When the Singapore government recently announced a raft of new restrictions dubbed the “Stabilisation Phase” in response to the rising number of COVID-19 cases, you could almost hear the audible groan around the country that went: Here we go again.

While the latest restrictions aren’t as bad as the recent Phase 2 Heightened Alert (dining-in at F&B outlets was strictly prohibited), they feel like a punch to the gut because everyone was hoping that we were finally on the path towards permanently loosening restrictions.

Nevertheless, I’m choosing to approach this new cycle optimistically.

And why the optimism, you might ask? It has to do with the latest trend in video games: roguelites.

It seems like almost every other new game these days is a roguelite. September’s big release happens to be a roguelite. Last year’s Game of the Year was a roguelite too.

But what is a roguelite? And what does it have to do with helping me (and hopefully the rest of us) through this “Stabilisation Phase”?

Roguelites are games that are characterised by two things: permadeath and meta-progression.

Permadeath means that when you die, you start all the way at the beginning (of the game, not just the level).

Meta-progression means that you will usually carry over something from your previous cycle into every new cycle. These things can be items, currency, skills and so on. 

I’ll admit: It took me a while to warm up to roguelites. In this day and age, when you die in a game, you can easily load into an earlier save to recover most of your progress.

Maybe, as an adult, time is more precious to me now. Plus, who likes doing the same thing over and over again?

However, once I learned to take stock of my meta-progression, things changed.

Be it new skills or upgraded gear, I’m not who I was as compared to the previous cycle. I’m better. 

This meant that instead of focusing on the fact that I had to start a new game cycle all over again, I took stock of what I gained from the previous cycle.

Things that would bring me one step closer to finishing the game. Be it new skills or upgraded gear, I’m not who I was as compared to the previous cycle. I’m better. 

So, why not apply this mentality to this new cycle of restrictions?

Let’s take a look at our meta-progression: what we’ve learned and carried over from the last cycle. Who knows, some of us might end up saying to this new cycle of restrictions: Bring. It. On.


As you’re (probably) reading this from home, take a look around you.

You might have perfected your work/study from home set-up by now. Hands up if you have one of these things that you didn’t have before the pandemic started:

  • Multiple monitors
  • Ergonomic riser for your laptop
  • Mechanical keyboard (Cherry MX Brown gang where you at)
  • Productivity mouse
  • Full HD webcam
  • Ergonomic chair 
  • Podcast-grade microphone
  • Desktop with colour-coordinated RGB (oddly specific yet important for productivity, right?)

Not to mention creature comforts like:

  • A pro coffee brewing setup (V60 gang where you at)
  • Upgraded Hi-Fi system (speakers/headphones/IEMs all welcome)
  • New kitchen tools
  • Gym-at-home or other fitness equipment 

Remember how everyone was scrambling to buy some of these things last year?

I recall building a desktop PC for my wife just as we entered our first lockdown. Prices were already going up and many of my first-choice parts were already out of stock.

I thank God that I don’t have to go through that again!


By now, most of us would have also learned a thing or two about being productive at home.

We’re now the masters of giving presentations via Zoom (no more accidentally sharing desktop windows you didn’t mean to).

We know how to order food/snacks/gifts that we can share over virtual meetings. 

We also know which food still tastes good after being packed for delivery (and our options have probably gone up as well with the rise of dedicated food-delivery kitchens).


Hopefully, many of us are better at separating our work and leisure time at home too.

We might have little rituals or habits that help to signal our brains that it’s “work time” or “play time”.

For example, whenever I hear the soothing sounds of Lo-Fi beats in the background, my mind instinctively drifts towards work. And when I’m done with work, I almost always play a video game to transition my mind towards rest and relaxation. 

What are some other gear, skills or mental breakthroughs that you have now, which you didn’t have before?

All that said and done, I will definitely miss eating out with a bunch of friends during this cycle. It was nice being able to meet in small groups at church again. 

With my noise-cancelling headphones, my morning commutes were also a time of silence and solitude for me. I feel like I was just beginning to know my colleagues better too.

So, without downplaying how sian many of us might be feeling right now, what are some other gear, skills or mental breakthroughs that you have now, which you didn’t have before?

Why not share them with others? Pop by the comments section, or simply create a post yourself.

You might just encourage someone else who is dreading this new cycle, just as Paul did for the Thessalonians!

  1. What are some things you’ve gotten better at over the past 1.5 years? Whether it’s organising your home, learning a new skill or achieving mental breakthroughs, list them out and thank God for each one!
  2. Are there healthier habits or routines that would be helpful for you to establish in the coming weeks?
  3. Who can you send some encouragement to?