SINGAPORE — Wary Singaporeans are appealing for National Day celebrations to be cancelled as the nation once again sinks into pandemic anxiety.
People are dragging the government for going ahead with Marina Bay parade celebrations on Aug. 9 despite fresh outbreaks, rising infections and tightening countermeasures.
Thousands have signed a petition this week calling for a halt to the national party.
Discussion of the announcement that the celebrations would continue on social media was overwhelmingly negative.
“While we are back to No Dining in restaurant[s] again, the National Day Parade will still [be] continued with [a] live audience. This [doesn’t] make sense,” Redditor Nidorax wrote.
“Let’s do away with this [year’s] celebrations so as to better control Covid spread. Can always celebrate with greater pomp & cheer when situation permits,” Phyllis Koh wrote.
The annual event is set to return to the stage this year at The Float at Marina Bay with the usual public pomp, featuring battalions and performances that will also be broadcast and streamed for home audiences. Venue space for the live audience has been reserved for fully vaccinated frontliners and essential workers.
On Change.org, a petition to cancel the event outright has been signed 6,000 times since Sunday. Creator Abby See said without evidence that those participating in the event did not practice social distancing during rehearsals.
“With the rising cases of COVID-19, the continuation of this public event does not make any sense. This event is clearly non-essential during a pandemic,” the petition reads. “Even if NDP is not considered a ‘social gathering’ it is still a mass-scale gathering. There are thousands in this event. Audiences too should not even be there, vaccinated or not.”
Current restrictions limit gatherings to two regardless of vaccination status.
Someone purporting to be a national serviceman participating in the event alleged on Reddit yesterday that rooms at the venue were “packed” with hundreds of people with an “oversupply of food from sponsors” being chucked daily.
Finance Minister Lawrence Wong said yesterday that the parade would go ahead, but that organizer Mindef was reviewing its scale along with the safety measures.
Singapore yesterday reimposed safety measures by reducing social gatherings to pairs and once again banning dining out.
Reporting by Sean Tyler Chan