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GrabFood rider gives face mask to man worried about being fined $300

A call for those without face masks to be treated with more compassion

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Singapore – A GrabFood rider has shared about a man who had dropped his and who was “profusely circling the floor” because he did not want to be fined $300. Luckily, the rider had an extra face mask, much to the man’s appreciation.

On Thursday (April 16), Mr Ke Weiliang took to Facebook to share his story. He wondered if those who had no face mask could be treated with more compassion rather than be shamed online or reported to the authorities.

Mr Ke was waiting for an order at an F&B stall in a shopping mall when he noticed a man  “profusely circling the floor that the stall was on”. As he was tired from a day’s work, it took him a while before he realised that the man was not wearing a mask.

“Thankfully, I keep extra masks with me all the time while on delivery duty, so I offered him one,” said Mr Ke. The man thanked the rider and explained that he had accidentally dropped his face mask on the way to the mall and was walking around “because he did not want to risk being spotted or fined for not wearing a mask while waiting for his dinner order”.

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“The uncle’s explanation resonated with how I’ve been struggling to keep up with the constantly changing messages and laws that the Government has been abruptly sending or implementing recently,” said Mr Ke.

He said that, not too long ago, face masks were only for those feeling ill. They were then made compulsory in certain areas. Later, everyone had to wear a mask in public, except children under the age of two or people who engaged in strenuous exercise.

“Now I’m wondering out loud if there is a more compassionate way of encouraging people spotted not wearing masks to do so.” Perhaps something that does not involve individuals being shamed on a certain Covidiots group or playing snitch thru the Government’s OneServiceApp, said Mr Ke.

He added that for every person disregarding the measures, there is another “who genuinely does not have access to them (face masks)”, such as an elderly citizen who could not make the trip to a community centre to collect a reusable mask or a foreign worker who had no access to information in his native language. Others may just be in an innocuous situation, like the uncle who had dropped his mask, said Mr Ke.

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“If you are really concerned about keeping people safe from the pandemic, the next time you see someone not masked up, perhaps the most straightforward thing to do is to offer them one” or lead them to the right direction where they can acquire some free masks, he  suggested. “This is really not the time to play saman auntie, or to be a vigilante on social media,” he added.

Mr Ke’s post quickly gained more than 1,200 likes and 1,000 shares. People praised him and agreed with the message.

Photo: FB screengrab / Ke Weiliang

Some people suggested that social distancing ambassadors could be equipped with face masks for those with valid reasons for being without a mask.

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Photo: FB screengrab / Ke Weiliang

Photo: FB screengrab / Ke Weiliang

Photo: FB screengrab / Ke Weiliang

There was also a call for more compassion to be spread among the community instead of the virus.

Photo: FB screengrab / Ke Weiliang

Photo: FB screengrab / Ke Weiliang

Photo: FB screengrab / Ke Weiliang

While waiting to pick up a GrabFood order from an F&B stall in a shopping mall yesterday, I noticed an uncle profusely…

Posted by Ke Weiliang on Thursday, April 16, 2020

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