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Tales of the pandemic: Evicted from Harvard, returning to Singapore



Singaporean Yong Han Poh has called Harvard University home for the past four years. But when the global pandemic hit, it all came to an abrupt end, with her forced to pack her life up and leave for good virtually overnight.


On March 10, a Tuesday morning, two days before my senior thesis was due, my roommate knocks loudly on my door when I am half asleep. «Han,» she says, half-crying as she enters my room. « Wake up, they’re cancelling Harvard ».
Someone has created an infographic that tracks the number of reported cases and deaths live; another government unit develops an app for contact tracing.
At the same time, my mother, who is overjoyed at me returning, cooks all my favourite dishes , joking about how her daily routine is already the quarantine life.
In between meals, I continue to scroll through listlessly on social media, watching people upload ab workout videos as I binge on matcha wafers. The world is on fire, but someone tells me to « take deep breaths and meditate ». I grudgingly comply, before remembering I have a class on Zoom in ten minutes.


Boredom is a small price to pay, and I am grateful to have shelter and food at hand. Others have not been so lucky: some Malaysians have had to sleep rough following a sudden lockdown; in California, the large homeless population has nowhere to self-isolate


This article was written by YONG HANPOH

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