With 75 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as of Monday morning, February 17, Singapore is now home to the largest number of infected patients in Southeast Asia.
Anxieties about the potentially deadly virus are rippling throughout the densely populated island-state. Singapore has seen supermarkets swept up in panic-purchasing frenzies and insane queues for hand sanitisers in obscure places.
The Ministry of Education is now taking active steps to educate students on precautionary measures. It unleashed its latest weapon against the serious epidemic on Friday, February 14 — a music video titled “Bye Bye Virus.”
Introducing the Soaper 5: Super Soaper Soffy, Hands Down Hanna, Mask Up Mei Mei, Virus Screener Varun, and Wipe Up Wilson. Some say their image is squeaky clean, literally. The Soaper squad comes complete with a superhero team logo and weapons including hand soap, washcloths, and face masks. From the looks of it, they’re ready to do some serious coronavirus butt-kicking.
The music video also features some pretty literal dance moves that mirror the equally literal song lyrics, demonstrated by a bunch of primary school students.
Even the Minister of Education was obliged to join in the dance multiple times during school visits.
We can almost smell the awkwardness wafting through the air.
As cringey as it is, the song may be on to something. The “Bye Bye Virus” music video harkens back collective memories of SARS, the epidemic that nearly two decades ago killed 33 people in Singapore and scared the hell out of almost everyone else.
At the height of the SARS outbreak in 2003, one of Singapore’s most recognisable comedic characters, Phua Chu Kang, dropped the “SAR-vivor Rap” music video, which went on to become an iconic Singaporean memory etched in the minds of those who lived through the epidemic. The exaggerated hip-hop style and liberal doses of Singlish peppered throughout the lyrics won Singaporeans through self-aware satire.
Now, 17 years later, the infamous music video is making a comeback on the internet. People are re-sharing it now that the song’s reminders to “wash your hands” and “wash with soap” is relevant once again.
Meanwhile, some Singaporeans have taken the liberty to raise awareness about virus prevention through a rap video of their own.
We’re still caught in the fight against the coronavirus, but I guess owning these kick-ass dances won't hurt?
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