Singapore — On Friday (Dec 4), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong posted a link to an article from the Los Angeles Times about the country’s Safe Distancing Ambassadors (SDAs).
Writing that chancing upon the article had been a pleasant surprise, he highlighted the important work being done by SDAs.
“Many SDAs have experienced unpleasant encounters with members of the public while doing their work,” he said. Mr Lee added, however, that he was grateful that most Singaporeans are cooperative and comply with anti-Covid-19 measures .
After all, the job of SDAs is to keep everyone safe by making sure safety measures are followed. But there have been times when people have not followed the rules.
Mr Lee then reminded everyone: “If an SDA reminds you to wear your mask or space apart in public, please don’t get offended! They are just doing their job.”
And while the Covid-19 situation is under control in Singapore, infections are still very much present around the globe. Singaporeans must keep vigilant as the country prepares “to reopen its borders to return as an international hub for finance, trade, and tourism”.
The article in the LA Times, said Mr Lee, “is an outsider’s perspective on what SDAs do”.
The author, David Pierson, wrote about Safe Distancing Ambassadors Rugayah Noordin and Fiona Tay going around a mall. They were “shooting out stern glances and inducing low-grade panic among shoppers, diners, and store employees”.
Sometimes, they did not have to say a word. All they had to do was approach people in their red shirts and they would comply with safety measures.
“Such is the intimidating power of those nicknamed Singapore’s Red Ants or Red Army — thousands of vermillion shirt-wearing public servants in sensible shoes tasked with roaming the city-state’s air-conditioned shopping centres, sweltering parks and crowded open-air food courts to remind people to cover up, space apart and limit groups to five people or fewer,” said Mr Pierson.
He noted that while the United States is battling ever-rising infections, life in Singapore is going back to normal. This, however, did not happen overnight.
“Singaporeans have had to accept wearing masks, forgoing large gatherings, including for religious worship, submitting to contract-tracer scanning at public buildings and businesses, and enduring a 2½-month lockdown in the spring that triggered the greatest quarterly job losses in the country’s recorded history,” he added.
The article quotes PM Lee, however, as telling Bloomberg in November that the fight is far from over.
“What I think the Asian countries have succeeded in doing is to get their populations to comply with the measures.” This has been more successful than in Europe or America, where safety measures are at times resisted, he added.
Therefore, it is clear SDAs are more important than ever as they help remind people not to get complacent in the battle against Covid-19. /TISG