Lessons amidst the virus
VERBAL VARIETY - Annie Perez (The Freeman) - February 18, 2020 - 12:00am

I defied many concerned individuals and proceeded with my trip to Singapore last week. Those who showed their utmost concern said it had a soaring number of COVID-19 cases. While that may be true, the efforts of the government to double their precautionary measures were excellent. I don’t think there’s any need to panic. Vlogger Nas Daily even commented that the panic is worse than the spread of COVID-19.

Singaporeans are the most hygienic people I have seen. The train stations, airports, and all public places have sanitation materials available to all. The intercom in these places keep reminding people to be wary of the symptoms of COVID-19. But the people there live normally, they aren’t hostile to each other but just being cautious and going on as usual. They know that their government is keeping tabs on how to control the spread of the virus.

It was then I realized there is too much panic in our country. I guess it may be because a lot of our industries are already affected by the virus, and also the spread of wrong information. It’s so sad that many people have been picking up the wrong information about COVID-19. We give too much importance to unnecessary things and forget what is essential --the truth with no sugarcoating.

Thus, with the need not to panic in Singapore, I enjoyed myself in the different tourist destinations. I saw places I only saw on the internet and in books. The modern Singapore that Lee Kwan Yew built came alive before my eyes.

I have such high regard for Lee, sometimes I wish our leader was like him too. He was the only one who cried in television to tell all of Singapore and the world that the merger between Malaysia will never work. He was in pain when he announced they need to stand up for the multi-racial and multi-cultural Singapore that it is today. He wanted a balance in races which he deemed was his country’s asset. Size didn’t matter, what he wanted was his people to have will and discipline, above all else.

Those traits are still evident today. It’s in Singapore that I saw people follow the stand and walk policies on escalators. They know how to read the signs and follow them. If they don’t, they will be fined or imprisoned. They have laws that are effective. Unlike us, we don’t have enough enforcement of our beautifully-structured laws.

Is it bad to dream of this for the Philippines? Of course not! But it will be a long haul. Singapore took time to become what it is today but they all had determination in their heart. Sometimes, I wonder if we will ever get a leader like Lee who poured his time and energy into the country he loves.

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