Man Offers Extra Mask to Uncle Who Had Lost His Mask, Urges for Public to Show Empathy
"If you are really concerned about keeping people safe from the pandemic, the next time you see someone not masked up - perhaps the most straightforward thing to do is to offer them a disposable mask (if you have an extra one on hand), or advise them on where they can get reusable ones?"
With COVID-19 cases surpassing the 5000 mark, and the government tightening measures and coming down hard with the imposition of fines and potentially even persecution for whoever found flouting the circuit breaker measures imposed on April 14, it is safe to assume that Singaporeans are all under quite a bit of scrutiny on all ends. However, we have also seen quite a number of heart-warming stories in the context of this pandemic. One among many acts of kindness we witnessed during these difficult times was recently shared in a Facebook post by an individual who noticed an old man who seemed to be frantically searching for something on the ground.
Acts of kindness
Stranger offers his extra mask to uncle
Ke Weiliang, a young Singaporean recently joined Grabfood as a deliveryman to supplement the income he lost in his previous employment avenues in the arts industry.
While waiting to pick up an order from a store at a shopping mall, he saw “an uncle profusely circling the floor” near the food stall. The old man did not have a face mask on.
Upon inquiring as to what he was looking for, the man shared that he had lost the only mask he had and that “he did not want to risk being spotted/fined for not wearing a mask while waiting for his dinner order.”
Under the recently imposed circuit breaker measures those who fail to abide by the rule of wearing a face mask in public will face a S$300 fine, while subsequent offences will be subject to a S$1,000 fine and may even be persecuted.
Ke then offered him a mask from a couple of extra masks he keeps with him during deliveries, for which the man thanked him and “explained that he accidentally dropped his only mask on the floor on the way to the shopping mall.”
In his Facebook post, Ke took the opportunity to highlight to the public the trend of naming and shaming, or even anonymous shaming, when there could be a “more compassionate way of encouraging people spotted not wearing masks” to follow the directives in place.
“For every person who is wilfully not wearing a mask, there is also another person who genuinely does not have access to them – ranging from the elderly person who could not physically make it down to the Community Centre to collect a reusable mask, to the migrant worker who simply cannot find information about these updates in their native language. Or even innocuous situations like dropping their mask on the floor, which was what happened to the uncle,” he noted.
“If you are really concerned about keeping people safe from the pandemic, the next time you see someone not masked up – perhaps the most straightforward thing to do is to offer them a disposable mask (if you have an extra one on hand), or advise them on where they can get reusable ones?” he further added, urging the public that it is “really not the time” to take to social media to complain and post about these situations or report them to the authorities, and perhaps a bit of kindness might be what is needed instead.
Acts of kindness – what can you do for the elderly?
The elderly have been identified as the most vulnerable sector so far, forming the majority of COVID-19 related deaths in Singapore. As such, we need to watch out for our older relatives and loved ones, while maintaining safety measures put in place.
Under the recent circuit breaker directives, it is important to minimise contact with the elderly in order to avoid potentially exposing them to the pathogens. However, if they live under your care or live alone and need your assistance, here are a few tips you could practise in trying to ensure the elderly around us are safe and cared for:
- Encourage them to check their temperatures twice a day. In addition to fever, any other sign of respiratory illness like a cough or even difficulty breathing should be reported to the nearest GP or hospital immediately, but it is imperative to call beforehand to avoid unnecessary exposure to the illness.
- Ensure that you always wash your hands with soap or an alcohol-based hand rub before coming in contact with the elderly. In addition, it would be best to shower and take off any “outdoor” clothes in their presence. Try to avoid physical contact as much as possible, and do not share food or cutlery with them.
- Try not to cough or sneeze in their presence, and risk exposing them to other potential illnesses and weakening their immune systems. Always cough or sneeze into a tissue that should be disposed of carefully afterwards, or into a flexed elbow.
- Help them clean their living areas clean, and regularly commonly touched surfaces such as doorknobs, remotes, tables, sinks, non-fabric chairs, and phones.
- Help them stock up on groceries, dry rations and essential household items, so that they avoid taking a trip to the market or even shops in the vicinity of their neighbourhood.
- Educate household helpers entrusted to their care on the most current safety measures and regularly follow-up on the implementation of those rules.
- Do try to video-call them or speak over the telephone if possible and limit physical interactions with the elderly.
- Try to extend these acts of kindness to your elderly neighbours and friends as well. You may offer to help them with a grocery run and drop it off at their doorstep, or pick up any other household essentials they may need.
As Singaporeans, we need to come together as one and help each other out in these times of crisis in order to better overcome this global pandemic.