Photo credit: DYLAN ONG


This letter was written during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 as part of Dear Covid-19. Though some of the events and details in this letter may have changed since then, we hope to remember those in our community who stepped up when it mattered most.

Dear COVID-19,

With your imminent arrival, business dipped dangerously low for me and many of my friends in the industry. It seems like sounds of forks and spoons clanging on plates and the laughter of customers celebrating were but a distant memory.

When the circuit breaker terms were announced, I must admit I faced fears of not being able to support my family and my staff, and not being able to pay rent and bills due to the extremely low footfall in the restaurant. I did not want and could not let the people working together with me daily in the kitchen and restaurant lose their livelihoods.

The only thing that kept me sane was coming home to family; seeing the smiles from my newborn, laughter from my toddler, and having the support of my wife.

But it’s also because of you that we learn to adapt and conform to the new norm of online sales and creatively think out of the box. The will to survive, learn and even more to let the service and food be a blessing to people.

The service of Omotenashi that I hold dear can be done online, service is not just found in the restaurant itself. It’s true, we stumble and falter, but we pick ourselves up and move ahead. Staying ahead of our game and being true to ourselves.

Because of you, I get to rethink my business model and strategies moving forward. It’s not all bad really, there really is a silver lining in every dark cloud.

What you’ve taken from us, we’ve enlarged our tents further. There’s no stopping from the hustling and as the saying goes, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.

We can and will emerge stronger. Together with our masks, of course.

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