It’s difficult to get a surgical mask.

I’m thinking about a third of the people I’m seeing while commuting are wearing masks. The majority of which are wearing surgical masks. There are a few people wearing the N95 mask which you would normally see during the haze in Singapore.

Photo byΒ Tore FΒ onΒ Unsplash

PJ and I have tried to buy surgical masks at various drug stores like Watsons and Guardian but they are sold out. We even checked Venus Beauty where one could get cheaper shampoo.

My office has distributed N95 masks for employees and I’m lucky to have one for myself and PJ. I also placed an order for a small box of surgical masks from an online store (arriving in February) while a colleague returning from India has thoughtfully offered to bring back a box as well. I’ve no intention to hoard masks. Only keep a box for myself, PJ, and share with my flatmates.

There is a subtle mood of paranoia in crowded areas and public transportation. But people are carrying on normally. Save for a moment when you would hear a sniffle or a cough. It brings back images of our friends at ground zero (Wuhan) who are overwhelmed with the coronavirus.

I’m suspicious by this turn of events given Trump’s impeachment followed by the assassination of a general in Iran. All of this is obviously unfortunate. Add to that the fury of people who want to divide and shame rather than build solutions. I’m speaking to those who share something with an undertone of racism or unverified news (that link you’re sharing is from a tabloid website). Read the content and make a logical assessment muna, can? Totoo ba ito?

If you have a mask to wear, consider yourself fortunate.

If you have an extra, pass it to onto an uncle, auntie, or someone in public who looks like they need it.

Review your social media timelines. Share information that’s credible and from trusted resources. If you doubt mainstream media, fine. Try cross-checking data on your own. Don’t play a part in dividing people in a time of crisis.

Nothing can divide us more than a lack of compassion.


As of this writing (28 January 2020) there are five confirmed cases in Singapore of the 2019-nCOV (2019 novel coronavirus or Wuhan coronavirus).

Note: Originally shared on my Facebook profile.

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