Rants and raves about stuff happening in and around my life in Singapore

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Celebrating Easter

Ostara is a Pagan solar holiday honouring the spring's warmth, light from the sun, and the awakening of the earth.  It symbolises fertility, rebirth, and renewal. This time of year marked the beginning of the agricultural cycle, and farmers would start planting seeds.The word Ostara comes from the Anglo-Saxon goddess name, Eostre. 

Eostre represented spring and new beginnings and linguistically, Eostre is the etymological origin for “Easter”. As Christianity spread through Northern Europe and with people still maintaining these older traditions, the Church, in an attempt to replace these pagan traditions and festivals with their own, started to encompass them within the Christian calendar.

Many of the symbols of Easter have roots in these traditions, and the use of rabbits and hares is one such example. In medieval times in Europe, the March hare was seen as a fertility symbol, and a sign of spring. This species of rabbit is nocturnal most of the year, but in March, it is mating season for the animal. During mating season, March hares are seen all day long. Additionally, females of this species can get pregnant with a second litter while pregnant with their first litter. This explains why they were used as symbols for fertility.

And of course, there is the pagan custom surrounding eggs. Full of promise and new life, the egg represents the fertility of the Earth and all creation. The Yolk symbolises the sun god, and the white the goddess Eostre, in perfect balance with the potential of growth. Images of hares and even painted eggs would be displayed to honour the Goddess of fertility. 

So if you are wondering why the bunny rabbit and painted eggs are still part of the celebration of Easter today now you know why. It's got sbsolutely nothing to do with Christianity and everything to do with the Pagan traditions that are still very much alive today.

Sunday, November 06, 2022

Celebrating Halloween

Halloween is a holiday celebrated each year on October 31, a pagan tradition that originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sou-when). In the eighth century Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honour all saints as the christian religion continued to try to eradicate the Pagan religion. But as with Yule (or Christmas as the christians refer to it) Samhain was too deeply ingrained in the populace and has survived to this day.

Samhain (also known as the festival of fire) marks the transition between the year's lighter and darker halves, the end of summer and the beginning of winter and for the ancient celts Samhain represented the end of one year and the beginning of the next. It was a time for remembering the dead and planning for the year ahead, and also for making winter preparations; crops were harvested, and animals were rounded up from the fields either to be sacrificed or lodged for the winter and used for breeding.

Samhain was considered an auspicious time for the druids to practice divination, since the connection to the spirit world was stronger than usual. The lifting of the veil between the Otherworld and the physical world meant that Samhain was also considered to be a perilous time for the ancient Celts.  Spirits, both kind and malevolent, could act on the human world, the reason why Halloween has the "scary" element behind it today.

After the harvest work was complete, celebrants joined with Druid priests to light a community bonfire using a wheel that would cause friction and spark flames. The wheel was considered a representation of the sun and used along with prayers. Cattle were sacrificed, and participants took a flame from the communal bonfire back to their home to relight the hearth.

Because the pagans believed that the barrier between worlds was breach-able during Samhain, they prepared offerings that were left outside villages and fields and would dress as animals and monsters so that the spirits were not tempted to kidnap them. And carved turnips (which would later become pumpkins) where left outside homes to ward off evil spirits.

Children would also put on costumes and go door-to-door singing songs to the dead with small cakes  given as payment, and tricks might be played on people that were usual attributed to the spirits (which would later evolve into the trick or treat of today).

Indeed, many of the traditions of Samhain have become part of what people now refer to as Halloween and just as with Yuletide, it remains as a legacy of our Pagan ancestors despite the attempts of the Christian religion  to reframe Samhain as a Christian celebration. 

Today many devout christians still follow all of these traditions, keeping the spirit of paganism alive, unaware of the rich history it has or the true meanings behind the symbols themselves.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Singapore Repeals 377A

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced in his National Day Rally speech on Sunday 21st of August that section 377A of the constitution, a law that criminalises sexual intimacy between two males, will shortly be repealed.


According to another article in Today published on August 22, Minister for Culture, Community and youth, and Second Minister for Law Mr. Edwin Tong is reported as stating that "with recent Constitutional challenges to Section 377A, there is a “significant risk” that the law could be held unconstitutional and struck down by the courts, on the basis that it is a breach of the Equal Protection provision." 

Mr. Edwin Tong goes on to mention that "If Section 377A is struck down, Singapore’s marriage laws could also be challenged on the same grounds, leading to the recognition of same-sex marriages, and this in turn will also have an impact on other laws and policies that are built on our existing definition of marriage – such as laws on adoption, public housing, school curriculum, advertising and so on."

So it's clear that the plan to repeal of section 377A is to remove the risk of any further constitutional challenge to section 377A. And just as equally, the decision by the government to make a series of constitutional amendments to protect the current definition of marriage in the Women’s Charter and in the Interpretation Act is to project that definition of marriage from any constitutional challenge once section 377A is repealed. 

In the same article Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam is quoted as saying "So, if a party, a group of people, want to allow same-sex marriage, they will have to put that in their manifesto, fight elections, win the elections, get a majority, and then change the definition of marriage." 

Meanwhile in an article in the Straits Times published on the 22 August, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong is quoted as stating that " the Government is fully committed to upholding its family-centred policies and marriage as defined between one man and one woman". He is further reported as stating that “the PAP Government will not change the current definition of marriage" inferring that any such change "will not happen under the watch of the current Prime Minister, and it will not happen under my watch "

So, what does all this mean. Well for the project managers out there this is an abject lesson in risk management and mitigation, if not a masterclass. For the LGBTQI+ community the repeal of Section 377A means that homosexuality will no longer be considered a criminal act, but that's all.  There is still some way to go before it will be considered socially acceptable, or dare I use the words, a social norm. 

Meanwhile the government has drawn a line in the sand facing off to the LGBTQI+ community and much like Gandalf in the movie Lord of the Rings can be imagined to utter those famous words "You Cannot Pass", well unless they say you can which if we take the reported statements made by Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam will be in the far distant future, if at all. 

So while we can applaud the Government’s decision to repeal section 377A, understand that this is a well-planned strategy and nothing more. If anything, it is time for the LGBTQI+ community, their families, relatives, friends, and allies to come together like never before. To work within their respective communities at changing perceptions, breaking down barriers and stereotypes so that ultimately when the time comes for the next general election that more people use their vote in favour of building a democratic society based on justice and equality regardless of religion just as every Singaporean has pledged to do. 

Thursday, March 24, 2022

First World Hotel Genting?

I had a recent trip to Genting, described as an integrated resort development comprising hotels, casinos, shopping malls and a theme park in Pahang, to gather with some friends and escape the heat of the city for the cooler climate of this destination perched on the peak of Gunung Ulu Kali at 1,800 meters high. 

My friends booked the First World Hotel so although the website wasn't inspiring I thought what the hell it's just for one night. The room looked decent, and it was a fairly well sized room. But that's about as many positive things as I can say about this destination. The hotel prides itself on its Guinness book of records entry as the Hotel in the world with the most rooms (7,351 of them), and you will see signs all around the foyer proclaiming this fact. That said, it really needs to change that to the hotel in the world with the most basic rooms which would be far more accurate.

In the foyer as well they have these wonderful trees/lighting effect to give you the jungle experience full of the sound of tweeting birds. At first its novel but slowly becomes irritating to the extreme. Some gentle piped music would have been better since after a few hours I (along with the people I was travelling with) was ready to rip those continually annoying tweeting bird speakers from the wall.

The check in process was painful. Although almost fully automated, the machines themselves looked antiquated and proved to pretty much useless. I had to try 5 different machines before I could get one to read my passport and with a lack of people standing by to help you were pretty much on your own throughout the process. The response times on pressing a menu option was pathetically slow too so half the time you were left waiting and wondering if you had indeed pressed the right button before the machine did it's thing. There's also limited options for room selection, you can select a room with a view or your limited floor offering (all for more money of course). I selected a mountain view, which was a complete waste of time in the end as the view was obstructed by cloud the whole time (something that happens a lot I was told).  And of course if after trying 5 different machines you give up and decide to join the queue for a more personal service, then out of the 30 front desks available only 2 were staffed when we checked in. So, you can imagine that's not a queue you really want to join to begin with.

Of course once you get your key spat out of the machine together with your floor/room allocation, you head to the lifts (which can be walk away given how big the hotel is). The first thing you discover is that there's no real security, key cards are not required for the lift meaning anyone can go to pretty much any floor they want, paying guests and members of the public alike, a little scary on the whole.

Alighting on the floor for my room I almost tripped over the bubbles in the carpet making my way to it. The first thing I looked for when entering the room was the aircon control to get the room to a temperature I like, only to discover there was no aircon. Nope, none. Just a ceiling fan which if you turned on high meant you were not going to sleep given how noisy it was. And the beds, well they were as hard as rock, it was like trying to get comfortable on a slap of concrete. So needless to say I didn't sleep at ALL and was grateful I had only booked one night in the place. There's also no restaurant, so don't expect breakfast either by the way, although that said there are a lot of food options available. 

All in all I would NEVER visit this hotel again. Apart from the above there was no wifi at least in the room I was in (of the 3 rooms we had only one had wife available) and in this day and age that alone is a show stopper all by itself.

So while the room is basic (really basic) and clean, it's really got NOTHING else going for it at all and my advice is, while the price might look attractive, you pay for what you get, and in this case what you get isn't worth paying for.

First world hotel ..... but a third wold experience, don't say you weren't warned.

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Sunset Dinner Cruise

So as we enter yet another lock down (of sorts) thanks to the rising cases here in Singapore I have to consider myself fortunate. I was supposed to go on a cruise to nowhere in July which got postponed to August which got post-phoned again so I cancelled the whole thing. I can only handle so much disappointment it seems.

Friends asked me to join them for a cruise in October which I seriously thought about but in the end also declined because I didn't want to get excited about it only to have it dashed on the rocky shores of covid lockdowns (been there, done that twice already), which as it happens would have been the case, it seemed as though cruises and I were never meant to be.

That all changed last night when I was giving a surprise birthday sunset dinner cruise onboard the Royal Albatross.

The food was amazing, totally surpassing my expectations, the staff were warm, friendly and attentive. Each dish was cooked to perfection and beautifully presented and the whole meal beginning to end was well paced. It really was a unique dinning experience with exceptionally good food. The ship itself is well maintained, with a beautiful air conditioned lounge below deck just adding to the experience. And you get to see the amazing city skyline from a distance (which is a view I have always loved) and as the sunset it cast a beautiful orange glow across the water that just adding to the magic of the moment.

I left feeling full and content, and lighter in mind and spirit.  It was the first time I have set foot off my island home in almost 2 years, and even if it was only for a few hours it certainly helped to recharge my internal batteries as we enter another lockdown (of sorts) here in Singapore.

A really memorable and enjoyable experience that I highly recommend.

For those intereseted you can make a booking HERE

Monday, September 13, 2021

Museum of Ice Cream

The Museum of Ice Cream (MOIC) is the latest immersive experience to hit the shore of Singapore and if people's Instagram accounts are anything to go by is certainly worth a visit, or is it?

I mean who doesn't love ice cream, the plethora of flavours, the many many ways to eat it, not to mention that it just about goes with every desert there possibly is. So the thought of "all you eat" at the MOIC was indeed very tempting. 

Myself and couple of friends visited on Saturday 11th of September and a fun time was had by all, although I need to be up-front and honest that had nothing to do with the ice cream on offer. You basically move from room to room, each room tells you a little bit more history or fun facts about everyone's favourite dessert. Each room has a specific theme and walls and ceiling are done in shades of pink. There are plenty of photo opportunities throughout and we absolutely made use of those.

The staff made the whole experience even more fun. They were bubbly, energetic, enthusiastic and fun to interact with. Clearly they wanted everyone to have a great experience (and side note, whoever was in charge of the bouncy castle on the above date .... Marry me!).

Despite the above, which was great, the whole experience was let down by the ice cream itself. 

Station one has two flavours of Häagan Dazs, and I wish I had stayed at that station and filled up but the anticipation of even more to come after such a great start was too strong. Two flavours here, good old chocolate, and our favourite Pina Colada (with alcohol) which was delicious!.

Station two was a soft serve station serving watery soft-serve that tasted more of ice and less of cream. It was a gluten free vanilla (insipid) and a apple pie, which was unusual, tasted like apple pie for sure, but the texture was just so completely wrong in both cases that it was totally unenjoyable. 

Station three was glutenous black rice brick. It's a very local flavour and although some friends thought it wasn't bad, none of us went for seconds. 

Station four was Yam, and the only reason I knew that was because of the colour as it totally lacked any flavour at all. 

And that was it, a total of 6 flavours, 4 of which I could happily never have again. So if you are going for the ice cream you are going to be very very disappointed. If however you are going for the experience, the Instagram moments and the staff (who really make the experience) then you will absolutely enjoy yourself. 

But, take my advice visit an ice cream desert bar afterwards (there are quite a few to select from in Singapore) to enjoy some really delicious ice cream because the MOIC is, unfortunately, sadly lacking in this department. 

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Mobile Gaming is Busted!

I am sure that many people will remember the advent of the smartphone with the iPhones launch in 2007, and with it shortly afterwards it came the introduction of mobile gaming. Cute simple games that you could play on your mobile phone, many of them free, some costing a few dollars to purchase.

14 years later and how much things have changed. Mobile gaming has become a HUGE industry with reported revenues of $81 billion in 2020 (LINK) alone. And of course as smartphones evolved and became more powerful, so too have the games. And as games become more complex, rich in graphics and sound and gameplay, the cost of mobile games have spiraled out of control.

Even worse, many games have simply become advert black holes, with game play totally and utterly destroyed by so many of them. And while it's true there are games that allow you to pay to remove adverts, many rely on in-app purchases for you to progress beyond a certain point, or rely on the addictive nature of their games to get you to spend more and more. Indeed in-app purchases range from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars at a time. And #google and #apple are doing nothing about it. There are no limitation on adverts, there are no limitations on in-app purchases. When the cost of a single in-app purchase costs more than a full game for playstation or xbox, people should be asking questions.

Of course people can argue you don't have to buy the in-app purchases, it's a choice and no-one is forcing you. And yes, that's true to a point but doesn't address the fundamental issue of how the pricing for those in-app purchases are costed and "who" controls the cost of such purchases to ensure they are reasonable and even justified? The answer of course is no-one, not even #google or #apple especially since they have skin in the game themselves. And did I mention the "addictive" nature of mobile gaming? Indeed many games rely on this human condition to fuel purchases.

So where is it going to end? Are people going to end up taking out a second mortgage in 14 years because they are playing a mobile game? When are we going to get an industry watchdog around mobile gaming so that controls can be put in place to protect people from themselves? Indeed the question should be asked if in-app purchases have destroyed the mobile gaming industry (LINK)

When are we going to get back to buying a game outright on a mobile platform? Probably never is the answer because as long as the likes of #google and #apple don't care then no-one else is going to care either.

Of course the simply answer is to delete them all from your phone. And that works for some. But as successive younger generations grow up in a more technology capable society, advances in technology and peer pressure will continue to fuel the add-filled, in-app purchase quagmire of an industry that mobile gaming has become while #google and #apple simply sit back and do ..... nothing.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

The Three Laws of Politics

Time and time again we have seen situations across the globe in countries that follow a democratic process where decisions that are made often surprise the casual observer who may very well have had a different expectation with respect to the outcome.

Or, conversely those expectations are meet because those observers had already assumed the outcome correctly, basing that assumption on the track record of similar decisions by members of the same ruling party.

But what if you had a way to assess each and every political decision faced by the ruling party and predict the outcome of that decision more accurately based on three simple laws?

Taking the robotic laws, a set of three laws devised by science fiction author Isaac Asimov that govern how robots would interact with humans and each other in a futuristic society, and tweaking them into a political context I give you "The Three Laws of Politics".

The Three Laws of Politics
First Law: A politician may not injury the reputation of their party or though inaction allow the reputation of their party to come to harm

Second Law: A politician must put the benefit to the country above the will of the people unless such action would conflict with the first law

Third Law: A politician must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the first or second law

The simple application of these three laws will provide you with a better way to assess the potential outcome of any political decision faced by the ruling party.

Of course there will always be those that don't follow these laws, so what then? Well simply put, politicians that don't follow these laws are putting their party at risk and you will find them side-benched by that same party in short order, something we have seen time and time again.

There are many examples to draw from in the last year of where these laws have been seen in action. The impeachment of Donald Trump for example, violation of the first law so it was never going to happen. And more recently we have seen support for Donald Trump within his own party wavier because he himself is in violation of the third law.

Time and time again we have see politicians who have become embroiled in one scandal or another resign rather than risk violating the third law.

Of course thats something that politicians from those parties not in power often use to advance their own parties agenda. Indeed, if the reputation of the ruling party is damaged enough, directly or indirectly, it will often lead to a change in power as a result. Again, something we have seen play out globally time and time again.

So, there you have it, my take on The Three Laws of Politics and a tool to help you navigate and assess the outcome of political decisions. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 26, 2020

What's the Skinny

What is it with pants and trousers these days. Super skinny, ultra skinny, super ultra skinny. I mean half the time I can't even get my foot in the damn things let alone the rest of my leg. Whatever happened to regular sizing? And speaking of sizing, why is it that sizing’s are different from manufacturer to manufacturer.

A 30 inch waist is a 30 inch waist (ok clearly not referring to me there but you get the point). Why label something as a certain size but then inform your customer you need to buy a size up or even two sizes up because the sizing is "on the small side". I mean what the hell does that even mean? Aren't all tape measures equal? isn't an inch or a centimetre the same the world over?

Some of us are graced with muscular thighs, we can't wear skinny or ultra-ultra skinny simply because our legs won't fit into the damn things. Or when we do manage to eventually squeeze into a pair we either end up with a severe case of camel toe or look like we are advertising for a screen test in a porno movie. I mean some trousers leave nothing to the imagination and I am certainly not going to do a drag queen tuck to fit into a pair.

Which of course begs the question for those that do wear them, either they're a total exhibitionist or ...... and trail off there leaving the rest of that statement to your imagination. But seriously, trying on a pair at times is almost like a full body work out. In fact throw that gym membership away and simply go trouser shopping, you might never fit into a pair but after a couple of months trying you'll certainly reap the rewards, and it's free!

But seriously, now that these ridiculous sizing’s have more or less become the norm, shopping for something that actually fits is a challenge. Don't get me wrong, these trousers look good on some people, on others they look like their legs are made of matchsticks and leave you wondering how the hell they can even walk without suffering a serious injury. And don't get me started on visible panty lines again because on some people the effect is well, quite frankly, disturbing to say the least.

They are simply not for me, apart from the struggle to even get into a pair, I actually don't want to wear a pair of trousers that look like they have been spray painted on, with pockets that are more for visual effect rather than functionality because there's simply not a chance in hell you will ever get your hand into some of them. But they are every where now and seem to be the "only" style available which of course is bad news for people like me who have been blessed with big bones, muscular thighs, not to mention some of God's other gifts. It's simply not me, personal taste and all that.

I think I am going to have to search for a decent tailor who can make a simple regular fit trouser, with a slightly tapered leg that don't give me a hernia when I sit down or bend over, and one made using a normal tape measure when it comes to it. In the meantime, I'll simply pray to God that this trend of tight fitting (or ill-fitting in some cases) trousers gives way to something more sensible. Although having said that I have visions (or nightmares) that the next trend will be the complete opposite and baggy will be back in, although thankfully we seem to have passed through the "show off your underway" phase already so there is hope, slim as it may be (and yes pun intended).

UPDATE 30th December 2021
Seems I'm not alone, thankfully. Read more HERE

Saturday, December 05, 2020

Celebrating Christmas

Christmas is almost upon us and the countdown has begun. The Christmas tree, the decorations, the yule log, mistletoe, the Christmas wreath on the door, holly and berries all symbols that many people will recognise for this celebrated Christian festival.

But Christmas has its roots far deeper than Christianity, and all of the symbols used to celebrate it are rooted in Paganism, and in celebrating the Winter Solstice or Yule.

The celebration of Yule was so ingrained in culture that Christianity's attempts to stamp out Paganism led to it usurping the festival of Yule to celebrate the birth of Christ, and Christmas (or Christ Mass) was born. In fact nearly every major Christian festival has its roots in Pagan tradition or directly usurps a Pagan festival for this reason.

So, as you put up and decorate your Christmas tree did you know that the tree was an important symbol in pagan yuletide tradition. Originally, it represented the Tree of Life and was decorated with gifts people wanted to receive from the gods. It was adorned with natural ornaments such as pinecones, berries and other fruit, as well as symbols sacred to the gods and goddess.

And mistletoe which represents the female element (hence the act of kissing under the mistletoe), also holds much importance in pagan yuletide tradition. It was used by Druid priests in special ceremonies during yuletide who believed that its green leaves represented the fertility of the Mother Goddess, and its white berries, the seed of the Forest God or Oak King.

Holly, which represents the masculine element, was often used to decorate doors, windows and fireplaces. Because of its prickliness it was thought to capture or ward off evil spirits before they could enter a home and cause harm. The holly leaves, symbolic of the Holly King, represent hope, and the red berries represent potency.

Many people will burn candles, or place a light candle in their window. Candles were another way to have an eternal flame within the home. They symbolised the light and warmth of the sun and were used to chase away evils and lure back the returning sun/son. They were also an invitation to a stranger that the house would welcome and feed them during the festival period.

Bells, another symbol often hung on Christmas trees are another part of the Pagan yuletide tradition. They were often rung during the Winter Solstice to drive away demons that surfaced during the dark time of the year.

Carolling was also another popular Yule tradition when young children honoured the Winter Solstice with song. They would go through the villages, singing door to door. The villagers, in return, would reward them with tokens and sweets and small gifts which symbolised the food and prosperity given by the Mother Goddess to all her Earthly children.

Even the predominant colours of Christmas, Red, Green, White, Silver and Gold are the colours used in abundance during pagan celebrations of Yule. Red represents the waning Holly King. Green represents the waxing Oak King. White represents the purity and hope of new Light. Silver represents the Moon. Gold represents the Sun/Son.

Today many devout christians still follow all of these traditions, keeping the spirit of paganism alive, unaware of the rich history it has or the true meanings behind the symbols themselves. 

Monday, November 02, 2020

The US Election

When Donald Trump entered the race to become the president of the United States, the world looked on and laughed. No one expected him to win, no one took him seriously. And when he did win many like me thought what the hell is wrong with America. 

He has not disappointed either. His term in office will be looked back on as probably one of the worst presidents in the Americans history. There are so many things you could say about the man, about his continual bending of the truth or simply out right misrepresentation of the facts. He is so unqualified to hold the office its simply boggles the mind.

And now he is running for a second term, and make no mistake the people who voted for him last time will continue to do so despite his terrible handling of the Covid-19 situation there, or his pandering to the white supremacists and more. And the sad fact of the matter is, if he doesn't win (which is highly unlikely in my view) he is already on record that he will not accept the results. This fact alone is enough to disqualify him for the very office he is looking desperately to cling onto, after all the shame that goes with a one term president is something that he clearly wants to avoid.

And of course, when he is no longer protected by the office he now holds everything will come out of the woodwork, something clearly that must also be on his mind.

*UPDATE 8th November*

So now that the saga of the American election is over and Biden becomes the 46th President, American holds its collective breath and waits for #45 to give his concession speech. The question remains if he will show any level of graciousness in the last moments of his shameful single term in office or try to hold onto power by any means necessary plunging the country into even more chaos. If I was to answer that question myself I would say based on his character alone it's going to be a bumpy few months indeed!

Sunday, November 01, 2020

Hong Kong Travel Bubble

With the first travel bubble opening between Singapore and Hongkong on November the 6th, without need for quarantine at either destination. But travellers will have to undergo mutually recognised testing for Covid-19 that show they are negative possibly on departure and arrival at both destinations although that is still unclear.

They will also have to take dedicated flights that do not accept transit passengers and the number of these flights can be raised or lowered, depending on the pandemic situation in both cities. Air travel bubbles will be for general travellers and they have no requirements for a controlled itinerary (as is the case with some of the current green lane travel options), which is good news!

Of course, as is typical given the demand the cost of air tickets between Singapore and Hong Kong increased over night since the announcement and no doubt as demand increases, given that many people have felt trapped on this island of Singapore since the Covid-19 pandemic, we can expect the fare to continue to increase too. 

But on the plus side, it's a start of returning to normal and shows what the future of travel has in store for us. Until such time as a vaccine becomes widely available we can expect Covid-19 tests to become the new norm as more of these travel bubbles become available. And you can expect to pay a premium price for those travel options too. 

Let's keep fingers crossed that more and more countries manage to successfully control the spread of Covid-19 domestically, and that more and more people take personal responsibility for doing the same. There has been too much loss of life already with this virus.