Singapore’s government has withdrawn a short-lived public awareness campaign on coronavirus measures depicting five comic superheroes after online criticism that it was too frivolous – and caused offence to Liverpool FC fans.
Supporters of the Anfield club were angered by the depiction of the “Mawa Man” character – a social distancing enforcer described as a Manchester United supporter who despises everything to do with their fierce rivals.
The character wears an anti-Liverpool costume and his name stands for “Must Always Walk Alone” – a play on Liverpool’s motto “You’ll Never Walk Alone”.
The Mawa Man is part of the Virus Vanguards, unveiled by the government on Monday as a teaser for a comic series to help people adhere to the city-state’s lockdown measures.
The team includes the Circuit Breaker, Fake News Buster, Dr Disinfector and Care-leh Dee, who each have special powers to help people stay at home, keep things clean and not spread rumours.
By Monday night, the government in Singapore had issued an apology if the campaign was offensive.
In a Facebook post accompanied by blacked-out silhouettes of the superheroes, it said it had received “quite a lot of feedback” on the characters and is now reviewing the campaign.
Singapore has recorded 8,014 coronavirus infections, the highest total in south-east Asia, after an outbreak of cases in the past week among foreign workers. It has reported 11 deaths.