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Life in the Time of SARS, cont'd.

May 2003,

· Sitting with Mama
· Maria
· Nine Crossings
· Mama and Her

· Fallopian Chron IV
· Why I Toast, I
· Why I Toast, II
· Why I Toast, III
· Scooter/Dot-Com
· Fallopian Chron II
· Fallopian Chron III
· Strange Bedfellow
· Almost Equal
· A Difficult Day
· Phantom Lover:
    Ode to
    Leslie Cheung

· I Am Salad
· Fallopian Chron I
· Taiwanglish
· Childhood's End
· Psychic Friends
· Life in the
    Time of SARS

· Waiting for
      the Goddess

· Roswell My Eye
· Catisfaction
· My Laramie Project
· Stopping on the
    Street for
    Coltrane: A Real
    Latter Day Saint

· Whither Moocat?
· Happy Palindrome!
· Happy Tiger
· Tourist for a Day
· Geography
    as Destiny

· "Bastards"
· Watching the
    Pentagon Burn

· Communing with

· Milk
· Infinity
· Emailing the Dead
· Broken Water
· Sand Shark
· Grandma Said
· Golden Days
· Americat
· Moe Howard on the
Death of His Brother,

· Flashpoems
· Minyan
· Inside Scoop
· Nativity
· I Ask My Mother
To Sing

· Absence of Colours
· Island Logic
· Peepshow Kleenex
· Allen Ginsberg
Forgives Ezra Pound
on Behalf of the Jews

· Lacing Your Shoes:
Haiku & the Everyday

· Four Haiku
· Smoking Haiku
· Geary & Jones,
Monday, 8:23 a.m.

· The Keeper
· december 13, 2001
· Memento Mori
· Football's Birthday
· The Edward Gorey

· Arrival
· Victim o'

· The Origin of
Teeth and Bones

· Questions for
Martins Ferry,

· This Is Just
To Tell You

· Not-Cat (& whatnot)
· To My Unmet Wife

· Englishhua
· Dave for Pope
· Papa Loves Mambo
· A Culture Report

· The Louisiana
A Special Radio X
Historical Docudrama

· Krawkawkaw Gives
a Little

· Meet Dr. Klaww
· Letters to Dr. Klaww
· Letter from the
Hall of Justice

· An Invitation
to be Keynote

· More

All Things

· Gajandra Meets
    the Scatoman

· Gajandra and
    the Curse of the
    Six Monkeys

· Gajandra and the
    Eating Lesson

· A Moment of

· Gajandra and the
    Great Rumble

· Gajandra and the
    Problem with

· Mohamed Tahdaini
· John Guillory
· Berkeley Pier
· Bruce Dene
· Death of The Bayou
· Taiwan Food Vendors
· John Freeman
· Robin Liu
· Hector
· Dave's Corner
· Zuni Kachinas

· Mainland Murmurs
· Next to Heaven
  · Episode #8

  · Episode #16
· Crosswords Brunch


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On the way home from work, I get a Taiwanese 'subway' sandwich from just about the only street vendor whose food I trust. We have gotten to know each other over the months. He tells me in Chinese that I slightly understand that his business is way down because everyone is afraid of SARS.

SARS-Free sticker
Proof You're Cooler
Than 38 °C

FRIDAY, MAY 23, 2003 -- Second day wearing the masks while teaching. I had to take it off several times to wipe the thick film of moisture from my lower face. SARS signs and everywhere: posters, billboards, hand-written in Chinese, "SARS-FREE" stickers to be worn by those whose temperature tests as normal, most posted by small businesspeople desperately seeking to assuage the public's fear and stem their financial hemorrhaging.

THURSDAY, MAY 29, 2003 -- Could this be the turning of the corner? For several days now, the numbers of deaths and new cases has trended downward. Government officials have opined that the worst is over. Even my pessimistic coworker who has so denigrated Taiwan's ability to cope with this crisis, has expressed optimism. As I weigh this news my mind drifts to the situation in Hong Kong several weeks ago, when, presumably having been cured, several SARS patients were rehospitalized with relapses. And then comes the bad news from Toronto -- more new cases after a lapse -- and the WHO relists Canada as a 'SARS-affected country.'

SUNDAY, JUNE 1, 2003 -- There are definitely fewer masks out there among the sea of Taiwanese commuters. I even spot an elderly main without a mask -- unthinkable only a few weeks ago, since the death rate by SARS for those over 55 is about 50 percent. Day by day there are hints that Taiwan may not in fact be destroyed by this disease. Today, zero new deaths; yesterday, zero deaths and only 10 fully new cases. The weather is heating up, and more and more bare shoulders are passing by. Gradually the fear of dying from a news-only breath-stealer is being overtaken by the ageless, unrelenting eroticism of sunlit health.

— David Saia

David Saia edits His work has been published and produced in several venues, including The Daily Reveille, The Culture Report, New Delta Review, and the now-defunct San Francisco Review.

<—   b  a  c  k

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