WE have been living with the pandemic for more than a year. That’s a long time to be in a state of disruption.
People generally don’t like change. Especially when it’s thrust upon them. Suddenly.
So, the reaction to the pandemic’s harsh measures to contain the spread has deprived many of their usual routines.
Many travel plans were shelved indefinitely. Business start-ups were left hanging. The screen was your main interface with the outside world (more so than before).
For the younger group who would have spent this time interacting with each other, playing sport, watching concerts, organising events, studying in groups, going to classes, going out on dates, or looking for jobs, this pandemic year+ would have left a gap in the process of social development and growing up.
What are the longer term implications of this lost time — lost interactions, being confined to a fixed space, unable to socialise, living behind a mask?
“For young people with little life experience to fall back on, the fear of uncertainty is going to dominate their minds and occupy their feelings,” says Shyla Colley, a Senior Psychotherapist at Therapy Rocks. A Singaporean residing in the US, she adds that “this could impact their problem solving capacity”.
The disruptive nature of the pandemic has upset the rhythm of many households.
Abdul Thaslim was due to start his job in the oil and gas industry after his National Service. “Due to restrictions I have been waiting an additional six months to join the company,” he says.
Thaslim was on a scholarship bond and was hoping to start work to supplement the family’s income. “Looking for a full-time job is difficult, so meanwhile I have to take up temporary jobs,” he adds.
Javith Absar is studying facilities management at ITE West and has found home-based learning challenging.
“The shift to the online study platform has been confusing for me. I have difficulty trying to follow the lecturer’s explanations.
“After the online class I have to work part time. So I try and catch up with my studies at night,” Javith explains.
Jayesh Melvani, a singer/songwriter and law undergraduate looks back on the pandemic regulations and reckons “it’s significantly hindered my ability to travel, meet friends and experience life in my 20s”.
Shabrina Khairunnisa is in a different predicament. The Arts Management fresh graduate from the Univerity of Essex has been unable to go home to Jakarta since the pandemic broke out.
“This pandemic has kept me away from my family, which affects my mental and physical well-being.”
She has also been unable to find work here to tide over the challenging times. “During these unprecedented times, companies are reluctant to hire foreigners because work visas are harder to apply for.”
Women have been disproportiantely affected by the pandemic, says Fannie Lim, Executive Director of Daughters Of Tomorrow, a local charity that enables livelihoods for underprivileged women in Singapore.
“Women predominantly work in industries more severely impacted by the effects of the virus, and they have to take on more eldercare and childcare responsibilities.
“Livelihoods and mental health are some of the key areas of concern for our beneficiaries. The main areas of distress also included the need for food rations, psychological challenges with extreme anxiety, worries, fear and/or sadness,” Fannie explains.
This Wednesday’s WED WEB CHAT — Youth Disrupted draws upon the experiences of our 6 panellists during these months of restrictions.
If you have youths who are challenged by the times, or want to find out more about the situation, do join the session to ask questions, voice your opinions or get some practical advice from the experts.
Register for this free webinar via this link: https://zurl.co/XbDa