Meet the Virus Vanguard, a team of five superheroes assembled by the Singaporean government and an art collective called the Band of Doodles. According to the Malay Mail, the art collective claims that the Virus Vanguard’s main purpose was to ‘convey different aspects’ of Singapore’s Circuit Breaker (similar to our MCO)… for a very brief stint.
These costume-clad comic heroes tried to spread a positive message but were ultimately shunned by Singaporean people due to bad timing (we’ll touch on that issue soon after a brief introduction of these ‘super’ characters).
The Virus Vanguard is (or was) comprised of different Circuit-Breaker-related characters including:
1) Care-leh Dee
Care Leh-Dee (pronounced Care Lady), is a female trillionaire philanthropist who uses empathy to absorb all negativity. With a backstory somewhat inspired by Iron Man, Care Leh-Dee uses her powers of levitation and telepathy to make others give a sh*t about taking the Circuit Breaker seriously I guess.
2) Circuit Breaker
Baymax Circuit Breaker (cos robots have circuits geddit?) is a giant Gundam-esque robot activated and controlled by schoolgirl Min Moh (pictured above) when she puts on her special tiara. It can apparently control electronics up to a certain distance and is as fast as Speed Racer’s Mach 5 (no way).
3) Dr. Disinfector
A front liner who enjoys cosplay. That’s not her official backstory but that’s the backstory I’d give her. Keep up the good work, doc.
4) Fake News Buster
Dismantles fake news. Great power 10/10. I can’t speak on how effective his powers are but he does look like the embodiment of the ‘Report Abuse’ button and a straight buster.
5) MAWA Man
I guess I spoke too soon about who looks like a buster. MAWA Man, whose name pokes fun at the Liverpool football team’s slogan ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone (YNWA)’, is a Manchester United fan with a deep hatred for Liverpool, who practices social distancing. The MAWA in his name stands for ‘Man Always Walk Alone’ and you don’t have to look hard to see why that is.
They debuted on the Singaporean government’s official website but were Thanos-snapped not too long after and have since been replaced by silhouettes of themselves (pic above). It seems these Corona fighters weren’t received very well by the Singaporean people.
Before officially launching on gov.sg, the Virus Vanguard made their first public appearance via a Facebook post. Instead of receiving a hero’s welcome, they were bashed by very unamused Singaporeans:
Yikes. All jokes aside, while I do understand the public’s reaction to the Virus Vanguard, the overall message they tried to bring is somewhat commendable and the drawings (despite how much I enjoy roasting ’em) are fairly well done and c’mon… it was just a cartoon, man.
Was this the most appropriate response to a country in panic? Probably not, but a part of me still appreciates the light-heartedness of their campaign.
In times of crisis, a little bit of fun would go a long way in raising the public’s spirits. The problem with this campaign is that their timing was pretty off considering the unprecedented spike in Singapore’s new cases recently.
Needless to say, they aren’t the first superheroes that Singapore’s introduced (and subsequently regretted)…
Remember VR Man? I don’t, but a Facebook comment which compared the Virus Vanguard to him urged me to look up this Singaporean superhero of yesteryear. According to Goodyfeed, VR Man was a superhero in a TV show from the 1980s who “has the ability to project virtual reality items and make them solid for a limited period of time”. Cool.
Many have panned the show for several reasons from VR Man’s costume, to the weak characters within the show (such as his nemesis named ClickClickMan) and just the show’s overall setting. I can’t go too into depth about VR Man since I’ve never seen a single episode of it but the clips of him I found on Youtube have definitely piqued my interest:
(*Featured image taken from Marketing Interactive)
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