Gerrit van Rooyen
Getting back into the swing of things
Hello again everyone! It has been a while since I managed to put up some of my writing for Wellington Golf Tours amidst all the changes lately. We are happy to announce that Steve is back in business and will be organising tours following the new Level 2 rules and regulations set in place by our government.
Speaking of which, I feel we are lucky to be situated here in New Zealand during all this. It was actually quite a number of chance happenings that made me end up here (having been born in South Africa), and I had the fortune to have lived in many places including the United States, England, and Australia. It got me thinking about how people are doing there during all this and I reached out to a number of friends and family living there.
Today I am just going to have a little bit of a chat/feedback about how I have seen things during my time in lockdown with this global pandemic.
Firstly, I feel New Zealand has dealt with this well by locking down making sure we suffer as little loss of life from this as possible. There are, of course, going to be people disagreeing with how things are going, but they mostly seem to be speaking from a place of fear. This is perfectly understandable as many of our ways of life has changed a lot. Small businesses who just invested heavily in expansion or even just those who are in their first few years were hit pretty hard all over the world. People like me who rely on commission work creating digital applications had to rely on savings (which we thankfully had!) as most of our work was deemed non-essential, very understandably. For me, I see that we have lost (to date) only 21 people, a very small number for a global pandemic, and even though their lives lost is terrible, I truly feel sorry for countries who have not dealt with this in a similar fashion.
I have family in the United States, specifically in New York, who paints a very bleak picture of how things are being handled there. Luckily they are at retirement age and have worked very hard all their life to have something to fall back on, but many there are not so lucky.
What bothers me the most is how the leadership there has been so quick to deflect and point fingers instead of knuckling down and doing the right thing. I could go on for hours ranting about the inept leadership there, but luckily my wife is very happy to hear me complain a little bit every time something happens there so I will spare you all of that!
In Australia my family there are also doing a lot better than in the US, and they seem to be happy with how their government has dealt with things. Similarly to here, the cases seem to be getting a lot lower and they have a relatively low amount of lives lost.
In Thailand, friends of mine are reporting good things as well. There was a lot of panic at the start, but everything was locked down tight and seems to be sorted now.
My friends in the United Kingdom, however, are not as happy. They complain a lot about that there is very little information about what exactly to do. They also tell me often that they wish the government took the same stance as NZ did a lot earlier. With the death toll there at over 33,000 now, they feel very grim about life at the moment.
In South Africa, things are similarly not going well, but not so much in terms of the death toll from the virus. Unlike the UK, South Africa has had only 238 reported deaths as of today, but actions by the government there before the virus has caused a situation where the financial divide is so much wider and poor people are suffering a lot. A friend of mine who I created a website for a little while ago to showcase his work claims his family lives on little more than a loaf of bread a week and some meal. He was even fined by a police officer after he tried to get medication for his mother who is suffering from cancer. According to him, he was following procedure, but because of all the uncertainty around regulations, they still fined him $2000 NZD. An amount of money he has not even seen in his life!
The big debate, of course, has always been around should we keep things locked down and suffer some economic loss or keep things open as long as possible and suffer lives lost? For me, there is NO question which to choose, but we can see from countries like the United States that it really depends on where the leadership feels the best for the country lies. With New Zealand now opening up again and business going make to "semi" normal, things are still looking good. People seem more patient and I definitely see a lot more smiles on my walks around the block with Rusty and my wife. We will have to see how long the financial depression will last, but current reports are actually looking very promising. It seems like spending some money so save some money really is working in this case.
Starting again next week I will look at writing a bit about some more specific interesting golf courses around the world as well as about the history behind them. I have found a few and Steve pointed out some more that actually has some fascinating history. I will also give a bit more of an update about how we are doing now that things are returning to 'normal'. I do, however, hope that people all over the world change their expectation of normal now that we have seen what can happen. This was an unprecedented event caused by the suppression of a class of people so that they are forced to live cramped on top of each other and sell food in such an unhygienic way. I hope we can move back towards a more community-driven life. Care for each other as we have been during the lockdown. We saw that it took very little to be kind and do the right thing. Let's keep it up!
With that, I hope you all have a good weekend and feel safe enough to support some of your local businesses and still keep up with the social distancing. Pretty soon this will be a thing of the past, but let us keep the good that came from it and learn from our past as we always should.