Dear Covid-19: You made me realise the silver lining in these tough times

In his Dear COVID-19 letter, freelancer Zachary Van how he stayed positive despite losing job opportunities due to the outbreak.

Staff Writer

Published: 15 June 2020, 1:37 PM

Dear Covid-19 is a memory project by the National Youth Council (NYC) in partnership with DSTNCT, to shed light on everyday life when Singapore came to a standstill as everyone stayed home.

This is a collection of letters to COVID-19 from young Singaporeans from all walks of life, each going through their own struggles and/or victories. The following story was submitted by Zachary Van Der Ven, a freelancer, on May 20, 2020:

“Dear COVID-19, To be honest, I underestimated your force the moment you first showed up. I thought people were gravitating towards the drama as to how I would gravitate toward Kim and Kourtney punching each other on national television; finding something to magnify other than the mundane. And now here we are, actually magnifying you in the midst of our mundane.

It’s pretty unfair how as soon as I found myself during my quarter life crisis, you’ve cooped me up as if to tell me to stay lost. I was supposed to get a job in a studio or an agency and I was excited about sending out applications. All this while meeting up with creative directors for guidance towards breaking into this new world I was supposed to submerge my feet in, but instead you crashed into mine.

You put up boundary tapes and signs saying I couldn’t sit with my neighbour. You told me the job market is non-existent and that businesses are closing down. You took away a sum of peoples’ income and you took away jobs. You took away lives and I hate you so much for that because the news has slowly made us desensitised to commas and digits.

But I have to see the silver lining in all these — I just have to — because you didn’t take away my choice.



You didn’t take away my hope, in fact you pronounced it.

You didn’t take away my strength, in fact you lost to it.

You didn’t take away my love, in fact you made me realise it.

You made me realise that connection is what we all long for at the end of the day, and that what we really want is happy conversations over a very nice meal.

You made me realise that foreign workers need more care, and that some homes aren’t all that safe.

You made me realise that exercising is necessary, and that rest is as important.

You made me realise that perhaps I needed more time to hone my craft, and that things could be better.

You made me realise that people are generous, and that we are in fact stronger together. All this time you thought we were magnifying you in our mundane, but you’ve only magnified us in our mundane.

So, sure your force is great. But I think our force as humanity is greater.”

If you would like to contribute your stories, click here.

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