Sunday 10 May 2020

COVID 19 in Singapore

COVID-19 has devastated the whole world with almost 4.9 million infected cases and 320,000 deaths since it started at Wuhan China in December 2019.

Singapore is not spared.

We have the highest infection rate in South East Asia with about 28,800 cases and 22 deaths, a relatively low death rate of mainly elderly people.

In the beginning of COVID-19 in December 2019, our MIW (Man-In-White) took a lackluster approach in tackling the deadly decease and declared with slogans like "Not so serious as SARS", "No need to wear masks unless unwell", "No Social Distancing", no nothing.

Basically, it was business as usual with minimal economic and social disruption.

But two months later in February 2020, the rates of community infection and death climbed vertically north with hundreds of daily infections and the emergence of many sporadic disease transmission clusters all over the island.

This drastic escalation of infections shocked the MIW.

They quickly altered their tactics and implemented the self-coined "Circuit-Breaker" ( Lockdown ) from 7th April 2020 for tentatively 30 days, to wait and see.

With this Circuit Breaker implementation, instantaneously
- non-essential businesses were closed,
- people were barred from leaving their home except for buying groceries,
- everybody must wear a mask when outside their home,
- all schools closed and students were forced to take e-learning at home.
- social distancing at operating business outlets and transport services were enforced,
- nobody is allowed to visit anybody except those staying in the same address.
- parents were barred from bringing their babies to their grand-parents for daycare,

The whole island was almost like under curfew.

Now, looking at the statistic of infection figures here, the most alarming fact is the horrendously high infections among low-wage migrant workers compared to local citizens and permanent residents.

Out of 22,500 infected persons in Singapore, almost 90% (20,250) were low-wage migrant workers.

The first four infected migrant workers were detected at a dormitory (S11 Dormitory at Seletar Lin), owned and operated by PA grassroots leader on March 30,2020.

Shockingly, from 4 cases it increases to 20,200 cases within 40 days (505 cases/day).

What caused such a rapid increase in infection among the migrant workers and also why such a wide disparity between locals and migrant workers?.

The simple reason is that these low-wage migrant workers were housed in densely packed quarters in close proximity.

Presently, there are about 323,000 low-wage migrant workers in Singapore, who take on jobs shunned by Singaporeans in industries such as construction, estate maintenance and manufacturing, thereby making it possible for Singaporean's PMET to hold their jobs.

We must appreciate and be grateful that these poorly paid migrant workers help build Singapore's prosperity and formed the base of our economy.

Instead, from day one, almost all migrant workers were housed in purpose-built dormitories, largely owned and operated by MIW lackeys who made hundreds of millions annually.

Generally, each room in the dormitory is packed with 10 - 12 workers like sardines and they had to share common cooking, eating, washing, and toilet facilities.

Common sense will tell you that with such packed living quarters, it takes only one infected person to easily spread the COVID 19 to the rest of the dormitory community of thousands.

These 40 over dormitories with over-crowded living quarters are like time bombs waiting to explode long before the first COVID case.

Yet, our Mr. Tan Juan Jin, former Manpower Minister has the guts to say "Conditions in dorms NOT the main reason for cluster" and stupidly compared the worker's dorm to overseas student dorm.

In the same breath, he says "Outbreaks likely due to a highly contagious virus and people living in close quarters".

What an idiot!.

To read more of his explanation on how a hair is split like what he said above, click here

No wonder he is demoted from a minister to be just a Speaker of Parliament.

Not long ago, he was a hot favorite to be our future Prime Minister. Thank God has eyes.

Now, let me curtailed my political musing and ranting at our 4G leaders.

Instead, let me share with you some of my personal experiences and how I manage my time during this tough circuit breaker period.

As you probably know, on April 7th the original set of safe distancing measures to bend the curve of increasing local transmission which was supposed to end May 4th, were extended to June 1st.

After I stopped driving a taxi in December 2019 ( before COVID 19), I spent most of my time staying at home, tending to my corridor garden, drawing, cooking, and sleeping more than necessary. The Stay At Home rule, therefore, doesn't really affect me.

I'm categorized as "vulnerable seniors" which by the way appears to be the "politically-correct" term Singapore is now adopting to replace the term "elderly".

I've been out of my house only on alternate days to buy groceries at Sheng Siong and Giant supermarkets just in front of my house, with a mask on.

My desktop computer is now my best buddy during most of my waking hours.

I surf the internet like a bee in a honeycomb, watching YouTube videos on how to cook simple food, magic shows, Simon Cowell's "Got Talent Show ", and also watched a handful of very good movies on Netflix like Viking, Money Heist, Homeland and Dirty Money (an episode on Najib Rasak).

I would love to read some novels or non-fiction books but my defective eyesight damaged by glaucoma makes reading torture with splitting headache.

As I depart from this post, may I share with you some meaningful advice from my acquaintance's blog at


"The Singapore Government has given everyone S$600/-. If being 600 bucks richer is important to you, then keep your money, if not, please consider offering a helping hand to our migrant workers by making a donation to MEANS (Migrants Emergency Assistant and Support) Community Impact Fund. Please click  here

Many migrant workers communicate with their loved ones back home using text messages. If you want to make a small donation to top-up their SIM Card, please click here

"When God blesses you financially, don't raise your standard of living only. Also, raise your standard of giving".

"If you're more fortunate than others, build a longer dining table, not a taller fence"

These will remain as nice saying unless you actually do something about them.

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