If there are silver linings to any of this


I do try and see the good in things, or what we can do to make the best of a bad situation; it helps me get through it all. Maybe for some of you, reading it might also help.

Here are some things I hope come out of this, in no order of importance except for the first:

  • We acknowledge that free, universal, and accessible healthcare isn’t just ethically obvious, it’s required for biosecurity and the viability of economies.

  • We realise tax cuts aren’t an automatic good. Taxation isn’t theft: sickness, illiteracy, and lack of social mobility are: they steal people’s futures and opportunities, regardless of merit or any other metric we use to superficially judge people’s worthiness.

  • We continue to see fewer people leaving public bathrooms without washing their hands!

  • We stop demonising the unemployed as lazy and entitled for being on social security, while ignoring billions of dollars of tax loopholes under the reasoning that the latter are within the spirit letter of the law, but the former aren’t. Governments are scrambling to fund people and companies through these lockdowns, stating that it’s tough right now. It was tough for others before as well, and the system is still needlessly punitive.

  • I get a higher-capacity coffee machine.

  • Delivery and supermarket retail workers, many of whom are casually or part-time employed, are recognised alongside medical staff for their essential and valiant efforts when all this is over.

  • Companies and city planners realise that people are effective working from where they need to, and the notion of peak hour, packed trains, and traffic will be seen for the communal silliness it is. We map this curve-flattening mental model to transport, to make more efficient use of what we have.

  • Telecommunications infrastructure will finally be seen as essential as roads, plumbing, and the power grid. This would include right to access, net neutrality, and either government intervention or operation in the case of natural monopolies.

  • Domestically in Australia, the far-right acknowledge that Wayne Swan and Kevin Rudd were right about stimulus during the global financial crisis, and that Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott were unequivocally wrong about the necessity and capacity of the National Broadband Network. Pigs will also be acknowledged as having taken flight.

  • Domestically in Singapore, foreign workers are given access to better accommodation and working conditions. If it takes legislation, so be it.

  • And finally, we continue to reduce the overexposure and tedious obsession with celebrities and celebrity culture, and spend more time making and watching/listening to independent media.

I’m nothing if not a cautious optimist. I’d be overjoyed if we just got two things off that list.

Author bio and support


Ruben Schade is a technical writer and infrastructure architect in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person. Hi!

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