My child was warded during the peak of the COVID-19 period for her bilateral nephrectomy. It was nearing the end of my minimum service term for my previous career, and I thought about my next career move. At the same time, due to COVID, some returned to their home country for fear of a lockdown. No one knows how bad this will turn out, or for how long as countries after countries started to shut down their borders. My classmate who was on exchange flew back, cutting short her semester on short notice. She had to give away her fridge and mattress as she couldn’t sell them in time. It was a period of mayhem. But there were also extended periods when I had to be beside my kid in ICU, just being there with her. It gave me some time to think.
Many took care of her. From what I assume, a number of them are foreigners. Be it by choice or not, I am glad to have their presence. It led me to ponder – What if we do not produce enough medical professionals in Singapore and something like this hits? Will everyone returning to their home cause issues for us?
Not long before that, the private hire industry was making a lot of money. Some left their jobs to chase where the money was. It makes me wonder – If everyone were to pursue where the money is, and something like COVID hits, would we be able to survive? Imagine that we are rich in oil. Our government invests heavily to build up the oil industries because it makes us a lot of money. And we will not face any problems because, with that money, we can attract all the talents we need for our country to run – Health care, education, military, etc. It works fine in peacetime. But perhaps not when a crisis hits.
Today, I shared with my colleagues the story I read some time ago. It was a story of a world where wealthy families were slowly becoming unproductive, incapable, and lazy. Soon they lose the ability to do many things themselves. It made those working for them wonder – Why are we still serving them when we can simply overpower them? After all, the guns are in our hands.
Singapore must not forget that for us to survive, especially as a small state, there are core competencies that we need to retain. COVID is just a gentle reminder. Maybe a better term is Total Defence. Every component is essential.
It is often those who have struggled who remember the lesson and the pain deeply. As I go through the photos taken during the time we spent at the hospital, I am reminded once again of why we cannot take certain things for granted. Because of how painful it was, we keep repeating it until it sounds bothersome. But as Winston Churchill wrote – Those who failed to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Singapore is a glass ball that may shatter once we drop it.
#defence #education #healthcare #singapore #totaldefence