'I came to realise I was really good at being alone': Kit Chan on life during pandemic

'I came to realise I was really good at being alone': Kit Chan on life during pandemic
Singer Kit Chan released four pop singles, which cover themes such as self-empowerment, during the pandemic.
PHOTO: Banshee Productions

SINGAPORE - Actress and singer Kit Chan, 49, has more than 40 albums in English, Cantonese and Mandarin to her name. She is best known for performing Dick Lee's 1998 song Home for the National Day Parade.

I live alone, so during the pandemic, my interactions with people were close to none. But I came to realise I was really good at being alone.

I think in some ways, it has fostered a sense of resilience and strength just being on your own and being okay with that.

I've always approached work the same way. While obviously there couldn't be any live performances for most of the last two years, I was not worried.

I have always been more invested in the process of creating. Being able to still record in the studio — singers usually sing isolated in a booth — really got me through these circumstances as I felt that at least I was still doing my thing.

During the pandemic, I released four pop singles — three in Mandarin and one in Cantonese — which cover themes such as self-empowerment.

At the end of last year, I did a total of seven shows in two months. There was still social distancing so it was weird seeing empty seats.

In September, I will be part of The LKY Musical, playing the role of Madam Kwa Geok Choo, the wife of Singapore's first prime minister Lee Kuan Yew.

I look forward to being part of the musical as the easing of the pandemic restrictions means that 100 per cent of the seats can be sold.

Musicals are physically taxing and I'm only getting older, so I need to brace myself for that. It's pretty crazy that we're doing nine shows a week, so I need to make sure I'm physically fit.

Even then, I think it's going to be really fun standing on stage. Seeing a full theatre would be a great feeling.

There has also been a growing awareness within me that the world is really in trouble. The pandemic might have helped in a way, but I started thinking more about the issue of sustainability.

I also dealt with a period of existentialism when I realised that even if you are the richest country, having no access to food is still a problem.

Hence, I became interested in growing food and the philosophy behind that.

I'm not a horticulturalist and I don't grow a lot of things at home, but I do volunteer in commercial farms. I like the idea of working with my hands and working on the land.

Singer Kit Chan at a commercial farm last month. PHOTO: Instagram/Kit Chan

The main thing I picked up during the pandemic was cooking. Like a lot of people, I started to cook and bake and enjoy doing so a lot more. My cooking has since improved by leaps and bounds.

Even now, other than the times when I have an appointment to eat with someone, I cook 90 per cent of all my meals. Considering that I've lived a long time and I had not done anything like that before, I find that extremely liberating and very empowering.

I can feed myself and it has given me a new dream. Maybe one day I would like to have my own farm.

I think, if anything, the pandemic has given me a new mindset to be more appreciative of everything.

In the last two-and-a-half years, people have learnt to live with so much less, so I hope we have greater gratitude going into this new normal.

This article was first published in The Straits Times.

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