Coronavirus Updates

Why panic-buy when you can have peace instead?

by Gabriel Ong // March 17, 2020, 12:10 am

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Image source: Facebook

This story was first published when Singapore saw its first round of panic-buying when the DORSCON code was changed to Orange on February 7, 2020. Yesterday some supermarkets saw the same scenes play out again when Malaysia announced it was going to implement a lockdown from March 18-31, 2020.

To allay the concerns of Singaporeans, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing wrote in a Facebook post last night that “we are not in danger of running out of food or other supplies brought in by our retailers”. In fact, Singapore has been working to increase its stock of food and essential supplies over the last 2 months. 

In light of these developments, it’s timely that we again urge everyone to keep calm and only purchase what you require. Let’s fill our shelves with faith instead during these trying times. 


We’re not looking so good tonight, if my WhatsApp chats and reports from social media are anything to go by.

I’m talking about the panic-buying and mass hysteria that have hit our little island since the announcement that the risk assessment of the coronavirus situation was elevated to DORSCON Orange late this afternoon.

The current DORSCON code means a number of things like enhanced precautionary measures and daily health checks. These, I had foreseen given our previous experiences with SARS and H1N1. What I hadn’t quite expected was the classic kiasu hysteria that came with it, arguably more intense than what we’ve seen in the past, which preceded the mass panic-buying in supermarkets across the island.

What kind of world did I just wake up to?

I couldn’t even dissuade my own mother from the mass buying. She braved the hordes to pick up milk powder and rice as if we were living in the Konfrontasi days. And according to her, every counter in Cold Storage had lines of people extending all the way back to the dairy section.

I went out for a run to get some fresh air from all this – only to find the same scene at each minimart I ran by. And man, the pictures going around online… They’re something else.

I don’t even recall it being quite this bad during the worst of SARS in 2003 – that’s almost two decades ago – it’s safe to say social media has only heightened comparisons and FOMO in our age. Entire shelves cleared off food, endless lines of the worry-stricken bursting into the grocery stores. 

Apocalyptic scenes, to say the least.

Speaking of apocalyptic… Tonight reminded me of the real apocalypse. You can find that in the book of Revelation.

In the face of all this panic-buying, I was reminded of that bit in Chapter 3 where Jesus says this memorable line: “I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.” (Revelation 3:18)

That’s what God says is actually worth buying!

Now, to really understand this, we need a bit of context. We need to realise we’re not all too different from the Laodicean church, whom this line was being said to. It was a rich place, famous for the eye salve it produced. It’s kinda like if Singapore was world-famous and rich for exporting Tiger Balm.

But Laodicea’s bad side was this: spiritual lukewarmness. And while we’re all guilty of this at times, the point Jesus made was that the Laodicean church was so rich that its focus had shifted to only be occupied with earthly things – material wealth and comfort.

Only God can lift the veil that fools us into a false security by hoarding up our earthly possessions, such as toilet paper, rice and many, many packets of instant noodles.

Because they had taken their eyes off what truly mattered, they had become blind to things that were spiritual. And I find that’s us in a lot of ways – especially on nights like this one.

We need to begin to open our eyes to see beyond our physical lack and material anxiety, and realise that the Christian life must have spiritual realities in view.

Jesus has a Tiger Balm – a healing eye salve – that can remove this spiritual blindness. Only He can lift the veil that fools us into a false security by hoarding up our earthly possessions, such as toilet paper, rice and many, many packets of instant noodles.

Do you have fear, folly, fatalism… or faith?

So let’s invite Him to be our guiding light and Shepherd in these turbulent times. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of five Bible verses full of peace.

Fill your shelves with these instead – there’s more than enough to go around. And as you do so, you will find yourself rooted in the God of Peace.

5 PROMISES OF PEACE

1. Psalm 62:5-8

“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”

2. Psalm 29:11

“The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.”

3. Isaiah 26:3

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”

4. Psalm 85:8

“I will listen to what God the Lord says; he promises peace to his people.”

5. Philippians 4:6-7

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”


To cheer everyone up in this time of COVID-19, Thir.st has also created a special Telegram sticker pack  called “FAITH > FEAR”!

Faith over fear sticker pack

Get it here, and join our Telegram channel for more freebies like this!

WhatsApp users can also install our sticker pack here, but do note that you’ll first be directed to download the Sticker.ly app.

PAUSE + PRAY

  1. Pray for peace and unity in our nation.
  2. Pray for those who are unable to stock up due to physical or financial constraints, that they may have enough for the days ahead.
  3. Pray for those who are in fear of the uncertainty we face, that they may encounter God in powerful ways.
  4. Pray for ourselves, that we may shine as lights in this time of growing fear and panic.
About the author

Gabriel Ong

Gabriel isn't a hipster, but he loves his beard and coffee. In his spare time, he'd rather be on a mountain.