THE PHOENIX Friday, June 5th, 2020 5
By WENDY PORTER—
The Merredin Library is now open
again, though on reduced hours for
now. Staff would like to say
Although many of the restrictions
have lifted, visitors to the library
will still have to practice physical
distancing and staff ask that
members use the hand sanitizer
provided before entering the main
library. Library staff will
hopefully be resuming some of our
activities soon, but as we will still
have restrictions on the number of
people in the activity area,
bookings will be essential.
If you are a parent still at home
with children, consider using
Ziptales to keep them amused.
Ziptales is free to use for all
library members and is a literacy-
based program, developed by
teachers in Australia. It includes
stories, activities and quizzes
designed to create confidence in
reading and spelling in children in
the safety of their own home.
Children can work at their own
pace, without the pressure of a
Members also have access to
Kanopy, a video-streaming service
featuring over 30,000 movies,
documentaries and more, many
being Indie Films. Library
members have free access to 4
titles per month, though they can
watch them up to 3 times over the
If you are not a member of the
Merredin Library, come in and
join up. All you need to bring
with you is proof of address. If
you would prefer just to have an e-
membership go to the Shire of
Merredin Website and complete
the online form, https://
Remember Call & Collect is still
available. Call library staff on
9041 1222 and let us know what
you would like us to find for you.
We will try to match exact titles
but that will depend upon
availability. Library staff are
ready and happy to help and
looking forward to seeing
everyone in the library again.
COVID-19 changing the world order
By GRANT STAINER
Like many pandemics before it, the
current COVID-19 coronavirus
pandemic is having a major impact
on every level of society, from local
right through to global.
Different countries are managing the
virus in different ways, with some
being more successful than others.
Here in Australia, the pandemic has
been managed pretty well, and
Western Australia has done even
better. WA Premier Mark McGowan
has done an outstanding job, and
with good humour too where
Even the Prime Minister Scott
Morrison has done fairly well.
People have even forgotten about his
handling of the bushfires and the
sports rorts scandal already.
In the USA though, we can see an
example of how severe
mismanagement can cause extreme
damage despite the USA supposedly
being a first world country.
With the number of deaths in the
USA climbing above 103,000 as of
the time of writing, they are in big
This has exacerbated existing
tensions and divisions in the USA,
and along with their ongoing
inability to address racism, economic
inequality, and an actively
destructive president among other
issues, there is the distinct risk of the
USA descending into civil war and
becoming a failed state. The USA’s
opponents don’t have to do anything
This will mean that China will
continue to be able to expand its
influence and military capabilities,
and along with Russia could become
the dominant world power.
China has been very smart and
strategic about its expansion over
many years, using a variety of
methods such as economic control,
soft power, controlling resources,
and direct military activities among
Due largely to the USA’s domestic
divisions and the current president,
this has to a large extent gone
unopposed by the USA, other than
the current president trying to blame
China for all of the USA’s self-
The rise of China presents both risks
and opportunities for Australia.
The opportunities are mainly
focussed on the export of iron ore
and income from Chinese students
attending our universities.
However, there are significant risks,
and some of these have been realised
as a result of the coronavirus. The
main risk is our severe dependence
on China for manufactured goods
and as a source of income from our
When the borders shut, it became
clear that our supply chains for a
wide range of goods, including
medical equipment, is extremely
dependant on just one country,
This dependence is not something
that has only recently developed. It
is the result of business and
government actions and directions
over the past 30 or so years, but
especially over the last 20 years.
We should develop an economic and
societal approach that significantly
reduces our dependence on any other
country, including on allies like the
This does not mean isolating
ourselves or ending exports. It
simply means that we should
maintain a strong local
manufacturing sector for a broad
range of goods, and that when we
export to overseas markets, we
should export to a wide range of
different countries so that we do not
become dependent on any one single
We should also invest properly at
home too, such as by properly
funding our universities so that they
do not need to become so dependent
on overseas funding.
When dealing with other countries, it
is always worth remembering that
old saying “love many, trust few,
always paddle your own canoe”.
Here in Australia, managing the
coronavirus has come at a significant
cost due to the necessary restrictions
that were imposed in a very short
period of time.
They are an appropriate and
reasonable response to the pandemic,
although they still suck.
There has been a severe economic
cost, with the impacts continuing to
be felt for a long time to come.
In some ways though, the social
costs of the restrictions could be just
as damaging and felt for a long time
yet. As this virus will be around for a
long time to come, people will
continue to be very nervous about
interacting with others, potentially
putting at risk the trust required for
everyday social interactions.
Of interest will be how long people
continue to feel guilty for talking
with other people when they happen
to meet up with others by chance.
How long will this feeling last for?
There will also be people for whom
isolation has had a significant
impact. This would most likely affect
extroverts and socialites the most.
This could exacerbate the feelings of
loneliness that studies have shown
was already a problem in Australian
society. There have been a number
of articles online about people
missing human touch such as hugs.
If they are not used to a lack of hugs,
then that would probably contribute
to their loneliness.
There will of course be benefits that
could come from the restrictions. If
we could ensure that getting rid of
handshakes becomes permanent, that
will be no loss. Handshaking has
always felt unhygienic, although it is
still very much an ingrained habit.
Improved handwashing is also
another good thing to hope continues
I have always been diligent about
washing my hands (much to the
annoyance of certain others), so this
has not been a problem for me, but I
do know of others who do not view
handwashing the same way.
Overall, this pandemic will continue
to have long lasting impacts from
local to international aspects, and
many of the impacts will be
However, there are some positive
impacts, things we have learnt, and
ways we can improve our society.
Let us focus on the positives as much
as possible, whilst not forgetting to
acknowledge and appropriately
manage the negatives.
Let us all work together for a better
society where everyone is included
and cared for.