Singapore—Lawyer and opposition leader Lim Tean seemed none too pleased with the country’s ambassador to China, who was seen wearing a mask as he handed over humanitarian assistance packages from Singapore to People’s Liberation Army General Hospital Medical Services Deputy Head Zhang Fu in Beijing on Wednesday (Feb 19).
The official line of the Government of Singapore concerning masks during the time of the Covid-19 outbreak is that they should be worn by those who are actually ill, to prevent sickness from spreading, as well as be reserved for those who are in the front lines of fighting the disease—doctors, nurses, and medical staff.
Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing was even heard saying—albeit in a leaked audio recording—that Singapore hospitals would pay the price if leaders wore masks, which is what Hong Kong’s Carrie Lam recently did.
Despite advice to the contrary from officials, there has been a run on the sales of masks around the country, and in many places these are no longer available.
Which brings us to the Facebook post of Mr Lim, the head of the People’s Voice party. He put up a photo of Singapore’s ambassador to China, Lui Tuck Yew, in a mask as he handed over goods in Beijing.
Conflicting Messages From This Inconsistent Government! Why is Lui Tuck Yew wearing a mask? Is he unwell? Or does he think that it is prudent to wear a mask in public during these times?
His caption: Conflicting Messages From This Inconsistent Government!
Why is Lui Tuck Yew wearing a mask? Is he unwell? Or does he think that it is prudent to wear a mask in public during these times?
Mr Lui is not the only official who has worn a mask in public, as PAP MP Cheng Li Hui was also called out by an opposition leader, Goh Meng Seng of the People’s Power Party, for wearing a mask when visiting Tampines East earlier this month.
Netizens commenting on Mr Lim’s post were not happy seeing the ambassador in a mask either.
However, some netizens pointed out that since Mr Lui is in China, he may actually be required to wear a mask in public. In Wuhan and Shanghai, at least people are required to do so, and are not allowed to leave their homes otherwise.
Perhaps Mr Lui is “doing as the Romans do,” or perhaps he is indeed unwell and is protecting others from catching an infection. Either way, the issue of whether or not to wear a mask still seems to be a sore point with some Singaporeans, one that is unlikely to die down soon. —/TISG