The Kikwit handshake and culture

(IMAGE: Metro.co.uk)

Some trivia from the Ebola outbreak in 1995:

Outbreaks and the news they create also give the public a chance to see culture being created and transmitted because people invent behaviours and management strategies when they encounter new diseases. One small example of this occurred during the early days of the Ebola virus outbreak in Kitwit, Uganda. Villagers who were deathly afraid of contamination began to stop shaking hands and to start touching elbows in greeting, a gesture that became known as the ‘Kitwit handshake’… Shaking hands in greeting became briefly supplanted by touching elbows as a polite way to greet one another without passing the pathogen” (96).

— In Epidemiology and Culture by James A. Trostle (2005)

I thought I’d share this because of the behaviours manifested in:

  1. The public responses thus far – boomer-tips, panic-buying after the raising of the DORSCON risk, the response to the panic-buying itself, etc.; and
  2. Me, because of my own responses to boomer-tips and hand-shaking.

Boomers and their medical expertise


    (IMAGE: Gregory Grinnell/Northeastern University)
 

I like how, thanks – or no thanks – to the 2019-nCoV, almost every single boomer has become a medical expert on the subject.

Last Saturday morning, my Grab driver told me we can protect ourselves against the coronavirus by eating “a lot of hot stuff: ginger, chili, curry – all these!”

He added that going out into the sun and taking a walk will result in the sunlight “burn[ing] off the virus”.

These pro-tips were in addition to many other pro-tips from other boomers I’ve had the honour and privilege of receiving, such as:

  • Don’t use cheap toilet paper because it’s a possible cause of the infection;
  • Gargle with warm salt water; and
  • Take non-spicy food.

Interestingly, the last tip completely contradicts what my good friend told me today. I guess there are some things boomers still can’t agree on.

What boomer advice in relation to the 2019-nCoV have you received? Please share.

When all this is over, we’ll compile these nuggets of wisdom into a book and give a copy to each boomer during a mass ceremony to confer on them their honorary medical degrees.

“Zoe Tay” by The Boredphucks (c. 2002)

While migrating over to a new computer, I discovered I’d transcribed the lyrics to “Zoe Tay” by The Boredphucks (c. 2002) some time back.

I can’t remember why I wanted to write them out in the first place. In any case, I’m posting them here for posterity.

Enjoy, and leave a comment if there are any typos.


Zoe Tay
By The Boredphucks (c. 2002)

Late at night, somewhere on Orchard Road
You can find a girl called Elizabeth
She’s so fine, oh with all those groovy clothes
Lipstick, mascara – she’s OK
Electrifying everyone that passes her way

Canto pop, techno bop, she’s a superstar
Riding on in her sugar daddy’s sports car
Getting everything she wants in her special way
Erotic, neurotic – she’s OK
She’ll suck you dry in every possible way

She speaks Singlish like Zoe Tay
She’s illiterate but that’s OK
‘Cos she’s living life in a TCS serial
She speaks Singlish like Zoe Tay

Late at night somewhere on Orchard Road
You can find a girl called Elizabeth
She’s so fine, oh with all those groovy clothes
Armani, Versace – she’s OK
Firing up the catwalk as she passes your way

She speaks Singlish like Zoe Tay
She’s illiterate but that’s OK
‘Cos she’s living life in a TCS serial
She speaks Singlish like Zoe Tay


ADDENDUM: Sanjeev Veloo, former frontman of The Boredphucks, left a since-deleted comment with corrections to the second verse. Thanks Sanjeev!