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Sunday, Apr 12, 2020 - 20:44 SGT
Posted By: Gilbert

Lockdown Week One

Foodpanda messaging
[N.B. Much respect to the delivery guys who're still out doing their thing; then again, they're one of the few industries actually thriving in these conditions]

Fair warning, I wasn't joking about that reviewing queue, so blog updates over the next few weeks might be spotty. The authorities do seem to finally be taking social distancing much more seriously, from how one can't even get permission to perform on-site server troubleshooting. The reusable face mask has discouraged brisk walking too, for that matter, with it being stretched rather tightly over the nostrils. I suppose increased resistance to breathing could be a sign of it working as intended, though I suspect it might not be strictly necessary, and might be mitigated by leaving a little more space on the front, or incorporating some sort of cardboard/plastic nose extension. Anyway, the national paper had done a feature on effective mask materials a couple of days back, and concluded that a double-layered 100% cotton T-shirt struck the best balance between filtration and breathability.

Speaking of the face mask economy, there's been further interesting developments, with Taiwan initially lauded for donating some (unlike China, who apparently reserved them for their nationals here)... only for it to be revealed that they had previously prevented the export of "our" masks produced by our ST Engineering there. Observations that, wait - wasn't this behaviour exactly what America got slammed for? (it kinda is) - were duly downvoted jialat jialat by the Reddit hivemind, but it's alright I suppose. Gotta toe that party line for dat karma.

Continuing on the much-denounced hoarding/responsible stockpiling of various necessities - a Senior Minister of State had to replace her Facebook photo recently, after it showed her frying bee hoon (without needing a flame, because our ministers are powerful like that) with three trays of eggs in the background. While this isn't even that much, it remained a fairly sensitive issue given the extent to which the government had shamed hoarding behaviour, especially given that an MP had previously castigated the panic buying of these very eggs. In the end, said minister had to clarify that they were a gift from a farmer family friend (which may soon get more common)

I might as well go over the possible unintended consequences of crude anti-hoarding messaging (as opposed to an actual distribution/movement plan) here. Now, consider a family that (understandably) wants to build up a non-perishable foodstuff reserve (e.g. rice, canned items, etc), because they not-unreasonably figured that no government would willingly publicize the fact that they were low on supplies, even if it were true (already demonstrated with CCS's famous mask gambit). Let us say that they have targeted a stock of six sacks of rice. However, they also do not want to run the risk of being STOMP-ed and publicly shamed, because as EDMW observes, sinkie neber pwn sinkie, cannot sleep. What happens then?

Well, the obvious outcome is - instead of a single trip down to the (supposedly well-stocked) supermarket, the family members would just make six separate trips, possibly to different outlets to boot, because nobody can fault a fellow for purchasing a single sack. However, this clearly also increases the amount of mingling done, and thus the potential for virus spread, moreover likely exacerbated by increased home consumption. Might be something to mull over.

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