I would scream but I assume that’s frowned upon in Paradise. I’m still working from the Bahamas but the crowds have thinned, and I’ve had enough of working by Zoom because everything I put together on the virtual platform has fallen apart virtually overnight.
I had ‘inked the deal’ to get beautifully packaged cricket and sago worm snacks into the swag bags at the Golden Globes (no small feat I might add!). Only to find the entire Golden Globes show has cancelled. Yes, cancelled! And not even postponed due to the dreaded Covid but actually cancelled. They cancelled themselves over purported ‘lack of diversity’ and I’ve now just had it. Must we all become zebras or kill ourselves?
It’s not like I didn’t do my research before spending time on this. The Golden Globes are run by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which is by any definition… pretty diverse! I mean… it's ALL FOREIGNERS. But on top of that it is made up of 90 international journalists from 55 different countries. The whole of Africa has only 54 countries, and trust me, it’s not terribly diverse.
When I got the news about the death of the Globes I almost fell off my chair because EVEN I KNOW it’s a pay-for-play scheme, so why get all moralistic now? The whole point is for the 1% of the 1 percent to preen for the cameras in borrowed diamonds on a magic red carpet.
Digging a little deeper I read that the L.A. Times complained about “a widespread culture of schmoozing”. Really? This is a complaint? The actual raison d’être for the HFPA was to get access (and gossip) about Hollywood. I’m hopping mad.
So with a glut of crispy bug snacks, I went back to my own green roots… straight back to the World Economic Forum, knowing surely I could find a receptive audience for freeze-dried crickets only to find they cancelled themselves too—yet again. Initially, there was the annual January meeting in Davos, which then became Singapore in May, and was pushed back to Singapore in August, only to now be pushed back to who-knows-when in 2022. I expected more from my fellow environmentalists, who well understand how few years we have left to save the planet.
This was a crushing blow and I was sad for the whole rest of the day. I just didn’t see how the top social, business, and government leaders couldn’t figure this out. Or why Bill Gates all on his own couldn’t have managed the vaccines for Singapore given how important the WEF is to him. Separate from all that, we mostly all arrive by private plane anyway, so how are we risking anyone else’s life?
I took a cleansing breath and moved to the terrace with my laptop. I’d been working on a collaboration with Well Health-Safety—a company that, for a fee, provides a literal seal for businesses to put on their front door so that people can feel safe going inside. On the face of it, I like it, but I need to dive deeper, given that my last two projects just blew up in my face. I really really, really, don’t want to call Daddy for his input so I’m trying to look at it as he would. The first thing that jumped out at me was “World-renowned scientists, public health specialists… and celebrities.” CELEBRITIES? Ugh! This is looking like the merger of The Golden Globes and the World Economic Forum.
“Hello Jennifer,” my father said after picking up my call. “How is Paradise?”
“Mostly wonderful.” I said, hoping he wouldn’t ask about the WEF. “So I’m just looking at doing a collaboration with a company called “WELL Health-Safety.”
“No, Well Health-Safety”
“No Daddy, it’s a company that provides certification seals to retailers and restaurants… so that people can feel safe going inside."
“People are afraid of buildings? I wasn’t aware. Or do you mean like when the IRA planted a bomb inside Harrods?”
“Not that either,” I replied. “it’s standards in cleaning and protection.”
“Ah, Germs! Protection from germs. Would have been great to get one of those seals before Covid!”
I did not reply. This was Daddy. Always too quick on the uptake, he began again, “Is it like our Trading Standards? he asked.
“No, it’s not the government, it’s a private company that gives training, and suggestions… and seals.”
“Gives or charges?” he asked.
I rang off knowing this was going to be slog. My research led me to something similar in the states called the Better Business Bureau which according to this article sounds just like a racket. You pay for protection and as soon as you stop paying they take away their seal of approval. They don’t actually refund money to consumers if something goes wrong so what was the point?
I called Daddy back and asked if he thought this sounded like the mob. He said ‘perhaps’ but also ‘a lot like Greenpeace… who somehow gave China environmental awards and accolades but beats up on the US’. I didn’t want to hear that about Greenpeace (my fellow green comrades) but I knew this to be true. I also found that the BBB gave Disneyland (a non-joiner) a D-minus. Would Well-Health declare Disney to be unclean if they didn’t pay?
It seemed to me that this newly formed organisation had capitalised on people’s post-Covid fears and that did not make me happy. I could however make a very strong argument in favour of any business that is trying to do all it can to make their customers feel safe, and concluded that had to go hand-in-hand with best practices, so I decided to go ahead with them.
And I have Daddy’s friend, a Chinese engineer, to thank for this. He had once explained to me that jade has no intrinsic value, it was only worth what you can get someone to pay for it, but that Chinese people believe that if they pay more, it is worth more, and for that reason it is. Who would have guessed I’d be looking to the Chinese for a green solution to my green solution. And I’m feeling rather Well (health) about it.