The Singapore government has just announced that it 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.
This was just a day after the characters were announced on the Gov.sg website. The government webpage which had the superhero mascots listed, has been removed.
According to a Facebook post by Gov.sg on Monday night, it said it is reviewing the Virus Vanguard after receiving a lot of feedback
“We are sorry if we offended anyone.” wrote Gov.sg.
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.
BOD’s initial design did not look like the finalised version
While Gov.sg pointed or shared the “blame” with BOD, one would wonder what happened along the line of decisions if one were to refer to the original artwork produced by BOD.
BOD posted a sample of its first team of COVID heroes on its Facebook two weeks ago. And if you look at it, the art-style and character design is totally different from the finalised characters featured by Gov.sg.
Just what happened?
The five pulled characters
A highly advanced robot piloted by a 12-year old girl, Mini Moh.
Backstory: The girl was volunteering at a nursing home as part of school CIP when one of the residents took a particular liking to her. She then gave the 12-year old a tiara which, when worn, will unleash a humanoid machine – Circuit Breaker.
Powered by solar energy, Circuit Breaker is a biomorphic entity with Mini Moh controlling it through neural signals. Mini Moh is sharp with her words (to hide her insecurities) but has a soft heart.
Abilities: Hypersonic speed that is above Mach 5. Can control any digital equipment with a chip in it within a 50 km radius. Can achieve lossless data compression ratio of up to 1000:1.
Weakness: Solar power storage of up to 48 hours.
Fake News Buster
He wields the Mallet of Truth and wears a suit with force enhancing nodes to generate power when knocking sense into people. Otherwise, he is Felix, a corporate cog data cruncher in his late 20s.
Backstory: Felix was a flat earth believer until he failed his geography in secondary school and could not follow his girlfriend to the same JC. Devastated, he denounced flat earth and all things fake.
With his single-minded focus to study and memorise all the world’s information, he became a walking supercomputer, and a legit Fake News Buster to eliminate what he deems to have cost him his ultimate love.
Abilities: Walking Wikipedia and Google combined. Able to decipher big data and cull out facts or known truths.
Weakness: Maps or anything resembling a map (including suspicious-looking birthmarks) will render him into a temporary state of catatonia.
He enforces safe-distancing (Must Always Walk Alone) as he repels people and objects far apart. To his friends, he is Manzoorakkaman (Man Man for short), a sports super agent in his late 30s.
Backstory: Man Man is a fanatical Manchester United fan who grew up in the 80s when Liverpool kept winning titles and he was constantly taunted by his two Liverpool fan brothers. This made him despise everything Liverpool including their motto You’ll Never Walk Alone (YNWA).
His hatred for Liverpool so far exceeds his love for Man Utd that it manifested as a telekinesis power in MAWA Man to push objects and people through his eyes.
Abilities: Repelling power to push objects and people back, aided by a digital distance meter through his eyes. Uses a special helmet he invented to control the magnitude of force and calculate other tech stuff.
Weakness: Cannot stop Man Utd fans from gathering as he will be compelled to join them.
She can detect the presence of any virus or bacteria and she dons an exoskeleton suit with extended multi-appendages to eradicate and disinfect. Ordinarily, she is Sonya, a microbiologist at Singapore Clinical Research Institute in her mid-20s
Backstory: Sonya graduated summa cum laude from MIT with double degrees in chemical science and microbiology at the age of 14. A failed experiment during her doctorate studies caused her to shrink to the size of a microorganism. Her colleague then unwittingly washed her down the kitchen sink.
She survived the ordeal and returned to normal size. But the trauma left her with adverse reactions to germs and ultra-amplified her senses to even the smallest bacteria, making her perfect as Dr Disinfector.
Abilities: Able to detect virus and bacteria through sight, smell and even sound from the vibration of their movement. Wields a multifunctional treatment gun with various capsules containing antidotes and boosters.
Care-leh Dee (pronounced Care Lady)
She uses empathy to absorb all negativity, or to send torrents of powerful emotions to her target. Not ordinary even in person, she is Diyana Amperthee, a female trillionaire philanthropist of unknown age.
Backstory: Diyana made her trillions from prudent investments and then decided to go for a year-long meditation experience in the remote mountains of Kathmandu. She got trapped during an avalanche and during the two-month ordeal, which she survived, she attained unusual enlightenment to become Care-leh Dee, having gained the ability to feel exactly what others around her feel.
Abilities: Able to make others feel better, and also understand how others feel through telepathy. Temporarily absorb negative energy and thoughts. Levitation.
Weakness: When she absorbs negative energy, she needs to meditate to purge it from her vessel otherwise it may harm or kill her.