Impact of COVID-19: Personalities and skillsets at home while in quarantine

Phases of faces

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Five weeks have passed since the circuit breaker kicked into full gear. It’s the longest since we’ve been holding out the stay-home streak, and most of us are naturally novices. Since then, Singaporeans have resorted to a myriad of methods to keep their sanities intact. Here are 20 of the most prominent personalities to have emerged from the throes of cabin fever. Some for the better, others for the worse. Let’s face it, you’ll probably recognise yourself in at least a few of these.

1. Avid Over-sharer

Life is hard. Privacy is overrated. Avid Over-sharers are digital natives, upholders of truth, fully integrated with virtual existence. Mavens of storytelling across multimedia disciplines, they navigate the social media sphere with effortless dexterity. No anecdote is too much; no detail too insignificant. Only the truth shall prevail.

2. Bubble Tea-holic

As bubble tea shops islandwide rolled down their shutters, Singaporeans trembled in collective trepidation. Amidst a sense of impending doom, knights in shining armour rose to the occasion, heroes among the masses. Nothing is going to wedge a distance between the people of Singapore and their national beverage, vow Bubble Tea-Holics, as they churn out lists of fixes and and pearl recipes to get us all through this emotionally trying time.

3. Certified Saint

From volunteering at charitable organisations to raising funds for vulnerable members of society, Certified Saints are knee-deep in the frontline trenches of humanity’s war against itself. In a bid to rescue us from our own toxicity, they sacrifice themselves for the greater good. No doubt, they are only human, but make no mistake: Certified Saints are better people than you (and I) ever will be.

4. Corporate (Zoom)bie

The 9-to-5 stops for no one, least of all when the clock strikes 5 in the evening. Kudos to the wonders of productivity tech (read: Zoom), corporate life has seamlessly transitioned into a virtual reality. Corporate (Zoom)bies no longer have an excuse to deny work calls, nor rest peacefully in their living spaces. Buried deep in their employment contracts, they discover in fine print: “Facetime is mandatory; makeup and pants optional.”

5. Creative Capitalist

Opportunists at heart, Creative Capitalists are adept at turning crises into possibilities. Been making stuff at home? Bam, you are now a home-based lifestyle brand. Been whipping up a storm in the kitchen? Wham, you are now a home-based food business. With a few clicks of fingers, a sprinkle of business acumen and a dash of marketing experience, Creative Capitalists are here to make all your mercenary dreams come true.

6. Deep-in-Denial

Everything is okay. Really. The Deep-in-Denial want you to know that they are perfectly fine, and everything is dandy, even if they haven’t washed their hair nor slept soundly in days. It’s just normal, they say, within the current frame of reference. And you believe them, of course. Because why wouldn’t it be?

7. Fitspo Evangelist

Exercise has been said to bear direct links with mental wellness. Nobody knows this to be truer than Fitspo Evangelists, who have for the sake of the nation’s health, birthed a carefully curated workout menu for these challenging times: a hundred push-ups for breakfast, an additional hundred burpees for lunch, a yoga break for tea, and then an outdoor run for dinner. Feel free to change it up, they say, but do not stop moving. I repeat. Do. Not. Stop. Moving.

8. Girl in Yoga Pants

A distant cousin to Fitspo Evangelists, the Girl in Yoga pants is always ready to mingle. On the yoga mat, that is. Or at the dining table. Or on the couch. Anywhere, really. You consider for a moment slipping out of your pyjama shorts and into those magic pants, too. Is that the secret to channeling radiance, you wonder? Do clothes make the woman? Before you know it, the sun has set, and you wonder what to eat for dinner instead.

9. Netflix Aficionado

Content connoisseurs with exquisite taste, Netflix Aficionados are the go-tos for the latest and greatest in couch culture. You can always count on them for live commentaries on the next big show they’re bingeing on, even though no one asked for it. But because they know better than you, and this is for your own good, you lap it all up and ask for more.

10. Newly-minted Domestic Goddess

She cooks. She bakes. She creates magic in the kitchen with two hands, a camera, and a stash of aesthetically-winning cutlery. She’s none other than the Newly-Minted Domestic Goddess, at your service, to inject envy into your non-existent culinary routine. Mesmerised, you hardly peel your eyes off her as she transforms ordinary ingredients into cuisine so divine you feel unworthy in its presence. Does it taste as good as it looks? We’ll never know.

11. Professional Snoozer

Time is a construct. Mondays are arbitrary. Professional Snoozers are renegades who march according to the beat of their own drums. Man-made conventions are meant to be broken, they insist, as they hit the snooze button for the 87th time and roll back under covers. As progressives wildly ahead of their time, they are determined to break all boundaries that govern human-designed fallacies such as ‘work-life balance’.

12. Recovering Wanderluster

Times are tough for the Recovering Wanderluster, whose poison of choice has recently been cut off at its source. Hurled cold turkey into rehabilitation, Recovering Wanderlusters are left with no option but to immerse themselves in their twelve-step programmes with a whole lot of patience. To cope with withdrawal symptoms, however, some have resorted to reminiscing the highs of past trips online — much to the ire of everyone else. Let’s keep them in our prayers.

13. The Happy Hermit

One man’s poison might just be another man’s meat. The Happy Hermit is accidentally reaping from this pandemic, now relinquished of social obligations. With messages left unread and an indefinite hiatus on Instagram Stories, it’s hard to know if your long lost friend is doing okay. Although we hate to break it to you, the closet introvert is doing swell with a quarantini in hand.

14. Self-Help Wizards

Venerable sages of time immemorial, Self-Help Wizards are maestros at self-soothing. Equipped with a photo album full of inspirational quotes, they possess the rare ability of being able to instantaneously conjure one for every occasion. They also have the uncanny talent to ascertain exactly how one is feeling through digital screens. Feeling down? A scroll through a Self-Help Wizard’s feed will provide you with the exact prescription of words you need to treat all your emotional ailments.

15. Social Deviant

These are outlaws living on the fringes of civilization. Mask-less free spirits. Social Deviants are sovereigns with self-ownership, belonging to no one but themselves. Social responsibility is an absurd act of individual oppression; safe distancing measures an unforgiveable violation of human rights. Conform to conventions all you want — that is your right — but do kindly respect their desire to remain above the law at all times, please and thank you.

16. Social Justice Warrior

It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s the Social Justice Warrior. Champions of the little man, Social Justice Warriors are unsung superheroes of the Republic of Instagram. No online citizen is undeserving of their rights; no cause is unworthy of their fights. As founding members of the Keyboard Justice League, they solemnly pledge to mete out justice with their fingers in the name of liberal enlightenment. Topmost on their agenda: widespread awareness of ‘woke’ as an adjective. Stay woke, my friends.

17. Stay-Home Celebrity

Unwilling to let circuit breaker measures cramp their fabulous lifestyles, life for the Stay-Home Celebrity remains impressively unchanged. With a fully glammed face, immaculately groomed tresses and stunning home couture, they go about their daily routines as usual. A picture on a yoga mat. A boomerang of playtime with their fur kid. And, just in case, a few throwbacks to lavishly glamorous days to refresh all our memories — lest we slip up and mistake them for being only human.

18. Starving Artist

There is nothing quite like the infinite depths of boredom to stoke the well of creativity that has been resting dormant in the chests of Starving Artists. The only group of people to truly thrive during the circuit breaker, Starving Artists find themselves more inspired than ever before, lapping up every delicious second of this mandated downtime to fuel their creative projects. They secretly cheered when circuit breaker measures were extended and are dreading the day they will once again be legally permitted to leave their houses for no good reason.

19. TikTok Influencer

A breed of beings invulnerable in these challenging times, TikTok Influencers truly understand the meaning of making lemonade out of lemons. Sometimes literally. They are anti-ageist advocates of democracy who strive to prove that no matter 5 or 50, just about anyone can be a TikTok Influencer. All you have to do is hit that beat and move those hips. Every click of the upload button holds the promise that you, too, can be an overnight viral sensation.

20. Wellness Guru

Peace. Love. Joy. These were the ingredients chosen to make the perfect Wellness Guru. Having dedicated their lives to healing past traumas and letting go of attachments, Wellness Gurus are now burdened with the immense undertaking of maintaining good vibes within amidst such stressful times. Inhale, they tell themselves, as they attempt to find stillness in a household filled with noise. Exhale, they tell themselves, convinced that this too shall pass. With hands to heart centre, they can’t help but feel doubt seep in: It will, though, right? Heads bowed, they regain composure. Right. Of course. Namaste.

About Melina Chua
A tiny individual with big ideas who survived eight years in the corporate world of media and music. Following a spectacular burnout and a restorative sabbatical, fueled by copious doses of courage, she is currently freelancing in an uncertain but hopeful reality. Her days are spent making wooden things at Studio MU YU, providing creative and marketing consultancy services, and embarking on explorations of meaning.