本文刊出之日, 新州和維州都已走出封閉隔離, 重新開放。可以說, 超過半數澳洲人口, 都走出了新冠疫情, 進入新冠常態, 學習新的生活方式。
新冠疫情下這兩年日子真的不好過。大部份上班一族, 都要留在家中工作, 大家都明白不是所有工作都可以單獨在家中完成, 整個社會的運作受到極大的影響, 效率極低也無可奈何。雇員們習慣了在家工作, 不過, 雇主們卻大多相信能一起上班會更好。 維州政府重視生命安全, 寧願大家工作做得不好, 也堅持封閉隔離。維州居民也大多認同政府的做法, 總算是能在最少的生命損失下, 經過了這場疫症。
不過, 大部份的小生意接近40%時間無法營業, 只有被視為生活上必定需要的, 才可以開放。聯邦政府只為工作受到影響的人提供生活支援。從事小生意的, 只能接受這艱難營商環境, 盼望在解封後, 能重新開始。
有一些行業在這期間, 大有發展。家庭式經營的小生意, 由於沒有店舖開支及低經營成本, 而且人們習慣網購, 因此發展蓬勃。通過社交平台建立了不少客戶, 相信在疫情過後, 仍有可為。速遞及物流業更是隨著大家習慣網購, 而發展迅速, 成為最大贏家。不過, 政府漠視從業員的工作環境, 未有加以嚴格管理, 相信在疫後會出現調整。
社區活動, 受到極大影響。長者屬於高危一族, 有高齡會年多來都沒有活動, 就算有提供網上活動的, 參加者也不多。教會在封閉期間只能在網上崇拜, 在能開放時也沒有辦大型活動。有商會多次舉行活動, 要再三延期或取消, 而且參加者並不熱心, 因為在經濟環境充滿變數下, 大家都在觀望等待。
作為社區媒體, 我們在差不多沒有廣告的情況下, 仍緊守崗位繼續出版, 是極少數的倖存者。不少報刊已變為名存實亡的網上出版, 沒有多少讀者。聯邦及州政府長期忽視少數族裔刊物在社會中的重要角色, 沒有正視過如何協助我們在這極大困難之中如何能生存下去。不少投放到少數族裔宣傳防止新冠病毒的資源, 實質是效率極低的浪費。
不過, 今天我們重新開放, 盼望這是一個契機, 社會可以重新復甦。我盼望經過疫情後的《同路人》, 能與你一起重建社區。請支持我們, 與我們一起走下去。
Keep going out of the hardship
The issue comes out at a time when both NSW and Victoria have come out from their lockdown. Over half of Australian population will be entering a Covid-normal phase with a new lifestyle to adapt.
These two years of Covid life was hard enough. While most would work from home, but there are tasks that could not be done home-bound, thus impacting negatively on the running of the society as a whole. On opening up, employees are used to work from home although employers want otherwise. The government has been caring about human safety more than work efficiency, which the public would go along with. So we escaped unnecessary casualty throughout this pandemic.
But almost 40% of our small businesses could not operate because only essential services were allowed. The government only gave financial support to those who were affected. Small business owners could only endure the hardship for two years and hope for a new beginning upon reopening.
There are some trades benefiting from this circumstance. Family type operations with low expenditure outlay or even no rental survived very well. And because people are now used to online shopping, such businesses would continue to thrive given they have built up their customer base for so long. Delivery and logistic trades have bloomed and won out from the lockdowns. The government should review and regulate the working conditions of this labour force having been neglected so far.
Community activities have been vastly affected. The elderly have been suffering with no social/physical activities organised for them, and their access to online activities was very limited. Church services were mainly online and even with no lockdown not much bigger scale events could be organised. Some functions planned by business associations had to be postponed again and again or even be cancelled. Anyway not many have been keen in participating with their reservation on a bleak economic outlook.
As a community media, we endured in our role of publishing in the absence of advertisement. We are one of the surviving few as many just closed down or struggling with very limited online publishing. The federal and state governments have been overlooking the roles of ethnic minority media in the communities, little support have been provided to us amid this hard time. Most of the resources allocated to these bodies for educating the ethnic minority on Covid have been spent with low effectiveness and outcome.
The reopening today hopefully is a good sign of a new beginning for the society. I hope a post pandemic Sameway can walk along with you in coming out of the hardship and rebuilding our society.
Mr. Raymond Chow, Publisher