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A Farewell Letter To Mask Wearing In Singapore: Goodbye & Good Riddance To A Frenemy

RIP mask wearing in Singapore: 2020-2023

Today’s the day we say goodbye to an old friend. Or foe, if you’re asking the badge lady. 13th February 2023 is when we’ll no longer have to wear masks on public transport, thereby officially ending the mask mandate in Singapore.

You’ll still need to wear masks when visiting clinics and hospitals but given what we know now about airborne viruses, that’s just a good practice to keep.

Nevertheless, we’re happy to see mask-wearing go. To mark the occasion, we’ve written a farewell note. Here’s our ode to a dear friend:

Goodbye Mask

Hey bestie,

I can’t believe you’ve finally left. I still remember the exact day you walked into our lives – 14th April 2020. We’d just been hit with Circuit Breaker and then we were now being told that we had to wear you every time we stepped out of the house.

extra mask in bag
All of you who carried extra masks in your bag for strangers who forgot theirs – y’all are the true heroes.

TBH, we didn’t get off to a great start. I mean, we get that your intentions were good. But I’m not going to lie – you weren’t the easiest to get used to. I can’t tell you the number of times I’d had to run back to the house because I forgot to get a mask. Or having to ask strangers “excuse me, do you have an extra mask?” when the elastic on mine snapped. Very paiseh, leh.

Don’t even get me started on the difficulty I had trying to breathe with you around. It was a little stifling, especially when I had to run after a bus with you plastered on my face. It was worse after eating a meal like mala hot pot. You were there, so you know how suffocating it could be inhaling in all that garlicky breath.

wearing mask and sunglasses
You can’t tell but I’m rocking a PSL under this mask.

That wasn’t the worst of it though. You brought many other problems too, like a PSL in the past 3 years. No, not a pumpkin spice latte, but a Permanent Sweaty Lip from having to constantly wear you in the hot sun.

The PSL led to further skin issues too. It’s been 3 years and my skin never got used to you rubbing against the bottom half of my face. I’m a 33-year-old adult and had to revisit my teenage puberty years because of the maskne you caused.

wearing lipstick

It wasn’t like I could wear makeup to cover it up either. With you snugly hugging my face, my foundation would rub off and I’d be left with uneven patches around my chin and cheeks. Lipsticks also went to waste, since these came off once I put you on.

smiling behind mask
Guess what – I’m not actually smiling in this pic. 

But that isn’t to say our relationship was all that bad. I will occasionally miss having to wear you. You were handy in the most unlikely of situations. Like when I’m being asked to smile for a group picture at a corporate event I never wanted to attend. Me squinting my eyes to make it look like I’m smiling will be our little secret.

As will getting to do all the tongue acrobatics in my mouth as I tried to dislodge a piece of meat from my molars. With you, I could comfortably do all the weird things I wanted without getting judgemental stares from people.

And hey, you did come in handy when I didn’t realise I had a bit of spinach stuck in my front teeth. Thank goodness you were there to save me from embarrassing myself.

eye makeup

Alright, so I did give you flak about you messing up my makeup. But we were still new into our relationship and learning how to adapt to one another. I did learn after that, didn’t I? I got away with only doing a swipe of eyeliner and eyelash extensions, since no one was paying attention to the bottom half of my face.

You even started coming in cool colours, patterns, and designs which could match outfits and distract people from the fact that you could only see half a face.

wearing mask in singapore
For all you know, I’ve got tentacles growing out in the bottom half of my face.
For illustrative purposes only.

Some people called me a maskfisher for doing that – hiding what I truly looked like under you. But really, I was just highlighting my best features. If that counts as maskfishing these days, then at least this is one more thing we don’t have to deal with anymore with you gone.

All that said, I still owe you a thanks for keeping us safe from your toxic stepmother, Ms Coco. I felt safer walking out of the house with you on, knowing that I would have less of a risk of catching nasty viruses.

If there’s one thing I’m taking away from our relationship, it’s that we should be wearing you if we’re sneezing or coughing to prevent others from falling ill. You were the hero we deserved and the one we needed during such an unprecedented time.

Anyway, it’s been a chaotic 3 years and I’m glad you’re leaving. Here’s wishing you all the best, as you continue to serve our healthcare industry. We really hope we don’t see you soon. Or at all ever again.

All our love,

Mask-free from 13th February 2023

Well, that’s it. We can walk out without having to bring a mask with us any longer. Phew. No more frantic searches for a mask when you forget one or having to deal with the itchy paper rubbing against your skin.

As for those leftover boxes of masks taking up space in your home, you might want to keep a box or 2 just in case you have to visit a clinic or hospital. Remember, even those who are just visiting a healthcare facility will need to wear one. Otherwise, channel the DIYer in you with face mask crafts, so you’re not wasting face masks you’ve just bought.