52-year-old Kamala (pictured third from left), a healthcare assistant from Mount Elizabeth Hospital, is among the 250 Singapore Operations staff residing in Malaysia affected by Malaysia’s lockdown.
When news broke on 16 March that Malaysia would close its borders after midnight the following day, Kamala was filled with worries about her two daughters back home and uncertainty over how she was going to survive in Singapore without a place to stay. All she knew was that she would ‘be back for her patients, no matter what.’
Straight after her shift ended the next morning, she rushed across the Causeway back to her home in Malaysia to bring her sick daughter to the clinic and quickly settled some personal matters. When it was time for her to head back to Singapore, she had to brave the massive jam at the border checkpoint to eventually reach the hospital in time to start her night shift, barely three hours before the lockdown took effect.
“I told my boss I don't mind sleeping in the ward or in the storeroom. I thought I was going to be a vagabond. I was really impressed to find out that the hospital had already arranged accommodation for me by the time I returned. I was so touched that I broke down. I am thankful to have great colleagues such as Nurse Manager Nazirah and Sister Yong. They provided me moral support – visiting me, asking how I was doing and some offering to bring me home-cooked breakfast and wash my clothes. It was amazing!”