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Impact 0031: Delivering free meals despite falling sales

Jason Chua · 22 July 2021
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Reader’s Note: 

This letter was written during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 as part of Dear Covid-19. Though some of the events and details in this letter may have changed since then, we hope to remember those in our community who stepped up when it mattered most. Continue to keep up with them on their social pages at @bengwhocooks.

Dear COVID-19,
It’s been almost a month since the start of the circuit breaker, just another few weeks left to go. I’m pretty sure nothing will go back to the way it used to be. 

I’m just a simpleton, a hawker, a 28-year-old boy located at the oldest hawker centre in Singapore, Hong Lim Food Market.

My life has taken quite a few tumbles here and there. Let’s talk business first. We used to be able to take home a modest income, not a lot, but good enough. With customers no longer allowed to dine in, business has reached a pathetic state. 

Instead of selling 50 bowls a day, now it’s sometimes just 15 bowls a day. But still, to be able to get out there and cook, I suppose I have it good.

And now my personal life. I miss going home to my wife and telling her about my day. We haven’t seen each other since the start of the circuit breaker. There’s nothing like the comfort of going home after a long day to the warmth of your beloved one. 

My wife used to be the one who would stop me from overworking. Now that she’s not beside me, who would? Definitely not my parents. 

Ever since you arrived, as personnel in the CBD area, we’ve seen how business has been affected. What do we worry about the most? We are afraid of one thing – failure. As a self-employed individual, a hawker and a chef. Once you fail, you lose everything and you have to start all over again – after you’ve put in so many years and your heart and soul into the business.  

But there’s good one thing about you: You’ve touched the hearts of many people.

Singaporeans are amazing. When troubles arise, we are able to put religion, race and language aside to overcome them.

Truthfully, I used to not see what the government does. Now it has proven to us that it has done everything it could and is still giving more to help us all survive. 

Once everything is over, I wish to go to the zoo with my wife, she loves animals.

I will put business text messages and everything else aside. I just want to see her and her smile.

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