Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Help! I have to move out my tea corner. Singapore has initiated a lockdown in the country for a month (the government called the lockdown a circuit breaker) and as a result, my whole family are working from home. I personally support a lockdown as it will help break the spread of the virus within the community and lessen the stress on our medical providers.
Video conferencing is one of the work that is performed daily. My family members have such daily 'meetings' online and video conferencing 'areas' had been set up at home. My tea corner had to be given up for this noble cause. It now appears my tea brewing will be done in the kitchen till I can find another corner for my tea toys. Mornings and afternoons have to be pretty quiet to accommodate these 'meetings'.
I would like to recommend a few tips on your video chats sessions
- raise your laptop about 5 inches from the table. You would 'look' better as viewers will not see up your nostrils during the conversation.
- position yourself from the camera that your shoulders and face can be seen. Not too near in that your entire face occupy the whole screen.
- some lighting on yourself and not depend on the laptop screen to light you up, You will look like a walking dead character if you do that.
Meanwhile, stay safe and drink lots of tea.
Wednesday, April 1, 2020
As we hunker down to sit out the pandemic, the term 'social distancing' should not be misinterpreted during this time. We should keep a physical distance but socially we should continue to 'socialise' in many ways with each other. We should keep in communication with family and friends through the internet or the old fashion telephone. This is especially important when we have older friends, family, neighbours or people with disabilities. We must check on them frequently and help out whenever we can. It is the right thing to do.
Back to the internet. We do many things on the internet - for work or for play. We communicate, work, buy and sell things, send money, invest and even learn and unlearn while we are online. I myself find myself watching movies (Netflix) and listen to music (Spotify) while I stay home during this time. I am sad that many small businesses; those physical shops run by sole proprietors, are struggling to stay afloat and many would 'go under' during these difficult times.
When it comes to Chinese tea, many of us buy them online. It is understandable that the internet give us more choices in terms of brands, storage and prices. There may be a Chinese tea shop downtown but there is so much that a teashop can offer. Many of these physical tea shops may fold up during this pandemic. In the tea wholesale centre of Fangchun in Guangzhou China, a number of teashops and small wholesalers have closed their business permanently. Many such businesses do not (as you can understand) put aside cash to 'tide over' 3-6 months of almost zero sales, while at the same time facing fixed expenses like rent and upkeep of a shop. There may be rebates given to such business but they would not be enough. This dire situation applies to other types of business as well.
The outlook for Chinese tea for the next 12 months would be challenging for the tea business. A looming recession might make tea buying not high on the 'to do or to buy' list. There is a strong possibility that the majority of Chinese tea prices would be cheaper. Tea businesses require cash flow while tea collectors might have to lower prices to sell their tea if they need the cash.
For me, I would not be able to travel, for some time, to continue my tea adventures. I would think the earliest I can travel would be nearer the end of the year. Meanwhile, time to stay at home after work and drink from our stash of tea. To all my readers, please stay safe.