Friday, April 25, 2008


Today's title is Dog Cholera. Trips right off the tongue, no? It's related to a news article I'll leave cliffhanging until the bottom of the post. First, a change of subject completely: the last time I got a haircut was two months ago, when It took days to find number forty-four Trương Định Street.1,2 Once I did, I was treated to a back massage by a crew of bored women in yellow disco-hop uniforms, a pretty cloudy coffee, and a three-minute buzzing with the standard number four clipper attachment. Today I returned to number forty-four, and was handed a tiny menu including all the coffee drinks and services the salon provides. I had to tell the bored disco woman three times that all I wanted was a haircut, but received a delightful facial bathing with a cool towelette anyway. Soon, the barber returned from somewhere else, donned his haircutting holster, and got to work. I was outside again in three minutes flat. Okay. In both the local animal- and food-related news simultaneously: health officials have begun speculating that the increasing number of acute diarrhea cases, linked to cholera, maybe being spread by the use of human waste in fertilizing and also the practice of eating dogs. Now, when I heard this supposition months ago, I was skeptical: Vietnamese eat dog meat irregularly but historically, while this possible cholera outbreak started in October. To me, it sounded very much like pundits were choosing a culprit that would excite the storytelling impulses of epidemiologists while also satisfying the safety concerns of a high-dollar tourist industry that wasn't planning on eating any dogs anyway. Reading one highly qualified article,3 I've refined my skepticism: now it sounds like the world has chosen cholera to demonize a practice that has evolved into taboo. [Cavin]

Then, a 1 sided conversation ensued...

To which Anonymous 'ell joy added:

Hmm, let's see. The cholera outbreak started in October, around the time you arrived. Coincidence? Maybe the chair scrubbing crew thinks not.

Monday, April 28, 2008 7:28:00 AM  

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