Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

That Stockpile of Masks

I feel a bit cheated. Bluffed. We were told not to worry. We were told we have an abundant supply of surgical masks. We were told that our government has a huge stockpile in their warehouse. They even showed us a photo. Then the truth finally emerged.

Yesterday, the government announced that there are enough surgical masks for those who need them. Who needs them? According to National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, these would be people who are unwell and need to go out to see a doctor.

That kind of says there aren’t enough to just use at home, even if you are unwell. No wonder we are only getting a miserly four surgical masks per household, a new measure just announced that’s supposed to make us feel good. Just four masks. Clearly, it’s not just a problem for households who have more than 4 persons, like mine. These masks aren’t reusable. So how long are these 4 surgical masks supposed to help each household?

Now, it seems, from what I can infer from the above sign at NTUC, that they had been able to get supplies from the government but have now stopped doing so. Did they voluntarily stop, or could they not continue drawing on government stockpile? They are trying to source from more suppliers, but you know what, they have no stock.

Draw your own conclusions.

I suppose there was some fine print that we didn’t read earlier.

Here, I thought, we had a really abundant supply of surgical masks. That everyone could, perhaps, stroll into any pharmacy or supermarket or convenience store, and casually pick up a box or two every other day. Whenever we needed. The truth couldn’t be more different, or at least that’s not what’s happening now. Well I certainly hope we will really have enough surgical masks when we need to totally depend on them, and we won’t find ourselves blindsided by some misalignment of expectations.

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