Dear Singaporeans, stop staring at me for not wearing a mask

Time to perceive, and be perceived.

Amanda Tan

Skills include buying the same jeans in different colours.

Published: 1 April 2022, 10:30 AM

As I’m writing this, it’s been two days since the mask mandate was lifted and yet, nothing much has changed. Why?

When Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced the easing of restrictions that kicked in on Mar 29, my friends and I jumped for joy. Not only did it mean we could reunite as our group of eight, but it also meant that we no longer had to put up with our masks in this disgustingly hot weather.

Seeing everyone’s positive reactions to the news, I expected the majority of Singaporeans to feel the same.

Unfortunately, when I headed out to get my first breath of fresh air on Mar 29, I felt insecure. Ashamed almost, as I was subjected to the judgemental eyes of the elderly, the parents, and the health-conscious.

It felt as if I was striding down my neighbourhood butt-naked, with everyone unapologetically glaring at me. I could almost see their mouths, almost ready to hurl expletives.

Of course, being the champ I am, I soldiered on maskless because – newsflash, everyone – it’s no longer illegal and you’re (probably) not a Safe Distancing Ambassador.

Sadly, some of my friends couldn’t say the same. 

“I walked in the sweltering heat with my stupid mask on because nobody took it off,” said one.

Another enraged friend added: “All so guai kia (hokkien for an obedient kid) for what? Follow the Americans lah! Look at them. Need wear mask also don’t wear mask. Why are we doing the opposite?” 

Unsurprisingly, several other youths shared the same sentiments.

On TikTok, many users have voiced their confusion, some admitting they even thought they got the date wrong when they first went out without a mask.

Popular TikToker @caydences2 also uploaded a video of him ruthlessly cussing out passersby who gave him looks, with the caption, “It is not illegal to not (wear) your masks so stop staring at me”.

As he should.

In fact, this got me thinking: what if all of us share the same opinion, but are just too scared to unmask?

As we all know, us Singaporeans can be quite a self-conscious bunch with our herd mentality. I mean, just look at when we used to mindlessly fight over toilet paper in the early days of the pandemic. 

While I do admit that going face-naked is an uncomfortable and borderline foreign experience, it is a step we’ll eventually have to take, especially seeing how the Government is set on progressing into an endemic stage.

Plus, it’s about time that we sniff out all the mask-fishers.

That’s right, semi-unattractive people. Your glory days are over. No more beguiling others into thinking you’re actually good-looking.

Jokes aside, whatever your reason, I urge you to let me – or rather us – have our moment. After all, this is the closest we can get to a semblance of normality.

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