For almost four months I have been debating whether or not I should go to Singapore. The main factor is the pandemic that has been happening since the beginning of this year. Indonesia’s condition is very worrying; new cases up to 2,000 per day. Moreover, I currently was in Banjarmasin at the time of the pandemic. I had to be in two flights (one from Banjarmasin to Tangerang and the other one from Tangerang to Singapore since Banjarmasin’s airport has no direct flights to Singapore). The risk of being exposed to Covid is very high hence I’ve been really anxious to travel.
After being informed that there will be a mix of offline and online classes, with a heavy heart I decided to fly to Singapore. My flight to Tangerang was on July 15th and my flight to Singapore was on July 17th. Why the gap? I had to pack things up in my dorm since I left the dorm on March 17th with assumptions that there would be National Exam, hence I had to return soon. Turns out the exam was cancelled so I didn’t return to my dorm at all before the flight on July 15th. I also had to take my diploma for finishing high school and take care of other administrative things at school.
Indonesian airport obliges all passengers to arrive four hours prior to departure. My flight to Singapore was at 20:15, I arrived at Soekarno Hatta International Airport at around 4 pm. My friends – Andreas, Yehuda, and Alvin – made a promise to meet at the airport since we booked the flight on the same date. Andreas and Yehuda will be studying in NTU, while Alvin will be studying in NUS.
The airport was empty, not as lively as usual. That makes sense since only long-term pass, student pass, and work pass holder are allowed to come to Singapore. Plus, every person needs an approval letter of entry from Singapore’s Ministry of Education to be able to enter Singapore. If not, they are required to fly back from Singapore within 48 hours.
Flight with Singapore Airlines was very fun. Snack bags are distributed before entering the plane. I really enjoyed my time throughout the flight. I was sleepy since I had sleepless nights for the past two days, but I only slept for about half the flight. I spent the rest of the time listening to music and exploring the in-flight entertainment screen with the handset.
I forgot to put my drinking bottle in my backpack – it was on my luggage. Hence, I did not drink at all since I was in the waiting room. The snack bag from SQ had water bottles though, but I didn’t have the courage to put my mask off.
After landing, all passengers’ temperatures are monitored by a thermal-imaging camera. All my friends passed the camera, yet they stopped me. They said that my temperature was a big high. They measured my temp using a thermogun, and my temp was 37.6°C – that was quite high for them.
They brought me to a room with partitions and questioned me all about my health conditions. I was asked if I had any fever, runny nose, sore throat, and other symptoms. I was also asked to fill a health form. After that, they measured my temp again. It raised to 37.9°C! After looking thoroughly to my form, they said that I only had a mild fever.
They then brought me to the ICA counter to proceed with the immigration. I handed in my IPA letter, approval letter of entry, and passport. They gave me a yellow sticker with a tick on it and instructed me to stick it on my cloth. Then I cleared the immigration and took my baggage. All baggage has been dropped from the conveyor belt, perhaps because the immigration took longer than it usually was before the pandemic. After that, I was brought to a bus to V Lavender Hotel.
The receptionist asked me the same documents that are needed for immigration. After doing the check-in someone escorted me to my room, left me inside without the key, and that was how my SHN started. At the time of writing this article, I have served SHN for nine days.
What is SHN?
SHN (Stay-Home Notice) is a fourteen-day quarantine obliged to all people entering Singapore. This is mandatory to all travellers starting from March 27th 2020. As mentioned in https://www.gov.sg/article/updates-to-border-measures-for-travellers-entering-singapore, we have to pay SGD 2,200 for staying at the SDF (SHN Dedicated Facility) and the mandatory PCR Swab Test. But students are subsidized by the Ministry of Education that we only have to pay SGD 1,026. SHN commences one day after your travel date and ends fourteen days after your travel date. You are allowed to check out on the fifteenth day.
My SHN Experience
You will be escorted to your room. Aaand, you may not leave your room except for your swab test. The room key will not be given to you. I personally enjoyed SHN very much since I am a home-based child (Indonesian: anak rumahan) that rarely hangs out. Suits me really well since I am a lazy person (Indonesian: mageran).
Well, I basically spend my day watching YouTube videos and do Zoom calls with people. This period was when quarantine felt really real. Even for the bedsheet changing, they drop the clean sheet outside your door. Also for trash disposal, they have provided a trash can outside your room.