COVID-19: Vacating campus in a moment’s notice

Pictures: The days of exodus

Timeline of events

  1. Friday (3/4/20) 4 pm: PM announced that Singapore will go into a “circuit-breaker” mode due to COVID-19, where local unlinked cases had been on the rise.
  2. Saturday (4/4/20) 12.28 pm: College Pres sends an email out informing us of the outcome of the discussions with the multi-ministry taskforce and the measures to be taken up. “It is with a heavy heart that I share our campus will be closed by Wednesday 8 April… Students will need to start vacating our campus from tomorrow 5 April.”
  3. Sunday (5/4/20) 4 pm: We hired a van to transfer our shared fridge to JZ’s house, and cleared the common area items.
  4. Monday (6/4/20) 8 am: I write my farewell letters to my friends. Who knows when we’ll be able to meet again, especially with so many people leaving for overseas. I found some closure in the evening after chatting with friends.
  5. Tuesday (7/4/20): Singapore officially enters into the circuit-breaker state and I finally transfer all my dorm room things back to my house.
  6. Wednesday (8/4/20): The environment does affect my ability to be productive. The things that once used to be important in school now seemed less important. The noisiness of being in such a busy school environment was replaced by the tranquility of home once more. Boy, this is going to be hard maintaining a separation between what’s “work” and what’s “rest”.


Firstly, let me say that I’m very thankful that we managed to make it so far into the semester (Week 12 now), despite a global pandemic raging through economies, communities and families.

Secondly, it pains me to be leaving so abruptly this semester because I felt like I had been experiencing a spiritual reawakening cajoled by a senior who was graduating this year. It’s hard going back out into the rough world where people aren’t as open-minded and earnest as the ones we meet on campus.

Thirdly, there is a great deal of suffering ongoing in this world. My suitemate sent me a link to this story in Bangladesh about how one family lost their mother due to a confluence of human, governmental, and resource deficiency issues. Someone asked if I were in the dad’s position, would I want my kids to pull the plug and just let me go so that they can live a happier live? My values say no, for we all have an equal right to life, but the rational mind in me also wonders what’s the point in staying alive if it brings pain and suffering to those around me? Well, it’s hard to extrapolate my emotions upon their family’s lives, as there are many historical and emotional complexities around kinship and life.

Perhaps, the sacrifice of a family for a parent is worth it because that’s the meaning of true filial piety and joy which cannot be bought.

They talk more about how COVID-19 has affected their lives in this Facebook post, so do read it to get a better picture of what’s happened. Here’s the link to the GoFundMe page if you’d like to help them out.

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