SINGAPORE – The serious nature of the virus hit home hard for student Loh Miao Xin after she learned that her mother was about to lose her job.
Ms Loh’s mother works at a Thai hawker stall in Tampines that will close permanently at the end of the month due to poor business.
The news has rocked the family, who live in a one-room Housing Board flat in Bedok.
“I was just shocked. Before that I didn’t really think the coronavirus was a serious thing, I didn’t know it would come to the point where it would affect my whole family,” said Ms Loh, a 17-year old first-year polytechnic student taking a common engineering programme.
Her brother Khim San, 12, is a Secondary 1 student now doing home-based learning. Their parents are divorced.
Ms Loh is now searching for part-time work as well as a new job for her mother.
She had been working as a waitress at banquet events but that stream of income dried up as events were cancelled.
She has also given the cash she gets from The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (STSPMF) to her mother to help with household expenses or in case of emergencies.
“The pocket money now is not important to me, I’m not going to school or going out,” said Ms Loh.
Before the Covid-19 outbreak hit, the money from the fund helped to pay for Ezlink card top-ups so she would not have to worry about asking her mother for cash, said Ms Loh.
“I’m worried now that after my mum loses her job we won’t be able to pay our bills and she cannot find another job since most people are not hiring,” said Ms Loh.
In the meantime, she continues to help out around the house, doing laundry, cleaning the flat and taking care of her brother.
She is also doing some study ahead of the beginning of the school term on April 20.
Ms Loh said the collaboration between music veteran Clement Chow and The Straits Times to produce a music video encouraging people to stay at home, while raising money for those hurting because of Covid-19, is a good idea.
The song parodies Mr Chow’s beloved piece Count on Me, Singapore, changing it to Stay at Home, Singapore. The song campaign also hopes to encourage Singaporeans to donate to the STSPMF and the Business Times Budding Artists Fund.
“I think it’s good because it will raise awareness about these funds and help the people who need help,” Ms Loh added.
“Also since it is funny it will definitely catch people’s attention.”
To donate to the campaign, go to the campaign on the Giving.sg website. All donations will be eligible for 2.5 times tax deduction.