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


Professor Michael Taylor (1946-2021) was a colleague of mine in the Human Geography Department at the Australian National Universities in the 1980s. His work was on the economy and he was highly regarded in Australia and the UK. He was very helpful of colleagues and researchers and made a significant contribution to his students and colleagues. Although he returned to the UK after completing his time in Canberra and Perth, he came back and settled in Western Australia where he worked and later retired. Vale Mike Taylor. (3/6/21) 

COVID-19 BLOG 2021 >>>>>>>>


21/6/21 Sydney has nine COVID cases of which three are new. Some are Delta strain, some not. The focus areas include the City of Sydney and Pyrmont. My territory. Masks are now required on public transport and throughout the identified inside areas. The only exception are for people eating and drinking.

And on a weirder note, these two questions are on the government’s Frequently Asked Question’s List. Can COVID-19 vaccines connect me to the internet?  Do COVID-19 vaccines contain a microchip or any kind of tracking technology? The answers are no, but do give us a sense of the range of Australians with concerns about COVID-19.

20/6/21 A new Delta strain has arrived in parts of Australia causing concern. It appears it is able to infect people nearby, such as in shopping centres and on buses and trains. Compounding this is growing concerns  about AstraZeneca impact on blood clots. It is now for those 60 and over who, as we are told, are more resilient when it comes to AstraZeneca.

11/6/21 It is becoming increasingly clear that at least 1/4 to 1/3 residents in Australia will refuse to vaccinate. Some because they are anti vaccine. Full stop. Some because of the risk that of death from the AstraZenica vaccine. There have been two deaths out of three million or so vaccinating.

4/6/21 The pandemic continues to change and evolve. I had my flu vaccine in a car park at Mingara at 9.00 am on a cold morning. Next step will be a first jab of AstraZeneca, which will be followed by a second jab in a couple of month or so. 


16/5/21 The Pfizer vaccine is focused on the under 59 year olds.  The AstraZeneca is for the older generations but a death early on, and several people with a worrying result of the vaccine, have frightened some. The Moderna is expected to be available in Australia later in the year. It is also the time for those who each year are inoculated for the flu.


Traces of COVID-19 in inner Sydney water. Explains why there were customers with masks on in my local supermarket. Good thing I had my mask in my back pocket. 13,000 people in Sydney had tests yesterday and not one came up positive.


There have been over 149,920,900 cases of the Coronavirus and 3,161,500 deaths. Or probably more, given that not all cases have been documented. But the virus continues to increase and diversify.

India, which managed better than expected, is now in serious trouble. In the last week 2,445,500 new Coronavirus cases were identified and 20,171 deaths were recorded. The surge in the Coronavirus in India continues to created chaos.

Australian residents in India wishing to return to Australia have been temporarily blocked by the Australian government. It requires time to expand and improve facilities for incoming residents in a way that do not bring about a resurgence of the virus in its its various forms. It, not surprisingly, has drawn criticism from those expecting urgent travel to Australia. 

In Australia to date a little over 2.25 million have been vaccinated.



The overwhelming problems of India with its huge numbers of deaths each day has shocked the world. Countries are promising support, but the sheer size of the numbers of sick and dying is overwhelming. Many Australians living in India have been wanting to get back home for months. The chances are very small as the Government fears taking the risk of large numbers entering until there is sufficient special isolation in which they can be assessed.


The COVID-19 issue of the day is the perception that Australia is very slow in getting its number of vaccinations increased. Sources in Europe have been reluctant to deliver at the speed expected. The AstraZenica product should be arriving more quickly as stated in the agreements. Labor is blaming the governments. The PM is reminding us that a significant chunk of the vaccine will be going to PNG where the virus is spreading rapidly. East Timor has a similar problem, but Australia is not providing vaccines.



COVID-19  remains Australia’s biggest challenge. But it has been book-ended by disastrous bush fires along the east coast in late 1989 and early 2000. Now we are struggling with unprecedented rainfall over the last week or so along the east coast. And the impact may extend further along the south coast and in inland parts of South Australia and NSW. The impact of the currently weather has and will continue for a few more days, but dealing with the consequences of on houses, businesses and  from Queensland to NSW and parts of Victoria.   


National Cabinet has decided bringing back Australians from overseas will be the priority of the government. Universities can put together strategies to bring in international students, but at their own expense. International students totalled 952,000 in 2019, and dropped to 882,000 in 2020. While higher education students were down 24%, English language students (ELICOS) were down 44%. That’s not good for the language schools and nor is it good for the universities. So, which state government is going to provide some support?



The launch of the Pfizer vaccine today, with the PM and senior health people all taking their inoculations. They hope that they can convince the majority of Australians that having most of the people inoculated is the best way to deal with COVID-19. The AstraZeneca vaccine will be available soon.

There were marches opposing vaccinations in several cities. The same hoodoo arguments that vaccines are not effective/dangerous/make your hair grow curly/. 


The AstraZeneca vaccinations will start soon. The British-Swedish company is based in Cambridge. CSL, Australia’s biggest company, will be producing the vaccine in Parkville in Melbourne. Pfizer, which is based in New York, will have vaccine in Australia in the next few days. 


China stopped the World Health Organisation for a year before it let them visit Wuhan. When they were able to visit, China still made things difficult. 


The focus on inoculation is gearing up. Which is the better? What percentage of the adult population will refuse, and is it based on real concerns or rumour and the false words of the ignorant?

And some good news for me: South Australia has relaxed testing of people from Sydney and Western Australia from the 14th of February. However Victoria is still insisting on testing. 


Universities say 17,000 jobs have been lost. Other higher education institutions supporting English language and undergraduate and graduate higher education colleges are also in a difficult situation. The National Cabinet should step in, but most Premiers seem to be fixated on stopping just about everyone entering their states. Gladys Berejiklian is the exception. Which other state has the strength to confront this matter with the National Cabinet?



Education Minister Alan Tudge says no new international students, of scale, until it is considered safe. And that means something about inoculations. The states are keen on students coming now, but the federal government is not in the same hurry.


Victoria is easing up, albeit slowly. I could get to Victoria. I need online approval, then when I arrive I would need to get tested and isolate for three days. And if I have Corona I will be jailed... just kidding! I will instead wait until I can just drive there and back, and not have to wait for hours at the border.

Now the USA has an adult in the White House, and he understands that Corona is not going to suddenly flutter away, as his predecessor said it would. My daughter and grand daughter have been working and studying from home for much of the last 12 months. I hope this changes soon and they can get back to the office and school respectively. 


I still can’t get into Victoria, because I live in a hotspot - ie Sydney. It’s not just me. Victorians haven’t been allowed back into Victoria for weeks. Yet the cricketers and the tennis players seem to be allowed, as long as they are tested and isolated.

In the meantime, the US, UK and many others seem to be getting nowhere. Trump is not interested. It will be a huge problem for Joe Biden. His inauguration takes place on the 20th of January.


I didn’t expect to need to continue the COVID-19 Blog, but I have to. Starting with the post-COVID-19 economy. The NSW government have set new conditions for Greater Sydney, which includes the Central Coast, the south of Sydney and the Blue Mountains. We are required to wear face masks in shopping centres and stores, on public transport, in cinemas and theatres, and at the hairdressers. The Australia-India test cricket match will be on in Sydney, and about 30,000 will be there to watch it. The community is divided, with many saying cricket fans should follow the match on television.

Click on here for the 2020 COVID-19 Blog >>>>>>>>


An updated second edition of Understanding Contemporary Asia Pacific, edited by Katherine Palmer Kaup, has just been released. It is published by Lynne Reinner, Boulders and London.

Its’ predecessor was launched in 2007. The new book updates the situation across the Asia Pacific region. The cover design is stunning, representing the outstanding work of Rajinder Singh.


My chapter is titled Population and Urbanization. I updated population data and gave more significance to the emerging cities. I hope some might find interest in following up on population and urban issues in the Asia Pacific. (29/4/21) 


First Journey: Papua New Guinea 1972 to 1974 is my third piece on living and working in Port Moresby (click on ARTI STICA). It was a long time in the making. The earlier two pieces were completed in 2016 (Port Moresby: University Days) and 2017 (Place, Emotion, Memory: Papua New Guinea). I have continued with a format based on text and photos along with found paper. Creating these pieces can be very emotional as there is a close connection between travel, work and raw life.  (1/3/21)


Michael Somare (1936-2021) was Papua New Guinea’s first Prime Minister when the country was granted independence on the 16th of December 1975. I was working at the University of Papua New Guinea from 1972-1974 when Somare was Chief Minister. It was widely felt that Somare had the energy and enthusiasm to guide the country through the 1970s. He held office from 1975-1980, 1982-1985 and 2002 to 2011. He was very successful in leading PNG - RIP Sir Michael Somare. (1/3/21)


Donald Trump’s chronic lying and appalling behaviour was normalised by many people. Such is the deep gulch between the Republicans and the Democrats. Inciting demonstrators to break into the Capitol building has at last forced many Republicans to call out Trump’s crimes and ineptitude. Trump has treated the people of America with contempt. Western countries will be watching to see if American politicians will hold Trump responsible for his failures, or will they just move on and hope he goes away.  (9/1/21)  


Stay with me. This may take some time. COVID-19 was, of course, the standout. It dominated my blog. I am continuing it this year because because I am not anticipating significant steps forward until the middle of the year.

I read three books in 2020. Tim Baker’s 2019 The Rip Curl Story Ebury Press, Melbourne, was outstanding, perhaps because my brother Grant featured in it, and the importance of surfing in my teenage years.

Another was Angela Woollacott 2019 Don Dunstan. The Visionary Politician Who Changed Australia, Allen and Unwin, Sydney. I, like many South Australians, held Dunstan in high regard and tolerated his rather unusual lifestyle. The third was Matthew Flinders, Philippa Sandall and Gillian Dooley 2019 Trim The Cartographer’s Cat The Ship’s Cat Who Helped Flinders Map Australia Bloomsbury, London. An unusual book, no doubt, but beautifully put together.

What else! Throughout the year it has become much more important that Australia strengthen the economic links to the USA, Canada, the UK and New Zealand, India, and the ASEAN (especially Indonesia, South Korea and Singapore) plus Japan. Do I need to say why?  (1/1/21)