Forum: Time to set out goals for post-crisis norm

For the past few weeks, we have been hunkering down, while our leaders and national agencies have been focused on fighting to contain coronavirus clusters.

We ought to offer ourselves a vision of what moving forward means (Consult Singaporeans as country plans on returning to new normal, by Mr Raymond Tham Kon Weng, April 29).

I suspect that some of these conversations are already taking place, rather organically outside the ambit of national conversations and not directed by ministries, which can be a good thing.

I have a few thoughts.

More companies are realising that some work can be done off-site after all, perhaps for a few days a week. Businesses that want to offer telecommuting will naturally be concerned about cyber-hacking risks.

This is where the Infocomm Media Development Authority can step in with vetted hardware tender specifications and scaled-up grants, if necessary.

Imagine if 30 per cent of businesses were willing to do more telecommuting going forward, the Land Transport Authority's goal of expanding peak-hour transport network could then be shifted to a more intelligent needs-based transport system.

For the upcoming junior college rejuvenation programme, it is a given that creating bigger, ventilated classrooms and open spaces is a priority, but we still need air-conditioning when the haze returns, as it likely will. Perhaps tenders for air-conditioning systems should now come with more frequent and stricter filter maintenance schedules.

Swing doors that open both ways would greatly eliminate common touch points.

A significant number of senior Singaporeans are engaged in hygiene maintenance in our schools. Isn't this the perfect opportunity to help them upskill from using mops and pails to using the more effective misting and disinfection machines, and offer them more pay as well?

Whether there is a vaccine for the coronavirus by next year, or whether it is viable for all of us to be tested, life would resume to a different kind of normalcy.

There are overlapping business, individual and national goals that can be explored in this new normalcy. Let us keep those conversations going, between employers and employees, students and schools, citizens and government agencies.

Chai Meng Woei