18 May 2021

Who should we blame for Singapore's second Covid lockdown?

Ship of fools, woodcut, 1494 Basel

Singapore returned to a state of lockdown on 8 May 2021. With all indoor sports, indoor dining, mandatory work from home, and social gathering severely restricted (and with all schools switching to home-based learning), this is a mere quarter-turn of the screw away from the complete lockdown ("Circuit Breaker") from April 2020.

Much has been made about the quality of decision-making of Singapore's Interministerial Covid Task Force in this matter.  Once again like the initial dithering and delays that led to travellers from Wuhan colonising Singapore with the Covid virus, our leaders dithered for a month while India reported its worst Covid spikes in a year. Just like in the Wuhan case, Singapore's leaders sat on their hands long after India announced the lockdown of its capital. Singapore's leaders allowed travellers from India into the country, in increasing numbers, even after the Indian government blamed the outbreak not on the record crowds at the Kumbh Mela river festival but on the "India variant" of the Covid virus.

It was only when the UK declared its travel restrictions on India that Singapore followed suit, on the same day. Yet why do Singapore's leaders blame Singaporeans for its own India variant Covid clusters and the subsequent lockdown?

13 January 2021

Can we live together with TraceTogether?

Why is trust in TraceTogether at an all-time low?

Singaporeans should be celebrating. After nearly a year of lockdown, Singapore has entered the elusive "Phase 3" despite the inter-ministerial covid task force tripping itself over and over again with poor communication skills and crisis management and a tendency to allow PR agendas to trump medical-scientific expertise and set policy. By refusing to hold daily televised coronavirus briefings during the initial darkest months, this team failed to reassure, educate, guide, and rally the public and to shore up the government credibility and authority during the pandemic. Yes, it's time to talk about TraceTogether fiasco, where this credibility and authority is finally found wanting by the public.