Monday 8 February 2021

Cancel Chinese New Year? Readers write in: ‘Cancel your own Chinese’

Apparently, my last column about cancelling Chinese New Year went a bit viral.

Why do I say that?

Because three acquaintances who hadn’t contacted me in years (a cousin, a primary school classmate and an ex-colleague) messaged me about it. They all saw it on WhatsApp.

I mean, no one messaged me about my Baby Yoda column. Sad face emoji.

Another indicator is that I received more e-mails for the column than that time I triggered a bunch of Adam Lambert fans, one of whom called me an “ignorant asshat”. Still stings.

A number of the e-mails supported my open letter to Education Minister Lawrence Wong about banning visiting during CNY because of the pandemic.

Like this one (unedited):
Hands n legs up to support it. Drastic times need drastic measure.....well said, fully support it. Strictly no home visiting.
But the more interesting e-mails were those that, uh, disagreed with me, like this one:
Mr Smong

Due to your great proposal that ‘cancel Chinese New year’. I am lovely to tell you you are welcome to cancel your own Chinese. Don’t ‘Let’s’. just your self. you can wait to celebrate your next Christmas.

“Since your are worrying about the covid19 spreading and the safe of Singapore’s. So I strongly suggest you wrapped up your all families and friends at home but not come out anywhere. it would be much appreciated. Or you should send yourself to USA or UK to fight against the ‘Britsh’ virus.

God will be with you
from someone don’t need your represents
Well, that was an unexpected use of the word “lovely”. I suspect the e-mail might have been written with Google Translate.

While that reader welcomed me to cancel my own “Chinese” for proposing cancelling Chinese New Year, another reader accused me of not being one:
Pl don use a chinese name when u are not one. How misleading.
That was it. That was the whole e-mail.

At least it was concise.

Unlike this epic missive which went slightly off-topic:
Hi, SMOng,

Shouldn’t you be writing about making St John Island as an isolation Zone? During the colonial day the British confine all migrants with TB a known contiguous disease in St John Island.

This is Singapore Alcatraz Hotel accommodation. No escape.

Those people who are issue with SHN has slim chance of infecting the public in general.

Hospital has isolation ward to confine patients known to have contiguous sickness.

In fact I’d voiced my feedback in social media many month back with some detail such as using sea lane. At Changi Airport people on arrival detected positive with COVID19 virus can be transport to Tanah Merah ferry terminal than to St John island via the sea lane to serve their 14 days SHN.

Family member is not affected by those that prefer to stay at home or stay in hotel where staffs or general public who take up the $100/- provided by STPB. Chance of community is very very slim.

For SHN people with serious case while being confine in the island they can be ferry to hospital in the mainland e.g SGH, Alexandra, NUH etc.

Logistically they can use similar concept adopted at Changi Expo.

With the latest report on COVID19 virus mutation that is fast to spreading Senior citizens are in greater risk.

If St John Island is leased to private entity, the government can buy back the leasing for ‘X’ nos of year just like HDB buy back some year from HDB owner or using the land acquisition act to overcome legal issue.

Alternatively the private entity under strict guidance of ministry concerns can set up a program house people issue with SHN.

Recreation activities can be incorporated into the program. As for foods Ta Pau and laundry similarly provide the use once throw away clothings

Using your voice and news print hope you do a writeup on my suggestion.

Thank you.
Hey, you are welcome.

I hope your suggestion goes viral and other acquaintances I haven’t heard from in years will get in touch with me again.

- Published in The New Paper, 8 February 2021

Hi there, after reading your recent article on cancelling the New Year visiting I fully agree with you on the reasoning of containing the virus from exploding just like what happened during last year CNY. The nos kept rising after the festive period was over and we had to swallow our pride of not celebrating our Hari Raya like we used to due to the prohibition of house visiting. We endured and understand fully and willingly followed the rules set by the Government as a way to contain the virus from spreading unabated. Those ppl should be more opened and receptive of the true intention of the Government in implementing these difficult rules in order to save lives especially among the senior citizens. As we should be more socially conscious that saving human's life is more important than having camaraderie with friends and loved ones that could result in the loss of precious lives.

Rahman Jalil,

Do it urself don't impose on other's values... If you don't have any.

John kim

Didn't read your viral post. But it's a good suggestion. If we can hunkered down for the better part of 2019. What's the problem to avoid meeting relatives and exposing everyone. I'm a 67 yo Chinese Singaporean. Haven't missed cny celebration all these years.

This time I'm staying home.

Hi SM Ong,

"Well, that was an unexpected use of the word "lovely". I suspect the e-mail might have been written with Google Translate."

Based on the above sentence, you are mean and Hao Lian in my subjective opinion.

Regards and Stay Safe,
Jade Soh

EARLIER: 8 visitors a day? Aiyah, we should just cancel Chinese New Year