It has been four months since Kristina Raja and Nor Sapiah, both nurses from Malaysia who work at Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Singapore, last saw their families.
Sapiah was on home vacation in March, celebrating her wedding anniversary with her husband, when news of Malaysia's lockdown broke. The intensive care unit staff nurse was caught in a dilemma - to stay in Malaysia with her family or to continue working in Singapore. Eventually, it was her husband who convinced her to pursue her career in Singapore, assuring her that he would take care of their three-year-old daughter.
Raja, a staff nurse in the maternity ward, was also visiting her hometown in Perak, Malaysia when she heard about the lockdown. Caught by surprise that the border would soon close between Johor Bahru and Singapore, she quickly made her way back to Singapore to continue her work and part-time studies, leaving behind her husband - who was recovering from a recent injury - and her aged mother.
What they initially thought was two weeks of separation from their family turned into months. For Sapiah, it was especially hard after finding out two weeks back in Singapore that she was pregnant and due to deliver her second child in November.
Now, daily calls to their families make the best part of their day. More often than not, they have to put on a brave front so that their families do not worry about them.
As roommates, Raja and Sapiah also find comfort in each other's support and company. Both of them are grateful to their friends and colleagues, who have been offering food and other necessities, while they are being put up in a nearby hotel arranged by the hospital, as they await news of border reopening.