2021 could be worse

At the end of 2020, when the first vaccines were given in Singapore, hopes were high, and I started a draft blog with the above title. It was meant as a caution; don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched, that sort of thing.

The year started well enough and as I mentioned in other posts, things were looking up and traffic jams were back.

Well last week everything started to change. A nurse in one of our major hospitals was diagnosed with Covid. She had aleady been vaccinated in Jan and Feb but she developed a fever and a sore throat.

To date we have found several positive patients in her ward and one 88 year-old lady has passed away. Testing the entire hospital staff and patients have detected 40 others. Most worryingly, one is a porter and one is a physiotherapist. These are staff who go just about everywhere in the hospital.

There were other clusters in the community too, all detected in the same week! Most worrying in term’s of potential for spread are an airport immigration officer, a 15 year-old schoolgirl, a hairdresser and a spa worker. So far these clusters have less than 10 people each.

Last night, after several days of watching the numbers rise, the government announced a rollback of measures and increased social distancing rules. So we’re back to work from home if possible and smaller and fewer gatherings.

We’ve also been warned that if necessary a lockdown could be imposed. With over 20% of the population vaccinated, we should not have as many deaths and large clusters. Unfortunately the vaccine could have caused complacency, and there are still large numbers of vulnerable who have not been vaccinated.

So yes 2021 could be worse, but I hope not.

Glass Art

Some time ago, a friend who visited Seattle shared pictures he took of Dale Chihuly’s glass sculptures. They were so vivid, wild, huge and just beautiful. I just had to see them in person, but Seattle is so far away and it seemed unlikely. Anyway, I put it on my bucket list. I imagined that if some day I happened to be in the neighbourhood, I’d swing by for a day or two.

Well, I don’t have to go there now, because the art has come here! They’ve been flown over in boxes, unpacked and assembled by a team of artists. The art is installed all over the Gardens by the Bay here in Singapore.

The above snapshot is a preview I caught at the Cloud Forest dome. I’m looking forward to going back a few times to catch all of it!

Retirement Age

I’ve been wondering when I should retire.

If I wait for retirement age, there are several years more to go. The legal retirement age is 62 and re-employment must be offered until 67 years of age. Next year these will be raised to 63 and 68 respectively.

What this means is that we can keep our jobs until we are 63 years of age, and our employer must offer continued employment via contracts until we are 68 years old, unless there are strong reasons not to do so.

One good reason for “retiring” early is to have enough time and energy to pursue my passions. There are a number of reasons to keep on working though: continued income, continued social engagement, continued brain stimulation.

The loss of income from retiring early would mean having to seriously cut spending. That leaves less money to pursue my passions!

So it is tough to decide. For me, quitting full-time work is likely to be a one way street, because once I quit I think I will be unlikely to go back to the same type of full-time work. Hence taking a sabbatical or a short term break is quite risky.

Meanwhile I am planning what stepping away slightly might look like, for example, what would a suitable part-time role be? And then plant some seeds in that direction and set some wheels turning…