As the Covid-19 extends its reach around the globe, millions of residents worldwide have given in to paranoia induced by the pathogen, screaming and yelling while extracting toilet rolls from supermarkets like they’re part of a free flow buffet.
Oh and lest you’re wondering…
That figure includes Singaporeans.
Granted, the whole toilet paper fever in Singapore has somewhat died down, what with all the protests, social media articles and anxious notices ‘subtly’ condemning the seemingly ‘unnecessary’ acts.
But try as they may, the essence of self-salvation remains deeply rooted in the back of every Singaporean’s mind.
And should the occasion arise, and the flames of survival get stoked, you can be sure that the toilet paper fever will be back, hot and heavy.
Well, who better to extinguish those flames, than the ever-charismatic Vivian Balakrishnan’s calming presence…
And his equally calming answers?
Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan Gets Interviewed By CNBC
In light of current circumstances, you wouldn’t exactly hold it against the government if they, for lack of a better phrase, start getting all antsy and panicky. They are, after all, human beings as well, and are just as susceptible to the Coronavirus as any common folk.
But even in circumstances as dire as right now, our government refuses to take the easy way out. PM Lee did it first, with his passive-aggressive promotion of beautiful birds that encourages stability in this time of crisis. And now, our favourite foreign minister has done it too.
He revealed that the government will be adopting a preparatory and organisational approach, and implored citizens to be “sensible for the long term” as Covid-19 and its economic aftermath is going to last “at least a year”.
“We should assume the worst, even if we are hoping for the best,” he said.
“You know the Singapore Government – we take things very, very seriously. We prepare for the worst. We get all our measures lined up, coordinated. We communicate with our people, people understand what we are doing.”
Also, “test kit diplomacy” is vital to the cause, and will be a necessity in this time of crisis.
“What we need to do as a world is to share best practices, to rapidly develop test kits, vaccines, antivirals. We need to share the fruits of applied research. We need to coordinate our measures.”
Singaporeans Are Impressed
To me, Mr Balakrishnan’s responses were full of depth, clarity and invoked a sense of calm in my panic-addled self. And if nothing else, it seems that Netizens felt the same way too.
Indeed, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Mr Balakrishnan’s responses have inspired a nation, as Singapore grapples with its darkest days in years.
As a Wise Old Man would say:
“Always calm and collected, always full of clarity, it’s that man, that one awesome man, it’s Vivian Balakrishnan~”
And it’s not just netizens. Even speaker Tan Chuan-Jin has this to say to his fellow politician: “Steady lah”
In summary, his responses involve the following points:
- The Covid-19 is a global phenomenon whose aftermath, economic aftermath in particular, is set to last for at least a year. As such, we need to be “sustainable” and “sensible” in the long term.
- Healthcare systems are crucial in this time of crisis: as long as they’re not overwhelmed, mortality rates will be at a minimum.
- China and Singapore have handled the first phase of the virus containment reasonably well, but it’s not an all-clear.
- Social distancing might be applicable to certain events in this time of crisis, especially where senior citizens, who’re deemed more vulnerable, are concerned.
- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is keeping tabs on Singaporeans overseas.
- Closing of schools might be implemented should the need arise.
- The election is not the priority right now.
You can watch the full video below. For a word transcript of the interview, you may peruse this article.
And So… Now What?
The Coronavirus outbreak has rendered a once vibrant country quiet, as the now-lifeless streets in town attest to. And yet, that’s precisely why it’s imperative we comply with governmental orders to the best of our abilities.
Singapore has shown that they’re capable of handling such a crisis; it’s high time that we pay the country back by doing things appropriately too.
The weather might be dark right now, but as long as we unite in this time of crisis…
The rainbow will surely come.