SINGAPORE — Several pandemic frontliners who are selling their Covid-19 Resilience Medals on online marketplace Carousell have drawn the ire of other healthcare workers who said that doing so sullied the nation’s efforts during the crisis.
The medals were meant to honour the people who had contributed to Singapore’s fight during the pandemic.
On Carousell, they were priced upwards from S$300, based on seven listings seen by TODAY as of Wednesday (Dec 13). One seller listed a medal for S$1 million.
In response to TODAY’s queries, the Prime Minister’s Office said that the Covid-19 medals should be “handled with respect, in accordance with the spirit with which they were presented”.
“The Covid-19 Resilience Medals are national awards, which honour individuals and teams from the public, private and people sectors who have made substantive contributions to Singapore’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic,” it added.
More than 110,000 people have been awarded the Covid-19 Resilience Medal, which they can collect during a carnival event at the F1 Pit Building from Dec 10 to 14.
One Instagram account, @thehonesthealthcareworker, which is run by several healthcare workers anonymously, said in a post that they were “disappointed” that the medals were being put on sale.
“That award is a symbol of the collective will and sacrifice of those who put their country before their own comfort,” it added. During the pandemic, the group had posted open letters on behalf of healthcare workers expressing the difficulties they were facing.
While it recognised that recipients were free to do whatever they liked with their medals, the group is hoping that sellers listing the medals on Carousell would reconsider doing so, especially since such awards are not conferred lightly.
“To put (the medal) up for sale dishonours and diminishes the significance of all (the frontliners) did. Some things are simply not and cannot be for sale,” the group said.
‘MONETARY INCENTIVE’ PREFERRED
Speaking to TODAY, one Carousell user “lobang_sk” who claimed to have collected the medal during the carnival disagreed with the Instagram account and argued that he did not think that owning the medal is “prestigious”.
“Collecting the medal at the carnival is no different from collecting a race pack,” he said, declining to reveal his name and age. “I would much rather a monetary incentive.”
A 43-year-old Carousell user “StadiumHQ” who listed the medal for S$15,000 said that he had done so to show how valuable the Covid-19 Resilience Medals are. He does not expect anyone to pay that amount.
The man who worked as a Covid-19 swabber from April 2020 to June 2022 said: “To be honest, I listed the medal at such a high price because I know that nobody will buy it at such a high price.
“But if someone is really willing to pay me S$15,000, I would sell it.”
If no one buys the medal, it means that he will be able to proudly show off the medal to his grandchildren in the future, he added.
He did not agree that the practice of trading the medals for money is unethical, stating that he was thinking of buying more Covid-19 medals to give to his former colleagues who had worked on the frontlines but were not eligible for the medal.
Three other Carousell users deleted their postings shortly after TODAY reached out to them.
State awards and medals regularly go on sale on Carousell. Several medals awarded by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF), such as the SAF Good Service Medal, can be found for between S$20 and S$60.