Ready to fight the virus
By Rhonda Dredge
As Melbourne takes on the mask to stop the spread of the virus, some trend-setters were already out displaying their prowess on the boardwalk at Yarra’s Edge days before the Thursday deadline.
Docklands resident Harry van Manon had hand sanitiser in one pocket and hand cream in another, weapons he teams up with his obligatory mask.
He was worried for a while about the mask looking “a bit busy” in a design sense.
But he thought he could get away with the black and white stripes against a colourful pom pom scarf from Gorman, given the down mood in Melbourne.
“It’s my catwalk,” Harry said, trying to make the most of a situation, which he believed Australians had been slow to accept.
The English teacher from Great Britain began wearing the mask at the beginning of the second lockdown, before many others, because he began worrying about community transmission.
He had lived in Japan and thinks Australians have been slow to catch onto the way masks work.
“I think Australians didn’t really understand masks,” he told Docklands News. “They haven’t taken time to work out their benefits like Japan, South Korea and China.”
Masks are used in Asia to protect society from infection rather than the other way around.
“Japan is a collective society, so everyone is looking out for each other. Anglo/Celtic cultures are more interested in individualistic ideals.”
Harry thinks the slow uptake here could be a macho male thing which sees the mask as a sign of weakness.
Harry has a plain black mask and a leopard skin one coming in the post. He’s urging people to accessorise.
“I think plain black is very macho. You could turn it into a Superhero thing. It has a Ninja vibe,” he said.
The new bravado that is apparent now that masks are compulsory is an improvement on the first lockdown when some Docklanders were too scared to come down to ground level, feeling they should self-isolate.
A mother told Docklands News that the closure of the playgrounds meant that she was keeping her son inside.
The second lockdown has found people more willing to do what is necessary. With everyone wearing a mask, they feel safer, plus there is a talking point attached to the different styles of mask.
Harry lives just across the river in a flat without natural light and depends on Yarra’s Edge for his daily walks.
“There’s an open space, not too much wind, boats you can dream about to escape from the coronavirus. Light hits the buildings well.”•