10 ugly things Singaporeans are doing at Wuhan season

Singaporeans by and large are taking the situation in stride and doing what they can to fight the effects of the virus. But there are a few…and these are the ugly Singaporeans, doing things contrary to good citizenry

The sharing of fake news is the number one toxic thing that we can do – and it seems that many people delight in sharing dramatic stories, without bothering to check its accuracy. 

  • Sharing Fake news #1: Quarantine allowance goes to tourists

No. There is no “quarantine allowance” to tourists. The $100 compensation you read about is issued to employers who’s employees are affected. This was the same assistance rendered during SARS also. The employee doesn’t get the money directly, it is just like National Service pay – government pays your employer to subsidise the loss of manpower. 

  • Sharing fake news #2: Saying Someone died

No one died. No one fainted. No one is turning into zombies. The internet is a place rampant with mischief: someone takes a random video (could be old, could be another country) and then captions it like as if it happened “…just now in Lorong Ah Soo”. There is a good chance it is fake, and if not you’ll read it from responsible newspapers. 

  • Participating in rumours

These WhatsApp/Telegram messages starts with “My uncle says…my aunty says….my friend’s husband’s boss says… “ followed by a long article containing pseudo advice, warning and scientific theory. These useless info bits are not likely to be touched by POFMA regulations, but you still shouldn’t be forwarding them. It helps no one, it congests network traffic and worse, it makes people panic. Forwarding any form of unverified or fake articles causes social damage, please don’t be a part of it.

  • Saying “Gahmen did too little too late, should ban travellers earlier”

The government has a task-force – it is assembled out of the best minds across the country out of the people that deal with diplomacy, economics and governance on a daily basis. How do you know it is “too little”? And how do you know it is “too late”? 

There are sensitive matters of diplomacy that need to be handled with care. The Wuhan virus will go away, but the economics to keep our country going will not. 

Nothing about what we do is considered “reactive” or “tactical” – from even before the escalation of the disease in China, we have already been equipped, prepared and preventive measures enacted. 

  • Micro-criticising

One of the more infuriating things are the micro-criticisms. Take the compensation to employers – some are asking why employers should be paid with tax payers money. Or the quarantine of tourists – why are we subsidising foreigners? 

Seriously, we are talking about the greater good of everyone. These five-cent, ten-cent comments are toxic, unnecessary.

  • Being a racist

I’m talking about China bashing. Let’s not be like our neighbours north to us and turning the disease into a political tool. There will be repercussions and there is no need for our little island to be involved in battles that are completely unnecessary. Some of the videos that you see about wildlife markets are false. And before you criticise them about the bats, please don’t forget that it wasn’t too long ago that bats were sold in Singapore too. It was believed that consuming them would help with asthma. 

  • Freaking out

The discussions in some residential chat groups are crazy – calling for community leaders to lock down the estate, prohibiting all non-residents from entering and getting everyone into some sort of panic mode. 

The worse thing we can do now is panic. Locking ourselves out is not going to help, it is a virus… you can’t lock it out, it’ll come find you. 

  • Hoarding the face masks

Firstly, there is more than enough of a stockpile in Singapore and secondly, face masks are not going to protect you completely. At some point in the day, your dirty hands are going to absent mindedly touch your eyes, nose and lips… and if there’s an organism on it, you’ll be infected anyway. 

Refer to Ho Ching’s tip on face mask use. 

  • Not practicing hygiene basics

I still see people spitting, sneezing without covering their noses and have heard of people bragging about how they go to work even when they’re ill. Really? Even if there’s no Wuhan around, you really shouldn’t be doing all that. 

Please remember that the ordinary flu kills 35,000 people (in the United States, developed first world country no less) each year. And that is when a vaccine already exists. 

  • Not being properly informed

In this day and age, there is no reason to be ill informed anymore. There are plenty of official communication channels, government representatives are on social media and there is no excuse not to read the newspapers. Yet people love to whisper rumours, share dramatic footage, ridiculous claims and false news. 

The only way about this is to stay together as one people, comply with national directives and look inwards to ourselves to be socially responsible. If we can do this, this virus will just be a blimp on our nation’s history.

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