By Lee San
"Oh no! You even deliver yourself…!" After passionately greeting me outside the iron factory, Chang excitedly took hold of the pre-ordered Japanese fruit from my hands. He went on: What a rare chance to see you here! We looked each other in the eye, and could feel the bond and warmth.
It appears to me that every business owner has at some point learned to be cheerful even in the darkest moments. And everyone appreciates a kind gesture from a friend when it is most needed, as well as heartwarming greetings.
To be fair, the tourist industry is taking the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic. That said, Apple Vacations is fortunate enough to have the undivided support of our loyal fans as well as travel buddies concerned about every of our Moments. Whenever they find out we are marketing some new programs, they will start messaging "pm, pm, pm" to us to book their seats, as they truly miss traveling profusely!
Given the rare chance of meeting Chang, we started chatting about just everything in everyday life: aluminium prices are spiking; little chance our country will open up to foreign tourists anytime soon; no difference between 50 or 5,000 new cases a day; and this new year is not going to be like any we knew… Hehe, I'm actually an avid fan of Sin Chew and closely follow all your stories!
I feel that every industry does have its share of difficulties during such a trying time because of the different business nature. Being in the aluminium business, Chang is probably "less brutally" affected by the crisis as he looks somewhat composed. As for Apple which is dealing with inbound and outbound travel business, we need to give our best shot to stay afloat even though we keep telling ourselves we've got to take things easy. But, why does this affliction seem to last forever? Our fellow travel industry brethren–those in the aviation, cruise ship and hotel businesses–are already on life support in ICU!
Chang said comfortingly: Already one year now, it doesn't make much difference going through the pain for another year. The vaccines are on their way here and very soon all this will be behind us!
Actually we all know too well that we have been very badly battered by the virus that we cannot solely count on those vaccine doses made available to us. To be honest, we are so much used to incompetent administrators in this country that this doesn't come as a surprise to anyone any more. But the thing is, many get excessively bored being confined to our homes for so long. I know of this lady friend in Bintulu who is thinking about going out and traveling overseas every day. I have to admit that I'm not any different, as this is what a normal life is supposed to be. Isn't it?
I told Chang: Got to run now! Some more apples to deliver. See ya on the plane!
Instantaneously, an inexplicable sadness struck me. Since when has such a simple joy of traveling become an unpredictable luxury?
God's original intent was to entrust planet Earth to the humans, but our insatiable greed and lust have messed things up, robbing it of its limited natural resources. As if that's not enough, some even fight among themselves for more power and wealth.
This time, the Creator really gets fumed and has decided to break all the "norms" that we have taken for granted so long, fettering and completely paralyzing us.
The thing is, God has given the earthlings a tough problem to solve without even setting a deadline, as if to put humanity to a total test. Don't you think the human race should shoulder the collective responsibilities for our grievances today?
At the next stop, the Auntie yelled happily after taking delivery of the freshly harvested fruit from me: Of course I will support Apple Vacations with action, Lee San. Other than fruit, we're going to buy everything else, too! Go for it, Applenians, gambate!
Indeed, the almost 50 others responsible for delivering the apples have come back with this report: Most travel buddies having received their fruit would ask in anticipation: Will there be wagyu in Tool Apple Marketo? Will there be Hokkaido melons, scallops, Jaga Pokkuru potato chips and the Bear Ranch horse oil, too?
Apple is so blessed to have you around! As a matter of fact, there are plenty of exciting travel programs all across the world that we've planned to deliver to your doorstep soon.
That's not all. Those things our government people have failed to deliver–promises, impeccable service, credibility and more–Tool Apple Marketo will get them for you, and with a basketful of overflowing smiles and positive energy to make sure all your needs are taken care of at every stop. We'll never leave you halfway. This is a promise! Arigato!
While the pandemic is indeed choking us to death, don't you think there is always this positive energy gushing in our way? Suddenly our desire to stay alive audaciously grows against the odds inside the narrow crack.
I have constantly told my fellow Applenians to stay resilient and versatile even in the most hostile environment. We have to keep adapting and changing until the goals are met.
WWII hero, British prime minister Sir Winston Churchill famously said, "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
What about you? Wishing you a fulfilling Year of the Ox ahead!
(Lee San is Founder and Group Executive Chairman of Apple Vacations. He has traveled to 132 countries, six continents, and enjoys sharing his travel stories and insights. He has also authored five books.)