COVID-19 reveals business as usual in Singapore is not sustainable.

Robin Low
4 min readMay 15, 2020
Singapore — Marina Bay by Robin Low

“A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed” is a proverb that tells us that a true friend is one that helps someone at the time of need. In the COVID-19 crisis reveals a lot of information. How companies respond to the crisis and how fast they pivot shows how adaptable some companies are. Sometimes it is hard to judge how effective a government’s response to the crisis because the government does have a lot of resources to brand itself to look good. However, a simple comparison of the results can quickly reveal if the aggressive testing or “gold standard” strategies work.

The number of infections may not be a good number to consider as countries have various population sizes, but dividing it either by the total surface area or by the total population let us see how our state compares to other countries.

Some leaders claim that they carried out more tests than any other countries, and while this statement may be true, the numbers itself does not put things into context. The US did carry out 400,000 tests in March while South Korea did 360,000 tests, but the US has more than six times higher population than South Korea.

While the virus reveals how some of your elected officials fail to deliver on promises, what will affect citizens now is their recovery plans and their ability to execute on those plans.

From experience, when the world recovers from WWII, which impacted trade, economy, and many lives are lost, we would expect unemployment and deep depression as the need to produce weapons and employing soldiers would no longer be necessary.

In the US, the measured GDP did drop after WWII: It was 13 percent lower in 1947 than in 1944. But this was a GDP accounting quirk, not an indication of a stalled private economy or economic hardship. A prewar appliance factory converted to munitions production, when sold to the government for $10 million in 1944, added $10 million to measured GDP. The same factory turned back to civilian production might make a million toasters in 1947 that sold for $8 million — adding only $8 million to GDP. Unemployment dropped, and the business community did not share the economists’ despair, and it quickly became a period of rapid economic growth.

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Robin Low

Author, Traveler, Innovator. Focuses on Social Impact and Innovation.