Moving in a time of Pandemic

Movement is almost usually associated with progress. We move from one place to another for a new start, for better opportunities. We think in binaries of this place vs that. However, there are times we have to look in more than just binaries when we start to move.

To survive and move on in a year that has been hectic and surreal is a difficult task. There are many losses and changes that may have rooted us in place. However, choosing to move may just be the key to breaking free. However, movement isn’t always as linear and as simple as we think it to be nor it was.

To understand movement partly has to understand how it was before and how it is now.

Think of 2016. It was a different time with different concerns. There were calls of movement from major media organizations such as the SBS, major events like Tropfest and even a museum like the Powerhouse to move to the Western Suburbs.

Reasons for movement to the Western Suburbs that sparked the interest of the people also garnered much disapproval.

Parramatta where SBS was called to move was considered the “absolute centre of Sydney, the centre of all sorts of ethnic groups.”

An idea and possibility to capitalize on with their nature as a major media organization to be able to potentially tell newer and fresher stories.

However, SBS responded that “With employees across different cities, SBS tells stories from around the nation. The location of our headquarters is of no consequence. We’re focused on investing our resources in great programs, not moving offices.”

That may have been the case for the defense of SBS, but the reasoning for the rejection office relocations to the West involved a more complex array of things.

To start, there are a cacophony of ideas when it comes to Western Sydney. However, when one looks at the facts, it is one of the most diverse places in Australia. 38 percent of the population speaks a language other than English at home and when one extends the demographics to the Greater Western Sydney region it reaches 90 percent.

Arguments that spout are that it makes recruiting difficult in this particular area, however that’s if you don’t know where to look. However, looking from the vantage point that references Australia’s diversity it is where you need to look.

Trivial matters such as transportation isn’t really the issue, since people travel shorter distances for a longer time. The problem is that people don’t want to travel to the area because of what they think of it.

Looking at more data from the area, just from a linguistic point of view, it’s more diverse. To top it off it actually holds 44 percent of the population of Sydney.

The question of diversity isn’t an issue of location anymore in this time and age. It becomes an issue of beliefs and interests and just like the past year it has been.

All over the world, authoritarian governments have managed to single handedly knock down their countries in the wake of Covid-19. From Trump in the United States to the Philippines’ Duterte. We can see how self-interest has marred their people and nations.

Movement becomes more difficult. Lockdowns were placed. The issue of movement now is not for the sake of diversity but to keep the virus in check.

To understand movement now in relation to the 2016 issue of diversity isn’t just talking about places where people exist that are diverse or where there are cases. It isn’t about grand symbolisms or edifying different cultures in established places. There needs to be a deeper understanding of the lived experiences of these people and their needs. There must be an engagement with the root of the matter not just the surface. The experiences of those who work most of the day, have lesser privilege than most and of all those that dream to move as well an understanding that seems to have eluded us even today.

Just as there are suggestions from major media outlets to move into these areas, the same could be said for this desire of those here to move out or to go out. That’s not exactly new and likewise arguments against moving away from the city are also not new.

Like the issue with the movement of Powerhouse to Western Sydney, elites argued against it as they claimed it would ‘destroy’ the institution.

How would relocating an institution, to Parramatta, the geographical centre of Sydney, be destroying it? Does one consider giving access to these services from families in the West so bad? We now get to ask who is it actually for?

What one can draw from this is how movement and relocation are almost always subservient to the self-interest of the elite and powerful. Like how lockdowns are not really used to limit viruses but limit people.

So when it comes to talk of relocation, may it be Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane or any other major city. It comes down to a matter of self-interest and possibly using great services like Wridgways local removalists.

Diversity doesn’t matter. Containing a virus doesn’t matter. Why move or do anything for that matter when you don’t have stakes in it?

If you’re tired of this, and are setting your sights elsewhere. Maybe, you can move not just to Parramatta or find a country where things are better.

There is always that urge to move. So if you find yourself trying to pick up the pieces of where you left off a few months ago, maybe you need a new house, a new start, maybe even some expert office relocations in Perth, or anything if you’re tired of the West. Then maybe it isn’t too late to move. It takes a bit of courage. In 2016 SBS, didn’t have it. Maybe now with the pandemic almost ending, maybe it is the right time not for SBS.

But for all of us scrambling, to find our place once again.