Forced to Learn

By Office

We live in interesting times. There is no doubt that the way we go about our lives in the future will never be the same. The Covid-19 pandemic has affected us all dramatically. Here in Hong Kong, even before the bug arrived, we were hit by the protests. A double whammy. A South China Morning Post (SCMP)article on Sunday quoted the China Liaison office as saying about Hong Kong,  ‘City’s future at risk if radicals return to chaos’. I have to agree. Most of us here are now suffering in some shape or form, business down turn, separation from relatives etc. A whole variety of difficulties. I really would like to see us get back to some sort of normality. But when will that be?

Again, last Saturday the SCMP talked about the downturn in airline business. There were pictures of planes laid up in Beijing, I believe it’s the same at Hong Kong’s own Chep Lap Kok. What was supposed to be a bullish year for air travel has turned into a nightmare. British Airways has laid of 12,000 staff, Virgin is teetering and there are China airlines that could die, but will probably be saved by the State. The story goes on. The BBC even covered the situation on its website. It talked about a future reluctance of individuals to travel other than for totally essential work. And even then, it will be a pain as normal security measures are further enhanced to cover potential Covid-19 contagion. Just look at how Zoom has taken off for on line meetings. I personally hate the thing, but it may become the new norm with all that is happening. I do think travel will eventually get back to a sort of norm, as we do love our holidays. But it is going to be a slow rather that speedy return.

Ultimately, the effects of the bug have been a ‘smack around the head’. I believe that we have been forced to look at things differently. Sometimes a good smack is what one needs. There are wonderful community stories as most people move from a life of selfishness to one of care. People having a greater awareness and concern for one another. Even in my own ‘cut throat’ business, companies and individuals have come together to assist one another to work through the difficult times. It is wonderful to see, while the USA and China fight over the cause and source of the bug, and ‘the President’, of course, goes on another ‘sanction’ rant, just what we need right? most people are stepping up and showing us what we should be doing. ‘Thank you’ centenarian Lieutenant colonel Tom.

But let’s bring this back to the environment and our planet. China apparently has not seen as clear skies for quite some time. The Government’s efforts to reduce the spread of the virus has shut down factories, emptied airports which has led to a steep drop of carbon emissions and other pollutants. Wonderful, but probably only temporary. What a shame. In our own industry, the closure of the restaurants and the reduction in the usual supply chains have meant limited requirement for seafood. The fisherman and industry stake holders are suffering, but the seas are benefiting. What an opportunity for our oceans to partially replenish. This is being forced upon us. Will we learn from this?

I suppose the most upsetting thing I have heard is how, because of the reduction in supply chain and end users, producers of many products have not been able to get out of their normal production cycle. There are stories of the offer of ridiculous pork prices as suppliers try to get rid of inventory. Unfortunately, there are no buyers as they have no business. Further the suppliers then have to cull their next batch of animals as the machine grinds on. Stories continue of stock now being burned. The worst story was that of the USA dairy farmer disposing of milk which he could not move. This when throughout the world people are starving. Its actually crazy and does need us all to think and reboot. I really hope this ‘tough lesson’ will make us to so. More next week.


CCH 04052020


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