We all hate COVID; you probably do not even want to see the 5 letters in work or life.
However, COVID indeed accelerates trends which will have more positive impacts to the world if we use them wisely, digitalization as an example and cell analysis as another.
If those changes are far-away to your day-to-day, there is one trend which you may not notice, and which significantly impacts our personal life: new spring for “local community”.
To some extent, life is about finding something looking forward to and enjoying our life facing uncertainty. With or without pandemic, the rule applies. When border is closed and travel is not possible, one’s life is re-directed to something “local”. In pandemic, to live a meaningful “local” life can give us a sense of belonging and something to hold on to.
My motto since last year is Be Local Buy Local.
Be Local is to build authentic connections with people around you: families, relatives, friends, colleagues, neighbours and communities. Eventually it’s authentic relationship that fulfills life.
Before pandemic, you may look forward to an oversea travel. What else to do with that being removed? How about visiting friends and invite friends coming to your house. Time for drinks, chatting and games are great for social bonding. By the same token, one important aspect of office life is water-cooler chat and lunch catch-up. With working from home, how about inviting your neighbor for tea break or volunteering for neighborhood community.
As long as we keep our meet-up aligned with social gathering rules, we can get something to look forward to; the bonding movements for sure will deepen our relationship and strengthen our social supporting network.
You may argue digital tools make virtual connections possible. My answer is, yes but it has limit. For majority of us, to see is to believe; having only virtual relationship is still unbelievable. Digital allows us to maintain long-distance relationships; but it, by no means, can replace real-world relationships.
Buy Local is to broaden your options in deciding what to eat and what to wear: your decision may directly impact the life of another person you pass by the other day.
If you recall in March last year, a lot of us were searching for masks like crazy. Local garment merchandise started to make masks in days or weeks; they have beautiful designs and their mask are constantly out of stock; the mask sales also boost their core business, batik cloth, scarves, wrist wraps. However, it took months for fashion MNC to put their mask into market when mask shortage is not a concern at all; or even worse, Esprit closed all of its Asian stores except Mainland China.
When border is closed and trading is blocked, who is serving us, local merchandise. For local business, the scale is smaller and supply chain out-reach is shorter, they could be more resilient to adapt to market demands and resouce availability.
To be fair, I am not saying MNC is not good; rather, I strongly believe scalability matters and international trading is essential for global productivity; especially, global trade is the bread-and-butter for city state like Singapore. But the situation here in Singapore is that we are so getting used to shopping famous big brands and sometimes they become our “only” options in purchasing. Therefore, we should broaden our options when making purchasing decision. For every $1 to spend, think about how it can boost the local economies more directly, because eventually you are part of it.
If you do not know where to start, I list some of my personal favorites in the end, for your reference.
When you get bored with island life, try “Be Local, Buy Local”. I am sure you will get satisficed. 😊
South East Asia was a leader in cutting-edge cotton fabric production centuries back. Its batik (wax-resist dyeing) had exported to far-flung countries in Africa. I really appreciate the fact Yeomama Batik takes the effort to educate consumers about how batik is made and why craftsmanship matters; and I enjoy reading every article on their website. Their prints are so popular that sometimes they get sold-out in hours.
Binary style was founded by two sister designers and is specialized in conversational prints – the prints are to have conversation with you for local things, Singapore River, China Town, Coral, etc. It gives a huge range of scarf with different materials, silk, cotton, or combination. You may find something as a gift for yourself or friends!
The ice-cream and cookies company
Try their local flavor – Bubble Tea and Chendol. Working from home allow me to treat myself every day with sweet I love! My personal favorite is Dark Chocolate, it’s vegan and dairy-fee. It gives rich chocolate taste with much lower calories.
They have tasted egg-free cookies, good for CNY celebration and also good for your tea-time catch up with your neighbor and friends. My favorites are Heavenly Dark Chocolate and Golden pebble.