Postponed wedding, self-isolation: How Ase Wang is coping amid COVID-19
The Singaporean actress-model, who is based in Bangkok, held back her wedding plans and only leaves her house to get necessities like groceries and mail.
In a pandemic-free world, Ase Wang would already be a newly-minted Missus. The 38-year-old Singaporean actress-model of Chinese-Swedish descent would have also taken her wedding vows in the Maldives in a bespoke wedding gown by Thai designer Tawinn.Collection by Tanakorn Tawinkulnapat for the occasion.
But Wang’s wedding plans, together with the rest of her social life, have all been upended by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Currently in Bangkok where she is primarily based, Wang has been in self-isolation with her fiance, American-born Chinese entrepreneur Jon Lor, for about a month, even before Thailand’s nationwide curfew from 10pm to 4am officially kicked in on April 3.
There are several confirmed cases in the area they are living in. To be safe, they do not leave their home except to get necessities like groceries and mail.
In a phone interview with CNA Luxury, Wang shared that postponing their wedding was a “painful” decision, but it was the “right thing to do”.
The couple had initially planned on registering their marriage in Singapore on March 31 before heading to the Maldives for a cosy wedding celebration with their families.
“At this point, I think couples need to delay their wedding and not to create anymore situations where the virus could potentially spread,” she said.
As of April 20, COVID-19 has infected more than 2 million and killed over 150,000 globally. In Thailand, there have been over 2,700 cases and 47 deaths.
ADJUSTING TO THE NEW NORMAL
For Wang, the isolation experience and upheavals in her daily life have brought on a sense of anxiety.
“Everything’s changed. What’s going on in Singapore, in Thailand and in every household are different but we’re all in this situation together,” said Wang, who splits her time between Bangkok and Singapore, where her parents live.
“For us, we have chosen not to leave the house unless we must. However, staying at home for weeks in a row has taken a toll. You start to get anxiety. There are days when I ask myself when is this going to be over.”
Not knowing what would happen next is also keeping Wang on tenterhooks.
She let on, “Honestly, I’m scared of the unknown right now. I think we all are. How bad is it going to get? It’s the fear of the unknown and in my case, I ask myself when am I going to register my marriage? Is it going to take a year?”
For now, they hope to sign their marriage papers in Thailand and have a family dinner in Singapore and in New York, where Lor’s family is based. However, Wang said just coordinating the signing of their marriage certificates in Thailand has been a real struggle due to the current situation.
“The only thing I can do right now is to prepare for my wedding but as to when that will happen, I don’t know,” she said.
“Everything’s changed. What’s going on in Singapore, in Thailand and in every household are different but we’re all in this situation together.” – Ase Wang
WHAT SHE MISSES MOST
A fitness enthusiast, Wang said one of the things she really misses right now is exercising outdoors, in the sun. But even during her self-isolation, her fitness routine has not taken a backseat.
To help others get moving, Wang now livestreams her exercise training sessions on Instagram with her long-time trainer on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons. Exercise, she said, is also something that everyone would need living in the time of the coronavirus.
“It is important for mental health. Even if you never used to exercise before, this is the time when you will need it the most especially for those in quarantine and are not leaving their homes. And there’s no excuses anymore – the workout videos are all free online now,” she said.
Another thing Wang particularly misses is her weekly English lessons with the young monks in Thailand.
“One of the hardest things for me right now is not being able to teach the little monks,” she said.
And after being in isolation for so long, maintaining the mental discipline to stick to a daily routine when the days seem to melt into one another can be a challenge, she said.
“Can you still wake yourself at 7am? There are days when I am sitting on my couch at 2pm, still in my pyjamas. It is easy to get lost in the days. But I’ll make myself go shower, change my clothes, put on some makeup and do something,” she said.
“Even if you never used to exercise before, this is the time when you will need it the most especially for those in quarantine and are not leaving their homes.” – Ase Wang
KEEPING SANE WITH A DAILY ROUTINE
Wang tries her best to stick to a daily routine, for example, waking up around the same time, using her computer and replying emails in the morning, exercising every afternoon, cooking dinner and then catching up with loved ones over video calls. She also finds that spreading out her activities over the day helps.
On her beauty routine, Wang said she has been “improvising” at home.
“I’ve always had my pedicure done. I don’t think anyone has ever seen my real toe nails because they’ve always had colour on them. For the first time, I got nail polish remover from the supermarket and cut my toe nails down. I looked at them and thought to myself, ‘oh, I haven’t seen my toenails bare in 20 years’,” she said with a laugh.
While she was tickled by that particular episode, it made her rethink certain priorities in life.
“To be honest, I find it funny. All this time, we’ve been getting our nails done and now we’re at a point where you can’t spend money on these stuff anymore. Maybe this is God’s way of telling us that we should take things down a notch. Maybe the stuff that we’re spending money on – we might not really need them,” she said.
Instead of dwelling on what they have missed out on right now, Wang said it would be good for people to reflect on what they want to do next when things get better.
She pointed out that a slower pace of life has its perks, too.
“You have a lot more time to get to know yourself better,” she said, adding that she has also spent more time catching up with friends and loved ones.
“This is a time when I am really connecting with people that I’ve been wanting to sit down with and ask them ‘so, how have you really been?’. I find myself texting less and getting on FaceTime to talk to people,” she said.
Wang has also taken the initiative to actively support small local Thai businesses, which have been hit hard by the outbreak.
“Many of the companies have offered to send us food for free for me to (promote it) online. But I told them I’ll pay for the items and then still post it online. That’s my way of doing my part to help them,” she said.
Even though many people are taking a financial hit, she feels that celebrities and socialites all have a duty to chip in in their own ways to help struggling smaller businesses.
Not one to mince her words, Wang said, “Celebrities and socialites can all afford to order a meal to eat at home or buy something. Pay for it and then help promote these small businesses by mentioning on their social media for free. Now is not the time to say ‘if you’re not giving it to me for free, I’m not going to help you post (on social media)’.”
“Celebrities and socialites can all afford to order a meal to eat at home or buy something. Pay for it and then help promote these small businesses by mentioning on their social media for free.” – Ase Wang