I know we are all suffering from pandemic fatigue, but I need to get involved because I fear this pestilent Covid-19 will sadly impact our lives for the foreseeable future!

First of all, prevention is always better than cure and so much cheaper. The eruption of this virus could have been avoided. I lived and worked briefly in China and saw, with horror, how animals and wild life were caged up. These appalling conditions were ideal breeding grounds for a new virus that could be passed from animals to humans. Where was the WHO? Who should have identified this ticking time bomb when visionaries, including Bill Gates several years ago, were predicting a pending pandemic? I really enjoyed my time in China, but I refused to eat cats and dogs that were raised in filth and under stress – there is obviously no RSPCA. However, some parts of China are now banning the consumption of domestic animals that we consider our four-legged friends.

But really, in this day and age of science and technology, when we have put a man on the moon, must we now have to rely on a Mickey Mouse face mask to control the spread of a virus? After all, it is contagious and masks pollute our rivers and oceans. Peru was one of the first countries to impose a lockdown and guidelines have been very strict here. During the last few months I have never seen someone not wearing a mask in Lima. In spite of this, Peru has remained one of the highest infection rates in the world. The problem is compounded by a very informal labour force. Peru´s economy was one of the best in Latin America before the pandemic and has now been devastated, as in the UK, which had one of the healthiest in Europe. This is an economic earthquake!

This band-aid solution is such a sad development – I can no longer share a smile with a stranger or hug or shake the hand of a friend. These gestures of friendship are fundamental trademarks of my personality that I do and will dearly miss. As you can see in the attached photo, I now look more like an alien! In addition, there are some world leaders, including in Brazil, who have stated that the virus should be left to run its course and encourage natural herd immunity. This is cruel and inhuman as the most vulnerable sector are the elderly who may have to live the rest of their time isolated in a very stressful bubble. These are our parents and grandparents who cared for us when we were children and growing up. It is now our and society’s responsibility to extend the lives of the aged for as long as possible in comfort and dignity.

Some ask “what is more important, lives or livelihood?” But a healthy economy surely depends on a healthy population. In order to be healthy and wealthy at the same time we need first to be wise! For sure this pandemic will become an endemic, this is skulduggery!

But I want to be clear, I am not advocating to stop the use of masks. To the contrary, it is better than nothing but it will not go down in history as one of the best moments of human ingenuity and lacks advanced science in the implementation of better health care.

However, I have used this time while working from my office at home in Lima. I am writing a technical manual entitled, Adding Value to Mineral Exploration Projects Requiring Drilling. This will be published next year in Peru for distribution in English and Spanish throughout Latin America where my work has been concentrated for the last twenty-five years. So, I am glad to be focused on something positive that has value and look forward with a ‘Corinthian Spirit’. In these very troubling and chaotic times I will continue to generate projects and innovate, but searching for some degree of normalcy is critical. Discipline is the obvious key.

There is no surprise with the current confused situation in the UK as there is a dishevelled Old Etonian in charge at Westminster, who has blundered and represented a lackadaisical leadership. I know his ilk – he who ordered the fatal Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaclava in 1854. When the commander heard of the catastrophic loss of life, miles away from the battle field, he apparently said, “oh what a pity” and had another gin! Read the poem written by Alfred Lord Tennyson memorising this heroic Charge.

I truly care because we should be better than this and demonstrate a more intelligent clear global responsibility that plans for a new world order that will benefit our fellow man on this small planet we share. Along with climate change, this virus has exposed some troubling trends in the world: sea levels are rising, forests are burning and extreme weather conditions are more common. Also, hunger is increasing and, especially in the US, inequality is worsening. Now we have a goblin in our midst! What a conundrum!

These events cause additional international friction as the world becomes more fractured, Brexit is a prime example. Apparently, the younger English generation did not get involved and vote in numbers for their future and left it up to the older folk to make the decision and now the survival of the Union is in doubt. To advance and live together in peace we must build on the treasures that we share, get involved and not focus on the differences that tear us apart. Surely this is the civilised way because continued wars and conflicts are barbaric and reflect the worst in us. This pandemic has illustrated how fragile we really are and cracks in our fundamental principles. We now live at a cusp!

 “Together, united we will stand firm, fast and prevail!
Focused on duty, service, and love above all other things
But if divided we could trip up, stumble, fall and fail
What will our children say about the future this brings?”

Nothing is written, so what future will we choose? From my perspective, failure is not an option if we get involved and united together because, above all, I AM AN OLD STOIC!

Alasdair Kennedy (Walpole 64)