#Stayhome reads: How far will you go for love?

SINGAPORE - Circuit breaker measures, #stayhome, record number of Covid-19 cases.

These are words that are probably filling your screens and conversations. At times, it may feel like the coronavirus pandemic is the only topic the world is talking about.

Feeling overwhelmed by the Covid-19 coverage? Why not take a break and immerse yourself in stories and videos - from favourite reads and heart-warming stories to light-hearted clips - that The Straits Times newsroom has produced over the years.

Today, we bring back some stories that will keep you warm and fuzzy if the loneliness of Covid-19 isolation is getting to you. Find out how a tenacious little dog won over an Australian runner during a gruelling 250km race in the Gobi Desert, and how a man - in pursuit of love - crossed continents and cycled 11,000km from India to Europe.

1. Would you cycle from India to Europe for love?

This great love story is one for the books. In 1975, 24-year-old Indian sketch artist P.K. Mahanandia met 20-year-old Swedish tourist Charlotte Von Schedvin in New Delhi by chance, after she stopped to get a sketch of herself. She made him nervous, while she thought he was a "nice boy, with a wide smile".

The pair soon fell in love, and Mr Mahanandia tells the story of how he sold all his belongings, and cycled for four months and 11,000km to be with her in Sweden.


2. Me, 250km race, and a scruffy, smelly dog named Gobi

When Mr Dion Leonard ran in a seven-day 250km race across the Gobi Desert in 2016, the last thing he expected to take away was a new, furry best friend.

He first noticed the little dog with big round eyes around his camp, and was surprised to see it at the start line of the race the next day. It went on to cover more than 125km, tagging along as Mr Leonard scaled the mountains and forest terrain.


3. Farewell, Uncle Bread

In 2017, Mr Foo Kee See hung up the keys to his mobile mini provision shop and called it a day after 55 years. Known fondly as Uncle Bread, he started off by going from door to door to sell bread, but later expanded his "Roti Chia" or "bread van" to include various other items.

He decided it was time to retire as the certificate of entitlement for his van was expiring, and he bade farewell to many loyal customers, including domestic helpers, construction workers and retirees.


4. A freak accident that fractured this man's neck did not stop him from coming back stronger

He was an active student who loved sports, such as basketball, football and discus. But Mr Alwyn Keng's life was dramatically altered after a freak swimming pool accident robbed him of the use of his legs in his first year at the National University of Singapore in 2012.

With the support of the university, and a lot of convincing, Mr Keng decided to return to school and in 2018, he graduated with top honours.

Now a bank analyst at HSBC, he hopes his story can show that those with special needs are just as capable.


5. Singapore couple open their hearts and home to troubled youth with nowhere to go

Unlike most newly-weds who look forward to the privacy of their own homes, Mr Kenneth Thong and his wife Adeline went in the opposite direction when they married in 2007.

They rented a three-room flat in Toa Payoh and threw open their doors to complete strangers to live with them for free. Most come from abusive and dysfunctional families, and have nowhere to go as they are too old for institutional care or fostering.

"We are not perfect but we want them to experience what a normal, safe, functional family looks like," Mr Thong said.


If you enjoyed this week's selection of stories, share it with your family and friends as you stay calm and beat the virus blues.

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