Alumni Voice


“My world in Covid-19”

Kieran Jed Lai Jie Foong

Graduated from high school and waiting for university applications

This Covid-19 pandemic was well out of anyone’s expectations for 2020, it put the world in lockdown and impacted everyone in unprecedented ways. If I were told back in February 2020 that everywhere and everything was going to shut down, I would have laughed in disbelief. However, here we are today and our lives will never be the same again.

Initially, there was a mix of emotions for me; I was excited that school was closed for what I thought would only be a few weeks, let alone many months, but together with that feeling of excitement, I was also enveloped by a sensation of fear; how was it going to go and what would happen to my studies? Little did I know this pandemic would become the new norm. In the first few weeks of quarantine, everything came to a standstill, no one really knew what to do and what was coming for us. After a while, it became evident that we would have to work our lives around the quarantine. With that, I began online classes for school, as well as going to school only once a week just to pick up my home-based learning package. In all honesty, shifting from physical school to online school was tough for me. I struggled greatly with focusing during class and understanding what my teacher was teaching.

Although things seemed difficult, having technology really helped with staying connected with everyone around me. Being able to stay in contact with my friends and family, although apart, definitely helped me to cope with everything that went on. Social media also allowed me to get a grip on reality with each passing day being stuck at home. From there, I found myself trying new things and finding new hobbies! I spent many hours in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes I found online. Other than that, I also found a new interest in sewing which I would not have otherwise. Through this experience, some good and some unfortunate, there was a lot that I learnt about myself and the world around me. I learnt how to manage my time between school and other activities, as well as tackling issues I had faced in studying. I managed to gain some new perspectives from lockdown. The quarantine also proved to me that no matter what happens, my friends will always be my support system. Additionally, I was given a sense of certainty that in these trying times, my teachers stopped at nothing in order to provide me with the education that I required, which increased my appreciation for teachers, who sacrificed their own time at home to learn and manage online teaching.

To look on the bright side of the pandemic, I’m given hope because I’m given the chance to witness how people who don’t know each other can come together to fight for a common cause, such as volunteering efforts that are being organised in my country orchestrated by the citizens as well as the government in order to aid the underprivileged who are severely affected by Covid-19. Other than just within my country, I also got to see the strengthening of inter-country bonds when different countries joined forces and provided help to each other when needed, such as in terms of food and financial aid. My country has also been very active in its efforts to support other countries in need.

I am very privileged to say that my country handled the situation effectively and competently. Within a few months the number of cases of people infected by the virus began to decrease, and at the end of it Brunei was no longer plagued by Covid-19. Thanks to the government, quick action was taken towards preventing further spread of the virus within the country. For example, when the first case of Covid-19 was reported, all schools and mosques were immediately shut down. Moreover, all flights coming in and out of Brunei were cancelled and there was strict border control. I hope that Brunei, as well as the few other countries in the world which are free of the virus can be taken as an example of how we can overcome this global issue together. After this pandemic is over, I expect nations to have refined action plans which can effectively prevent disasters before they can even occur. I expect discussions between different government bodies on how to proceed post-virus, such as how they can improve in the event of another pandemic by learning from experience. I want to live in a society which is proactive and cooperative when faced with challenges, no matter the severity.

I learnt many things during my trip to Japan for the TYCA program, many of which I think are applicable in creating a better world after Covid-19. The main takeaway that I had during the program is that no matter how big an issue is, as long as there is cooperation between countries to face it, a solution will emerge. It is no one country’s responsibility to fix a problem which affects the globe. In addition, globally we are at the peak of technology and technological advancements. I hope that with new discoveries, we can use them towards creating a better future for the next generation and many generations to come.







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