A(H1N1) a.k.a. Swine Flu does not scare me

Rumor has it that a person staying in the condominium building beside mine is infected with the flu.

My housemate told me that the call center he is working for, located across EDSA, has been cleaned and according to him ‘sterilized’ after an undisclosed number of employees caught the dreaded disease. His use of the word sterilized brought up an image of a building soaked in a beaker of isopropyl alcohol. I kept myself from laughing, of course.

My mother constantly sends me SMSs giving me warnings  about swine flu and advises me to buy a box of face masks to cover my mouth and nose as a protection whenever I go out or ride the MRT, to hoard bottles of vitamin C, to bring umbrella all the time, and to avoid crowded places. I think wearing a face mask is overreacting; stocking on my supply of ascorbic acid is economically counter-productive unless of course I will be selling them in the event of a shortage; I constantly forget to bring my umbrella or I lose them all the time; and I am staying in Manila so avoiding crowded places is next to impossible.


It may be because of my youth and my recklessness. Or my fatalism.  Or that I am a Filipino and a poor one (to emphasize my point). A(H1N1) a.k.a. Swine Flu fails to bring shiver down my spine. I’m not at all scared of it. I am not at all scared to die. When you have not proved much, when your voice is barely heard, when your existence is just a speck in the universe of mankind,  dying ceases to be chilling; it stops to frighten. It becomes a reality concretized to an almost physical sense. Death almost reaches a point that you can imagine holding it with your palm, embracing it even.

I haven’t really given death much thought for a long time. If you are a citizen of a third world country, death is stripped with all romanticism and poetry. In the Philippines, for example, death is too prosaic. You see death everyday in nightly news programs, read it in tabloids, or hear it from accounts of people around. Death becomes a staple part of life that it becomes boring. It’s almost a joke whenever I hear of officials in the government warning the public about swine flu when dengue fever claims thousands of lives each year or that more children die from malnutrition in Manila alone than all the combined mortality cases resulting from A(H1N1) in the world.

A joke. That I believe is how most Filipinos, including myself, see this pandemic.

This afternoon while riding a bus from Makati, I overheard two persons, apparently both are working for a call center, talking about the flu. The woman told her fellow passengers in English-with-a-twang that it is discouraged to have flu vaccines. I was prompted to stop my reading to listen to her line of reasoning. According to her this is so because it is in the culture of Filipinos to be complacent as regards sickness whenever they have vaccination, so vaccination will only make them forget about hand washing, covering the mouth when they cough or sneeze, and all other measures to prevent the flue, that is, if I followed her thinking accurately.  She then added that this explains why the Health Department recommends hand washing rather than vaccination.

For one, vaccination is not discouraged, neither is it encouraged. Two, the cost of the vaccine may be prohibitive for a minimum wage earner disabling them to avail of it. Three, the DOH does not recommend hand washing over vaccination rather a combination of both.

While writing this, the flu virus could have already entered my lungs and I’m already dying.

But so what?

So what not because I don’t really care but so what because there is nothing much that I can do.

My youth, my recklessness, my fatalism, my being a poor Filipino all coming into play.


8 thoughts on “A(H1N1) a.k.a. Swine Flu does not scare me”

  1. I hope your friend’s wife will get well soon. I wrote those lines printed here because I’m a reckless 20-something. It must have sounded differently if i were in a different situation.

    You see, facing a disease, or let’s say death, varies depending on the situation, the person, and the stake.

    Thanks for passing by. Remain healthy.

  2. I share the same sentiments.
    Today a friend of mine said that his wife, who is 8 months in the family way, had THE flu. However, it ran its course like any normal flu and the only symptoms were cold and cough. They had her tested and here’s where it gets better: the results would only come after 10 days. She’s not feeling much better, actually recovered and on the day they received the notice that she was swine flu-positive, they got her health clearance release.

    It’s a flu strain, albeit more contagious, sure it’s not to be taken lightly, especially when you’re pregnant, but people are just too paranoid. I agree, dengue is scarier.

    Vitamin C and water. That’s the ticket!

  3. Just like my physician say there are far more dangerous disease comparing to swine flu. One of them like you’ve mentioned would be dengue fever. In malaysia Dengue fever cases are on the rise and our government isn’t doing anything much about it, cuz they have their hands tied up to swine flu.

    the outbreak of SARS is far far scarier than Swine flu ….

    1. That’s true. In the Philippines the media reported that there is a woman who died of swine flu, but it turned out she had a heart attack, only that she was positive with A(H1N1). The flu did not cause her death, to emphasize the point.

      The phrasing of the news article causes undue fear in the public.

  4. I didn’t get your point. Probably because I’m one of those pathetic Filipinos you’re referring to. It’s so nice of you to describe the entire Filipino nation as if we all act in a singularity that your mind is only capable of. Very intelligent. It’s so nice of you to point out how good-for-nothing my people are. It must have been your sad experience in the Philippines that have caused you such ire. But I cannot blame you for feeling such. Everyone’s opinion is welcomed.

    Listen to my opinion:

    I simply cannot bring myself to stoop to your position. It’ll be a waste of time. Come back if you can already have an intellectual discourse with the author of this blog.

  5. Of course its spreading in the Philippines. Filipinos are dirty, unsanitary people that think they are clean. A dung beetle or maggot lives in vile disease, but survives because thats its natural area…. Pinoy body systems are likewise used to living in filth and they never blame themselves when a forgotten hand washing gives diarrhea to 20 foreign restaurant guests.

    The DoH guy Duque, has been lying about this from the start. He declared that American doctors weren’t qualified to test for the illness… (which are the only doctors in the world to have detected it to start with). After getting funding for tons of thermal imagery at the airports, he claimed they were of no use and shouldnt be purchased. He lied about the nationality of all the Filipinos spreading this disease around the world, saying they got it from other places. The first cases got it at wedding but in true filipino fashion, they lied about being there as if it would magically protect the wedding attendees from the disease (which it didnt). When they had the truth, they failed to make it public and instead kept it secret for 5 days so they could privately search, rather than ‘tarnish’ the image of the RP.

    Filipinos all over are lying about contracting it in the Philippines. Health care in the RP is horrid at best, nurses with fake degrees and less intelligence than a child.

    Want a nice fact? Try asking why those 4 deaths on Boracay were covered up? I was present for 2 of the body removals by biohazard people. I asked and was told “its normal”. Asked the next day and was told that noone at all died.

    They keep blaming it on foerign locations. Thats not true, whats true is that filipinos are natural liars and wont goto a doctor until its almost too late, spreading disease all around.

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