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AsiaGlobal Voices

Trending Opinions From Across the Region

AsiaGlobal Voices is a curated feed of summaries of opinion articles, columns and editorials published in local languages in media from across Asia.

The publication of AsiaGlobal Voices summaries does not indicate any endorsement by the Asia Global Institute or AsiaGlobal Online of the opinions expressed in them.
Students Are Suing The US Government: How They Should Prepare
Tuesday, September 28, 2021
Students Are Suing The US Government: How They Should Prepare

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: CCTV screenshot from YouTube)

Hao Min, Vice Dean of the Department of International Politics at the University of International Relations, in Global Times (July 16, 2021)

Students Are Suing The US Government: How They Should Prepare

Academic cooperation and scientific and technological exchanges are an important channel for engagement between China and the United States. In response to the nonsensical American government’s presidential proclamation barring certain Chinese students and researchers from entering the US as non-immigrants, over 1,000 Chinese students from eight top science and engineering colleges in China are initiating a class-action lawsuit requesting that the administration of Joe Biden revise or rescind the executive order.

Signed by Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, in May 2020, the order was ostensibly aimed at "protecting intellectual property rights" and "preventing spies from stealing advanced American science and technology". It completely runs counter to the values of "openness and freedom" in academia that Americans defend.

Students should be aware of the following:

First, the large-scale refusal of visas is an extension of the US investigation of Chinese researchers. The vast majority of those scrutinized have been shown to have nothing to do with the "technical espionage" alleged by the US. This illustrates that the US government is determined to curb China's high-tech development for national strategic purposes.

Second, the vague term "military-civil fusion" has become a gimmick used by the US to suppress China. Students (even those from the arts or social sciences) who were refused visas came from science and engineering colleges considered by Washington to be involved in military-civil activities and to have a connection to the People’s Liberation Army. It should be noted that many American laboratories are funded by the US military.

Chinese students must be prepared for a protracted legal battle. Litigation in the US is costly and could last months to years. Even though many American colleges and universities have responded positively to the views of Chinese students, none have been willing to support the case against the government.


Time To Move On From Martial Law?
Thursday, September 23, 2021
Time To Move On From Martial Law?

John Leo C Algo, climate advocate and environment researcher, in Rappler (September 21, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes

Time To Move On From Martial Law?

Nearly five decades have passed since then-president Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law. While he claimed this was done to suppress civil unrest and communist threats, it became glaringly obvious that he simply took advantage of the chaos to create a dictatorship that plundered this nation for the next 14 years.

The impact of martial law was so devastating that we are still feeling the consequences today. By the time Marcos was kicked out, the economy was in bad shape from the corruption and heavy borrowing from other countries. Poverty rates drastically increased, the value of the peso went down, and the country's reputation crashed. Truth be told, all of us are still paying for the trillions worth of debt today.

No matter how hard the Marcoses try to make us forget, we remember that thousands were killed or tortured during this time. Their human rights were undoubtedly violated, their families suffered. The dictator's family does not even have the decency to apologize and admit to the crimes.

Nevertheless, arguably the most important fallout from the martial law era is our newfound appreciation of freedom. The restoration of democracy in 1986 gave hope for Filipinos to reverse the wrongs of Marcos, his family, and his cronies, and finally place our country on the right path.

Current President Rodrigo Duterte is implementing the Covid version of martial law right now. Lockdowns, military personnel in places where they should not be, extrajudicial killings, the economy in recession, his cronies getting rich too fast to be hidden.

The fallout from martial law is an issue of national significance. This means that we all are stakeholders, and we have the right to resolve this for good. There is no neutral anymore. Moving on is not an option, not until justice is served.


Urgently Address The Ultra-Low Birth Rate
Thursday, September 23, 2021
Urgently Address The Ultra-Low Birth Rate

Xu Chengwei, Research Fellow at Nanyang Technological University, in Lianhe Zaobao (March 15, 2021)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: cattan2011)

Urgently Address The Ultra-Low Birth Rate

According to the World Bank, Singapore’s birth rate has declined over the past 30 years and now stands at 1.1, far below that of the population replacement rate of 2.1. There are many reasons for this, which have to do with all aspects of our social environment and work culture. If Singapore’s birth rate is to be increase, scholars and policymakers should discuss the real difficulties faced by families with children and assess the root causes of the reluctance to raise kids.

The following issues should be addressed to encourage young people to have children:

First, the government should continue to subsidize families with children. Although the state already provides generous childcare allowances, there is still room for improvement when compared to other countries such as Canada. Policymakers should conduct detailed household surveys to assess better the childcare burden of the average family.

Second, the government should evaluate and improve existing childcare facilities. Examples of measures include establishing passenger compartments for women on the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system and encouraging workplaces to offer maternity rooms with refrigerators for milk storage.

Third, the government should evaluate whether to extend maternity leave, while giving fathers longer paternity leave. Current leave allowances for fathers are low and prevent them from supporting the mother at critical times. In addition, wages during maternity leave should be shared by the company and the government.

Finally, there should be a new holiday and sick leave allowance for maternity check-ups. At present, pregnant women can only use their ordinary sick leave (around 14 days).

Failing to address the declining birth rate will have profound negative impact on Singapore’s economy, society and culture.


The Painful Lessons From Vaccine Hesitancy
Thursday, September 23, 2021
The Painful Lessons From Vaccine Hesitancy

Ann Hsieh Ching-fan, adjunct instructor of journalism and mass communications at International College of Ming Chuan University, in The Storm Media (July 25, 2021)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Executive Yuan)

The Painful Lessons From Vaccine Hesitancy

Vaccines are the best weapon against Covid-19. Despite their availability in many countries, there are still some who are reluctant or refuse to get vaccinated. In Taiwan, where the pandemic has claimed over 700 lives, there are many lessons to learn from "vaccine hesitancy”.

While there are vocal groups who are reluctant to take the vaccine all over the world, the polling company YouGov found that vaccine hesitancy has dropped in recent months. According to The Economist, there are two reasons for the decline: the speed of the vaccination rollout and the severity of the outbreak. First, when the pace of immunization picks up, many sceptics are more likely to change their attitude. Second, when the number of deaths from Covid-19 increases sharply, people’s fear of the virus is likely to outweigh their concern about vaccines. The latter is the situation Taiwan is in.

At the start of the outbreak in mid-May 2021, there were just 12 Covid-19-linked deaths in Taiwan. At this time, society’s willingness to vaccinate was not high: the vaccination rate was still less than 1 percent with around 66 percent of respondents in a survey stating that they did not want to be vaccinated. Yet, by early June, this percentage had fallen to 27 percent. The extent of hesitation has therefore fallen much faster than in France, Singapore, Hong Kong or the United States. As of late July, the death toll had climbed to nearly 800.

Others should learn from Taiwan’s mistake. The prerequisite for minimizing vaccine hesitation is to prepare adequate vaccines and distribute them early. Compared with Europe and the US, vaccine delivery in Taiwan has been both slow and delayed. Even if the society’s willingness to receive vaccines has risen sharply, the painful price has already been paid.


Vaccination Should Not Be Privatized
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
Vaccination Should Not Be Privatized

Zheng Yu (郑禺), freelance writer, in Oriental Daily News (June 29, 2021)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory

(Photo credit: YuriAbas / Shutterstock.com)

Vaccination Should Not Be Privatized

A government official revealed that Covid-19 vaccines would soon be available privately, allowing the public to pay and get shots faster. There are many problems associated with the commercialization of vaccinations. Immunization should be regarded as a project for which the government is solely responsible because of the simple fact that it is related to public health. Malaysia’s inefficient vaccine rollout has led to a slow uptake rate. While privatization may speed up the process, free-market policies may cause even bigger problems.

In India, for example, some are defrauding others by selling fake vaccines. As early as three months after the vaccine was released, law enforcement agencies began to discover the production and distribution of counterfeits. Even if government supervision is in place to guarantee there are no such products, there are still other concerns. In Japan, there have been cases of normal saline accidently being used to dilute the vaccine. As a result, the relevant authorities had to check antibody responses of all those who had been vaccinated to determine who did not get the proper vaccine.

It is important to remember that humans are not machines that strictly obey orders and it is inevitable that mistakes will occur during vaccination. Fortunately, under the existing mechanism, there is government supervision, and mistakes can be tracked. This would not necessarily be the case with private companies, however. Should something go wrong with a company’s service, it would very likely harm the business if any mistake were revealed. Private firms would, therefore, be more likely to conceal such accidents.

Ultimately, private companies are profit driven. Some companies may secretly cut corners to save expenses, or they may try to conceal incidents to maintain their reputation. It is much safer for vaccinations to be supervised by the government.


The Death Penalty Should Not Be Abolished
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
The Death Penalty Should Not Be Abolished

Ang Peng Cheoh, self-employed employment agent, in Lianhe Zaobao (July 22, 2021)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: chillipadi)

The Death Penalty Should Not Be Abolished

The government has twice in the past three years canvassed the public's views on the death penalty. This has made some worry about whether the authorities are considering its abolition.

The death penalty debate has a long history. Human rights organizations that oppose the death penalty often argue that there is no evidence that it reduces the crime rate. Meanwhile, the Catholic church opposes that death penalty because it deprives people of their sacred life and dignity. While these arguments may appear reasonable, they only uphold the human rights and the entitlement of the perpetrators. Meanwhile, they fail to consider justice for the victims and their families.

Serious crimes punishable by the death penalty in Singapore include murder, drug trafficking, and the use of arms and firearms. This has led to significant decrease in crime each year. In 2012, Singapore amended its relevant mandatory death penalty law. This allowed judges to use their discretion in cases. For instance, drug traffickers who provided information that led to the arrest of drug lords would not have to face capital punishment.

This amendment sends the wrong signal to potential criminals. Those who commit serious crimes should be sentenced to death in accordance with the law. Empowering judges to consider mitigating circumstances should only be permitted to do so in cases that do not involve the death penalty. There should be no gray areas, no room for discretion, in the prosecution and sentencing of cases in which conviction would require capital punishment.

Singapore’s long-term security and low crime rate are a result of its strict laws and the insistence that law enforcement and judicial personnel handle cases in accordance with the law. Not only should the death penalty be maintained but it also needs to be consistently enforced to deter and reduce crime.


Two Ideas, Two Nations: Looking Back After 75 Years of Independence
Thursday, September 16, 2021
Two Ideas, Two Nations: Looking Back After 75 Years of Independence

Jug Suraiya, columnist, in The Times of India (September 9, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes

Two Ideas, Two Nations: Looking Back After 75 Years of Independence

As it celebrates its 75th birthday, India looks over its shoulder to get a glimpse of the road taken, and the one not taken. At the time of independence, there were two visionaries to guide the infant nation as it took its first steps on the path of freedom. One was Jawaharlal Nehru, and the other was Mohandas Gandhi.

They had very different personalities and two very different ideas of India. Nehru sought to imbue his country with a scientific temper, a nation whose temples were factories and dams. Gandhi envisaged a village India in which each rural community was a republic unto itself, bound together by the centripetal motion of the spinning wheel.

As prime minister, Nehru had political authority, Gandhi moral suasion. Nehru’s idea of a centralized, urbanized India which gave priority to higher learning as embodied by our Indian Institutes of Technology prevailed at the expense of primary education and grassroots development which would have released the country from the bonds of illiteracy and rural backwardness.

What if the two Indias could somehow have merged? The household of my early childhood was a microcosm which reflected these two ideas. My father was cast in the Nehruvian mold of vigorous discipline and modernism. He never wore Western clothes but had trained himself to speak perfect English; he was a vocal advocate of family planning, far ahead of his time. My mother came from village India and brought with her a lifetime habit of frugality, an affinity with the downtrodden, and an impish irreverence towards pomposity. So you could say I had the best of two Indias. And yet I have regret. For what? That the pupil didn’t have it in him to learn all that he might have from his two mentors.


The Prime Minister Failed to Show Courtesy When Resigning
Wednesday, September 15, 2021
The Prime Minister Failed to Show Courtesy When Resigning

Koga Ko, senior writer, in The Mainichi (September 9, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: UN DGC)

The Prime Minister Failed to Show Courtesy When Resigning

Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide announced he would not run in the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) presidential election, effectively resigning. He has become a "someone of the past" fairly quickly.

The new LDP leader will not be elected until September 29, and the official selection of the next prime minister is not going to happen until early October. This means that this "someone of the past" will remain head of the executive branch of the Japanese government for another month. In other words, the present power vacuum will continue for that long as well.

The premier's resignation was anticlimactic. Suga has not even held a news conference to address the people. He said the reason for his resignation was that he would not be able to balance tackling Covid-19 and the LDP leadership election campaign because they would "require an immense amount of energy".

What? Surely his command for "one million vaccine shots a day" as well as his piecemeal declarations of states of emergency and their extensions were calculated to pave the way for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, which would ultimately help him get re-elected as LDP president. Using the pandemic as an excuse just because his plan failed makes him a sore loser.

If he knew that a power vacuum that would start the moment he stated he would not seek to continue in office, he could have asked to bring forward the party election date. What will happen if we are struck by a major earthquake tomorrow? It is the outgoing prime minister's job to shorten the leadership vacuum.

Two successive Japanese prime ministers have been defeated by the pandemic. And in both cases, we did not see the kind of courtesy associated with those in such a position when they leave.


Disrupted Promises: Thinking About President Jokowi’s Legacy
Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Disrupted Promises: Thinking About President Jokowi’s Legacy

Yanuar Nugroho, Co-Founder and Advisor, Centre for Innovation Policy and Governance, and deputy chief of staff to the president of the Republic of Indonesia from 2015 to 2019, in Kompas (September 15, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: uyeah)

Disrupted Promises: Thinking About President Jokowi’s Legacy

What should be the priorities in the remaining months of the Joko Widodo-Ma'ruf Amin administration?

Jokowi has been seen as working hard to fulfill his promises. Focusing on tackling poverty and inequality, his first administration devoted significant resources to human, village and infrastructure development programs. In his second term, the president presented five goals: economic transformation, continuing infrastructure development, developing human resources, bureaucratic reform, and simplifying licensing. In addition, there are the plans to move the capital to East Kalimantan and prepare a long-term development plan. All of this is aimed at strengthening the foundation for realizing the dream of 2045 when Indonesia will become the world’s fourth or fifth largest economy.

But then Covid-19 hit. The achievements of development that had been achieved were shattered. And the ability to fulfill the promises have also been affected – infrastructure may be stalled but still relatively on track. It could be that what once appeared to be the government's hesitation to prioritize health over the economy at the start of the pandemic actually reflected its trepidation that these promises could not be realized. Because, after all, the fulfillment of political promises is the key to gaining people's trust.

Therefore, the government must ensure that all these promises are attained or at least a roadmap to achieve them prepared. This must be done now, and in a more effective way. It cannot be business as usual. the promise of the five visions must be emphasized as the key target.

The true legacy is not the memories of the past that remain after death, but the provision for stepping into the future. Jokowi's best legacy through all his hard work must be the foundation for his successors to make this nation not only more advanced, but also more civilized and dignified.


The Return of the Taliban: Outsiders Must Show Patience
Monday, September 6, 2021
The Return of the Taliban: Outsiders Must Show Patience

Riaz Mohammad Khan, foreign secretary of Pakistan from 2005 to 2008, in Dawn (September 4, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Talk Media News Photo Archives)

The Return of the Taliban: Outsiders Must Show Patience

The Afghan Taliban leadership faces huge challenges, internal and external adversaries, internal dissensions and divisions, riled-up human rights and liberal groups, powerful hostile lobbies and media – especially in the West – and the need for international recognition. But first and foremost, they have to put together an effective government with a semblance of the promised inclusiveness and reconciliation. They will need space to settle down.

Outsiders must show patience. The Afghan leadership, in particular the Taliban leaders, have the primary responsibility of averting a civil war. Their neighbors and the world community must do everything they can to help achieve that objective. The world community must be generous with humanitarian assistance to prevent further aggravation of the suffering of the Afghan people. Pakistan should also brace itself for a possible influx of refugees.

There is room for optimism in the current maelstrom of the worldwide discussion on Afghanistan. Arguably, a stable Afghanistan will remove a blockage and open up the entire surrounding region for economic activity. Much has already been said about opportunities, communications, trade and energy links and economic activity. Regional countries have a role and capacity, but all this will boil down to idle talk if there is an absence of purposeful engagement, or regional rivalries are reasserted for political influence or resources, and conflict returns to Afghanistan.

Among the neighbors, in a range of unique but familiar factors, Pakistan has an important role to play. It will require both circumspection and prudence to enable itself and Afghanistan to be sovereign co-partners for the benefit of the region. Past experience validates concerns regarding spoilers, but the new environment may well help mitigate the potential for mischief. Meanwhile, Pakistani policymakers need to be cautious about pushing the new Afghan government over bilateral issues.


US-South Korea Joint Military Exercises Harmful To East Asia Security
Monday, September 6, 2021
US-South Korea Joint Military Exercises Harmful To East Asia Security

Yang Xiyu, senior fellow at the China Institute of International Studies, in Global Times (August 11, 2021)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: Republic of Korea Navy)

US-South Korea Joint Military Exercises Harmful To East Asia Security

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, easing of relations between North and South Korea, and public sentiment in South Korea, many people expected that joint US-South Korea military exercises would be postponed or even cancelled. The fact that they have proceeded on schedule demonstrates the influence of the US. It also reveals that the essential nature of the military exercises is indispensable in the US toolbox against North Korea.

The US has expressed its position more than once, stating that all options for its North Korea policy remain on the table. In this sense, the US-South Korea military exercises on the Korean Peninsula have always had a special political angle unique to its specific geopolitical environment.

China clearly opposes such military exercises because it has become a major obstacle to the settlement of the peninsula issue. This kind of institutionalized “military exercise” is not for the sake of peace and stability on the peninsula, or even for the security of South Korea. Instead, it only makes the North and the South sink deeper into their security dilemma, which can only be resolved by enhancing mutual trust between North and South.

Moreover, behind the US’s insistence on holding the military exercises, there are hidden plans to expand the US-South Korea alliance or include it in its so-called "regional security pillar". As such, the interactions between the US and South Korea, including joint military exercises, are harmful to the security of the whole of East Asia.


The US Withdrawal From Afghanistan Signals Rush Into A World of Disorder
Monday, September 6, 2021
The US Withdrawal From Afghanistan Signals Rush Into A World of Disorder

Alex Magno, political scientist and professor at the University of the Philippines Diliman, in The Philippine Star (August 31, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: @AfghanUpdates on Twitter)

The US Withdrawal From Afghanistan Signals Rush Into A World of Disorder

Two-thirds of Afghanistan’s population is aged 25 and under. This large demographic segment has no memory of the last time the Taliban was in power. They grew up in the relative freedom of US occupation.

A Taliban spokesman shortly after the capture of Kabul tried to assuage the world by saying the new rulers will respect the rights of women within the framework of Sharia law. What that meant was never clear. Few believed the Taliban promise.

All the world’s powers and all the international organizations can only watch in horror as the Taliban begins exercising its gory power over an unwilling society. This is, after all, a movement driven by a primitive ideology trying to drag the rest of society back to the Stone Age.

All the secular powers of the world enjoy no leverage over a mindless movement such as the Taliban. But the Taliban, too, holds no leverage against the secular powers of the modern world. This situation will be harmful to the Afghan people most of all. Cut off from the rest of humanity, they cannot access humanitarian help.

To top it all, most of the world’s countries are busy fighting the pandemic. They have every excuse to ignore the plight of Afghans trying to survive a fanatical regime. Most of the countries around Afghanistan have closed off their frontiers, mainly to discourage a flood of migrants they could not possibly sustain.

The revival of US unilateralism and isolationism will imply huge costs for the rest of humanity. Unfortunately for the Afghans and the other countries threatened with terrorism, no other power is willing to step into the abandoned US role. Enough talk of a values-based global order. We are rushing headlong, not into a multipolar world, but into a basically ungoverned international (dis)order.


With the Taliban, Remember the Consequences of Recognizing Communist China in 1949
Monday, September 6, 2021
With the Taliban, Remember the Consequences of Recognizing Communist China in 1949

Ameya Pratap Singh, postgraduate student in area studies at Oxford University and managing editor of Statecraft, an independent daily on global affairs, in The Indian Express (September 1, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Ministry of External Affairs of India)

With the Taliban, Remember the Consequences of Recognizing Communist China in 1949

Should the Indian government provide diplomatic recognition to the Taliban government in Afghanistan? Or should it refuse to do so on grounds of its violent overthrow of the previous Afghan government and the unreserved use of terrorism?

One line of thought is that the Taliban is in control and so recognition must logically flow from that. Consideration of values should not cloud New Delhi’s judgement. India has significant interests at stake such as cross-border terrorism and the drug trade that may be harmed by delayed recognition or non-recognition. Refusing to recognize the Taliban may strengthen the hand of its regional rivals – Pakistan and China – leading intensification of national security threats on its northern frontier.

India adopted this line of reasoning in 1949 with communist China and failed. The Jawaharlal Nehru government felt compelled to provide early recognition to the communists despite close ties with the previous Kuomintang government during the interwar period.

Did early recognition change anything in communist China’s policy? No. Communist China continued to be suspicious of India’s intentions in Tibet and the bourgeois nature of its regime and elites. Moreover, India’s early recognition gave Mao Zedong confidence in his plans to annex Tibet through force in 1950. Goodwill proved to be an ineffective tool of deterrence. The lesson is clear: In the absence of compelling shared interests, building mere goodwill through early recognition provides no returns. Does India have any such compelling shared interests with the Taliban?

With its rhetorical efforts to appear “moderate”, the Taliban has not demonstrated sincerity, but rather a reluctant acceptance that legitimacy on the global stage is a social good that cannot be achieved through force. New Delhi must engage the Taliban but in a manner that uses their need for recognition to draw concrete concessions in areas of key interest.


Unite Against The Elite Who Prey On The People's Money
Tuesday, August 24, 2021
Unite Against The Elite Who Prey On The People's Money

Darwin Darmawan, doctoral student in political science at the University of Indonesia, in Kompas (August 24, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Mohammad Rizky ramadhan)

Unite Against The Elite Who Prey On The People's Money

Corruption in Indonesia is very concerning. The Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2020 issued by Transparency International ranks Indonesia at 102nd out of 180 countries. This makes Indonesia a highly corrupt country. Over the past decade, Indonesia's CPI has only improved by five points. This means that efforts to eradicate corruption are far from effective.

Corruption is so very shameful. The elite predators of public money exist in almost all the political parties. Some are public officials. Those who are supposed to be role models have become perpetrators of violations. The punishment for corruption is relatively light, with some still receiving reduced sanctions. What a shame!

But why is it difficult for this country to get rid of corruption? What strategies need to be taken to succeed in its eradication? According to Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, the leader of a coalition for a clean parliament in Romania, before any anti-corruption program is carried out, it is necessary to determine whether the corruption that occurs is part of the culture or a deviation from it.

Indeed, we need to determine whether we dealing with corruption in a traditional society or in a democracy? In the first case, corruption is related to the culture of privilege, that certain social elites are naturally accorded benefits because of their status. In the second kind, corruption is seen as a violation of the law. Cultural and religious factors are indeed dominant in the practice of corruption in Indonesia. The culture of corruption is not visible. But it is lived by the people of Indonesia. Like the "devil within", it is evil and hated – yet it drives human corruption. It all works through a culture of prestige. This culture encourages people to want to exist through material possessions. And that inevitably leads to corruption.


Co-existing With Covid-19
Monday, August 23, 2021
Co-existing With Covid-19

Goh Choon Kang, former journalist and member of the Singapore Parliament from 1984 to 1997, in Lianhe Zaobao (August 11, 2021)

Summary by Alan Yang Gregory (Photo credit: ian carolino)

Co-existing With Covid-19

Singapore authorities have announced that Covid-19 safety management measures will depend upon an individual’s vaccination status. This can be interpreted as a new stage in the fight against the pandemic and a prelude to coexistence with the virus. With nearly 80 percent of the population vaccinated, they will have a good immunity to infection. This means that Covid-19 would be seen as a type of flu.

Measures are already relatively loose for those who have been vaccinated, while stricter requirements are in place for those who have not been vaccinated. As they do not have the added protection of a vaccine, they will be more likely to be infected and have a higher probability of suffering from severe illness or even death. They must be more careful and must be better protected to minimize the risk of infection.

Some still think that doing so constitutes discrimination and is unfair. But from the perspective of society, these people are not being treated differently. Instead, they have actively chosen to differentiate themselves. Everyone has a right to their own opinion, but providing they can look at the problem rationally, they should be able to make an informed decision. In Europe and the United States, the situation is different. Many oppose the vaccine, and the issue has led to a division in society. Fortunately, Singapore’s state machinery is functioning effectively, society is not polarized, and the government is also very capable of doing things. Singapore, therefore, has avoided a US-type situation.

As a country with one of the highest vaccination rates, the goal of herd immunity is just around the corner. We have the conditions that would allow us soon to enter a new normal of coexistence with Covid-19.