What can you send a loved one to make his or her quarantine stay easier? Here are some ideas, courtesy of Tatler Singapore’s friends who have gone through it
While the majority of us in Singapore are putting travel on hold during the still-ongoing pandemic, some of us have pressing reasons—whether it be due to business or family—to make going overseas at such a time a necessity. At the same time, there are also Singaporeans who have been living overseas and are making a return to their home country.
No matter which it is, serving a Stay-Home Notice (or SHN) on their arrival back in Singapore is, of course, mandatory. To those of us who have not gone through it, spending 14 days in a designated facility seems easy enough to accomplish for the sake of the welfare of the country. Most of these returning travellers felt the same about it, even if restlessness may inevitably set in at some point during their quarantine.
Others even found that the SHN offered them an unexpected break from their usual hectic daily routines. Author Paige Parker, who visited her ageing parents in the United States with her family, is one of them.
“We did not find the 14 days intolerable. By Day 8, admittedly, I was pretty much ready to get out, but the experience was serious mind over matter. I genuinely enjoyed having the luxury of time, with no distractions. Daily, I woke early to meditate, then exercised in the room using Alo Moves, worked on my new podcast, did a fair amount of writing, read books, took a few bubble baths, created a few TikToks, did my first Instagram Live session with Sara Taseer of Sara Taseer Fine Jewelry, and dined with my daughters. In fact, SHN was a bit of a respite,” she shared.
Doctor and entrepreneur Elaine Kim, who had to visit her in-laws in South Korea, found that serving the SHN on her return also gave her an opportunity to spend quality time with her husband and three children.
Still, their stay would not have been as comfortable if not for the gifts that were sent their way by loving family and friends during their quarantine. These were, of course, delivered to their door via the staff at the SHN facility. What’s more important, though, is the thought that came with these items—everyone we spoke to, who had served the SHN, said that the gifts, no matter small or big, brought them joy and cheer. Here are some of the most thoughtful and useful items they received.
A scented candle is always among the first things that most people would think of sending a friend or relative who’s serving his or her SHN in a hotel room. Naturally, since lighting it will immediately bring cosiness to the room, hopefully, make it a touch more homely and help lift the occupant’s mood.
For craft artist Dora Aljoofri, who lives overseas and has recently made a trip to Singapore to visit her parents, flowers were definitely the most thoughtful (and a much-needed) gift she received. “I think fresh flowers should be top on the list of things to send to people in SHN. Not only did they brighten up the space, most importantly, they really made me feel like I was breathing in fresh air. Smelling the flowers immediately boosted my mood. I found myself sniffing the blooms every few minutes because that made me feel like I was in a garden,” she said.
Paige Parker agrees. “Tjin Lee sent us two orchid arrangements, one for each room (my daughters were in a connecting room), which added joy to our stay. And, yes, we brought them home and they are still bringing us joy,” she shared.
While meals were supplied daily to everyone serving their SHN in a dedicated facility, any additional edibles that were sent their way were definitely appreciated. Desserts seemed to be a popular choice among both gifters and giftees.
Aljoofri was sent plenty of food by both friends and family—mainly desserts and kueh-kueh because she requested for them. Kim had plenty of chocolate cake to tuck into—more than enough for her three sons too. “We received loads of food, but the best meal had to be from Loh Lik Peng on Day 9 of our stay—juicy Wagyu burgers from Basque Kitchen. Absolutely scrumptious!” shared Parker.
In addition to snacks and food, a tool that heats up meals makes quite an ingenious gift too. “I think it’s really personal, but one thing I found essential is a heated lunch box that I used to easily warm up food that my mum sent over. As there are no microwaves in most hotel rooms, warming up the meals provided by the hotel makes a huge difference. I can’t imagine eating cold food for two weeks, three times a day. Having a nice, warm meal also helps reduce food wastage,” says Aljoofri. She also appreciated having the sambal (sent by her family to her) with the provided meals, as it made the food much more appetising.
Those who are serving their SHN together with young children have additional needs, naturally. Keeping the kids entertained is a concern, especially when the parents had to work while sharing the same space with them.
Kim received plenty of educational toys and learning kits for her three sons, such as Lego sets, puzzles and robot-building kits, which kept the boys occupied for hours on end. She was also glad to have received hot-weather-appropriate clothes for herself and her family, as they had returned from Korea with their suitcases full of just winter wear.
Exercise is ever more important in keeping one’s mood up when cooped up in a hotel room. Since going to the gym is, of course, not possible, having some portable equipment for in-room workouts really helps. Parker received items including a yoga mat, weights and resistance bands, which she used daily during her stay and are still being used at home now.
As lovely as receiving physical gifts is during an SHN stay, sometimes, the best present is simply being able to hear a familiar voice and see a familiar face. “I had a video call scheduled with different people (family and friends) at least once a day and found that really helped me get through the SHN. It’s nice to be able to talk to someone and stay connected. It also helps time pass really quickly. So if you know someone who is serving their SHN notice at the moment, give them a call. It is one of the best gifts to receive during quarantine!” said Aljoofri.