Singapore Diaries: Where’s the silver lining – or am I too privileged to see it?

// Read in German

Are we even allowed to complain when we apparently have it so good?

We moved abroad intending to explore the world. And we left our hometown with the mindset that we would only be one flight away. With the global pandemic and borders being closed in Singapore, this feeling has changed drastically. Instead of traveling, we find ourselves stuck in a city-state that is smaller than the city we grew up in. Meanwhile, hopes to see our family and friends this year at all are up in the clouds. Speaking of clouds, I am usually the person who always finds the silver lining, no matter how dark the cloud appears. But with actual news on traveling that may not be possible this year at all, I have tough times in doing so, honestly.

This makes the experience of living abroad different, as the distance feels more real. And by telling you we initially didn’t move to Singapore in awe of the country but because we thought it’s a great travel hub, you may understand our situation has changed a lot, and we are frankly not sure whether we like it. In the next couple of weeks, we may or may not fall in love with Singapore. And after that, we can decide whether the city is worth it being stuck in, or not.

That said, I am well aware that there are people that face tougher times than I do, not only currently. That’s why I am usually very cautiously with my complaints. Especially since living abroad, I realize more than ever that people are facing more significant danger, hunger, fear, health issues, and others. That comes with reading international newspapers but also meeting people from all over the world that tell me about the situation in their hometown. Just recently, a friend from Peru told me that where she is from, people live with a “day to day” mentality. This means that now with the global pandemic and imposed lockdowns, people are not facing the question when they will be able to travel again but whether they can afford food on the next day.

When I hear those kinds of stories, I feel bad complaining about our situation. Because after all, it could have been worse for us. We live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world with an excellent health and medical system, and have great grocery supply. Hence, we’re in a very privileged situation.

Anyway, I am not the kind of person who compares with others, neither better, not worse situation. I am a believer in “you do you”, and I, for instance, can proudly claim that I have worked for all that I have achieved. Does such a saying make me look even more privileged? Maybe. But am I not allowed to speak my mind and express my feelings when I am unhappy, just because I am supposedly still better off than others?

Can you relate to this? Do you have multiple conflicting emotions with the pandemic and its restrictions too?


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