Fanty Soenrady packs a tight weekly routine. On most days, she’ll have breakfast with husband Douglas Ong, at various parts of Singapore, depending on what tickles their fancy. After which, it’s grocery shopping, whether at Huber Butchery for its fine meats or Geylang Serai wet market to pick up special spices and herbs. That’s not all. She also maintains a strict fitness schedule, working out four times a week. And to unwind she meets up with her friends regularly or attend soirees.
But with the COVID-19 outbreak, her routine has been put on pause. Always enthusiastic to pick up new skills, she is using the circuit breaker period to upgrade her culinary skills. Despite the pandemic, she is glad to spend more time with her two children, Louisa and Dillion, who are back from the US as their schools are shut down temporarily due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
You maintained a rather structured weekly schedule before the pandemic. How has your routine changed since the circuit breaker was enforced?
Now that I’m staying in 24 hours a day, my husband and I have breakfast at home instead of our usual haunts. Because I was also serving Stay Home Notice before the circuit breaker, I have had time to plan our family meals; I have been exploring different cooking styles. I spent time looking up on how to use Chinese herbs to brew healthy soups that balances our yin and yang. I believe in using herbs to rejuvenate and strengthen our body and mind. As I continue to experiment with new recipes, my family is now curious as to what will be on the table when dinner comes around. Food makes us happy so everyone is looking forward to new surprises everyday.
Besides cooking, I also made plans to upgrade and improve myself, organise my rooms, and enhance our living spaces. In fact, I removed all the books in my study room, had a good clean up, and rearranged the titles. At the same time, I also picked up books that appealed to me and selectively read chapters that I’m interested in.
Why did you have to serve Stay Home Notice?
I had just flown back from New York and Paris so I declared that to the authorities at Changi Airport, before serving my 14-day Stay Home Notice. Then the government implemented the circuit breaker measure.
Was it tough serving out your Stay Home Notice?
Initially I found it restrictive because I couldn’t go to the market, or even bring my dog to the vet. Because I was serving the Stay Home Notice, I had to rely on my husband and helpers to get whatever I needed in the house. After five days, I got used to it and started enjoying my time at home. My family and we really appreciate the bond we shared during this period. This was hard to for us to spend so much time together previously because we all had our own busy schedules.
During that period of time, my helpers took great care of my family and I. I’m really thankful for their efforts. I’m also blessed to have many good friends personally delivering delicious takeaways to my helpers in order to satiate my cravings. I really am very appreciative of what they did. Friends in need are friends indeed!
How is your family coping with the circuit breaker?
From the start, they were very relaxed about it. For the first time, Douglas need not worry about where I’m flying off to next. I love travelling and he’s a busy businessman who wishes that I stay in Singapore more often to accompany him.
My kids found some online exercise regimes for me to practice at home, and we now have our exercise schedule. We also started planning our diet too.
My two dogs also seem happier now that the entire family is home all the time. They are more cheerful and they sure have better appetites!
Any advice to Prestige readers on how to stay positive at this dire time?
Appreciate your quality time with your family. Look on the bright side — this is the perfect time to learn how to cook new dishes, or perhaps declutter and reorganise your home.
Despite the tough time right now, what are some bright moments you’ve noticed?
That people are standing united now and that we appreciate the efforts of others. In fact, I joined in the clapping movement to show my gratitude towards frontline healthcare workers!
More importantly, we don’t take our freedom for granted and everyone now sees the importance of personal hygiene — we are washing our hands more often.
What else keeps you going in a tough time like now?
My family. I love them.
What have discovered of yourself during this period?
First, life is unpredictable and life itself is a blessing. Second, health is our number one priority. Material and luxury indulgences are best enjoyed when we have peace of mind. Third, my family is my happiness and everything. When I was in Paris with Louisa during her spring break, Donald Trump announced on 12 March that that American borders will be closed to Europe from 13 March. I was supposed to fly to New York City on that day! The news came so suddenly and unexpectedly. Some people told me to fly straight back to Singapore but I was determined to fly to America with the sole purpose of flying home with my son, Dillon, who was in school there then. I didn’t enjoy myself in Paris because I was worried not knowing whether I could board the plane to New York or if I might be denied entry. However, my mind was clear about one thing: I must ensure the safety, health and well-being of my family. And I did it. I flew to New York and got my son back in Singapore before the influx of Singaporean students returning home.