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Categories: CultureDrops
| On 6 months ago

Ranked — 10 Netizen Concerns About Khaw Boon Wan Removing Social Distancing Stickers on Trains

On 1 June 2020, our Minister of Transport Khaw Boon Wan posted photos of himself removing safe distancing stickers from public transport on his Facebook page. Titled As Circuit Breaker Ends, he noted that the removal of these stickers was to accommodate the increase in the number of riders that would be utilising public transport as Circuit Breaker ends.

In his post, he to urge those who can stay home to do so, and those who have to leave their homes to stagger their time to avoid the usual peak hours. He ended the post by reminding Singaporeans that they should wear a mask at all times, check-in and out of stations with the Safe Entry app, observe personal hygiene, and refrain from conversations while on public transport.

Needless to say, my fellow compatriots had something to say about Minister Khaw’s photos. Some comments were of genuine concerns, many disagreeing with the removal of the stickers and of course what edition of Ranked will this be without stupid comments?

Let me help you—here are 10 comments from Minister Khaw’s album, to give you an idea of how Singaporeans are reacting to post-circuit breaker measures.


1. What fun is there if stupidity does not exist?

This person obviously does not know how a country works. The basic concept of economic stability must be too hard for them to even fathom. Just in case anyone needs this to be literally spelt out to them, social distancing is always required whenever possible. If you’re in a packed train cabin rushing to work where it is impossible, then so be it.

The entire Singaporean workforce cannot simply just work from home. Many occupations require equipment or are a service that cannot operate from home. Nowhere did the Minister say that social distancing is not a priority. You don’t need social visits to keep the country running, you cannot be over-confident about defeating COVID-19 just because numbers are decreasing. We wouldn’t want a premature reopening of the country and experience a spike of COVID-19 cases, do we?

2. Let me counter your concern

Again, the government has continued to urge those who can work from home, should. Another reason I can think of as to why Minister Khaw removed the stickers other than to cater to the increase of ridership would be to deprive Singaporeans another reason to shame their fellow people. Think about it, riders will probably avoid seats with stickers on them should they be in a cabin full of people for the fear of being Stomped. Because so far, public shaming seems to be the most effective in keeping our nation in line.

Logistically, it does not make sense for the stickers to remain if the government has already anticipated an increase in ridership post-CB. An increase in train frequency might overwhelm our train system, resulting in a higher chance of potential train breakdowns. To have additional social distancing stickers will be an unnecessary expenditure for the government. I know we’re used to being told what to do like children, but perhaps this time around we can act upon our common sense and social distance on trains whenever possible.

3. I agree, consistency in messaging is critical, but think of it this way…

Sometimes it would be easier if our government spoke to us in a direct manner, but I can imagine Singaporeans immediately being complacent if they were to say that they’re confident in our COVID-19 numbers declining. I believe in our government, I think that the planned Phases are logical and reasonable.

To OP, the only thing I can say is to have faith in our government. Yes, they might not have told us directly that our nation is ready to operate ‘normally’ again, but through their actions, it’s safe to assume that our government is confident that those returning to work will not cause a spike in COVID-19 cases. Of course, we have to be socially responsible and social distance whenever we can.

4. Extended CB?

Because to call it an extended CB will arouse negative sentiment amongst our people. To be fair, while not much, there are changes from CB to phase one. I think what’s important here is not what post-CB is called but the small yet monumental changes taking place to allow us to slowly return to a reality where we’re allowed social visits and the privilege of dining in.

The Circuit Breaker is slowly being restored, why call it an Extended Circuit Breaker when it technically is not?

5. ‘Let the commuters work it out’

By removing the stickers, the government is indeed giving commuters autonomy on what to do while on packed public transport. Safe distancing stickers on public transport simply does not make sense when the government is confident with the increase in ridership post-CB. Again, can you imagine staring at a safe distancing sticker whilst on the way to work in a packed cabin?

A free seat amongst people who are standing shoulder to shoulder, but you can’t take that seat because of safe distancing when you’re already unable to practice safe distancing because of the number of people in the cabin. Stickers would not only make any sense but also would also be torturous. Imagine not being able to take a seat on a ‘free’ seat as you stay sandwiched by people, on your long journey to your workplace.

6. Stickers prevent the spread of COVID-19, we’ve found the cure to this global pandemic, folks!

We need to have faith in our people even though our behaviour so far as proved otherwise. If anything, I hope that Singaporeans have found a new sense of social responsibility as we experience COVID-19. I also hope that we’ve collectively learnt to not take everyday things for granted, such as social visits and having a haven that is the office for those that struggle to work from home.

7. Be like OP, but maybe sans the shield, unless its a face shield

Yes! Please! Wear a mask when you’re out, you’ll be fined if you don’t anyway. And if you have to be out but are deathly scared of contracting COVID-19, you can easily purchase face shields online. But please do not literally bring a shield onto the train or bus during peak hours, you’re robbing your fellow people of integral space. And imagine having to sanitise your shield every time you bring it outside. If you’re that afraid, I suggest you simply stay home.

8. Nothing is fair during a global pandemic

Again, these stickers are removed to cater to the increase in ridership during peak hours. And yes, it is fair to be fined if you disobey social distancing rules. I refuse to believe that the people who have made similar comments like OP’s do not understand why social visits are unnecessary during this Phase One of the post-circuit breaker. Do you miss your extended family and friends? So do I. You miss the simple joy of having a meal in a restaurant? So do I.

But unless we understand why things are done the way they are being handled right now, we might have to wait an even longer time to enjoy those simple pleasures again.

9. Let’s trust in our government!!!

Finally, someone who gets it. Someone who understands that it is up to not only the government but the individual to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. If more Singaporeans thought the way OP did, I think we would be a much more efficient and empathetic country.

But this is reality and different types of attitudes exist and contribute to society even if I cannot understand why some think the way they do. As humans, we can only try our best to listen and rationalise differentiating opinions, even if we might not agree with them.

10. Best for last

Not everyone needs to understand how to run a country. But everyone should have some understanding of basic economics if they’re going to leave a comment like this. Where do I even begin? What double standard are you speaking of? That safe distancing stickers are removed yet we’re not allowed social visits? I’ve explained that multiple times in this article already, lest I come off as naggy, I will not address this point again.

The government does not gain anything from ‘earning’ money, how dare you insinuate that the government does not care about us when you’re probably a receiver of the cash payouts the government has given us from the Solidarity Budget?

People are returning to their jobs to stimulate the economy, so we as a nation can operate. Why else would the government allow people back to their jobs under such controlled measures? For fun? Perhaps you’re one of the lucky few that are not affected by COVID-19, but I will have you know that many have lost their jobs from this pandemic. Can you imagine living through a pandemic with no job or financial security?

I hope and pray for you that you think twice before you comment such unnecessary things in the future, OP. Educate yourself, it’s honestly not that hard to.


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Leo Goh

Way too curious for my own good.

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