Social Media Responses to COVID-19: From the Questionable to the Best

Darishini Thiyagarajan

Top image credit: Soumil Kumar, Pexels.

We’re only in the second month of the new year, and so much shit has already gone down.

First, the Australian bushfires that are still raging on from last year. Then, rumours about World War 3. And then—regardless of your feelings about the guy—Kobe Bryant. Let’s just say 2020 has not been a benevolent year so far.

Yet, regardless of these calamities, all happening one after another, what has united them are our responses to these calamities. Memes, in particular, have been employed by people to express the way they feel about this series of unfortunate events.

When the fact that more and more people were getting infected by Covid-19 started making the news, family chat groups started blowing up with text messages from boomers around the world who had suddenly become world-class medical practitioners. Social media channels, on the other hand, saw a good mix of memes and videos mocking the paranoia, some even urging boomers to keep at it.

As someone who spends literally most of her time on social media, let me bring you on a tour of the questionable to the best responses we have seen pop up as a result of COVID-19.


THE QUESTIONABLE

BLAMING IT ON THE BATS


The xenophobia is strong with this one. What’s crazy to me is how these memes are still circulating despite research done by scientists and animal experts that question if bats are the actual cause behind the virus . There have been multiple conspiracy theories as to how this virus started infecting people, so until we find the actual culprit, it just doesn’t seem fair to put bats and the culinary choices of Chinese nationals under a bad light. 

Plus, it’s not like there aren’t other cultures out there that actually eat exotic animals. I’m looking at you, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Congo, France and the like. You know where I’m going with this.

A classic case of the pot calling the kettle black, isn’t it?

 


#TAHANTHEWUHANVIRUSANTHEM

Before we get into why this Tik Tok video made it to this category, let’s just applaud him (@kokoleyy) for actually making good use of a platform that hosts mostly mindless content for everyone. He tried his best to create a song holding all the information we need to know about COVID-19. 

What did not work: the articulation and lyrics. 

Did I emerge from this with more knowledge? Sure. Did the lyrics rhyme though? No. The reason behind the success of the SARS rap over a decade ago was the impeccable rhyme in the first line itself: ‘SARS is the virus that I just want to minus’. Now that’s a good flow, which brings me to my next point…

 


THE COMEBACK OF PCK

Bringing the man back from the dead for another video about preventive measures for COVID-19 was at best awkward, and at worst, confusing (to us, at least). 

For starters, how is it possible for the man to have not aged over the years? Unless he visits the salon every other month to get his roots coloured, there is no damn way the man is still sporting ebony curls. The least they could have done was to go about this in one of two ways: airbrush the hell out of his face to make him look like the PCK we saw in 2003, or throw him a grey wig because we’re all realists here and understand that people age.

PCK won’t always be the answer to Singaporean’s worries about dying from a virus or a disease. That’s okay.

 


MIGRANT WORKERS ARE NOT COMEDY FODDER

Yes, we all see the problem in the picture on the right. 

But was it truly necessary to use migrant workers for laughs? No. This is a whole new low, SGAG. These guys work hard in all weather conditions on foreign land away from loved ones, while we work from home because of the virus. It’s not right to make these guys the laughing stock over a mistake of how they read the temperature of their team members. 

What would have been better was if you guys had pointed out how unhygienic it would be to use this thermometer on a team of workers and offered to get them an infrared forehead one. Now that would have gotten our respect.


THE BEST

WFH IS A BLESSING

The audacity of this meme to insinuate that we are going to take this privilege of working from home for granted. We are hardworking people on this little red dot and we deserve to be treated right, for god’s sake. 

I repeat, we are responsible citizens.

 


WE SHOULD STAN PORNHUB

Yeah, we get that social media in China works very differently from the rest of the world. For those who feign ignorance about the platform featured here that’s hosting the video of the Wuhan citizen, it’s PornHub. Why I love this meme is because it accurately captures what this citizen has done in order to share his story.

Lesson here: there honestly is nothing you cannot do when you put your mind to it.

 


THE BYE BYE VIRUS RAP

This was a much better attempt than the PCK comeback or any of the other local comedians trying their hand at PSA-style videos. Much like the team of mascots created by LTA, the Soaper 5 was created to remind everyone of the different aspects to keep in mind to stay protected from COVID-19. This was hardly annoying because I did enjoy watching kids dancing and making a fool of themselves to a decent beat. The most important part was that the lyrics actually rhymed and that was more than enough to get me to watch this video till the end.

Yes, you are still reading an article by Rice Media. We’re human, and we do indulge in wholesome content from time to time. Deal with it.

No prizes for guessing my favourite Soaperhero—it’s Virus Scanner Varun.

 


THE CURSE OF MUSTAFA CENTRE

There were a couple of things that deeply troubled the youth on social media when the news broke that we were raising the DORSCON level to Orange. Beyond the fact that people were shoving their way through grocery stores to stock up like it was the end of the world, it was that they’d started making their way to Mustafa Centre. As a brown girl, I know for a fact that you never see large groups of boomers who aren’t brown shopping there. 

Could this be a result of those dumb texts in the Whatsapp circuit about how rasam (a South Indian dish) is the best natural antidote against COVID-19? But how does that explain the aisles of dhal and masala being emptied? Do they even know how to use these ingredients? What are brown mothers to do now that most of the items on their weekly grocery lists are gone thanks to a bunch of kiasu uncles and aunties?

Don’t blame me for chuckling at this meme.

 


HORNY YET RESPONSIBLE MEN WE SHOULD RESPECT

Ah, gay twitter never fails to amuse me. We all stan responsible individuals who see the importance of ensuring everyone’s safety over their sex drives. Here we see a clear example of how sex has nothing on our health and safety during the COVID-19 situation. We have been advised to avoid situations or gatherings that involve groups of people coming together, which is basically how orgies are supposed to work, so good on these guys for favouring health and safety over sex–we can all be hoes later. 

Bless their responsible souls.


Like it or not, we’re going to see more of this as COVID-19 continues to hang around. If memes aren’t your thing, at least we’ll have movies and TV .

Seen something else on social media that has emerged from this COVID-19 situation that we missed?

Link us up at community@ricemedia.co.


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