Fast & Furious

One country two systems says Xi on 25th anniversary of Hong Kong rule Image YT HUI /

Change happens fast and the “new normal” has taken root and spread before there is even time to notice the change which of a sudden is the “normal” state of affairs.

Not so long ago, scant weeks actually, the government and authorities of Hong Kong declared it illegal to wear face masks as demonstrators were evading recognition by the police and cameras, now at a stroke throughout mainland China the wearing of face masks is more or less compulsory.

Change comes fast and furious when the need arises. Though try and change the habit of a life time and the resistance you will meet even in your own person are formidable. Try this for size, wash your teeth with the other hand, not so easy.

An expected future can be overwhelmed by choice. Those of us of a certain age may recall the debate between the Betamax video recording system and VHS.

Betamax was by any measure the better system yet VHS won the commercial battle for dominance in the market place.

Consumers decided that it was not worth paying for the better product and bought a system that satisfied their needs, VHS was good enough. All too often people and groups who seek to dictate what is good for us discover that simple truth.

Good enough will almost always trump best. People or groups who know what is best for us must be in a perpetual state of rage interrupted only by periods of deep disappointment and depression. Think of environmentalists.

Not those that put their rubbish in the bin rather than simply tossing a wrapper out of the window of an electric car, rather the type that hold congresses and conferences all over the planet earnestly exhorting the rest of us to reduce our airmiles.

A puzzle; Saint Valentine’s Day recently posed a challenge to Londoner’s. Roses and their carbon footprint; which has the least airmiles?

Most of the roses in London on St Valentines day are reportedly grown in Holland, or to present instead a bouquet of red roses from Kenya?

Actually the roses that are flown half way around the world has the lower carbon footprint. Roses grown in northwest Europe for that special person on that special day are grown out of season and in heated greenhouses boosted more often than not artificial light as well.

Roses from Holland produce six times as much carbon dioxide as Kenyan. The most sensible choice would be not to buy any roses out of season, sadly I am not brave enough so Kenyan roses will have to do.

To kiss or not to kiss, to hug or not to hug when meeting and greeting a dear friend or even a close acquaintance.

Lately the discussion around this conundrum revolved around the unwelcome attentions of the leery lothario invading a woman’s personal space and how to firmly discourage such advances.

Over the last several weeks to kiss or not to kiss has developed a certain edge, the Covid-19 virus has sharpened the debate. Should a woman or a man actually touch their lips to the cheek of a dear friend or child. The “air kiss” is definitely gaining ground in that debate. The hand shake?

Nick Horne, London, England

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