Church in Hougang compels Pokemon GO players not to play in its premises

PHOTO: Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary; Singapore Cursed Image Facebook page

Residents living in the Hougang would know that the Punggol Park neck of the woods is an insanely popular hotspot for Pokemon GO players — or whoever’s still playing the outworn mobile game (mostly older folks). 

Regardless of the dwindling player base, Pokemon trainers swarming a hotspot en masse remains an exasperating issue for a Catholic church located near the park. Things have gotten bad enough for the management of Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary that a signboard had to be installed on its gate to (max) repel Pokemon Go players from the premises.

Presumably, folks have been flocking to the church’s statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary to flick Pokeballs instead of, you know, actual praying. In a picture shared by the Singapore Cursed Images Facebook page, the signboard warned players not to use the space for “Pokemon games” and be “respectful” to worshippers. 

A subsequent image showed a group of people standing outside the church property, all of whom are pictured in the stance typical of Pokemon GO players — heads bowed down to their phones with hands ready to swipe up on their screens.

If you’re wondering just how bad things can be in Hougang, just remember that the Pokemon GO craze was massive enough back in 2016 for the police to step up patrols along Hougang Avenue 10 after residents started complaining of the noise, litter and traffic issues. 

It’s unclear for how long the signboard has been up at the church in Hougang, but what’s for sure is that it’s not the only place of worship facing issues with Pokemon Go players. In fact, the increase in foot traffic in churches overseas — thanks to the areas getting tagged as Pokestops — has prompted considerations of evangelical opportunities by bishops and priests. 

ilyas@asiaone.com