Taiwan, hailed as the role model in COVID-19 pandemic management, has a secret weapon at the forefront of its response.
Vice-President Chen Chien-jen is a John Hopkins-trained epidemiologist and an expert in viruses.
Often called “disease detectives”, epidemiologists search for the cause of disease, identify people who are at risk, and determine how to control the spread or prevent it from happening again.
Vice-President Chen has been relentlessly tracking infections and pushing for testing kits. When he gives advice to the public, they pay close attention because he knows what he’s talking about.
As of now, Taiwan has only 440 confirmed coronavirus cases and 7 deaths.
Taiwan has a secret weapon to lead the fight, Singapore has square pegs in round holes
In contrast, let’s look at the three ministers leading the COVID-19 fight for Singapore.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong majored in electrical engineering.
Given his background, his key contribution has probably been the adoption of the term “circuit breaker” – a confounding euphemism for lockdown.
As for the other two ministers at the forefront of the COVID-19 battle, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong and Manpower Minister Josephine Teo, both are trained in economics.
Given their background, it’s easy to see that they could possibly have weighed the cost of moving foreign workers out of dormitories earlier to curb the spread of COVID-19, but decided against it because the cost seemed prohibitively high.
Could this decision have been the monumental misstep that led to the huge explosion in migrant worker infections?
Yet another electrical engineer in the COVID-19 fight
If we were to look at the credentials of a fourth key minister, Masagos Zulkifli, Environment and Water Resources Minister, who has been active in the circuit breaker phase, guess what – he’s an electrical engineer by training.
The irony is that aside from electrical engineers and economists and generals, we do have doctors in the cabinet.
But Ng Eng Hen is Defence Minister while Vivian Balakrishnan is Foreign Minister.
In trying to fit square pegs into round holes, it’s no wonder that we end up dithering and teetering while others move decisively because their expertise is put to the best use.
While economists might have been critically held back by cost considerations, electrical engineers were consumed with coining the pretentious muddle-headed “circuit breaker”.
No need to copyright this term. No other country wants to copy something that would subject it to ridicule.

Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
You May Also Like

Why is race such a hot button issue? Is it because the government are inadvertently making it one? 

The issue of race is never far from the social/political fabric of…

Navigating the complexities of MediShield and Medisave

by Leong Sze Hian I refer to Goh Poh Kheng’s letter “Stumped…

MOH took 4 years to realise why Inderjit Singh was against medical tourism in public hospitals

In a Facebook post on Sunday (30 Sep), Mr Inderjit Singh wrote…

Simon Lim: It is not Singaporeans who need to integrate with foreigners, but the way around

by Simon Lim I refer to the news about Ms Grace Fu,…