d e a n   f o r b e S                    w a l k i n g ,  n o t  r u n n i n g . . .

BLOG 2022                                                       scroll down to see more 2021 blogs    www.deanforbes.com.au/Site/HOME.html


Reflecting on the Asian City is #5 book in the North By East Series One Collection. The focus is on cities and my years at Monash University, the Australian National University and Flinders University. The emphasis is on Indonesia and Vietnam.

The full North By East lists are:

1 Port Moresby: University Days (2016);

2 Place, Emotion, Memory: Papua New Guinea (2017); 

3 First Journey: Papua New Guinea 1972-1974 (2021);

4 Street Walking: Ujung Pandang 1976 (2021);

5 Reflecting on the Asian City (2022);

6 Grey Suits and Red Stars: Vietnam 1983 (2018);

7 The Socialist City: Vietnam (2018);

8 China Threads 1972-2022 (2022).  (1/4/22)

COVID-19 BLOG 2022


Testing indicates that 46% of adults across the country have acquired protein antibodies. NSW has the highest level at 49.8%. In February it was just 17%. The highest levels now are of 18-29 years old with 73% having protein antibodies.


NSW: 18,669 new cases. 2,202 in hospitable, 55 in intensive care. 15 deaths. So many factors are causing concern. The cold and wet weather, and the large number of flooding incidents. The fatigue of workers, especially in the health areas, makes all of us vulnerable. The reluctance of many who take little interest in masks. The Russian’s illegal and bumbling invasion of Ukraine. And the Albanese Government’s wide range of issues they are dealing with. 


NSW: 13,829 new cases. 2,236 in hospitals. 25 deaths yesterday. 50,000 cases across the country. There are a lot of warnings about our situation. I strongly believe we should increase our use of masks both inside and out. It might happen, but I don’t think there will be a significant change. I am going over the road to a medical centre where I can go into the Walk in Jab. It goes for two ours. I hope I get the jab quickly. I don’t want to spend all afternoon to get the jab.  


It seems that we are heading into a period with an increase in some strong BA.4 and BA.5 strains. The exceptional rain and cold weather makes the situation even harder. I hope the Darwin people know this. I always use masks when I am in shops and other places where people get together. I’m sure that many citizens rarely or never use masks.


A week in the warm city of Darwin. But most people don’t wear masks. We wandered around the interesting parts of the city and the hinterland but every place nearly everybody did not wear mask. Surely everyone knows COVID-19 is dangerous but why do most ignore the mask?


COVID-19 deaths reached 10,000 on the weekend. New cases of NSW COVID-19 were 775. The continuing wet weather across the whole country, but particularly along the eastern coast, has suffered from massive floods. It is heart breaking to see houses, shops and nature itself be inundated knowing how difficult and expensive it will be.     


NSW: 8,266 new cases. 1,453 in hospital. 45 in intensive care. Long COVID-19 is much more evident in the USA than Australia, but Australia is likely to increase. Flu cases in Australia are reaching 144,000. And we have still more winter and unusual cold to deal with. 


Long COVID-19 is a simmering concern. It has many elements, including BA.4 and BA.5 variances. This implies that no one knows what impact it has and how it may affect person in the future. It is made more important because people are increasingly likely to ignore the continuing existence of COVID-19. 


NSW: 2,076 new cases. 1,470 are in hospital. Masks are rare around Pyrmont. My rule remains. Masks in supermarkets and busy shops or busy out dour events. And where it is required, such as in the case on the ferry. No person has ever responded, at least to my knowledge. No recent rain, surprisingly, but the weather is still particularly cole, except when the sun is out.

There are threats that there maybe shortages downs in energy in homes and businesses. It is not clear to me who is right and who is wrong among government, energy firms and the regulator. Energy firms are the most likely to have caused the problem. My guess. 


NSW: 4,600 new cases. 1,280 are in hospital of whom 40 are in intensive care. The demands on the medical people are very high. It is still unusual for it to be as cold as it is in Sydney, but the rain has decreased for the moment. Increasing numbers are no longer noticing  COVID-19, assuming that they will cope with mild impacts. People, I am told, have stopped going to night clubs, preferring small clubs or using dating apps and using social media more often.  


NSW: 7,540 new  cases. 1,540 are in hospitable, and 32 are in intensive care. The NSW government is also aware of the risk of the winter flus. Many have the jab around this time. Those with poor health are likely to be given an additional jab funned by the state government.


Information on COVID-19 is hard to find at the moment. All media eyes are on the new PM and colleagues. This morning I got the NSW data: In the previous day there were 30 deaths and 1,204 in hospital, 38 of whom are in intensive care. I spent two or three hours walking in the city centre and noticed very wear masks. I do, but not many others do, at least outside.


Influenza is increasing in NSW with 15,000 jabs completed. It is already clear that Influenza is going to have a real impacting, on top of the COVID-19 variations. At the moment the focus is mainly on the incoming government and the new, mainly female, members in parliament. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is on his war to meet with The Quad, members of which are the heads of the USA, India, Japan and Australia.


The last few days have pasted quickly. The election was on Saturday the 21st. I was not surprised that Labor won, nor that the Liberals lost. But I was surprised that the Greens and a numbers of mostly women in upmarket suburbs did very well and whacked many Liberals. As a result, late on Saturday, the night of the election, the Prime Minister Scot Morrison resigned.

Anthony Albanese was sworn in as Prime Minister today along with  Jim Charmers, Penny Wong, Richard Marles and Katy Gallagher. Others have also been been sworn in. On the Liberal’s side, Peter Dutton is expected to seek leadership. COVID-19 has taken a backseat for the moment. 


The Australian elections are on this coming Saturday. I voted when the polls opened on the 9th of May. A good move, I think. The Labor Party is ahead of the current Liberal Party, but the gap is getting closer. I still think Labor will get in, but with a small margin.

I heard discussions arguing that many in the community have lost interest in COVID-19 and will be even more uninterested over the next 12 months. This could enabling a surge of infections driven by COVID-19 and the winter Flu that has returned. Todays’ new figures: NSW had 15 deaths and 57 people are in intensive units.  


La Nina is having a late go with heavy and damaging rain in southern Queensland and probably northern NSW. It is having an impact around Sydney, though this far it is patchy. It still gets to me with the darker days and the sporadic rain. Combined with ongoing feeling of moistness books and clothes. COVID-19 just makes it all worse. The next week will be half wet and half dry days.


The World Health Organisation believes about 6 million people have died from COVID-19. However in Australia many believe the global figure is closer to 15 million. Quite a difference. There is also growing concerns that the variants of the virus will continue to emerge. 


The COVID-19 virus will continue for a long time, as will viruses. I heard some interesting discussion putting it forward that climate change increases of around 3 percent will have an impact on animals and animals in turn may facilitate viruses jumping on to animals they have not done before. Bats are one that could be affected. Frightening thoughts.


NSW: 23 deaths; 1,513 in hospital. Concern about new COVID-19 variants, such as .

The election is dominating the news media, with most tilting towards a Labor win. Key issues at the moment are the Election, weather, though the heavy rain has slowed some what, and the deadly shambles of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. 


The COVID-19 numbers for NSW: 19 deaths; 13,771 new infections; 1,701 in hospital; and 76 in intensive care. And this is only New South Wales.

The Australian elections are on the 21st of May. Anthony Albanese jumped out of the blocks, but Scott Morrison has his nose in front. He was helped a little by Albanese’s need to go into lockdown due to a touch of COVID-19 and a few mistakes in his speeches. It is too early to have a robust expression of the winner. Morrison was the surprise winner at the last election, and the media seem again to be pushing Albanese as the most likely winner, albeit by not very much.

I want to get my vote in as soon as possible and hope to do it on-line, as I did for the NSW elections. The Liberals and their friends have run the country for around nine years. We need a change. But if Labor get in they may find it is a very close result.  


While COVID-19 continues to be a big influence in our lives, significant issues are having an impact. The two major leaders, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese are hard at work with the election on the 21st of May. 


ANZAC Day. A big turnout in Sydney, is reported. I sat and watched some planes of a different age do some circles in the sky above the city. I understand there are large turnouts around the city. Thousands are estimated in the March through the city, with numbers well up on last year.

The COVID-19 impact still worries. 7,000 new infections. 1,631 are in hospital. 64 are in intensive care. Four deaths have been recorded.


My first three blog on what became COVID-19. Getting on to nearly two and half years. My intention was to keep some sort of record of how the pandemic impacted on my life and those around me. From now my intention is to reducing the number of posts.

Much coverage of a virus in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The government eventually decides the only way to stop the rapid growth of infections is to confine everyone to the homes. They are brutal in dealing with those who disobey. Some people are able to video their apartments and some street scenes. The weather is very cold, and the roads are covered in snow. Australia halts airline connections with Wuhan. (31/1/20).

The loss of life due to the Coronavirus is mounting. For higher ed providers, especially high ranked universities, the financial fallout will also have a huge impact on student revenue. (3/2/20)

Australian PM Scott Morrison declares Coronavirus a Pandemic. Before the WHO! ‘Scotty from Marketing’ got in early. (26/2/20)


Easter begins tomorrow, but travellers have been clogging up passing through Sydney’s Airport for days for reasons Qantas blames on others. COVID-19 is still active with 21 deaths and 100 in hospital as of yesterday. NSW’s unusual weather has softened a little, but there remains the possibility of heavy weather along the coast and inland. It will be a difficult time for the large numbers of people not able to get back into their homes. With so many people travelling around  Easter it will be a test for everyone.


COVID-19 has 18,200 new infected and 18 new deaths. The media have moved on, to a point, losing interest in the floods along the NSW coast and the botched cruel Russian attacks on Ukraine. With the government calling and getting approval for a national election in about five weeks time, the media have set their sites on politics.    


Rain still continues along the NSW coast, but the wettest areas are more likely from Sydney and along the southern coast. For those hammered by rain over the last few months, particularly Lismore, the impact of COVID-19 and flooding is catastrophic. The new stats: 70 infected patients are in hospital and 11 deaths were registered. Some 15,300 new infections were recorded. I wonder how many infections could be attributed to the main sport events, and, in the recent cases, care racing?   


Wet weather is back again in Sydney after three days of warmth. A week or more of unusual rain is forecast and it has started already. We are moving towards winter so it is time for a flu jab. The statistics from the ABC are brief. Around 24,000 new COVID-19 infections, 1,044 people in hospital and 15 deaths. The statistics are still significant by my counting.


The news is dominated by the aftermath of the NSW floods and the situation in Ukraine. The horror of the war crimes by the Russian invaders has shocked people over the world. The brutality of the Russians is sickening. COVID-19 gets a short review with NSW having 12 new deaths, 56 in intensive care and 19,000 more with the infection.   


The ABC in NSW’s hourly news reports no longer have summaries on COVID-19. The floods in the northern regions of the state are the reason. The massive flooding a few weeks back has now returning, for many, especially in the towns including Lismore and Byron Bay.  


Latest NSW numbers: 95% have had two jabs. 67% have the two jabs plus a booster. Nevertheless 16,000 new people have the infection. I find it encouraging, but the consistent rain is a damper. 


I no-longer ware my mask outside unless it is crowded. Which is unlikely. There is a sense that the impact of Omicron and BA.2 is not as deadly, albeit we know there are still regular numbers of deaths. And 24,000 people have contracted the virus in that period. I feel as though I should have more to say about COVID-19. Five more deaths in NSW in the last 24 hours.

Rumilicious, Two Fratelli Cafe and the Wharf Cafe are regularly open on Jones Bay Wharf. Morso has only occasionally been open. Dolton House is for events, especially weddings.


2,850 new reports with the virus in the previous day. But the sense of edging towards normality is growing. I only wear a mask inside public places or in congested outdoor areas.


Omicron is less significant, but a new variation, BA.2, is having an impact. It will probably increase its activity, but there is hope that it will be managed. And an interesting fact: in NSW 56% of adults have had booster shots. 


I have managed to persuade myself to not wear masks in the streets, but I continue to wear them in shops and outside if it is congested. There is a sense we are coming out of this virus after two and a half years and the possibility of even more outbreaks in the future.  

The rainfall in the regions from Sydney north and around southern regions of Queensland have caused enormous destruction of buildings and also resulted in death of people. It is heartbreaking.

To add to the misery, the Russian invasion of the Ukrainian people is appalling, regardless of what the Russian leaders say.


Both NSW and Victoria have reduced rules on wearing face marks unless you are in sensitive work situations. Recently I have been one of fewer and fewer walkers persisting with masks. I must be thought a curmudgeon.

The rain is endless. And there is at least a week more rain. I just hope there are some dry brakes over the next week or so.


So many 2s, but not again for some time. The spirit of COVIT-19 and Omicron ways me down. Alternatively the relentless rain may be the real fault.


International flights can begin entering Australia. But you must be fully vaccinated. It has been a long 2plus years for us all. I walked on my morning harbour walk. Tragically, my favourite coffee cafe was not open.


I am taking less interest in the numbers, except deaths, of course, and more on how we get through the new variations of COVID-19 and the coming winter and its flues. I am also worried about the future of Generation Alpha, born from 2010 to 2024.


I’m increasingly getting the sense that people are more certain they will catch COVID-19 at some point, but will be able to get by with a week of home isolation. That is, unless, of course, you have chronic illnesses or you chose to dodged a couple of injections and a booster jab.

The rag-tag marchers who oppose vaccinations have no serious information to convince most people. The parliamentarian MP Craig Kelly has no credibility in this situation.


Omicron is proving to be a powerful force. Deaths are increasing even though more people have the double jabs and in line for, or already have had, the booster jab. At the same time I have had enough listening to politicians and activists smugly telling us they know how everything that should be done.


The reason my blogs are more frequent than during previous two years is straight forward. I have had the two jabs and soon will have the booster. I have responded to the rise of Omicron by reducing my time outside the apartment. I always wear my mask when out of the apartment. Shopping is quicker. I seldom travel beyond Pyrmont. The exception was a few days away over Christmas.   


Government data on numbers of the new infected now include infections collected from house holders who use rapid count testing. This increased the number of deaths increased to 20 in the last daily count. Overall the total COVID-19 deaths in NSW since the beginning of the virus is 848. The Victorian number is 858 deaths. The Omicron variation was looking like it has less of an impact on people but it is infecting large numbers of people. 


On my walk around the Pyrmont part of the Harbour the air was warm and still, and there were few out walking. Are people staying inside more often? A drenching in the early afternoon has encouraged people to stay inside.

NSW recorded 22 deaths, the largest in a day this far. The quality of the data has worsened with the increased use of home testing. Not all have the skills or do not record the results and pass it on to the appropriate agency.


NSW had its highest number of deaths: 21. The Government announced it will fine people if they fail to register that they are infected.

And there is evidence that face masks are a problem due to the tiny, delicate structure of Omicron. The N95 standard is, we are told, the minimum standard. No reference to it on my orange box. It contains 50 masks and is labelled AMD Nano Tech Particulate Respirator-T4. Four ply. Use hand wash. Australian made. And a lot more.


NSW: 30,062 new infections; 1,927 in hospital; 121 in ICU intense care. Victoria: 44,155 new infections; 752 in hospital; 104 in ICU. To sum up, Omicron is capable of capturing many more victims than Delta.

On my regular walks in Pyrmont I notice that more than three quarters of walkers no longer bother with face masks. They do when in the supermarket, but not many other places. I have continued to wear a mask everywhere I can, with a few excuses such as while eating.  


People with the virus are around 5% to 6% of the NSW population. What will that be in the next few weeks? Today’s number of new infections was 38,625 in NSW and 21,728 in Victoria. At the current rate, the total affected will be on a steep curb. A question. If people have the virus, and they survive, when do they come off the list of those with virus?  

There are five restaurants on Jones Bay Wharf. It includes popular places such as Rumilicious and Cafe Morso. None are currently open. I know that one, and probably all, are on the fiscal edge. I hope their return can get them through this demanding period. 


NSW today jumped to 35,054 new infections; Victoria 17,634. Omicron is having a fast growing number of victims, but many seem to have rather light impact. A sniffle, coughs, sore throat. 119 in the ICU incubator in NSW. Quite different to Delta. As the process twists and turns it is good to hear the comments of the health specialists in hospitals, universities and research centres. But I am irritated by the politics where some turn it into an over the top spray of criticism, as if they know more than everyone else.  


Omicron delivers a huge punch, but it is more clearly different the Delta variance.  NSW has 23,131 new cases. It is a huge number. There are 1,344 victims in hospitals, and two deaths. But no new people needing treatment. It means that hospital workers are pressed, but we are coping. We also have been told that it is increasingly clear that people are thinking they have a cold or something similar and treating it as a cold. Another twist by Omicron.


Tomorrow starts today... before the fireworks...

Some interesting information on the first day of 2022. Overall in Australia there are about 100,000 with the infection. Australia wide there are about 130 in intensive care. Of the 54 in Victoria all are unvaccinated. This is a key issue that tends to be ignored by the less signifiant daily data on new infections. 


I have recently completed the seventh book in the North By East Series One Collection that I started on in 2016. It is titled ‘China Threads; 1972-1922’. My first visit to China Hong Kong was in 1972. I was on my way to London. The stopover in Hong Kong was only for a few days. As it turned out I ended up travelling to and from China on 30 occasions.

The seven books in the Series One Collection are photos and stories of my time in Papua New Guinea (3 book), Vietnam (2), Indonesia (1, with another to come) and China (1). They are the first collection in the North By East Series. I hope it is completed by midyear. (2/3/22) 


Over the last few years my academic focus has centred on a cluster of activities. Primarily these have been my website Walking Not Running (www.deanforbes.com.au/Site/HOME.html); a series of personal art books reflecting on my interests in cities and economies in East and Southeast Asia) (click on Artistica); an occasional academic chapter on urban societies (Understanding Contemporary Asia, for example); and charing three Adelaide and Sydney independent education providers.

Given that we are nowhere close to pulling COVID-19 back to minor status here and overseas, I will have plenty of time to read and write. I want to use this time to develop a better style of writing, to put it simply. I call it ‘three is one’ to remind me to focus on the writing that means the most importance to me. (2/2/22)  


Like the COVID-19 Blog, I will evolve this narrative over the next few  months. I have many thoughts but have difficulty in creating a meaningful narrative. 

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My oldest memory of independent reading is sitting on a stool reading comics in my father’s Glenelg beachside kiosk. They explain why I loved reading and, perhaps, why I went on to love reading news papers and, later still, books and essays.

The 14th of July 1964 was a pivotal moment. I was 14 and rode my bike to Brighton High School from our home in Glenelg. I stopped to pick up my lunch made by my father in his Jetty Road lunch shop. With it he showed me a new newspaper The Australian, established by Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch had made his reputation when he was managing the Adelaide News. I have been a reader of The Australian and The Weekend Australian ever since. I don’t always agree with the content, or of Murdoch’s politics, but I still buy The Weekend Australian every weekend.

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By the time I was in second year in university I was coming to take seriously my university life and its books, readings and arguments. My focus became East and Southeast Asia, all of which centred on my academic interest in cities and east and southeast Asian region. (1/1/22)


A second year of COVID-19 was not something I expected. Not two years in a row! Surely the virus would have been eliminated around the world, and especially in Australia. I have written regular short pieces for my blog in 2020 and 2021. This will now continue in 2022.

My book reading was limited to erratic reading of parts of Barack Obama’s A Promised Land (Viking UK, 2020) and the Bruce Pascoe book Dark Emu (Magabala Books, Broome, 2018). I have always admired Obama although I don’t support every thing he has done. My oldest daughter worked on some of the projects he wanted to support such as the advancement of black and other youth in American cities. I have also skipped through Bruce Pascoe’s book on numerous occasions with a consistently sceptic approach. However in the last few days I have widened my mine and decided to read the whole book.

I have been a reader of The Saturday Australian, and The Australian in past years, but my time reading has slowly decreased. Even with a thumping discount of $2.50 The Saturday Australian my reading  has become increasingly lax. Therefore, 2022 will see me reading at least one paper every weekend.

This was my 14th year - 2008 to 2021- writing this blog.  COVID-19 has made many changes to our life. Travel has been limited to Sydney and parts of NSW, a couple of flights to Adelaide, and a week in Melbourne. Trips planned to Uluru, Darwin and Queensland never happened. As I write this the increasing numbers of Australians affected by COVID-19 and the new variants prompts me to wonder just how long this will dominate our lives.

This is when my optimism quietly re-appears. Surely our travel in Australia, and possibly overseas, will feature in 2022 (1/1/22).    


BLOGS 2022

  1. Bullet North By East #5

  2. Bullet COVID-19 2022

  3. Bullet North By East

  4. Bullet Three is one

  5. Bullet A quiet brush

  6. Bullet 2021 in high site

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Blog 2021

  1. Bullet A quiet brush

  2. Bullet COVID-19 2021

  3. Bullet  Asian Pacific engagement

  4. Bullet Obama’s promised land

  5. Bullet Vale Michael Taylor

  6. Bullet Asia Pacific

  7. Bullet Art and memory

  8. Bullet Vale Michael Somare

  9. Bullet Which way USA?

  10. Bullet 2020 in hindsig

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