My Dinner Impacted by SARS

I went to a Taiwanese restaurant for dinner at about 8:00 PM. It seems the regulation of “wearing masks for all dining industry staff” is well executed. All the staff are wearing masks – the small thin paper-made masks. This is the forth restaurants I visit for this week – KFC, a Japanese quick food restaurant, Shiquanshimei – a Chinese one and this Taiwanese one. All the staff of these four restaurants are wearing masks to protect them and to protect the customers.

After I sit down at the corner, a couple just paid the bill and left their seats. Within one minute, hardly did the couple stepped out of the door, the cleaning staff appeared at the desk and using the disinfectant spray to clean the table – the smell suddenly spread in the small room. More than that, she also disinfected the sofa the couple just sit in. About 2 minutes later, the complicated disinfection was completed. The cleaning lady turned and disappeared, leaving me alone in the room, very confused. I have a strange feeling that I don’t know whether she is doing the right thing or not. On one hand, I feel safe in this restaurants because it is assured that disinfection is thorough. On the other hand, will they use the same standard after I leave? Am I treated like a virus carrier? :-(

In the other block of the restaurants were 5 young men coming from Japan – you can always clearly tell Japanese from local people in China from the clothes and the faces. Two of them were wearing masks. What I totally cannot understand is that one of them were smoking while wearing masks – he just remove the masks for a little opening, smoke the cigarette and cover his face again using his masks – unbelievable. :-)

Discussion and debating

Today, on my blog, some hot discussion on the politics of China happened. Check the conversation between Tom, Luo and Zhao. – check the discussion from the most bottom one backward will give you a more clear of the whole story. I’d like to thank everyone involved to discuss the topic – by exchanging the ideas, we have a better understanding of the world. I will not comment on either side of the debat – just to keep as objective in this blog as possible – I hope I will be your eyes in the city of Shanghai and report what I see, hear and smell. I hope my feelings can be recorded as it is – I can be subject but at least you know that one guy in Shanghai is thinking this way – this fact is objective. Does it make sense?

WHO’s report not fully covered by media

Before the release of WHO’s report in Shanghai, many medias spent a lot of time guessing the result and stated that the actual number will raise dramatically after WHO’s visit. However, after the press conference in April 26 was held, and the preliminary findings were released later, I didn’t see the expected result to be covered by media. I searched Google News for the next two days. The only report comes from, a local media group based in Shanghai. Till 1 hour ago, the first report on this conference were found at UN’s website. Somewhat strange but I don’t want to comment on this.

More Chinese SARS Blogs

Klogs is reporting SARS from a unique perspective. Good to read. He posted a picture of 15 masked faces today. On this entry, you can see photo that the Prime Minister Wen Jiabao was having lunch in the Beijing University (correct me if I made mistake here).

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(((((((( Wangjianshuo’s blog Update: My Dinner Impacted by SARS ))))))))

April 29, 2003


I went to a Taiwanese restaurant for dinner at about 8:00 PM.

It seems the regulation of “wearing masks for all dining

industry staff” is well executed. All the staff are wearing

masks – the small thin paper-made masks. This is the forth

restaurants I visit for this week – KFC, a Japanese quick food

restaurant, Shiquanshimei – a Chinese


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37 thoughts on “My Dinner Impacted by SARS

  1. Hi Wang Jian Shuo,

    I have heard from a friend that in response to the 1st SARS patient in Luoyang, at least one of the primary schools have been closed until May 6th.


  2. Let’s just say that 5 weeks ago when I was panicking in the streets of Shanghai, wearing masks, not letting my daughter go to kindergarten until they thoroughly disinfect the whole school night and day, people laughed at me. The customs officer at the airport actually sneered at me and called me an alarmist. Well well, today I took my kid to her local school, 25 out of 35 kids in her class did not show up, and people everywhere wearing masks, including all the airport custom officers.

    So here’s a question thrown out to all of you, how many cases are there in Shanghai? Do you know anyone who actually has the full blown SARS? In Beijing, I actually know friends of friends who have it, but here, nothing. When will the real figures in Shanghai come out? They are not using the same standard of determining SARS in Shanghai, as compared to Beijing and the rest of the world. So what are the real figures?

    Meanwhile, stay healthy!

  3. Just want to share with you my dining experience in Hong Kong. As with Shanghai, all the waiters and food handlers are required to wear surgical masks. They are suppose to keep the dishes covered until they are brought to your table. No more buffets and many Japanese sushi bars have closed temporarily.

    It is common to see frontline restaurant staff wearing disposable gloves as well. I have seen waitresses spraying a disinfectant on the tablecloth before setting the table, but have not seen them spray on the chair or sofa.

    As far as the SARS situation in Shanghai, perhaps no news is good news. Any words from the WHO will be scrutinised by the world press, even if there is no follow-up press reports as of yet. But it is a highly sensitive topic for China, and the WHO will be careful about what they say.

    Indeed, the WHO team has been extremely diplomatic in this whole affair. This behaviour is not typical of the Americans or the Swiss/German, and I’d say it is quite unprecedented. On more than one occasion, the WHO team has politely held back even when they clearly disagree with a particularly line of thought.

    A case in point is Chlamydia vs. Coronavirus as the purported cause of SARS. When the team visited Guangdong a few weeks back, one would expect the WHO to say flatly and firmly that they believe Coronavirus to be the most likely cause of SARS in Guangdong. But instead, they took one step and added that nothing should be ruled out at this time. They encouraged more research to be carried out.

    Less than a week after the WHO team left Guangdong, Chinese scientists announced that new research results has ruled out Chlamydia as a likely cause. They consider Coronavirus to be a more likely cause of SARS.

    A coincidence, may be? But the words they used that ensured no loss of ‘face’ for anyone.


  4. Face saving seemed to be more important to some people than others, and seemed to be more important for some areas more than other areas.

  5. i watched the news today…. according to WHO there is no evidence that statistics of sars cases have been covered up. Is it possible that they were driven around in vans just like in Beijing or are they really being honest about the numbers?

    Yesterday, we got a phone call from my mother in law… she was happy about our decision to leave china and return to the philippines but she requested that we stayed away from their house for a couple of weeks. A few minutes later, I phoned my grandfather and told them that we were going be home in a matter of days and he also expressed that he was happy that we were leaving china but to stay away from them for a couple of weeks. At first, my husband and I went though feeling if abandonment. Then we progressed to anger. But after a few hours of deep analyzing the actions of our loved ones we began to understand the fear they must feel. The news in the philippines has probably been sensationalized so we’re assuming that everyone will will run the opposite direction when they find out that we just came from china. So, we decided to be responsible for the disease that we might bring along from china… we will be imposing on ourselves a 10 day quarantine. My husband has a house in a province (about 1.5 hours from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport)so we’re going to lock ouerselves up until we are sure that we are not infected with SARS. This way, everyone will be happy.

    According to a friend who is in the Philippines… some travellers from infected countries are checking in at THE ASIAN HOSPITAL (a very expensive but beautiful and new… looks almost like a 5 star hotel) for a couple of weeks. We were going to check in ourselves but we did a little math and found out that we would be spending close to 1,000 US dollars if we did. It turns out that our trip home will take 10 days…. 2 hours on the plane and 10 days in the province. I guess this is the right thing to do.

  6. Hi everyone! It’s been interesting to be reading this blog since I’m crazy about China and want to travel there someday.

    SARS situation is very unique, it shows the full power of media.

    Here in Moscow, Russia, SARS coverage has been pretty good for a month or so, but today it started to be sensationalist. The front pages of all the news web sites display info on the disinfections of subways, trains and planes in Moscow that have just begun. There is talk of closing all communication links to China and other crazy stuff…

    And this is despite the fact that there is not a single case (suspected or confirmed) of SARS in the whole country of Russia as of today!!!

    Of course, Moscow’s worries are not unfounded. If SARS spread here, it would be a disaster considering our collapsed medical system.

    I am currently studying at Moscow State University and we have a lot of Chinese here (probably more than a thousand). This gets me thinking, if Moscow gets SARS, it will be right here near me. I am not scared of this disease a little bit, just pondering how this city (and our university finals in June :-)) is going to change if we get it…

    It might get interesting…

  7. Anna, it is bad that it is 10 days’ trip to your home. Anyway, taking precautions are good and I can understand your relatives. People are afraid of unknown.

    Someone told me that going to Shanghai is just like the idea of having vacation in Baghdad. Actually, the city is not that terrible – maybe Baghdad is not that terrible as I think. So best wishes to you and your family!

  8. ** Original post content removed **

    ** Message from Jian Shuo Wang to Zhang **

    I am afraid I have to remove your last post due to obvious reason. Please note that this site is hosted in Shanghai and needs to follow the regulation and law of the country. I need your understanding for this.

  9. ** Original message removed **

    ** Message from Jian Shuo Wang **

    In the special preiod of time, I need everyone participating this site to follow the simple rule: please post confirmed information only and don’t spread rumors, which will hurt the country which is already suffering from SARS. I don’t want to do it but I have delete some content – this is only the 3rd time on this board now. I don’t have the poster’s email address. Please drop me an email if you read this. I don’t mean to be rude or don’t respect your work. But I have to. Please understand.

  10. Our voice must be heard!…..

    ** Message from Jian Shuo Wang **

    Sorry. I have to ban your IP address now. Please drop me a mail and we can keep talk, but no here. Thanks, Zheng.

  11. I love reading your website because it helps to know what other folks in different parts of the country are going through. We’re passing through Shanghai this Sunday (on our way out of China from Hainan where we’ve been living). Our itinerary involves an overnight stay in Shanghai, and we keep vacillating between whether we should stay locked up in our hotel room or get out and see the city (so far, we’ve only been in the airport of Shanghai, and have never had the opportunity to look around). So…..if there’s one place you could recommend visiting in Shanghai, where would it be, is anything getting closed down besides the schools(here in Hainan a LOT of things are closing), and what’s good to eat in Shanghai? other thing — can you buy masks in the airport in Shanghai? They’re not available here in my small town, and we’ve been banned from traveling to Haikou (where they do have them) — in fact, we’re only allowed to leave our school gates once a week.

  12. Welcome to Shanghai, in this special time :-)

    If you feel well yourself and you do want to see the city of Shanghai, you must go to the bund (Wai Tan). It is the must see as Tiananmen Square in Beijing. In Shanghai, I didn’t see anything closed yet, but the temperature checking, and form filling can be seen in a lot of places. I am not sure whether you can get masks in Pudong airport – my guess is no.

    Have a nice trip.

  13. wangjianshuo:

    we’re back in manila… i just wanted to thank you for keeping me (and a thousand other people) informed while i was in xiamen… you really helped me.


  14. Hi anna,

    Nice to hear from you. Your mail left here does not work and I have tried to send mail to you asking if you have arrived in Manila safely. Are you taking the 10 day quarantine now? Take care!

  15. Mr. Wang, I’d like to post an email to Anna, because I sent it to her mail box, unfortunately, her mail box is no longer available.


    Anna, I read your comments at Mr. Wang’s web site, however, I do have some ambivalent feelings about what you have written:

    First of all, I thought that Xiamen was (is) a very clean city and also is an environmentally-conscious city. To my surprise, you indicated that the city taxi and its bus were dirty.

    I am just wondering how dirty is dirty. For example, I sometimes stepped into Torrance (that is where I am residing) bus and I noticed that the newspapers were scattered all over the floor and the seats were dirty and sticky that was really made me uncomfortable. That is what I call “dirty”.

    A TV program I most recently watched talked about how beautiful and relaxing your city (Xiamen) is and there is an American pofessor named Bill Brown of Xiamen University also appearing in the program indicated that how much he and his family love Xiamen (garden city on the sea). Anyway, I am really surprised that you want to escape from Xiamen. Anna, I don’t blame you for that, the daily anxiety sometimes becomes too stressful. But as I understanding from the media, the province do not have new sars patient for consecutive 25 days now.

    As I said, after watching that Xiamen program, I have so much strong urge to visit your city someday in the near future, also as I understand it (correct it if I am wrong), the Xiamen Univ. cmapus is very beautiful, I really envy you people live in Xiamen which is a medium sized city and people are friendly. Compare to where I live, Torrence is a suburb of Great Los Angeles, it is so congested and traffic is hopelessly so, every time I get in my car, I just can not help, I have that sense of road rage brewing inside me, on top of that, the people is not so friendly, although the weather is nice, after all, it is close to Hollywood.

    Anna, I really hope you can give me a little description (thumbnail sketch) of that city in terms of school, food, scenery and infrastructure, I’d appreciate.

    My email is Please feel free to write to me.

  16. Boy, I am getting old AND cynical. ;-) I know I have been living in Asia for too long when I had to laugh when someone asked, “How dirty is ‘dirty’?” Let’s just say that sanitary standards in Asia is ‘different’ from that in North America.

    Don’t take me wrong, I know about road rage. I have lived in Southern California, even.

    For an idyllic view of Xiamen, you can try

    these websites or

  17. Hi Jian Shuo,

    Do you know how much does it cost to leave a baggage at the left luggage counter at Pudong Airport?

    Thanks and Regards,


  18. To leave a bag at luggage counter at Pudong Airport for 24 hours is about 3 GBP. For few days they do discounts.

  19. Hi,

    I love your site and want to get some advices about China market.

    Will it be possible to get to your personal email?



  20. Hi you !

    I´m very impressed by your ecellent photos, as I have been to china the year before and I´ve seen a little about your country.

    Maybe I´ll b a back this year to Shanghai.

    Have fun


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