My COVID-19 Newsletter

Looking back and evaluating

I started my COVID-19 Newsletter about two months ago, first article was “Virusland is back“, dated 30 January 2020.
Since then I have been posting nearly every day.
Preparing the newsletter has demanded lots of work, and was time-consuming.

My sources were international TV (I watch a lot every day), SCMP, China Daily, NYT, KNACK/TRENDS, De Standaard, Het Laatste Nieuws, Caixin, and many other such as daily newsletters from various sources such as AXION and Sinocism.
I did not intend to be a “news channel” covering everything. The idea was to focus on what has been affecting us in China, how we were dealing with quarantine and lockdown, and the impact of the virus worldwide.
I also tried to double-check sources and give a balanced view while avoiding some sensitive topics that might affect my residence status in Beijing.

I closely monitored the views I get on my different media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and others. I also closely followed the hits on this website, that also reveal how people reach my website. Many people on media such as LinkedIn don’t bother to read the article but start commenting. Oh well!
Overall I feel disappointed by the numbers. I don’t show them here but you can comment on how many hits would be nice in your opinion. (Nobody will give feedback anyway!)
One indication: the very few (valid) comments I receive.
It is also clear for me that the people close to me (and the ones I value) hardly ever visit this website.
Yes, quite frustrating.

Websites: a bygone era?

I feel that overall, people have become very superficial and have a very short attention span. Digging a bit deeper in issues is pretty rare. People seems to love very short news clips and rather love fake or sensational news. But you find a lot of “strong opinions”, based on hot air.

It is also very disturbing to see how world leaders such as Trump, Boris Johnson, Jair Bolsonaro and some others drag their countries deeper and deeper into the abyss. Worst, they have followers who remain blind for facts and with whom it is a waste of time to argue. For them, the earth is flat. It shows how our Western democracies are imploding.

Foreign governments and embassies

You can wonder, especially recently, what embassies and representatives of foreign governments bring to the community.
Many embassies seem oblivious to their nationals in the country, hardly ever send out notices except to refer to the websites of their home ministry. How many keep their nationals informed and show interest in solving their problems?
Many embassy staff have no access to external websites. You can wonder how they can stay well-informed. You also wonder what they are actually doing. Have a problem? Please register your case online. Anyway most of the worries of their nationals “are not their responsibility and not in their scope of work”.

All of course depends on the big boss – the ambassador. In my 40 years here I have seen very different attitudes. Creativity, flexibility and initiative are often absent. Of course there are always exceptions. More than often, their work is made more difficult by the instructions and limitations they receive from their foreign ministry. In the past I did receive invaluable assistance from my Belgian embassy (and others). I accept their job has become more difficult by the short-sighted governments, and budget cuts.

Why am I doing this?

A good question that I often asked myself. Those who read my newsletter can agree I have no commercial interests to promote. As for my consulting company, we do not look for clients and we are very choosy.

One aspect I can mention is the promotion of my two books. Here again I see my closest contacts being of little help, if any, to help promote my books, or buying them (kidding, right!). The e-books are actually pretty cheap.
As a reminder, here they are:
“LAUGH AND GET WISER! Jokes and witty wisdom for adults”
The Kindle version: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07H291Z61
and
“Toxic Capitalism – The orgy of consumerism and waste: Are we the last generation on earth?”
E-book: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0792X896M/

The impact of my newsletter in this respect has been close to zero. Very disappointing. This is how you know who your friends are, while I am (or better, was) always too ready to help others.

Trying to help EU countries

Through one of my positions with the Chinese government I was asked to help donate 1,000 test kits to some European countries. The test kits are of a very advanced, we can say, revolutionary design. They offer a COVID-19 test in 5 minutes without using a laboratory. Done on the spot. The kits have all certificates including CE (from The Netherlands) and I have the detailed documentation.

The idea was to donate (officially) to the embassy who would then decide with their government to use it in hospitals, research centers or any health organization interested to test the technology.
Oh well, red tape, inaction, zero response. And oh! Gosh, politics with the Chinese government! Can we do this? (BUT! Welcome Jack Ma! He brings business!)
I have now canceled the offer. Time was the essence but as it stands EU governments have been turtle-like to react. Learn from China!
Anybody interested, contact me. I do not have any business interest in this. I thought I could help…

Too bad, not a surprise that EU countries are hopelessly behind in tackling the outbreak, don’t have masks while they were warned two months in advance. Then they find some millions of masks rotten in a military warehouse.
If one tries to mail masks to family in Europe, good luck. Red tape (WE NEED CE!!!!!) and total lack of cooperation from customs (not to mention embassies) make it virtually impossible.
Remember when Chinese bought ALL masks around the world and shipped them to China? Chinese customs had special procedures to let them in.
Poor EU.

In short, bye. No more COVID-19 stuff

And don’t bother to ask me how are things over here in Beijing. Ask your embassy.
We will watch from Beijing how you all cope (?) to put in place logistics, equipment, health care workers, fail to use masks when needed (= as we do over here for a good reason), implement lockdown, …

Yeah interesting to look how crazy/idiotic people are. Keep hoarding! Buy toilet paper (they shit a lot!!!). And if you ever come to Beijing, your zero star hotel welcomes you in Xiaotangshan (now refurbished after its operation for SARS). And behave in the lift (elevator for others).
Yep, my last little humor (much more in earlier posts).
Meanwhile I will enjoy more great Belgian cuisine in Morel’s Restaurant.

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