For decades, Singapore only has one lonely superhero defending the rest of us from the evils of the world: VR Man.
And he’s proven that superheroes just don’t work in Singapore.
Yet on 19 Apr 2020, he was that close to getting five other colleagues to work together with against the new supervillain, the Covid-19 Man.
Unfortunately, it seems that Covid-19 Man has managed to turn the tables around on Singapore’s superheroes and brainwashed Singaporeans into turning against the men and women that’s supposed to save them.
Reader Bao: Why does it sound more and more like a Powerpuff girl chapter?
Reader Bao: Just stick to writing articles. That’s all you’re good for.
Meet Singapore’s Almost-Superheroes Who Lived For One Day Only
This new team of superheroes are the “Virus Vanguard” and their job is to energise Singaporeans into coming together to combat against Covid-19.
Each of the superheroes has a superpower to fight against Covid-19 Man:
- Dr Disinfector
- Fake News Buster
- MAWA Man (Must Always Walk Alone)
- Circuit Breaker
- Care-leh Dee: a “female philanthropist” who uses empathy to fight off negativity
A project with a local art collective, the Band of Doodlers, these superheroes come with catchy introductions as well.
Unfortunately, not everyone could appreciate their grittiness.
Netizens & Liverpool Fans Not Impressed
MAWA Man was described as a Manchester United fan who “despises everything Liverpool including their motto You’ll Never Walk Alone”.
And ESPN subsequently picked it up with this catchy headline:
Singaporeans were also not impressed and believed that the money could’ve been better used in other areas.
Comments like “there are better ways to use taxpayers’ money”, that the entire campaign is just “a comic joke” and “embarrassing” could be seen on their post introducing the superheroes.
Shortly after, Gov.sg seemingly pulled the plug on the superhero project and apologised for “any distress” they have caused.
At around 11pm on 20 Apr 2020, the Gov.sg article on the superheroes was taken down and they released a post to say that the Virus Vanguard is now undergoing review.
Even the artist who created the characters came forward (of his own volition) to apologise for the uproar his work has caused.
But There’s One More Thing That Netizens Are Even More Unhappy About:
And that’s how Gov.sg “seemingly” threw the Band of Doodlers (BoD) under the bus.
Netizens pointed out that when the superheroes were first unveiled to the public, there was no mention of the artists.
However, after public backlash, the government agency named the art collective and people are now flooding their page with bad recommendations.
A netizen also went to get the original artwork of the Virus Vanguard to support BOD:
But Was It Really A Bad Campaign?
Not everyone seems to think so.
One thought the campaign was actually okay:
Some felt it could work well for young people:
While this particular netizen felt that it’s a good and bold attempt. And the reason it failed is because of Singapore’s culture.
Well, I’ll say that if the Band of Doodlers ever come up with comics detailing the adventure of the Covid Vanguard for people to read at home, I’ll be the first to sign up for a small subscription fee. Emphasis on small.