When World War 2 broke out my parents were in their early 20s. Dad was sent off to war and ended up in a Japanese Prisoner of War camp for 3+ years. I can't imagine that's what he expected for his life.
Mum stayed at home in London, England, working as a typist for the government. Mum endured rationing, blackouts and bombings.
That's pretty much all I know about their lives at that time, though I also know there was rationing for years after the war ended.
The point is everyone at that time endured straitened circumstances, and the horrors of war.
Now, some 80 years later, the world has gone sideways again, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. Countries are handling it in their own different ways.
Everything has changed though: most travel has ceased, we're all advised to keep our distance from others and wash our hands a lot and thoroughly. Events huge, big and small have been cancelled, churches closed, hotels emptied of their visitors who have been going back to their own countries. That means that everyone involved in any tourist industry has probably lost their job.
I'm lucky enough to be in Aotearoa New Zealand where the government has taken swift and effective actions to prevent and control the spread of the virus. They restricted entry, used self-isolation, contact tracking and information campaigns. Now that there is probably community transmission we have entered Alert Level 4 and we are all expected to stay home unless we are a worker in an essential service or are getting food or medical attention.
Everything has changed, almost by the minute, over the last few weeks. Everyone in the world is vulnerable to this virus and stats from some other countries have been horrific.
This is a time where absolutely everyone is uncertain about pretty much everything.
Our government is a coalition of the Labour, NZ First and Green parties, under the leadership of Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern. They have exhibited the most stunning leadership in this time of crisis. Their actions have been humane, science-based and authoritative. Their messaging has been a model of excellence.
They have come up with and implemented sensible and far-reaching policies with enormous speed, and released vast amounts of clear and accurate information. Their first concern has been the welfare of people, without forgetting the systems of our society, such as business, trade and the economy.
And while I'm no fan of the current opposition, the National Party, even they, after a bit of a stumble at first, have been sane and sensible in their support of the government's measures.
Our country is united in its determination to stop this virus from devastating our population.
Our Prime Minister is clearly exhausted, but at every press conference she remains unfailingly calm, clear, authoritative, friendly and patient. I can't imagine how she can possibly do all that.
Tonight we received an Emergency Alert about the conditions that take effect from midnight. Separately and together we'll do our bit to keep all of us safe and healthy. My parents had to do their bit in the war. Now it's my turn to do my bit for my country. At the end of this we'll be different, stronger perhaps. We'll definitely have a different perspective on our lives. I hope we use this time to figure out how to do better than we were doing before this crisis.