself from an undesirable familial situation and move in with my grandparents and aunt. Unfortunately, not everyone has that same option.

We can only hope and pray that they’re able to work things out and stay safe for now, until they can seek help.

Maybe cabin fever is a good thing too

Even though I get along well with my extended family, but we’ve all been struck with cabin fever, which does not make for the best communication.

They’ve only left the house a couple of times since April and they’re getting crankier by the day.

What life used to be like for them before ‘Circuit Breaker’

While they’re emotional, snappy, and even unreasonable at times, they still stay home and are happy to comply with the measures when they go out. They get 3 meals a day plus snacks whenever they want, and have a comfortable place to stay where they feel safe.

Unfortunately, this isn’t what everyone gets. Many elderly still wander around during the day and loiter at areas simply because they have nowhere else to go.

I’m just glad that my grandparents can loiter and hover around the living room while I work, where I know they’re safe and cared for.

Social distancing will be the new norm till vaccine is found

Things are easing up, but it’s unlikely that they’ll return to the way they were — that is until we find a vaccine.

This pandemic has hit us all hard, but some have suffered more than others. It has shed light on multiple vulnerable communities, bringing them centre stage.

To those who groan about having to be cooped up at home all day, what we really need is to realise that most of us are beyond lucky, and that we get to share this privilege with loved ones.

Recovering from this pandemic will be what truly makes or breaks us as a nation, and I sincerely hope that we pull through and live up to what our National Anthem tells us: Majulah Singapura. Onward, Singapore.

Featured image adapted from Unsplash

Lucia Ng

Lucia only ever eats noodles and lives off bubble tea and coffee. She has no chill, ever, and loves sitcoms a little too much.

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