Singapore and Malaysia One Step Away from Fully Reopening
Malaysia and Singapore, former British outposts in Maritime Southeast Asia, appear to be finally bowing to reality with regards to living with covid. Singapore in particular has implemented a harsh and stringently-enforced covid regime where inhabitants were required to wear masks the moment they stepped outside their front door, with very prominent examples of what happens when one goes against the wishes of the ruling party there. Fortunately, as subsequent variants of covid are showing ever milder average symptoms, the two most advanced economies of the region are poised to reopen for business in their entirety.
According to the South China Morning Post, several countries in Southeast Asia, many of whom are terminally dependent on Western and Far Eastern tourists coming in for a bargain vacation, are allowing quarantine-free travel for those who can show documentation of vaccination of an approved brand. The list of approved jabs appears to differ from country to country, with Malaysia still accepting the J&J non-mRNA jab whereas Singapore does not. Whatever the nuances, everyone seems itching to get back to some significant degree of normalcy, with Singapore’s world-renowned Changi Airport finally recording over a million passengers this past March, the first time that number has surpassed the million mark since the start of the global pandemic.
Indeed, with tourism making up such a substantial portion of their economies, the real wonder appears to be why they waited this long to face reality. Fortunately, unlike the regime in West Taiwan, a zero-covid strategy appears to be considered untenable lunacy to Southeast Asians at this point. In fact, Singapore also plans to lift any and all testing requirements on vaccinated travelers who are visiting the Little Red Dot and has even lifted the outdoor mask mandate, something many Singaporeans are still doing on their own accord for some reason.
Unfortunately, many restrictions on those who wish to remain unvaccinated remain, with dining out and visiting a number of outlets still a privilege for those who opted to follow the global herd. Indeed, one’s vaccination status is even subject to expiration, meaning that even those who are fully vaccinated need to receive booster shots in a timely manner or become unvaccinated in the eyes of the system once again.
Having said that, these developments in Singapore, Malaysia, and Southeast Asia, in general, are in stark contrast to the tyrannical shenanigans taking place in West Taiwan and its puppet city of Hong Kong, with residents in Shanghai now facing the prospect of starvation in their glitzy condo towers as a result of being in impromptu lockdown for over a month as of the writing of this. Indeed, the uncertainty in Hong Kong has prompted many multinationals to pack up and move to Singapore, along with their retinue of ultra high-skilled Western expats. Apparently, despite trying to circumvent them, market forces might just get the best of West Taiwan yet.