Gaming hardware vendor Razer has offered up to five million free face masks to Singaporeans – if they sign up for its payment system.
Singapore is currently enduring “circuit-breaker” measures aimed at controlling the novel coronavirus after experiencing a second wave of infections centred on hostels accommodating migrant workers. The circuit-breaker rules tell Singaporeans to stay home unless absolutely necessary but to “wear a mask when you are unavoidably in situations where you come into closer proximity with other people”.
Enter Razer with the kind offer to provide free masks from vending machines.
The company made the masks itself after CEO Min-Liang Tan directed some of the company’s manufacturing resources to produce surgical face masks instead of gaming kit. The company promised to donate a million masks to the world and now has another five million to share in the nation that hosts its Asian HQ.
Hence the following announcement:
[SINGAPORE – ONLY] With our new mask production capabilities, in addition to our global mask donation efforts, we will be making one free mask available to all Singaporeans. Details here: https://t.co/A6kMcctugS pic.twitter.com/l0GL3RtHKr— R Λ Z Ξ R (@Razer) May 12, 2020
Which is lovely and generous and timely but also requires signup for Razer Pay, Razer’s payment system which provides an e-wallet for consumers, credit card processing for online and offline merchants, a mobile phone account credit top-up system, bill-paying facilities and a gift card ecosystem.
As you’d expect, signing up for Razer Pay requires rather a lot of personal data. So while the giveaway remains lovely and generous and timely, it also looks a potent funnel into Razer Pay. It’s therefore generated enough negative sentiment that Min-Liang Tan took to Facebook with the following thoughts:
“I see some negativity about how we require verification via Razer Pay - but if you think about it - this is the only way we'll be able to ensure there's no free for all on the masks. We aren't the government and have no access to the Identity Cards etc. We're funding this completely ourselves and would like to ensure there's no fraud.”
Comments on that post suggest that sentiment is running Razer’s way, with Malaysian Razer-admirers asking when they’ll get their free masks too. ®