Singaporeans are often seen as Kiasu individuals, but the storm of COVID has further divided citizens into convenient sub-categories. In the face of the vexing virus, we react differently, and that is perfectly fine. After all, we are same-same but different, right?
Time to play this game of COVID-19 2020 Edition and see which character you identify with. Are you a hoarder who finds yourself inexplicably drawn to the supermarket before every announcement by the PM? Or are you a Law Abiding Citizen who’s out on a mission (on Facebook. Please stay home and don’t vigilante outside, hor) to educate your Facebook friends on the new rules and regulations that seem to be changing by the day?
In the words of Dee Kosh, touch your heart. TOUCH YOUR HEART. And let us know which are you.
1. The Hoarders
Engaged in panic buying of food and household products, they armed themselves with multiple baskets, and some, with reusable bags because you should still save the environment while hoarding, please. They come prepared, charge head-first to specific supermarket aisles, and sweep things off the shelves in massive quantities. They are closer to signing the sales purchase agreement to buy the supermarket down if they had the option.
With a heightened sense of awareness for toilet paper, instant noodles, and rice, make sure you do not stand into the way of their favourite daily staples.
2. The Law Abiding Citizen
They might be a small minority but in times like these, are the best friends of our white-shirt politicians. When the government says Singapore is in DORSCON orange, the other colours do not exist, no sir. When the government says, not to panic buy, they bear the brunt of the long waiting queues caused by hoarders and innocently carry their grocery basket sufficient for the weekend. They put on their masks way before the government says it’s compulsory and will preach if you are nonchalant about the circuit breaker measures. We stan our law-abiding citizens.
Beware, leaders, this group is going to feel upset if you do not practise what you preach.
3. CCBs: COVID-19 Circuit Breakers — The Socially Irresponsible
Wow, I can rant all day about them. You do not need to be a goody-two shoe like the law abiding citizen, but that does not warrant going against the guidelines knowingly.
Unlike the term “Circuit Breaker” that is used to describe the elevated measures to be implemented over a month, these individuals are an interruption to what a normal electricity flow would be. They do not exercise social responsibility and are an accomplice to forming virus clusters—attending events despite feeling unwell, not masking up while commuting to see a doctor, doctor hopping, and meeting friends to catch up.
This group of people needs to repent hard. Period.
4. The Hermits — Enjoying SHN and WFH
One man’s meat is another man’s poison. Yes, there is a group of people who love the isolation element of social distancing. They retreat to their home or room caves and their happiness indexes are higher. They fondly enjoy their personal space and translates this situation of not having to deal with pesky Susan from HR to a higher level of work productivity. They thrive! Unlike socialites who are experiencing cabin fever and social-withdrawal syndrome, the hermits are as fit as a fiddle, and their mental health—pink as ever!
5. The Cabin Fever — ‘Socialites’
Every day is a struggle. This group of people jam-packed their schedule with various virtual meetings with different groups of friends—from work, meals, to after-work Netflix party and gym hangouts. They wake up everyday almost in a daze and praying this reality is over.
Fixated on counting down to 4 May 2020, one can only hope this pseudo DORSCON rusty-orange or pink ends soon, so the social life resumes. Meanwhile, let’s embrace the exciting virtual events that we can engage in and create a post-Circuit breaker wish list. Hopefully, time passes faster and is more bearable like this.
6. The Estate Heroes
Besides our noble healthcare personnel and big corporations that have stepped forward to contribute monetarily, some anonymous individuals have responded to the community needs in small, but meaningful ways.
Amidst COVID-19, they have donated highly essential items like sanitisers, masks, and sweet encouraging notes in public areas like HDB lifts, so the community can stay clean and virus-free. On their own accord, they refill these finite supplies from time to time. Indeed, the true #SGUnited ambassadors and a beacon of hope in a time of difficulty like we’re facing now. Indeed, faith in humanity is rightfully restored.
7. The Opportunist
In the golden rule of economics, when supply cannot meet demand, price increases. In the case of COVID-19, supply struggles to meet the rapid rise in demands causing the prices of essential items—like surgical masks and our favourite toilet rolls—to soar. How can we leave out the opportunist—the shrewd businessmen—who identified this arbitrage and seized it like a hungry predator.
These opportunists purchased these items in large quantities and sell them on informal platforms like Carousell at inflated rates. For example, a box of 50 surgical masks used to be sold at S$7 to S$8 but with COVID-19, it averages around S$35 a box. At its peak, prices were exorbitant—almost S$2 per mask.
Besides the shrewd businessmen, some opportunists have exploited people’s desperation for essential items as a cheating scam by ghosting on these poor preys after the payments were made.
In the theory of evolution, we learnt about the survival of the fittest. In today’s context, it’s the survival of the smartest.
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