As the corona virus explodes in Singapore, human behaviour seems to have also had a similar explosion of tension, negativity and over zealousness.
Now that the Singapore government has made it mandatory to wear masks out in public, it would appear that vigilante mask crusaders have also started to prowl the streets, filming non mask wearing culprits and threatening to upload their videos on STOMP.
However well intentioned, these actions may be, they nevertheless breed mutual suspicion and paranoia at a time when we really should be standing together. Instead of being so quick to judge others, perhaps we should take some time to reflect on our own actions instead.
As Singapore Progress Party’s Jose Raymond has said, this types of of vigilantism “borders on harassment!” Raymond also made a good point – the regulations are changing so fast that people may not even know what the latest directive is! So, it is not as if they are flouting the rapidly changing laws on purpose. Why is then a need for such harsh and aggressive behaviour?
Plus, if you are so scared of people breaching the social distancing or mask wearing laws, why are you risking yourself to go up there and confront them? This type of behaviour could escalate and lead to an incident similar to what happened to a Singaporean student who was beaten up in London.
Take for example the couple who were each fined $300 for breaching safe distancing measures after they were photographed and reported by the public for kissing and having drinks at a public bench at Upper Boon Keng Road on Tuesday (April 14).
A member of the public actually called the police to report a couple kissing. Is this not a total waste of the police’s time? If you take up police resources needlessly, you could well be taking their time away from another much more serious matter.
At a time of crisis, our police officers are putting themselves at risk everyday as essential workers. Please don’t add to their workload and stress by calling them over matters that really aren’t that serious in the grander scheme of things.
Think about the waste of time versus the potential damage caused by the kissing couple. The couple could well be living together which makes the social distancing a non starter.
Secondly, while they were in public, it is not as if they were near anyone else which makes any damage they could have caused rather limited. It would of course be different if it was a a group of people (who are clearly not from the same household) having a picnic or playing football.
To make matters worse, it would appear that the government is tacitly endorsing this sort of Big Brother is watching tactics by informing the public of an app by which one is enabled to report safe distancing infringements by others.
This is reminiscent of a fascist state like North Korea where people are encouraged to spy on each other. In a state of fear and high tension, doesn’t this just make matters worse? Has the government actually thought this through? Or is it just another reactive measure among the many other knee jerk actions it has taken?
It is already stressful enough for everyone to be going through this period of time, being stuck at home and worrying about the life after this pandemic. Let us be kind to one another and let the authorities do their job.