TOC Editorial: Using social media to take concrete steps to combat haze

TOC Editorial: 

This morning at 10 a.m. TOC put out a call on our FB page to crowd source information on hospitals or nursing homes which didn’t have enough air-purifiers.

Within 15 minutes, we got our first call for help. A member of the staff at St Luke’s Community Hospital at Bukit Batok dropped us a message telling us they didn’t have purifiers.

We called in to find out more about the situation. St Luke’s has 8 wards with about 18 – 20 beds in each ward.

As of 10 a.m. this morning, less than a handful of the wards had air purifiers, and at least 3 weren’t air conditioned.

We were told that at least 10 – 12 purifiers would be needed.

At 10.30 a.m., after ascertaining the facts, we put out an SOS call on our FB page. Some of our readers pulled up the list of NEA air purifiers and started calling distributors. One reader suggested we try to get OSIM involved.

By 11.30 a.m., we’d hit a bit of a blank. None of the air purifying companies had any stock. The PSI had hit 400.

Thankfully, by 12.30 p.m., word about the situation at St Luke’s had viralled beyond the internet. We got word that newsradio 93.8 wanted to cover the story, and at 1 p.m. we got a call from the staff of St Luke’s: MP for Bukit Batok David Ong had heard about the situation and was going down at 1.30 p.m..

By 2 p.m., we were told that Mr Ong had promised to deliver 10 air purifiers and 12 air coolers to St Luke’s.

Less than 4 hours after the story hit social-media, what started with an online SOS call snowballed into a concrete result.

The air-purifiers being donated to St. Luke Hospital

Concrete actions to take on community media

TOC has been getting a lot of feedback on two main issues that Singaporeans are extremely concerned about.

The first is the availability and pricing of N95 face masks and air purifiers.

What TOC has done is to prepare a Google form here that you can easily update. This will feed into a spreadsheet that we’ll try to post periodically to provide the public with as much info as possible on where to get haze products.

Also, this is also an opportunity for members of the public to name and shame companies who are blatantly profiteering from the mask shortage. If you see masks being sold at exorbitant prices, please take the extra step of snapping a photo of the price-tag and shop front and send it to us.

The second concrete step we can take via social media is to continue to ask the Government and construction companies to call a stop-work order on outdoor manual labour.

We’ve created a Google form here that you can update if you see construction companies irresponsibly making their workers toil through hazardous conditions.

TOC is also currently working with the folks at #FreeMyInternet to try to render the data we collect into a visual, map based graphic.

Why we care

TOC believes that ordinary Singaporeans need to take control of the situation. While brickbats can be thrown at the Government at the appropriate time, what we need immediately is community support and action.

We’re committed to working with any organization of any political affiliation to ensure communication gaps in delivering basic services are filled.

TOC was founded 6 years ago and has survived all these years with the support and readership of ordinary Singaporeans who have believed in the importance of community media.

We are so deeply grateful for everything Singaporeans have done for us and promise to try our very best to support the community in every little way we can. Thanks for standing by us when we needed you, we’re here to stand with you now.