Here’s a story by Siew Tuck Wah, expressing his views about Singapore’s handling of the COVID-19 situation so far.
For more such stories, check out #SGStories.
Post by Siew Tuck Wah
It is not an exaggeration to say that there is growing, palpable discontent and frustration on the ground, about how the COVID-19 crisis is being handled.
Much of the anger is directed at the inconsistencies in policies. On one hand, we want to ensure safe distancing, so we cannot meet friends. Yet on the other hand, crowds are allowed on public transport. Pictures of Minister Khaw removing safe distancing stickers from the MRT certainly do not help. The message that is sent out is inconsistent and often confusing.
Supermarkets like NTUC are crowded, and yet budget stores where we get our toothpaste and other essentials are not allowed to open. You cannot blame us for wondering how policymakers decide which establishments can open and which cannot.
We want to reopen the economy slowly for safety reasons, therefore only some services can resume after the circuit breaker. Restaurants still cannot open to diners; beauty and wellness services remain closed. The reason, we are told, is that beauty services are not essential. Yet, on the other hand, people are allowed to spend three hours in a hair salon getting their hair dyed and permed. Candy stores are allowed to open. 50% discounts are abound in some stores so everyone is rushing to buy chocolates. What is the logic in that?
Schools have reopened. School children are now congregating back at schools. Yet we are not even allowed to see our relatives. I dearly miss my niece and nephew, my auntie, my close friends whom I consider my family. I cannot bear a situation where we are penalized and kept apart even longer because clusters start breaking out from schools and on public transport. Meanwhile, orr parents cannot come to our homes, but we can visit them, 2 at a time. What is the logic in that? And what difference does it make whether it is 2 people or 4 people if we all come from the same household?
We rejoiced when the fortitude budget announced that charities now enjoy a 1 for 1 match of up to $250,000 in donations from Tote Board. However shortly after that we found out that we do not qualify because we have applied for a previous, similar program. What is the point then of announcing this initiative, if another one was already present?
We prided ourselves so much in not having to shut down the economy when COVID-19 first started in January to March 2020. However, we now seem to have swung the other way. We all wish we had more time to spare, but the economy cannot wait. Singapore is bracing for it’s worst-ever recession, and many companies are expected to close. My friend who runs a buffet restaurant told me that four years of hard work has gone down the drain in just three months.
We know that the situation is evolving rapidly. We understand how difficult the situation is for policymakers to have to make split-second decisions. We understand that it is a difficult line to tow. Whatever policy is made, there will be people on the other side who are unhappy. However, policy makers need to give more thought into making policies which are consistent and fair.
All Singaporeans want the same thing. We want Singapore to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis as safely as possible. We stand united, and in solidarity. However bit by bit, our confidence is being eroded. I wish so much, to once again feel the immense pride of being a Singaporean, as I did at the beginning of the year, when Singapore handled the crisis swiftly and decisively.
This story first appeared on Facebook.
Here’s a screenshot of the original post.