Writer's Block

The USA is the place I was born. Canada is the place I was raised. Taiwan is the place in my heart.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

When will we ever feel safe again? Without a doubt the world changed forever after 9-11... terrorism, the Taliban, Al Qaeda, Osama Bin Laden became common speak, then the Bali bombing and no one, no where seemed safe.

American has been on a heightened state of alert. There have been armed guards in high visibility in New York and increasing concerns of possible bioterrorist attacks.

I thought that by being in Taiwan that I could somewhat escape the constant threat of terrorism in the U.S. that the media was beating into the American public. But now the War on Iraq has begun and it's impossible to ignore and feel the grimness of world news. The war has induced instability and global rifts in opinion. Anti-American sentiments are running high. And the outcome and aftermath of this war threatens to change the world order in some extreme fashion, how remains to be seen, according to an editorial written by Jeffrey Sachs.

Closer to home for me, there has been a recent outbreak of SARS in the Asia region. SARS is an illness that is as contagious as the common cold, and has claimed the lives of its victims in an alarmingly short period of time, less than a week. It began with news of cases in Hong Kong, then Southern China, Taiwan and Singapore. There's been a lot of finger pointing... at China from which the illness is suspected of originating (were it not for China's infamous censorship of facts the illness could have been contained earlier), at the WHO for not offering immediate assistance to Taiwan upon the discovery of SARS cases in Taiwan, and at the WHO's classification of Taiwan as a province of China which outraged officials in Taiwan.

Clinics, and schools with suspected cases of SARS have been closed in Hong Kong and Singapore. Passengers with suspicous symptoms have quarantined in several airports throughout Asia.

Taipei is on the alert. Stores have sold out of the carbon/surgical masks which have been recommended to protect people from contracting SARS. Clinics that have treated SARS patients have closed. The MRT and buses are being disinfected.

People are being cautioned to avoid close contact with others displaying symptoms. They are being urged to wear masks, wash their hands, to stay out of enclosed public spaces such as shopping malls, public transportation, movie theaters, and to avoid air travel, especially to HK and China. People are paranoid over SARS. It's front page news in all of the papers, and the leading story on the evening news. It's all that people can talk about.

When will it ever be safe to leave home again?

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