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Monday, Apr 20, 2020 - 21:35 SGT
Posted By: Gilbert

Four Sig Fig

The per-day new caseload breaching the four-figure mark (1,426 to be exact, which is greater than the cumulative total up till around April 9) appears as good a time for a quick update as any, what with premature leaks also seemingly forcing the early release of the daily numbers; there had been a minor hooha over The State's Times inadvertently suggesting that the psychological barrier of 1,000 had been breached last Friday already, before hastily editing their Facebook post. This resulted in the strange sight of The State's Times being POFMA-ed (or Pogba-ed, in rising EDMW slang)

The major silver lining has been the relative lack of cases from the wider community, with the vast majority of affected being foreign workers from dorms, i.e. our own landbound cruise ships/aircraft carriers; the consolation of that has in turn been a belated acknowledgement from the authorities that dormitory standards should be raised, after years of blissfully ignoring the issue. Still, it remains... not great, for those unused to the enforced social isolation, even discounting the Yishun factor.

Quickly skipping on to the international angle, our Second Lady and apparently sometime-CEO of Temasek Holdings appeared to have drawn the ire of Taiwan with a perhaps ill-advised "Errr" response to Taiwan magnanimously donating some masks (granted, some of them were possibly actually ours). There would eventually be an apology to the President of Taiwan, but not before the Taiwanese media knocked her supposedly earning close to S$100 million annually despite Our Most Successful Investment Firm's extensively-documented losses - and CCS in passing - because what's the Singapore government's gonna do, Pogba them?

Anyhow, they did Pogba the S$100 million salary assertion in the local controlled press, though in an essentially meaningless clarification which left open the possibility that it could even be greater than that sum. Netizens were left musing whether this was really the spirit in which Pogba should be used (personally, his optimal role isn't playing defense), and voicing concerns over why the CEO of the national foreign beneficiary donation fund (with an endowment of over S$300 billion, officially at least) is literally making hundreds of Facebook posts a day, with a posting style described as "somewhere between unemployed boomer and weaponized bot". To her credit, some of her straight talk was appreciated, but one wonders whether it might be wise to stick to approved platitudes for a bit.

You, too, have been Pogba-ed!

All the above remains very small potatoes, however, compared to how we may be left stranded on the wrong side of the line, as the upcoming Cold War II international realignment settles. Our official position appears to still be on the side of the WHO, despite other longtime U.S. allies such as Japan and France gradually mirroring GEOTUS's condemnatory stance on the WHO's evident institutional rot. Japan is, of course, already funding their firms' relocation out of China, Canada's rethinking their relationship too, and the coronavirus has possibly done to Huawei's 5G ambitions in Britain and elsewhere, what American pressure alone couldn't.

Fortunately, it appears that we're likely still on the good side of GEOTUS, much credit to The New Paper doing the mature thing and thanking him for his (or our own President's, sama sama lah) intelligent and well thought-out coronavirus guidelines, because a little courtesy never hurt anyone (and I'm more than half-serious here; personally, the White House definitely recognizes all that sniping about "leadership", only - in the timeless words of Rhett Butler - they frankly just don't give a damn). The State's Times, usually less astute, has also adjusted their attitude somewhat. Our foreign ministry can now also boast of a thirteen-country pledge to maintain global links; as with all such agreements, however, enforcement's the tricky part, and the list of absentees might be kinda telling.

Returning to Huawei's possible 5G exit from the U.K., it seems that the local populace has gotten a headstart there, with dozens of 5G masts set on fire throughout the nation already. Yes, this in particular belongs to the set of dumbass coronavirus conspiracy theories, but for all of The State's Times latest piece against them, many such unfairly-maligned theories have proven pretty plausible.

Like, what can one say when China's revised Wuhan numbers increased exactly 50.0% from their previous figure, rounded up to the nearest integer, or when Turkey's case-to-death ratio stays at 0.021 for nine days? Then again, this could be the work of a brave functionary trying to send the signal that, look, I can't tell the truth, I got kids, please understand - but don't trust these numbers. Likewise, sure antivax is dangerous, but is going along with Bill Gates' proposal to mass-embed digital vaccine certification through microchip implants [N.B. that bit's probably unsubstantiated] (with self-indemnity, and with patent number 060606, no less) really beyond all reproach, as the NYT would sidestep? Epstein didn't kill himself, but I don't hear them revisiting that.

And to end off, some recommended reading material on some historical perspectives of epidemics: Destiny: A Chronicle of Deaths Foretold, starring the nigh-unflappable Eldest of the Endless; that, and the most dramatic hamster vid I've come across in a long while, alongside DeepSqueak, a possible breakthrough in human-rodent communications.

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