After 7 months, sons in S'pore get to hug dad who runs business in Malaysia

SINGAPORE – After about seven months of video calls between Singapore and Malaysia, restaurateur Tommy Yap’s sons were so excited to see him that they rushed to the foot of their block to welcome him.

“The moment I got out of the taxi, they hugged me before helping me with my luggage,” said the 47-year-old Singapore permanent resident who took the first vaccinated travel lane (VTL) flight from Malaysia to Singapore last Monday morning (Nov 29).

Mr Yap had returned home to spend the school holidays with his wife, Madam Sherry Low, 48, and sons, aged eight and 11. “The first meal I had when I touched down was my favourite mee pok that I had asked my family to pack for me,” he added.

For Mr Yap, what used to be a straightforward fortnightly trip home from Malaysia, where he runs a restaurant and coffee roasting business, has been shrouded in uncertainty for nearly two years.

After returning for Chinese New Year here in February, he left for Malaysia in April, unsure of when he could reunite with his family again.

“Before this VTL arrangement, I would have to lose almost a month to quarantine in Malaysia and Singapore. I had to count my days to check whether I could take enough time off.”

He hopes quarantine-free travel is here to stay.

During his one-month stay in Singapore, Mr Yap is looking forward to enjoying the company of his family: “I’m not sure what my exact itinerary is going to be because I just left the planning to my wife, but I do know that we are going to visit the new Museum of Ice Cream on Dec 16 as well as some theme parks.”

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