Yesterday (26 Apr), Mr Seah Kian Peng, a Member of Parliament from the People’s Action Party in Marine Parade GRC, played the role of a safe distancing ambassador (SDA) to walkabout through the various kopitiams as well a wet market.
Mr Seah who is also the Group CEO of NTUC Enterprise, posted a photo on his Facebook page, showing him taking a selfie with a market stallholder.
“This morning (26 Apr), I walked alone through the various kopitiams as well the wet market, playing the role of a safe distancing ambassador (SDA),” he said.
He said he talked to some residents and merchants as well as group of SDAs when they were having their lunch break, and made a few observations:
- Compliance is high;
- Merchants and residents all understood importance of wearing a face mask and the need for safe distancing and we are all getting used to it;
- Temperature screening and crowd control measures were in place at popular places like supermarkets and wet market;
- For those who sometimes forget, a gentle reminder to keep to safe distancing is all that is required;
- Even with a mask on, most people seem to be able to recognize me.
His last observation is interesting. He said most of the people could recognize him even though he was wearing a mask. He seems to be more concerned about people recognizing him.
It’s not known who appointed him as a SDA or if he appointed himself as one.
PAP announces suspension of its ground engagement activities
Two weeks ago (13 Apr), the People’s Action Party (PAP) made a post on its Facebook page announcing that it will suspend its usual ground engagements such as market visits and home visits, and Meet-the-People Sessions in light of the COVID-19 outbreak (‘People’s Action Party posts on its Facebook page, announcing for the first time that it will suspend its ground engagement‘).
While it did not mention any reason for this announcement, it has been speculated that the announcement was linked to the barrage of criticism the party had received over a “walkabout” conducted by its MP Chia Shi Lu at the Alexander Village Food Centre the day before (‘PAP MP Chia Shi Lu: We’re not doing walkabout but educating people to wear masks at hawker centre‘).
Dr Chia is a Member of Parliament of Tanjong Pagar GRC, led by Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing. He is also the Chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Health.
Defending himself later, Dr Chia told Straits Times that he was at the food centre to “encourage hawkers to wear masks”. He added that the group accompanying him was kept small – fewer than five people. It was noted that he was also accompanied by at least one reporter and photographer from the Chinese media.
He denied doing a walkabout, “We were not doing a walkabout, we were there to tell people to wear masks when serving and please wear masks, it was more an education thing.”
After news of Dr Chia’s “educational” walkabout broke, former Workers’ Party (WP) non-constituency MP Yee Jenn Jong commented on his Facebook page saying that he hoped leaders from the ruling party could set a “good example” in the fight against the coronavirus, noting that the WP had suspended its outreach activities.
Edit: The text of title has been changed to better represent the reported matter.