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“Why so kiasu?” — Online criticism of the long queues in supermarkets on Friday

Crowds already there before Prime Minister's Facebook post about speech at 4 pm

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Singapore – Long queues formed once again in supermarkets before and after the Government announced tighter measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. And this led to criticism online of the need to do this and the blatant disregard of safe distancing measures.

The tighter measures were announced on Friday (April 3) by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and the details were announced after his speech by the multi-ministry task force on the Covid-19 crisis.

Mr Lee announced “circuit breakers” that included closing most workplaces, except for essential services and vital economic sectors. He also gave the assurance that “food establishments, markets and supermarkets, clinics and hospitals, utilities, transport and key banking services will remain open”.

Schools and institutes of higher learning will also shut down and move to full home-based learning.

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There would also be tighter movement restrictions. Mr Lee urged everyone to stay at home as much as possible and avoid socialising with others, if possible. He added: “Go out only to do essential things.”

However, even before Mr Lee announced in a Facebook post that he would be giving a speech at 4 pm, photos and videos of fully-packed supermarkets started circulating online as if people foresaw what was about to happen and responded by ensuring they had enough supplies during the tighter measures.

Facebook user Norlizaiwati Abdul Latiff shared the following photos with the caption: “Do it again and again! Why so kiasu? Relax la.”

Do it again and again! Why so kiasu? Relax la.

Posted by Norlizaiwati Abdul Latiff on Friday, 3 April 2020

And the Facebook page All Singapore Stuff posted a video of shoppers queueing in an NTUC FairPrice supermarket in Punggol Oasis.

Oasis NTUC panic buying

kiasi virus strikes again… alamak, why these people no social distance while queuing up?<Reader's Contribution by Chen>

Posted by All Singapore Stuff on Friday, 3 April 2020

A report in todayonline.com on Saturday (April 4) also mentioned long queues in various supermarkets after the announcement of tighter measures.

Meanwhile, at least two people have produced memes on the possible misunderstanding that occurred. Both claimed the Government said to “calm down”, not “come down” to the supermarkets.

Posted by Vincent Lim on Friday, 3 April 2020

Posted by Wong Shao Yong on Friday, 3 April 2020

Posted by Ivan Ong on Friday, 3 April 2020

 

Someone, pointing to the rush to the supermarkets before Mr Lee’s speech, produced a meme of Mr Lee with the caption: “Can wait for my speech first?”

There was criticism online of the blatant disregard of calls to practise safe distancing. One person suggested limiting shoppers to older people and to introduce online shopping with the account based on one’s home to prevent the setting up of multiple accounts.

Photo: FB screengrab

Photo: FB screengrab

Another person, however, felt that limiting the number of shoppers will only encourage them to buy in bulk.

Photo: FB screengrab

Read related:

BREAKING: PM Lee: To prevent escalating infections, we will impose tighter measures

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