From the Editor: Issue 6, 2020
Kia Ora e hoa mā,
It is the last day of level 3 as I write this, and also the last day of living in this hostel (my parent’s house) which has somehow managed to house every Asian on the Whangaparaoa peninsula (all ten of us). It’s not the most culturally diverse place, not to say utes and stringer singlets aren’t culture, but my parents' sweet and sour pork is about as ‘oriental’ as it gets here. If you know anything about Chinese immigrant parents, it’ll come as no surprise that you can’t complain about anything when you’re around them. When I wanted to go to KFC (but have no car) my dad was quick to remind me that when he was young, he ate nothing but plain rice and kumara, and one hard-boiled egg on his birthday. When I told my mum that I didn’t want to babysit the other night she was quick to remind me of how she left school at an early age to care for her three siblings. This makes me sound really spoilt and they do have a point, but these are immigrant problems and I miss complaining to my white friends whose biggest struggle was their parents making them vacuum for their pocket money.
As an aspiring journalist/writer, the only person I could talk to about current affairs for over six weeks (besides the wonderful editorial Debate team) was my mum, who exclusively sources all her material from WeChat. This is basically the Chinese equivalent of Facebook with the journalistic credibility of The Onion. Among the many other things she has recommended, my mum stood behind placing raw onions around our house in order “to suck the virus out of the air.” Even when we were low on onions for cooking, we weren’t allowed to use the “virus sucking” onions in fear that they would infuse into our food.
So, to say the least I am thrilled to return to a bit of normal. But although normality does seem to be returning at some level (level 2), the Aotearoa we will be seeing will be a very different one to the one we may remember. Summer has passed and stringer singlets and flip flops have retired to their drawers. Bunnings are closing stores because they couldn’t sell sausages which equated to nearly 70% of all their profit. And Simon Bridges actually had an okay week. Yes, it’s scary entering into this new New Zealand.
This week at Debate we wanted to focus on New Zealand. The good, the bad, the homegrown. We are a small but proud nation, with a lot to offer, and a lot to critique. COVID-19 has given us the opportunity to return to a new normal, to be gone with the default (see last issue) and to try find some form of bright spark in all this mess.
So far, we have fared better than many countries, but as Simon Bridges has said, in what turns out to actually be a pretty catchy slogan,
“We’ve flattened the curve, let’s not flatten the economy.”
I just quoted Simon Bridges without ridiculing him, this really is a new New Zealand. In all seriousness, many local businesses and companies are really struggling, and just because we are now out of the worst of the lockdown doesn’t mean this struggle will let up. So do go out there and support Kiwis and Kiwi businesses.