It has been reported that the Singapore government has announced that “it has pulled mascots, collectively known as the Virus Vanguard, out of its campaign to spread the word about the country’s circuit breaker measures and good hygiene habits.”
It seems rather odd that the government would take the view that such mascots were needed in the first place? The entire world knows about the COVID-19 outbreak! It is global news!
With many countries the world over going into lock down, social distancing and incessant hand washing is surely not a message that we need a cast of mascots to help spread? Why has the government even bothered to invest resources into such a project in the first place? While the project may have been imbued with good intentions, isn’t there a better use of our country’s time and money?
The ongoing and current spike in cases in our migrant worker community has garnered international media attention with questions being asked of how we, a first world country, allowed the situation to escalate to this in the first place. As our government battles to try and salvage an earlier oversight in relation to our migrant workers, why are we investing precious resources on inventing mascots?
Singaporeans do not need cartoon figures to tell them what they need to do. The entire world is telling them what to do. As they sit at home observing Circuit Breaker rules, do you not think they are watching the news? We don’t need make belief superheros to combat this crisis. We need proactive policies to preempt the spread. Such mascots are yet again reactive measures which the government has been criticised for.
It is completely pointless to invent such mascots in the first place. This is not the Olympic games or some sort of event. It is a national disaster! Having cartoon figures here completely trivialises the seriousness of the situation. Now that the figures have been pulled, is this more needless money down the drain? Could this money not have been put to better use? Such as donated to the migrant workers for instance?
According to a Facebook post by Gov.sg on Monday night, the government has said that it is reviewing the Virus Vanguard after receiving a lot of feedback. It also apologised for any offence it caused.
It added, “As this is the first time we are exploring this content format, we appreciate your patience.” and shared that the mascots is a collaboration with the Band of Doodlers (BOD) to create a comic series to convey different aspects of the Circuit Breaker measures.
Instead of reviewing, perhaps we should just scrap it altogether. It is not necessary at this time. It is not appropriate to be spending state resources on such projects at a time of national emergency.