Good news, Bad media!

March 23, 2020

It is in times like this that we become closer as a species.

I am hearing some great stories out there of human kindness and solidarity. What makes me sad is that every time I look at the news, the headlines are all “the world is ending!” or good stories are being twisted and told in a negative light.

One of my favourite stories is the passenger swaps on the high seas. Oh, to live the pirate life! I would have been the most dashing and ineffectual pirate theer evrr was!! haha 😉

The article “Coronavirus: Australians on world cruise abandon ship” sounds like either a mutiny or a plague ship, right? The article should have been called “Plank to Plank, Help on the High Seas.” The way the story was structured suggested that Australians had to flee the ship as it was mandated to head back to port in England. The reality is the captains of two cruise ships coordinated with each other to do a passenger swap; one ship was mandated to head back to its home port in England and the other to its home port in Perth. Now, not many of you would know that in another life, I was a merchant marine. I have seen first-hand the comradery and community on the sea so it comes as no surprise to me that captains are reaching out to other vessels to coordinate the safest way to get their passengers to home ports amongst themselves. Good on you guys 🙂.

And let us not forget some of the unsung heroes in our own community: Coles, Woolworths and our other food markets. I cannot tell you how much it has warmed my heart to see these institutions refrain from taking advantage in this crisis. No prices have been marked up. In fact, I was surprised to see the same markdowns we would expect to see everyday. I feel we need a silent round of applause or even a standing ovation for these guys. This is the type of Australianness we are all known for: getting behind the community.

What did make me sad was the reaction to Woolworths’ innovative 7am-8am policy, whereby only seniors and disabled people could shop. They were ridiculed for not having enough stock on shelves for customers to purchase, rather than applauded for their ingenuity in helping out those who most needed it. The point of the restricted shopping hour was to give these customers the freedom to access the space for whatever products were available. I am sure that our disadvantaged citizens were warmed by the thought behind the initiative. A big thank you guys too 🙂.

I would like to take this chance to just do a throw the spotlight on another piece of true Australianness: that nothing will stop our footy games. Haha. The AFL and NRL have both started their seasons. While there is a little bit of negative press around playing to empty crowds, again I think this is a case of sensationalism. As a fan myself, I love that I can still watch my team play and I am sure, for everyone isolated at home, having a distraction and as much of a semblance of normalcy as possible is greatly appreciated (so you guys get a big thank you too 🙂). I have this image of all the players being kept in cryogenic tanks and frozen out for the games. Haha.

There are plenty of stories of people helping stranded strangers all over the world and beautiful tales highlighting the best of humanity. I would love to hear more of them from all of you that I can publish in a future post.

Let us keep positive, friends. Keep helping your neighbours and trying to spread some good news and cheer where you can.

A big thank you to humanity for being the awesome people I already knew you were.

Shaun Fox