Healthcare Workers Were Abused, But S’poreans Rallied Around Them & Rejected Covid-19 Fears

Singaporeans Have Rallied Around Healthcare Workers & Killed Their Abusers With Kindness

This piece is part of MS Speaks, a segment in which MS News reporters share their honest views on current affairs and trending topics.

Anyone who’s been in a hospital emergency room knows it isn’t an experience you forget. The crowded hallways; bright white lights streaming past through blurry vision; the shouts of paramedics over your own wheezing breaths.

And the creeping sense of dread, not knowing what’s behind every set of doors you pass.


I can only imagine that it’s the same or worse for the Covid-19 patients being diagnosed daily. It’s tough to fathom how they must be feeling. An account was posted the other day by Singapore’s 48th case of what he went through — the whirlwind of thoughts running through his mind.


The one thing I could relate to in his harrowing account was his recollection of what his doctors and nurses were like. The calm, quiet professionalism, interspersed with moments of compassion and unflinching resolve.

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that for most who end up in that sorry situation, the healthcare professionals you find caring for you become your main beacons of hope.

They’re the ones by your side, and sometimes, quite literally the only thing anchoring you to this earth.

How do we treat our keepers?

It really is baffling to me to then, read stories of people screaming at nurses in public for ‘dirtying the train’. Online accounts of healthcare workers being abused exploded in number last week.


What exactly have they done to earn this ire? Nurses are being cast from buses because they’re wearing their uniforms, just trying to make it home at the end of a long day.

There was another story of an ambulance driver turned away from a store — his only crime being that he was hungry and tired from working for days.

And then there was this story of a nurse abused in a lift, unable to retaliate because of the uniform she wore, that is just too cruel to recount.

A netizen accusing nurses of taking public transport and spreading disease

Take a moment to consider how we don’t know when any of us will end up on a hospital gurney or an operating table, in their care. If you choose to shun the very people whose strength we should celebrate, what treatment would you expect if you ended up at their mercy?

Trick question, because these people would try to save you anyway. They don’t care if you’re a good or bad person; it’s immaterial who you are or what you do. All that matters to them is that they do what they are meant to.

What would you call tragedy, if not that?

Healthcare workers place our needs above theirs

Consider what they must think. Healthcare workers are, after all, human.

Perhaps too human, if we understand humanity to be the good things we are capable of. Kindness, compassion, and self-determination.

They spend their days, long days as they are each and every one, in cramped corridors filled with artificial lighting. How often must they yearn to see the sun, to have it touch their skin, to not be covered up in plastic and hazmat gear.


But these are just desires, as many things they must feel are. Desires are fickle, intemperate.

They are not chasing fancies. They have set aside time, put their lives on hold, like the nurses who postponed their wedding to fight Covid-19.

Tan Tock Seng Nurse Cancels Own Wedding To Work On Coronavirus Frontline, Shares Struggles In “War Zone”

It doesn’t get much more inspiring than that.

I struggle to imagine what it must take to face an invisible enemy day after day. And yet, every day, these professionals armour up and go to work. And what vital work they do at that.

Drowning out fears with acts of support & encouragement

It’s hardly a surprise then that people have started standing up for them. It came gradually at first, just people urging others to fear less and care more.

As worse and worse stories emerged though, Singaporeans came out to rally around healthcare workers. They offered words of encouragement and gave hands to help with.


They reminded us all that these few waves of hatred do not matter when we face gave hands to help with.

Look around. The stories fill the web. Ordinary folks, just like you and me, have turned out in support of our healthcare heroes. It’s a beautiful thing to see people come together, showing courage in the face of this invisible killer.


Grab drivers unafraid to ferry them, who have heard the stories of drivers that were infected and decided that the risk was worth it to help.

People buying nurses and doctors lunch and coffee so they can keep up the good fight.


Letters have come in from all walks of life, honouring their sacrifices in this difficult time.


We have shown, conclusively, that we are capable of great humanity. Even before the rest of the world began praising us for it, we knew. We just needed a reminder of it.

Or, as a great quote goes, ‘if we just open the door a crack, and the light comes pouring in’.

A toast to you, our healthcare heroes

To have a choice is being able to choose to be better, to rise above. We praise you, heroes in hazmat suits, for making the choice every day to stand on the frontline and do the thankless jobs that matter.

We all do.

As for the rest of us, our choices are smaller than those who put their lives on the line, but choices nonetheless. Some of us choose to help, to support, to encourage.


If you’re given the choice, will you choose to be kind today?

Featured image adapted from Facebook, Facebook, and Ray Of Hope.

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