The Costa Fortuna just docked in Singapore early this morning after being turned away by Thailand and Malaysia due to the COVID-19 scare.

costa fortuna, singapore, covid-19
Costa Fortuna docking in Singapore. Source: Ken, via Facebook

Here is what happened:

  • Costa Fortuna left Singapore on 3 March evening (after being disinfected)
  • All passengers had boarded from Singapore were assessed for COVID-19 risk
  • Arrived at Langkawi and allowed to disembark
  • Arrived at Phuket on 6 March morning but was not allowed to dock
  • Scheduled to stop at Penang and Port Klang but was denied entry

Malaysia has outright banned all cruise ships from docking while Thailand refused entry to passengers who have transitioned through Italy in the last 14 days. There were 64 Italians onboard. Some of whom presumably had transitted through Italy, the country with the highest COVID-19 fatalities outside of China, in the last two weeks.

1. Good planning matters / Singapore kickass at public health

When the Costa Fortuna docked at the Marina Bay Cruise Centre almost two hours ahead of schedule, a pool of media personnel was already waiting for the ship’s arrival!

Here is what Singapore planned (announced via press release through Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore and Singapore Tourism Board):

  • All passengers will go through health checks when they disembark
  • Passengers who travelled to northern Italy within the last two weeks will undergo one-on-one checks with doctors licensed by the Ministry of Health
  • Passengers who are identified as potential COVID-19 patients will undergo swab testing
  • Those who refuse will not be allowed entry into Singapore
  • Passengers with no symptoms will be taken directly to the airport while symptomatic passengers will be taken to National Centre for Infectious Diseases

You may think it sounds like an average plan but let’s not forget that Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health is a world class (in my opinion of course) public health research institution.

Our management of COVID-19 to date has won the praise of researchers from Harvard University’s Centre for Communicable Disease Dynamics as well as the World Health Organisation’s chief.

TL;DR: Singapore is doing what both Malaysia and Thailand are not because we can.

When it comes to your own recovery from aches, pain, or injury, good planning matters too.

To have a good plan also requires both the appropriate expertise and taking calculated risk.

As in the case of Costa Fortuna, what Malaysia did was to blanket ban all cruises from docking without considering the specific circumstances of each ship and their passengers.

Likewise, among chronic pain patients, it’s common to hear people blanket-avoid all activities that hurt. This is well-documented in research that we refer to this as Fear Avoidance Behaviour.

“Just the anticipation of increased pain or reinjury can further stimulate avoidance behaviors. A vicious cycle may develop, in which fears of increased pain or reinjury contribute to the avoidance of many activities, leading to inactivity and, ultimately, to greater disability.”

If you are sick of living with chronic pain and you can’t seem to find a long-term pain solution, now is a good time to seek professional help.

By professional help, I don’t mean some one who gives you a massage or give your spine a quick chiropractic adjustment to make you feel better for a while. I mean, work with some one who can develop a good strategy for you to find freedom from pain.

A chiropractor or physiotherapist with the right expertise will be able assess your unique situation and make recommendations accordingly.

Yes, this often include taking calculated risk where there’s a small chance you may experience an increase in symptoms. My suggestion is get on board with that because you don’t want to work with somebody who is always playing too safe. You’ll probably never get better under their care.

TL;DR: Avoid working with a healthcare provider who gives absolute recommendations without trying to help you first. Anyone who says ‘you’ll never squat again’ or ‘you’ve to stop running now’ without first trying to help is just not worth your time.

2. Abundance mindset / going above and beyond when not required

“Those that choose to walk along the path of abundance experience a completely different life. Opting to live life to the full, exuding happiness, generous by nature, creative and inspirational. Taking full advantage and enjoying the wave of opportunities that come their way, along with memorable experiences.”

Discover the 7 Key Traits of an ‘Abundance Mindset’

I don’t know what obligations Singapore has as Costa Fortuna’s home port so I acknowledge that I am assuming here.

I am assuming that Singapore allowed Costa Fortuna to dock even though we didn’t have to. This is amazing because Singapore was one of the first countries to ban China travellers.

If our Singaporean kiasu and kiasi values were to prevail, we might have chosen to deny them entry. This means thousands (I assume) of passengers and crew will be stranded at sea!

Instead we allowed them entry, we provided health screens, and we arranged for transport to bring them to Changi Airport or hotels as appropriate.

TL;DR: Singapore can do what other countries are doing but we chose to do more.

This 100% applies to your recovery.

One of the new clients I was working with last Friday mentioned repeatedly over text (since before her first appointment) that she is very busy and that she has no time. During her first session with me, she brought up that she was “scared” – her word – that she couldn’t keep up with recovery.

To set realistic goals and recovery outcomes, I was honest with her and told her good long-term results come only with an investment. It’s not just money. It’s also time, effort, commitment, staying optimistic, and even maintaining an abundance mindset.

I followed up with this client a day after to ask how she was going with the exercises. Her first reply was, “Not very compliant 🤦‍”.

For some chiropractors or physiotherapists, the lack of time for exercise may just be an excuse from patients who “don’t try hard enough”. I don’t necessarily see it that same way. For me, it’s just as important that the clients I work with learn to adopt an abundance mindset for themselves.

I do genuinely believe that this particular client do not see the reality of how she could take time out for exercise given her busy schedule.

Sometimes, when we are overwhelmed by our pain or challenges, it’s difficult for us to see a solution. I believe this to be true.

neck pain, chiropractor, bad posture, back pain
Perhaps sometimes we enslaved ourselves to the mindset of our own making. We see clearly the recovery goals we want to achieve, we know very well the pain and suffering it is causing, yet at the same time we struggle to give the self-care we need to attain the goals we desire! Painting in Sennedjem’s burial chamber who served King Tut who reigned 1332-1323 BC (18th Dynasty).

Here is what we did:

  • She told me her schedule for the next day (Sunday)
  • We negotiated a one-day exercise list just for Sunday
  • We agreed that she will perform one of the exercises every 3-4 hours (based on the activities for her day) and the exercise will take less than one minute

The next day, she reported being compliant with the reduced, more manageable list.

From there, we repeated the same process and added a second exercise to the list for Monday. The exercises will now take her about three minutes to perform each time.

The abundance mentality doesn’t apply just to other people (i.e. Singapore allowing Costa Fortuna to dock). It also applies to how we work with ourselves.

For this client, she started with having no extra time she could give herself. It was not like she wasn’t ready to change. She did make an appointment with me and showed up – she already invested time and money.

With a good plan (hint hint) and progressive baby steps, she was able to find time for herself to invest in her recovery. This is also an abundance mindset.

TL;DR: Abundance mindset also applies to your own recovery. It means being compassionate to yourself and investing – yes, investing – in self-care.


If you live with chronic pain and you are just getting nowhere by yourself or with your current treatment, I highly encourage that you book in a session with me. I established Square One Active Recovery to do things totally differently. My aim? To make myself redundant to you.

Your Recovery Journey Begins Now

Frustrated by the lack of quality pain management and ethical business practices in Singapore, chiropractor Jesse Cai founded Square One to deliver recovery goals in just 4 to 7 visits. Not getting results from your chiropractor, TCM doctor or physiotherapist? Book an appointment and find out how we can take your recovery to the next level.

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