Back To The Old Norm, Please

Adjusting to the new norm? I much prefer the old ways.

By Alywin Chew      23 December 2020

I can’t wait for Covid-19 to end. Seriously, I’ve just about had enough with this new norm of having to wear a mask.

You see, I perspire all too easily and having a layer of cloth over my face that’s trapping heat simply makes matters worse.

The result? I always look like I’ve got a damp piece of popiah skin stuck to my face.

On days when I wear the blue surgical mask, my wife says I look like a walking advertisement for sanitary pads.

My wife, though, loves this new norm. You see, she’s the kind of person who insists on putting on makeup as long as she has to step out of the house, even for the most trivial of errands. The advent of this new mask-wearing era, however, has provided her with the gift of anonymity.

“I love wearing a mask! Now I don’t have to put on makeup when I head out because no one will recognise me!” she exclaimed.

“Please lah, I doubt anyone would recognise you without makeup in the first place!” I replied.

The other norm I cannot stand is the no-travel norm. Not getting to go on my yearly Bali escapades has been excruciating. While it’s nice to see that the government is handing out SingapoRediscovers Vouchers, I must point out that I have never understood the concept of staycations.

Why on earth would you go through all the trouble of packing your clothes and daily necessities, just to leave your house and pay hundreds of dollars to stay in a hotel located in the very same country you reside in? It just makes no sense.

Would you ever rent a car even though you already have a car? No.

Would you ever rent another woman when you already have a wife? Okay, wait. Never mind. Don’t answer that.

“Dude, the best part of a staycation is room service! What a way to be pampered!” said a friend who once tried to convince me.

“Don’t be silly. I can get room service in my HDB too. It’s called Grab Food,” I replied.

It is also worth noting that I already get an annual staycation every year. In fact, it’s free and it even helps me to reconnect with nature. It’s called reservist.

So, no thank you to staycations.

It has also been heartening to see how people have been reinventing themselves to overcome the challenges in this new norm.

I recently read a news article about a man who transformed his walking tour business into one that offers virtual tours for primary school kids. I’ve also read about hawkers who have started to embrace digital technology to stay afloat.

Inspired by these stories, I have decided to reinvent myself as well – I will quit my job as a writer and open a fitness studio.

“Erm, hello? Covid? Social distancing? I don’t think a fitness studio is the brightest of ideas,” scoffed a friend whom I thought might be a potential investor.

“Bah. Don’t you worry about that. I have it all sorted out!” I quipped.

“And what exactly are you offering your clients?” he asked.

“Zoom Ba.”

What’s the craziest thing you have done during the pandemic? Share your stories with us at magnsman@sph.com.sg!


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