Wednesday 15 April 2020


“Before you call yourself a Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu or a believer of any other theology, learn to be human first.” ― Shannon L. Alder

I recently found myself in the emergency department of one of our major public hospitals in Melbourne at 4:30 a.m. I was accompanying someone who had need of assistance (no, not COVID-19!). The place was deserted at that time and we were seen to immediately after a rapid and efficient triage. The set-up was impressive and the care given was exemplary. Six hours later, the person I was accompanying had been seen by nurses, doctors, radiographers, had been given appropriate medication that relieved her acute, severe pain and was ready to be discharged. She had been given a prescription, and the first lot of suitable medication to last her a couple of weeks, but also a referral to see a specialist and have some more imaging done, all within the next two weeks.

At that point in time I thanked my lucky stars that I am living in a country where in the midst of a pandemic that is causing havoc in most countries around the world, I could still rely on our public health care system to deliver timely, efficient and effective emergency intervention. There was adequate, appropriate diagnostic equipment, care by experienced and courteous medical professionals and also immediate access to medication that relieved excruciating algesic symptoms.

Up till now, in Australia, our intensive care facilities have been able to cope with the increased demand that has been placed on them with the COVID-19 cases. At the time I am writing this, Australia still has a relatively low rate of infection and fewer deaths than other countries of a similar development status. Diagnosed Coronavirus cases here presently are: 6,447, while total nymber of deaths is: 63, with recovered cases: 3,686. The death rate per million population in Australia is 2 per million, compared say to Italy, 348 per million population, or USA, 79 per million population. The response to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Australia was drastic, timely and universal. This proved to be a life-saving intervention.

We still have an effective public health system, despite the increased demands placed on it by our ageing population and the decreased funding it receives. One of the reasons it remains effective is because of the dedication, conscientiousness and professionalism of our health care workers. Paramedics, orderlies, nurses, doctors, diagnosticians, laboratory workers, specialists, surgeons, physical therapists, dieticians, cleaners, kitchen staff, etc, etc, all of these people who work within our public health care system, deserve our appreciation and gratitude for a hard job done well.

Unfortunately, though, we still have a problem in that many health care workers are being subjected to abuse, verbal and physical, by the people they are desperately trying to help. Seeing someone doing their best to save someone’s life and at the same trying trying to defend themselves from abusive behaviour is more than disheartening. One questions the norms of the society we live in, the kind of behaviours that people are raised to believe are “normal”, the types of persons out there that find it “OK” to shout obscenities at paramedics, physically abuse nurses, refuse to co-operate with doctors.

I was talking about this with a friend of mine who is a medical specialist. He said that many of the violent patients that are encountered in a health care setting are on drugs or have psychological or behavioural problems. In their minds, whatever they do is excusable because of their “problem” and later, when they sober up or realise what they have done, they cite their “problem” as an excuse and expect instant and absolute forgiveness. Fortunately, legislation is changing nowadays and that type of excuse is becoming untenable. If you commit a crime and you are high on drugs, you will be punished to the full extent of the law, while “being on drugs” is no longer a valid defence.

We live in a strange world. Times have changed rapidly and people behave in quite disturbing and extremely selfish and antisocial ways. The values of typical, large, post-industrial Western societies have deteriorated, and unchecked capitalism seems to have created a mindset where all is possible, all is allowable all is excusable if one has money. The pursuit of wealth has become the be-all and end-all of existence and our humanity has suffered as a result. Rampant development, widespread exploitation of resources, unthinking consumerism and pullulating globalisation have created massive social, economic, moral and ethical problems.

Perhaps we did need a wake-up call of the order of a pandemic. Perhaps COVID was a necessary evil that we desperately needed in order to stop, rethink our existence, and if we survive through it, change our lives for the better. Perhaps we needed this worldwide emergency to highlight everything that is wrong with our modern civilisation. Perhaps we needed to be afraid, very afraid, of our individual future, and contemplate our own untimely and rapid death in order to consider the survival of our species, the good of our society, the repercussions of our actions on others – people, animals, plants, society, ecosystems, the planet…

Tuesday 14 April 2020


“India has always had a strange way with her conquerors. In defeat, she beckons them in, then slowly seduces, assimilates and transforms them.” ― William Dalrymple

Welcome to the Travel Tuesday meme! Join me every Tuesday and showcase your creativity in photography, painting and drawing, music, poetry, creative writing or a plain old natter about Travel.

There is only one simple rule: Link your own creative work about some aspect of travel and share it with the rest of us. Please use this meme for your creative endeavours only.

Do not use this meme to advertise your products or services as any links or comments by advertisers shall be removed immediately.
The Taj Mahal (Persian for ‘Crown of Palaces’) is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan (reigned 1628–1658), to house the tomb of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The tomb is the centrepiece of a 42-acre complex, which includes a mosque and a guest house, and is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a crenellated wall.

Construction of the mausoleum was essentially completed in 1643 but work continued on other phases of the project for another 10 years. The Taj Mahal complex is believed to have been completed in its entirety in 1653 at a cost estimated at the time to be around 32 million rupees, which in 2015 would be approximately 52.8 billion rupees (US$827 million). The construction project employed some 20,000 artisans under the guidance of a board of architects led by the court architect to the emperor, Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.

The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for being “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage”. Described by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore as “the tear-drop on the cheek of time”, it is regarded by many as the best example of Mughal architecture and a symbol of India's rich history. The Taj Mahal attracts 7–8 million visitors a year. In 2007, it was declared a winner of the ‘New 7 Wonders of the World’ (2000–2007) initiative.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

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