‘The coronavirus has become a life changer’

The coronavirus has been spreading across the entire world for more than six months now and it’s become a life changer, at so many different levels. The world is a completely different place and won’t return to the old normal any time soon. There have been huge economic and social changes. Economically, we’re all affected in the same way. At a social level, we’re all affected too, but in many different ways.

The approaches taken in the various parts of the world differed greatly. Some were whimsical, some serious and others very serious. You might feel the Asian way was the right one. Impose a complete lockdown and once everything is back under control, shut things down again at the very first sight of a new case.

This approach certainly isolated the virus. On the other hand, you might feel that wasn’t the right way. Look at Europe. They went into lockdown for a relatively short period, and then returned to as normal as possible step by step. There were consequences though.

I don’t want to use this place to share my opinion about whether face masks should be made compulsory, or whether anyone disobeying the rules should be arrested. That approach helps isolate the virus, but it also leads to social isolation.

In Europe, at least it’s possible to travel between countries again. That’s not, or hardly, the case over here. Many of my acquaintances here are from all the corners of the world. Many of them are married to a person with a different nationality. Quite a few of those have had to spend all this time separated from their partners on the other side of the world. Speaking of life-changing.

Everyone responds differently to these kinds of situations. Some people gain weight, others lose weight, there are people who start drinking too much and people who lose their mind. Employees who haven’t been able to return to the country where they were working, have been stuck at home with their wives. Others, in the opposite situation, have been missing their wives and families terribly. I wonder what’s worse…

The grass is always greener on the other side. But that’s because it’s fertilised with bullshit. The truth is that nothing’s optimal in times like these. Everything is a compromise. Just do what needs to be done. And hope for the best, while preparing for the worst.

Cok Harteveld,

General manager Van den berg Roses, China

Click here to read more blogs from Cok.

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