The Lemmings Effect : Why people flock to parks despite COVID19?



It's Day 4 of Circuit Breaker


On Day 1, you see many still oblivious to the new rule. Crowds are still seen around Singapore. From hawker centers to supermarkets to parks, you can see queues forming everywhere.



This continues for the next 3 days and the authorities have to tighten the screws by enforcing fines, closure of stadiums and banning of parents sending children to grandparents on a daily basis.




You would have expected the message to be clear by now. Instead, on the first day of a long weekend, you see throngs of people heading to the park. This comes after a day when the confirmed case in Singapore shot up to 287. Coincidently, it is Day 4 of Circuit Breaker.


Why people flock to parks : The Lemmings Effect




By now, the  Stay Home citizens would be wondering. Why are there still crowds despite the numerous advisories and warnings.

We could attribute such crowds to the Lemming Effect. Lemmings are small rodents that are known to follow each other. An unsustained myth stated that Lemmings would follow the general herd regardless,  even to death off cliffs.

The Lemming Effect states that crowds of people will exhibit a behaviour similar to the majority of their peers with no specific reason.  Humans are by nature will go along with a larger group unquestioningly even if it poses dangerous consequences. In short, The Lemming Effect will enable entire segments of a society to lose their sense of judgement because the crowd is doing the same thing.

What could be done?



Human Psychology is hard to reverse, from the Tulip Market bubble to the Dot Com Bust, theses are scenarios that are linked to The Lemming Effect. As can be seen from these episodes, a way to curb it is to allow it to fail spectacularly. Given the consequences of COVID19, the last thing we want is to see 50,000 death rates in Singapore.

To prevent the disastrous falling, we have to nip it in the bud. Using the case of Lemmings, instead of allowing them to run at the cliff and fall to their death, we should just build barriers at the cliff. If we want to play it safe, block access to the cliff as well. This means a total shutdown of parks. To be most effective, isolate the Lemming or this case everyone. The last measure is equivalent to a lockdown.

The last thing we want to do is to mollycoddle the situation. The more we do that, the more the behaviour will linger and be adopted by others. The last thing we need is a nation of Lemmings rushing down the cliff because we are allowed to.

If draconian measures are needed to protect the well being of those who compile, one should do it now rather than later. Lockdown the parks today.

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