Singapore—A woman who made it through the mandatory Stay Home Notice (SHN) imposed upon travellers to Singapore said that keeping the right mindset is vital for surviving the experience.
Now, we’re aware that this is a ‘first-world problem’ and that staying in a hotel in Singapore can hardly be considered an ordeal for many people across the globe.
But everything, as they say, is relative.
The isolation, enforced lockdown, loneliness, monotony, boredom and other issues that arise can be very real for those who undergo quarantine, and we can imagine that survival tips are quite welcome.
The number of people who have flouted SHN rules, including the British man who snuck off with his Singaporean fiancee in the middle of the night to hook up, perhaps attest to the difficulties of enforced confinement.
Writing for insider.com Ms Lina Batarags narrated her experience when she arrived in Singapore early in January. She flew in from the US “to launch a new bureau for Insider,” a worldwide news site.
For Ms Batarags, the most challenging part of the journey is the SHN. First of all, unlike in other countries, a person has no control over which hotel they will be assigned to, and for travellers, this is somewhat of a game of luck.
Some have raved over the 5-star hotels and excellent views, others have complained over insect infestations.
Ms Batarags did not say where she served her SHN, only mentioning that her hotel was “in the upscale neighborhood of Newton.”
There, she and her fellow travellers were told that they needed to stay in their rooms for 14 days, and would only be allowed to leave on day 10, to get a PCR test, either at the lobby or at another site.
She ended up in what she described as a small room, with a large window on one wall that overlooked the city. However, no balcony, and the fact that the windows did not open meant she could have no fresh air.
Regarding meals, Ms Batarags said these were inconsistent. At first, she had chosen the Asian menu option, which meant a lot of rice, bok choy and fish, and after a week she switched to the “Western” option and received “many croissants and many, many potatoes.”
However, food could be ordered in, and she had a small fridge where she could keep it fresh.
She barely saw any hotel staff as her meals were left in a bag by the doorknob and trash was collected the same way.
After a while, Ms Batarags got into the right mindset for keeping sane, which she called the “low power mode.”
“When your phone is on low power mode, you can still do things like text, browse the web, and make phone calls, but certain core functions are disabled, and the display brightness is reduced.”
She explained this further as “I basically turned the pace of my core functions, if you will, down.”
From her busy life in New York, where she lived “to the max” she made a shift to low power.
“I now intentionally kept my energy, my emotions, my excitement over having finally arrived in Singapore, and, importantly, my expectations of myself over the coming days, simmering on low.”
However, this did not make time fly by any faster.
Ms Batarags added that she did two things that helped make her days more purposeful and bearable: establishing a daily routine and exercising, using the tiny hallway she had to do YouTube workouts.
At the end of her quarantine, and upon receipt of her negative PCR test, the hotel gave her a congratulatory card and a bag of chocolates.
At the very end of her piece, she said the experience had been worth it. “But the real takeaway for me…is that 14 days in a hotel room is a small price to pay in exchange for the relative normalcy that can currently be found in Singapore, which is mostly COVID-free.”
For those who are going to be serving an SHN in Singapore, there is also a helpful and marvelously supportive group on Facebook full of tips and tricks to make the most of your quarantine.
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