Daily Life – SARS Related III

Chat with taxi driver for the third time

Taxi drivers are among the most sensitive people for any changes in the city. I initialized achat with the third taxi driver after SARS hit the city. If you still remember, the first taxi driver told me on April 17 that his car was disinfected once every month. The second taxi driver told me on April 23 that his car was disinfected every morning from April 21. Let’s see what the third taxi have to tell us after one week.

You see the green label at my front glass? We are required to return to taxi company once from 10:00 PM to 8:00 AM the next morning everyday. The taxi company will organize disinfection for each car carefully. It is done very careful now. The cover of the seats are changed everyday.

Meanwhile, every taxi is equiped with a bottle of disinfectant. We are required to spay the disinfectant every noon when I leave my car for lunch. I will close all doors so the spray will work better. Then open all the windows after I return. If I meet any passenger who goes to hospital or I suspect he/she is ill, I will also spray the disinfectant after he/she leave.

Regarding the business, he said

It is totally a mess now, especially on weekends. On Saturday or Sunday, I cannot find anyone to take my car. Taxis began to line up outside building and residental areas. This can seldom seen before. Now we do it because waiting for two or three hours is better than wandering on the road, wasting the oil.

Hair solons

I went to have my hair cut today. Not surprisingly, all the servers wore maks. They also told me their customers decreased by 1/3. What surprised me a lot is, they even give me a mask and politely asked me wear it. Well – this is the first time I wear a mask for my whole life.

Chain stores

I visited C-Store at Caobao Rd. They are hanging notices at the window and on the counter, stating all the measures they have took to protect their customers against SARS. They even said sorry for the smell of the disinfectant in the air – very well done.

Everbright Exhibition Center

A large red back drop (about 5 meters X 2 meters) was placed at the entrance with large caption: “Everbright Is Safe!”. There are a list of their precaution measures.

The Bund Center

The sticker of “disinfected every hour” was sticked in all the elevators. It smells like a swimming pool.


I visited Westin Hotel and found the descrease in customers is obvious. The lobby is empty and no many people are having dinner at the rush hours.

My friend told me that body temperature will be taken on the head everytime you return to the hotel – even if you just left for half an hour.

Changes of the country because of SARS

I read about the Chinese version of the analysis of the benifit SARS brings along the disaster. It is very interesting. I wanted to translate it into English. Before I began, I found expat Micah in Tianjin has already done so. He was so kind to give me the permission to cite the 26 changes of SARS here.

  1. People are watching their personal hygiene like never before; new habits like the washing of hands are finally being learned.
  2. Because people are taking care of themeselves, typical springtime illnesses like fevers are down this year.
  3. The quality of medicine has increased, and old stock has been completely sold out.
  4. The large scale precaution activities saved many masks, disinfectant and

    hygiene equipment manufactures.

  5. The social status of medical personnel increased.
  6. The hygiene of previously neglected public areas has been improved.
  7. Privacy is more respected; people don’t visit unless they have specific business.
  8. Wild animals are protected because nobody wants to eat them. (SARS saved the pandas! -ed)
  9. Lots of work units went on vacation, so people could finally take that big holiday.
  10. With less people on the street, the social atmosphere improved.
  11. People are more willing to give up their seats on the bus-just give a little cough. (LOL -ed)
  12. The telecommunications industry is prospering, as people hole themselves up in their rooms and only speak on the telephone.
  13. Family members become nicer to each other since there is no where to go except staying at home.
  14. Men are getting better at cooking; since they’re not doing anything they might as well help in the kitchen.
  15. Reading books is fun again, because there are less entertainment options.
  16. Nobody plays majiang or gambles with friends because they’re afraid of getting infected.
  17. TV gets watched more often, so advertisers get more for their money.
  18. Internet usage is up, computer viruses are more frequent, so anti-virus software makers prosper.
  19. People are afraid to take the bus, so bicycle sales are up.
  20. Snack sales are up, so grocers are happy.
  21. Law and order has improved, ’cause who goes into anybody else’s home?
  22. Business is slow for the ladies of the night, so AIDS transmission has slowed markedly.
  23. The traffic situation has improved, and air pollution has fallen.
  24. People who wouldn’t consent to open the windows are now willing to ventilate the room, so it isn’t as stuffy indoors.
  25. Relatives won’t visit, new parents put off having kids, the population crisis is slightly relieved.
  26. People learn to value health and life, and to stop fighting, bickering, being jealous and thinking of suicide.

7 thoughts on “Daily Life – SARS Related III

  1. Hi Mao or Zheng or Hwang (whatever you call yourself but I know you are the same person)

    You may have noticed that I have removed the content of your post for the forth time (maybe five). Please note that I removed the content does not mean it is useless. It just don’t fit into the page. I don’t want to play the cat and mouse game with you. Thanks for your cooperation.

  2. I am a new comer. As for the taxi’s disinfection, I believe they do take it serious. Coz my father works for Da-Zhong Taxi Company, he told me two managers of have been fired coz of their carelessness and ignorance on disinfection. So taking taxi is a safe transportation.

  3. and the latest from Hong Kong….

    Thursday, May 1, 2003


    Shanghai vows to introduce stricter preventive measures

    BILL SAVADOVE in Shanghai

    Prev. Story


    Shanghai authorities vowed yesterday to implement stricter measures to guard against Sars, even though the city’s official tally of cases remains low.

    Last week, Shanghai announced sweeping rules to fight the virus. But some of the rules were vague and foreign diplomats have pressed for an explanation of how they will be interpreted.

    “The implementation is weak. We want to carry them out more strictly,” said deputy secretary-general of the Shanghai government, Xue Peijian.

    Government officials told diplomats that the measures would include enforcement of 14-day quarantine periods for residents and travellers coming from infected areas. Residents would be confined to their homes, and visitors to their hotels. Other steps include quarantining schools and companies which have at least two Sars cases.

    Shanghai had ordered universities to reduce class sizes to less than 30 and to try to keep students on campus to avoid the spread of the virus, the officials said.

    The Shanghai education commission had already announced that universities would give students just one day off for the Labour Day holiday today.

    Officials said Shanghai had set up traffic checkpoints to screen people coming into the city, taken people’s temperatures and ordered them to fill in health declaration forms.

    Witnesses said some checkpoints were only screening passengers in vehicles without Shanghai licence plates.

    As of yesterday, Shanghai had two confirmed cases and 12 suspected ones, including two US citizens, a French national and a person from Hong Kong, the health bureau said.

    The French citizen was a four-year-old girl who visited Beijing with her family, diplomats said.

    An official from the World Health Organisation, which recently inspected Shanghai, said this week that the number of cases in the city was likely to be higher than the official count though the team found no systematic under-reporting.

    WHO team leader James Maguire said: “That doesn’t mean that we’re confirming there are only two cases.

    “There’s certainly a very good possibility of more cases, perhaps 10 or so.”

  4. Zheng, nice to see you here! Your blog is interesting and I was inspired a lot by your writings. I even quoted your entries recently (with your credit)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *