SINGAPORE – Who says you cannot have fun during the circuit breaker period?

Karaoke and game nights, wine and cheese sessions, and playing dress-up are some of the activities that housewife Wee Leng Leng and her friends have been doing during their weekly three-hour Zoom meet-ups.

The group – made up of eight families who have known each other for more than 10 years – have celebrated three birthdays this month.

For one party, they ordered drinks and cheese from Atlas, the No. 5 bar on Asia’s 50 Best Bars list.

Ms Wee, who is in her late 40s, says: “One time, we put on tiaras, feather boas and hats. The conversation was all about how this was the first time we were using our hairdryers since circuit breaker started and how our make-up was turning mouldy.

“There was no fashion faux pas, no such thing as being overdressed. We went crazy.”

Interestingly, the group now spends more time “together”.

Ms Wee says: “With eight families, planning physical gatherings can be a challenge. There’s no excuse now, you can’t say you’re tired or that you have to go home early.”

With social meet-ups prohibited because of circuit breaker measures, many are catching up on video communication platforms such as Zoom and Google Meet, as well as social networking app Houseparty.


On some mornings during Ramadan, Mr Benjamin Leow would partake in a sahur meal with Muslim friends from a board-game community. PHOTO: COURTESY OF BENJAMIN LEOW

On some mornings during Ramadan, Mr Benjamin Leow, who runs board-game community #laiplayleow and hosts nightly game sessions on Zoom, and a few of his friends, would partake in a sahur meal with their Muslim friends from the board-game community.

They were up at 4.30am and Mr Leow’s Muslim friends showed how they prepared their meal, which is consumed by Muslims in the early morning before they start fasting.

Mr Leow says: “We would follow their recipes and eat together. Our Muslim friend from the United Kingdom also showed us how to cook steak and fries using an air fryer.”

To end the month on a high note, Mr Leow is organising a drinks and cooking session today (May 30) on Zoom for his fellow players, who are free to invite their own friends as well.

He says: “When we were so connected, we were actually quite disconnected. Now, we are more connected. I’ve reconnected with friends I haven’t spoken to in a while.”

Daily Zoom dinners with the family have also become the new norm for communications director Leanne Sim, 36, who has two children aged four and seven.

This started on April 7 when Singapore entered the circuit breaker period, during which gatherings with family or friends who do not live together are not allowed.

Ms Sim says: “My parents are very attached to my children and have withdrawal symptoms from not seeing them. My children also miss them and will remind me to call them.”

Her parents live with her 93-year-old grandmother, who has to be reminded daily about the coronavirus and why her great-grandchildren have not visited.

“Sometimes she’s falling asleep at the dining table, but when we call, she will perk up immediately and you can see how happy she is,” Ms Sim says.

Besides eating together, the video calls have also become a show-and-tell for the children, as well as a stage for dance parties and mini concerts.

Visits to parents or grandparents will be allowed from next Tuesday(June 2), capped at two visitors from the same household.

“I envision my parents counting down the hours till my kids can enter their house,” Ms Sim says with a chuckle.

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