Respect for the seafarer!
I dedicate this tribute to my (Filipino) seafriends on the merchand vessel Anke Ritscher: Mauricio, Jose, Rey, Ramil, Bernie, Archel, Carlito, Richie, Sandy, Reynante, Elpedio, Eduardo.
And to Michael, Bernd, Oleg and Oleg.
You are my heroes.
10 reasons why a seaman is a greater hero than Superman or Robin Hood:
1. Because without them, our cars, mangoes, perfume and the toys our children play with, would stay in Japan, India, Korea and China respectively, and we would be getting apple indigestions while we entertain our children whilst crossing the country on foot. And we’d have to cover ourselves in rose petals for a hint of air du printemps.
2. Because the sailor undauntedly holds the deck by + 40 and -12 degrees, maintains the ship, watches the cargo and monitors the safety of the other seamen. Day and night. Top sport indeed.
3. Because you simply have to the personification of responsibility, for not making up a mysterious disease in order to find some rest after weeks of port insomnia and short resting hours.
4. Because having to wear an unflattering hat and safety shoes constitutes a giant violation of a person's right to elegance and yet, the sailor never complains.
5. Because neither long hours on duty, nor busybody passengers, nor demanding masters affect the sailor's smile. His wonderful, subtle blend of respect, commitment, sincerity and distance is unique and makes him even more reliable than dr. Jack from 'Lost'.
6. Because nine months a year, the sailor has to miss out on his favourite foods, long walks in the woods, television shows, birthday parties and nights in the pub.
7. Because even an acrobat of the Cirque du Soleil will not climb a 50 m high rope to clean the accommodation tower. Spiderman exists. He is a sailor.
8. Because deep in the sailor resides a Categorical Imperative that would astonish even Kant. Why are 'risk', 'homesickness' and 'sacrifice' their middle names? 'Because we have to'.
9. Because excessive Beauforts, high waves, pirates, toxic cargoes and engine room hazards are not props of a an action movie set but a daily reality. James Bond is a sissy.
10. Because every day, the seaman battles with loneliness and misses loving wives, growing children, ageing parents, marrying sisters, friends and everyday trivialities. Every dad who is loved playing Santa Claus but is told by an assertive son 'he'd better return to his ship' when he wants to assert parental authority, deserves a statue. For returning to that ship, so that same son will never have to do so. Only in the quiet of the sailor's cabin, salty tears are allowed to be shed onto family photos.
May every single of your journeys be a safe one.