“Circuit breaker” term attributed to Gan Kim Yong’s electrical engineering background

Some people have preferred "lockdown" in order to get people to take it more seriously

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Some people have hypothesised online that the reason for ’s use of the term “” during the pandemic could be due to the educational background of .

According to his page on the Prime Minister’s Office Singapore website, Mr Gan, who has been since 2011, has quite the colourful background. Not only has he had experience as Minister for Education and Manpower, but a large chunk of his educational background surprisingly revolved around .

In 1981, Mr Gan graduated from Cambridge University with a Bachelor’s Degree (Honours) in Electrical Engineering. He then took his studies further and, in 1985, earned his master’s degree also from Cambridge.

While countries around the world are giving quarantine measures against the pandemic labels like “community quarantine” and “lockdown”, Singapore has been using the term “circuit breaker”.

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In the past, there has been some controversy over the term, as some people preferred that the Government refer to the measure as  “lockdown” in order to get people to take it more seriously. An example of this would be the online debate that was sparked by Singapore Democratic Party leader Chee Soon Juan’s use of the term “lockdown” instead of “circuit breaker”. While some called on Mr Chee to use the Government-issued label, others supported his choice of words as many thought doing so rendered the appropriate attitude towards the counter-measure against Covid-19.

However, after finding a possible link between the rather unorthodox term and Mr Gan’s educational background, some people think they have found the answer as to why the term “circuit breaker” was chosen.

Here are their reactions. One person, however, wonders why the Health Minister is not a doctor.

No wonder why our version of lockdown is called circuit breaker.Our health minister is electrical trained.

Posted by BP Sanders on Monday, 11 May 2020

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Photo: Screengrab from Facebook comments / VOICE YOUR GRIEVANCES / BP Sanders

Mr Jackson Ng cited an article in the New York Times, which revealed that Taiwan’s Vice- President is an epidemiologist. He added: “Ours electrician, no wonder short circuited.”

Photo: screengrab from Facebook / Jackson Ng

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