進入2024, 雖然澳洲新冠疫情仍然嚴峻, 但不少人的心思, 都放在如何面對這一個不可知的世界。烏克蘭戰爭將進入第三年, 西方國家的軍援大幅減少, 戰事結束遙遙無期。以哈戰爭已過百日, 中東地區衝突有蔓延的走勢, 已沒有人能估計終局如何。台灣選出堅持不會與中國統一的民進黨的頼清德作中華民國第16任總統, 相信台灣將有更多軍事行動, 中美對峙形勢更形緊張。中國經濟下滑, 中美貿易戰導致世界經濟陷入困局機會極高。美國年底總統選舉, 極右思想的特朗普捲土重來機會不低, 更令世界不穩因素提升。
澳洲本土, 執政工黨民望低迷, 物價及房價仍高企, 雖然現時失業率仍不算高,但澳洲人生活艱難卻是不爭事實。在2024年, 低下階層生活拮据, 有人要捱餓, 有人無居所可住, 都是政府要面對的社會問題。要是世界性經濟危機出現, 澳洲人如何自處, 令人擔憂。
是的, 2024年將是不可知困難的一年, 但我們仍要有信心前行。
首先, 澳洲社會發展的基礎仍在。澳洲是資源大國, 只要世界仍要運作, 對資源就有需求, 澳洲仍可發展不同的巿場, 改善現時過份倚頼中國的狹隘巿場狀況。其次, 澳洲人仍維持互相守望及幫助的價值觀。去年的史坎倫報告指出, 澳洲人熱心參與協助鄰居的活動, 並且認同不同文化對澳洲社會的貢獻和價值。這都令澳洲能在困難時, 維持內部團結及外在聯繫。第三, 澳洲民主制度讓國民有能力不需要使用一般一武力來把管治無能的政府趕走, 讓別的政黨有機會執政, 進行改變。第四、澳洲各政府一直都投放極多資源在教育、醫療、支援有需要社群之中, 令到在困境中生活的人, 基本需求仍可得到照顧。
這一些, 都給在面對不可知的2024年的澳洲人, 帶來安慰及盼望。
在新一年, 祝願我們都有勇氣和信心, 面對不可知的前路。
An unknown 2024
With Covid still on the high into year 2024, moat people are pondering on what would lie ahead in a world they are facing. War in Ukraine enters into its third year and there is no sight of peace with Western aids come to a low. War in Gaza is over 100 days and uncertainty remains with Middel East conflicts on the spread. Lai Ching-te of Democratic Progressive Party won the 16th presential election in Taiwan, with the “no unification” party line presumably military tension will grow between China and US. The shrinking of China economy and trade war between China and US would cause world economic downfall. The possible come back of Donald Trump and his right-wing policy at the year end presidential election in US would make the world a more unstable one.
The Labor Party governing Australia is losing its support with inflation and housing price on the rise; even unemployment rate remains stable, standard of living is causing issues on households. In the new year the government has to deal with people in poverty without food and home. It’s more worrying if world economy goes into depression.
Despite 2024 is an unknown year of difficulties, we need faith to move on.
Firstly, our social infrastructure is still here. We are a nation full of resources and the whole world not just China can become our market. Secondly, Australian values count on mutual care and assistance. Last year’s Scanlon Report revealed our passion in helping our neighbours and our acknowledgement of multiculturism. This ensures internal unity and external connection amid harsh time. Thirdly, our democratic system allows us to vote for the governing party we want for the nation without resort to physical fighting. Fourthly, all along Australian governments have been investing well on education, medical care and social support such that people’s basic needs are reasonably covered even in hardship.
All such gives Australians some comfort and hope in an unknown 2024.
In the new year let us have the courage and faith in facing the unknown future.
Mr. Raymond Chow, Publisher