Singapore—Former Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) Calvin Cheng has been vocal on social media concerning the recent Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, specifically on travel restrictions in Singapore.
Most recently, Mr Cheng weighed in concerning face masks, noting a seeming disconnect between what he’s seen on the streets and online. He writes that he hardly sees anyone wearing masks on the streets, but much noise has been made online that there is a shortage of surgical and other masks, which people have used to prevent getting sick. On the other hand, there seem to be no lines forming when the government gives away surgical masks for free.
This has caused the former NMP to write, “Are we living in alternate realities??”
Here is his post, written on Monday, February 3, in full.
“When I walk around town I don’t see many people wearing masks.
When the government gives out free masks, there are no queues.
Yet online everyone seems to be panicking and angry that there is a shortage.
Can someone explain to me what’s happening ?
Are we living in alternate realities ??
Netizens had a whole slew of answers to Mr Cheng’s questions regarding the seeming disconnect between reality and what is online.
One person posted that a lot of what is seen online is meant to portray the government in a bad light. Ramesh Subbaraman wrote, “The online forum seeks to create a fuss to put the government and whatever it wishes to do for the people in bad light. So when I queue and don’t get a mask then the government messed up the distribution. When i get the mask delivered on a silver plate nearest to my doorstep i take my own sweet time or just don’t bother. That’s the game plan Calvin.”
But other netizens were quick to argue that there may be some reason to be upset—”when there was thick haze 3M N95 masks were given out, but now, there really is a Wuhan flu virus and you asked us to queue for 4 blue colour surgical masks but there is no need to wear if you are not sick?” reads a post by the name Must Tanks Gui Rider.
However, others agreed with Mr Ramesh’s point concerning negativity online.
Others speculated that perhaps the government’s allocation of four masks per family is simply too small a number to bother collecting.
Some simply said that maybe the turnout out for collecting the masks was low because people are heeding the advice to wear masks only when one is actually sick.
Others say they believe that since there has been no community spread yet, people feel there is no need to wear the mask.
And finally, one netizen pointed out the fallacy in Mr Cheng’s premise that very few people collected the masks over the weekend.
Jason Chua Chin Seng wrote, “U CANNOT say only 6% bothered to collect over the weekend. Collection is phased & in batches. Not all allocated slot (sic) to collect over weekend. My block starts today. Over 10 days, abt (sic) 20% of household are scheduled to collect over weekend.”
To which Mr Cheng graciously replied, “thanks buddy. Corrected.”
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