Norman George: Fear of the pandemic

Tuesday March 24, 2020 Published in Editorials
Apollo 13’s service module command lunar panel. 20032316 Apollo 13’s service module command lunar panel. 20032316

OPINION: It cannot be helped when we all share fear of being infected with this virus.  We need to fear it. From first infection contact, it takes eight days to cause death. The growing casualty figures in Italy and Spain need to serves as warning.


Let’s eyeball the subject of fear. Ranulph Fiennes, a well-known British mountain climber, SAS soldier and leader of worldwide explorations, wrote a book called Fear.

He talked about his fear of heights: he has trouble climbing up a ladder!  It is normal to suffer from phobias, anxiety is a feeling close to fear, you need to stay calm and avoid panic. Fear must be contained.

Humans are genetically-designed to possess fear, in order to avoid danger. Mountain climbers fear death by falling off mountains. 

On April 11, 1970, Apollo 13 had an explosion en route to the moon. The famous call “Houston, we have a problem” placed the world on a tense 48 hours of fear and anxieties. 

First Apollo 13 had to turn around by circling the moon, then there was the task of saving power and oxygen for re-entering earth’s orbit. They did it.

The power of fear can make you try harder. Fear works like drugs. It is an integral part of our lives. We cannot survive without fear.

There is a call for the nation to unite.  A new social lifestyle is introduced; we all know what they are. 

The important thing is to avoid large crowds, five should be normal, and no more than 10. 

Discipline, self-monitoring, being individualistic, resolute, relax and we need to slow down our lifestyle.

Do some gardening and tinkering in the backyard. Keep the children and grandchildren occupied. Homework needs to be done. Do more studies to improve the grades.

Be generous to all friends and neighbours. None of them are responsible for bringing this burden on us.  I must take my hat off to the Cook Islands Party Government for introducing major initiatives, well-structured, well-disbursed, very calming and professionally programmed.

The greatest applause must go to the two ladies running the Ministry of Health, Minister Rose Brown and Health Secretary Dr Aumea Herman, and all their hardworking staff.

(Thanks for bringing my nephew Dr Ted Hughes last week to help you with your programme.)

The show must go on. The closing down and isolating the outer islands is a great initiative.

One of the most important thing to observe is to stop panic-buying. Stick to your routine. There’s always fish in the sea, and wild chicken around. Be creative.

I appeal to the young people to show restraint. No heavy drinking, no rule-breaking. The only thing such a behavior will achieve is to have all the drinking places closed and all sales of alcohol stopped. Surely it does not need to come to that.

I make an appeal to the Police Commissioner – no arrests! No excess breath alcohol arrests and charges for the next three months. Take the motorcycle off the driver, make him walk home and forget about charging them.

No arrests except for peace and good order offences to prevent further violence.

Lastly, support your local MPs.  I don’t believe in demands for MPs to share or donate their salaries – they already do that! I did it for 31 years. 

I have seen some huge shopping by MPs for their communities. Let’s go easy on each other. Don’t forget, he who dares, wins!

Kua rava teia. Ka kite!


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