SINGAPORE — On Sunday (Feb 2), Chinese singer Hu Haiquan drew attention for reportedly sending 160,000 face masks in two batches from Singapore to China.
While the demand for face masks has gone up all over the world, China has said that it urgently needed them to tackle the spread of the Wuhan virus.
Most netizens were curious as to how or where the singer acquired all the masks. Some admired him for his philanthropy but others were outraged that he had taken so many masks away from Singaporeans.
The singer, who forms half of soft-rock duo Yu Quan, was spotted at Changi Airport on Sunday (Feb 2) delivering the second batch of about 40 boxes containing 80,000 masks bound for China. He posted about it on Weibo using the Haiquan Fund account, a venture capital fund he formed in 2003.
His actions are controversial because there were recently long queues for the masks and price hikes by a couple of retailers in Singapore.
Haiquan Fund’s post on Weibo thanked about 10 families bound for China who volunteered to check in some of the masks. The flight was believed to be the last one to China by the unidentified airline.
Netizens, particularly on Reddit, reacted in different ways to what Hu did. There was a lot of love, a lot of confusion and there were bad feelings.
“Frankly, I think this is a good move. Singapore managed to control the virus, assuming all the potential virus carriers are blocked and good measures implemented. More help should be rendered to the China people, who are in high risk and mask remains high in demand,” wrote one netizen.
“Can’t tell…are we supposed to be outraged by this or what?” wrote another.
“Can’t blame him for wanting to help his people (in a place that needs the masks much more desperately)…but he is buying up our stock in bulk. Confused pitchfork,” confessed yet another.
“Maybe have our own opinion about it?” suggested someone. “He couldn’t have gotten them cheap and probably spent a small fortune for his countrymen, but then he’s supporting those unethical mask resellers/markup-ers.”
“160k is not a lot for China but it’s a lot for a small country like Singapore. Did he care about the needs of his host country? Doubt so. He is taking the supplies that we need … Is there really a need to send 160k mask back other than publicity? And how the heck did he even get 160k surgical mask?” asked one netizen.
“… If we are aiming to minimise total number of infected worldwide then China having the masks would most probably be more effective. People opposing this are probably more interested in self-preservation, which is an understandable natural instinct,” said yet another.
The thread on Reddit goes on, with people taking turns expressing their opinions on the matter.
This netizen summed up the sentiment quite well:
“I’m torn as well.
“On one hand they definitely need it more than us. There isn’t even a human to human transmission case in SG yet so using masks imo is quite an overkill especially if you’re not super young/old/pregnant.
“On the other hand SG spent the resources to plan, stockpile and prepare for such situations. Idk if the masks are being sold at a price where we are actually getting much profit if you take into account the effort behind the scenes. So in a way we are subsidising their lack of preparedness?
“All in all it’s just a sucky situation and the CCP should have planned better. I don’t blame the Chinese people.”