Who is to Blame for Corona?
Updated: May 20
This is something of a misleading headline question. What I am getting at is the culture of how we look at this and, thanks to the Kray twins I have had an idea
I was watching the movie 'Legend', starring Tom Hardy. It was recorded off the TV a couple of years back and included commercials. In one break I saw the advert for Kayak regarding travel. It showed an opportunistic young thing leaving her deliberately indeterminable job (cute trick to make it appeal to all salary sectors) and trotting off to South-East Asia.
Firstly, does that even happen now? With the advent of global communication at all times in virtually all places, is there the value to be had in it? I know many mock the "find yourself" culture. It is not to be denied there are many cases of travellers that did it purely to tick a box, returning far less engaging than when they left but with a lifetime of "It's like when I was" stories to fight the dinner-party conversation pit. However, on the flip side, it is undeniable that it is a valuable rite of passage. I did not choose to partake, due to restrictions I had placed upon myself, but both of my brothers did it. We did not hear from them for months at a time. That is what it is about isn't it? Imbibing these wonderful experiences, either soulfully alone or in camaraderie with your travel buddies. If you can upload and get reactions to every meal, every trip, and people always knowing where you are by checking your Facebook page, it must retract something from it. Is checking in with home not the EXACT reason you wanted to travel in the first place?
So, to business. I have seen the various attacks on the Chinese "wet-markets" and the calls for them to answer. Now, not sure as I am who "they" exactly are (Chinese government, Wuhan municipality, provincial public health?) you can bet there will be some buck pass the parcel going on. I should make it clear that I fully support this. When the crisis is abated, someone must answer for it. From the bottom up, I am convinced that somewhere along that chain-of-command it will go from "following job description" to "Had an idea it was wrong but was not important enough to stop it". That is where Andy Dufresne must scrape with his hammer and mark with his totty-poster and start digging. However, they will not be universally to blame.
After all, this whole thing is unique. Folk have been through wars, famine, small outbreaks, epidemics. despots, earthquakes, ash-clouds, floods, f**king sinkholes even, yet No-one alive have lived through this. First situation ever where the experts have no clue what it is like, and I totally sympathise. Not being a fan of Boris, I have still seen a man, whose job has been thrown in one direction as soon as he took it, he has had to rely on others, make decisions that are the utter description of "Damned of you do, damned if you don't". He has almost been killed by it, and yet smug lefties with zilch government experience and even less in medical and public health saying he "Doesn't know what he is doing". Well f**k me! You work at a charity; printing posters and you claim to have knowledge of how to manage an international crisis. A person of character you must be!
I can hear them musing about "freedom of expression political thought." Listen lady/man, "Political thought" is not calling the PM "fatso" and saying he's "shit at his job". So just shut-up with the attacking Boris, the bloke has been intensive care from this, you have seen a Vice video and think you hold authority.
Back to the advert. At the end it shows the girl eating what is patently supposed to be bug shish-kebab. It made me realise that supply and demand as well as mutual acquiescence could be at the heart of this. The millions of adults trotting the globe provide a consistent economy and an implied approval at many culinary practices that use meat from sources outside of the usual food chain. To what end? To have a story maybe. To prove to yourself you are just as crazy and willing as you were when you were young? This is no fleeting enterprise. According to the World Economic Forum, 2 billion people will travel in 2020. Now that is not going to happen. however, it is still worth noting that figure was up nearly 60% since 2017 and with the rise in Tourismphobia, ecotourism and rural tourism is, "where the future is". So of those two billion, the WYSE Travel Confederation estimate at least 44 million are backpackers. Not to mention how many are professionals who only get a two week break but still ‘rough it’. Combined the numbers visiting "rural", "ethnic", or "non-urban" spots is likely to match the GDP of a small country.
Look at the media: Channel Four had a successful show called Ultimate Traveller in a mobile Big-Brother (Endemol, not Orwell) format. in this show they eat snake. Movies like The Beach portray it a normal practice to drink snake blood in the presence of heavily armed Thai gangsters, in Yes Man, Jim Carrey is impressed by a man who has travelled and "eaten bat" (something tells me that film may not get much airplay lately). So we in the west are not completely without blame. How many people have taken part, or at least heard a conversation where people discuss exotic meats they have eaten?
Some would say, as another argument about where Mad Cow Disease and Rabies came from, but that is for another show. After all, history tells us that the "Spanish Flu" (so-named only because Spain was a non-combatant in the first world war and had more press freedom to report so was inextricably linked to it) originated from a Chinese national, so I am not saying that the nation it began in is blame-free, far from it, but I am saying that nothing in this world, especially something as gigantic as this, is down to a nation on its own.
So when I see the likes of that person from the apprentice that does Oswald Moseley type shows (yet with none of the skill and oratory and even less of the danger) discussing hatred of Chinese people and then a week later you read reports of Malaysian people being assaulted as “virus-breeders” it only encourages the rightly-thinking among us to spread the blame. After all, if we decide to hate the Chinese, the fallout across the world is likely to make Covid-19 look like ingrowing toenails. Think on.