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Want normalcy to return? Then youth must do our part and stop hanging out

There’s only so much the government can do for us in the fight against COVID-19 and the rest is up to us as Singaporeans.

Nigel Chin
Nigel Chin

Published: 10 April 2020, 12:00 AM

Update (Apr 16): We have replaced the main photo in the story of the cyclists in good faith but would like to remind everyone to stay safe and stay home.

The long weekend is here but I’m sure to most, it feels like just any other the day. Or have we already lost count of the days?

After all, most Singaporeans have been working or studying from home for the past week, if not longer, due to the stricter measures – termed circuit breakers – introduced as part of the government’s efforts to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

In the last couple of weeks, the number of cases have risen alarmingly. As of Apr 9, there are 1,910 cases.

Of course, the only difference with the long weekend is that you do not have to work. But a friend of mine remarked that with all shopping malls and entertainment outlets closed, there’s practically nothing to do.

Well, I guess that’s the point of it – to stay home. Sounds cliche, but there is literally no safer place than home at this point. Because without being outside for a prolonged period of time drastically reduces your chances of getting the virus.

Even for those who need to head out, the rules are simple. Social contact should be limited to just people you live with.

But regrettably, there are still a minority of people who are not heeding the measures put in place. More than 150 have been handed stern warning for not adhering to safe distancing rules. Even Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has had to point out that far too many public gatherings are still taking place.

A timely, strong reminder from Min Masagos Zulkifli about what is at stake. We are on the third day of our “circuit...

Posted by Lee Hsien Loong on Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Until now, I’m sure there are more who are taking things lightly. On a grocery run earlier today (and no, I wasn’t panic buying), I saw a group of youth with their bicycles hanging around outside Hillion mall (refer to main picture).

They did not seem to be from one household and it was quite apparent that they were a group of teenagers hanging out like on any given public holiday. Except for the fact that their normal group cycling activity is now considered illegal.

But they certainly did not seem to care about the people staring at them, or even safe distancing. When a fifth person, who looked of the same age, joined them, they rode off in a group.

Honestly, is it that hard to just adhere to the rules for just the next one month?

I get it. It can be quite boring to stay in your house without heading out for one week, let alone one month. But you aren’t alone. Everyone feels the same, I’m sure.

However, consider the measures that are put in place before you decide to take a gamble and step out.

The first time you are caught, you will be given a stern warning. On the second occasion, it will be a $300 fine. If that doesn’t scare you enough, the third time you make the same offence, you will be charged in court.

Being charged in court is no laughing matter. Yet, that isn’t the worst part of it all.

What if you are infected with COVID-19? The repercussions are not just about you falling sick. You could turn into a super spreader, just like how a couple managed to spread the virus to 23 others – making it one of the larger clusters in Singapore.

No matter how careful you are, it’s almost impossible to say that you won’t pick up or spread the virus. Which is why the government decided to close open-air stadiums on Thursday, as people were still exercising in groups.

At the end of the day, no matter the amount of measures put in place, it will only truly work if you enforce it yourself.

As Minister of Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli said: “We need everyone’s cooperation for these circuit breaker measures to be effective. There are still many people who are not taking the COVID-19 situation seriously. Some are even uncooperative, insisting on dining in at eating places, not maintaining a safe distance when queuing in markets, and gathering in parks to eat or exercise together.

“I urge everyone to make the right choice. #StayhomeforSG, and STAY 1-METRE APART. Remind your family members, especially the elderly, to stay at home. They are the most vulnerable, and we need to protect them. Remind also the young, who are out of school during this period, to meet their friends online, and not gather in person. Young or old — none of us are immune.”

We are into the 3rd day of our circuit-breaker and we are stepping up on enforcement. From today, our Enforcement...

Posted by Masagos Zulkifli on Wednesday, April 8, 2020

It was interesting that he mentioned the young specifically – because it was a group of teengers I saw that were hanging out. I’m sure these are the few bad eggs – but just one is enough to bring about a bad reputation.

The National Youth Council’s Chief Executive, David Chua, has pleaded for Singapore’s youth to prove to the others that we can do this.

“Show them that despite your years, you are tenacious and determined… we know from our polls that the majority of youth want to do the right thing and be counted in a time of crisis like we have never faced before,” he said.

It takes two hands to clap, or so the saying goes. No matter how hard you try, it is impossible to clap with a single hand.

Likewise, it is the same in Singapore’s fight to eradicate COVID-19 from our country. There’s only so much the government can do for us. The rest is up to us, and we need to do our part.

The only way we can get back to any form of normalcy is when we’ve won the war against COVID-19.

To achieve that, it’s simple. Stay home and stay safe. Now is not the time to fool around.


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