H1N1 Sidebar – The Spanish Flu

Second task,the sidebar story Part 2.Now it’s about the Spanish Flu.

Okay,in almost every news report that’s been mentioned,there will always be comparisons about this previous flu called the Spanish flu.So apparently this thing is called the predecessot to the current H1N1 flu we’ve all been hearing about.So what make this flu so special and just why does it have a link to the current strain?

Well,apparently the Spanish flu was a lot more serious than the current H1N1 pandemic.After all,this is a type of flu strain that managed to kill,according to various reports on the web,Wikipedia specifically cites that a thridof the world population which was equal to 25 million people then died.Meanwhile,another site virus.stanford.edu puts the figure between 20-40 million people.

Whichever way you look at it,that’s a lot of deaths.The world population then wasn’t even the same number of people today. 20-40 million people was a lot,one third of the world population.If the same sitauation was replayed today and say the H1N1 pandemic robbed a third of the world today,2 billion people would perish.Now think.A lot of people killed due to one single strain of virus.

Did you know that the Spanish flu didn’t even originate from Spain?It was only called that because during World War 1,Spain was a neutral country and news from there was considered the most trusted.

There was also a second strain of the pandemic back in 1918.The second strain was more deadly because the virus had mutated into a more deadly form.Therefore,for the present strain,certainly there are certain points that we can pick up to prevent a recurrence of multiple deaths.

Due to today’s technology and fast-based lifestyle,the rate the new strain of  H1N1 would spread is much more quicker.Nowadays,there’s low-cost planes where people travel easily to spread diseases at a faster rate but there is also new technology that  help develop drugs to combat this pandemic.Hopefully,there will be an end to this pandemic and pray that it  won’t be as worse as the last time.The world certainly doesn’t need another medical crisis on its hands.

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H1N1 Sidebar Story 1 – Preventing H1N1

Another one of those assigned tasks I was assigned to.Now there’s two of them.Preparing a prevention guide for all of you to never ever have H1NI in your lives (no guarantees here) and another one about the origins of the Spanish flu (interesting).

Now as we all know, H1N1 is just the latest pandemic to hit the world in recent years. There ares several ways of preventing this disease from ever infecting you so listen up.These are only preventive measures and not some kind of life insurance against the disease so I beg you,don’t sue me if you do get infected.

The most common preventive measure is to go to a doctor if you have any one of the classic  influenza-like ilnessess (ILI) such as cough,fever, sore throat,body ache,headache,chills and fatigue.Don’t just stand there if you display any of these symptoms.Get help!Go to the doctor immediately! Who knows what that little fever means,it could mean something.So,do get checked immedaitely.

The next step would be that if you do have some of the symptoms,isolate yourself immediately of course.Or quarantine as they call it for up to a week.Be in limited contact with family and friends.Just let one person help you out.Remember,be separate from one another.Avoid crowds at all costs,don’t venture out of the house.Nobody wants the entire family or community to get infected with H1N1.More infections=More nuisance

Another way for early prevention is to wash your hands as frequently as possible.Nobody wants to see dirty,rough,unkempt hands.It’s not only disgusting but obviously unhygienic.So either carry a hand sanitiser at all tines or keep rushing in and out to the nearest wash basin and get scrubbing!

Notice the ‘fashion’ trend around nowadays?That’s right people,start wearing them masks.The three ply-layered ones,now they’ll protect you if you display the ILI and everybody else (of course not 100% full but it’ll do).If not,please,please cover your hands and mouth when coughing and sneezing.

The latest preventive measure?If you’re lucky and your country has stockopiled H1N1 vaccines,what’re you waiting for?Go get a shot!Like NOW!So good luck people,be safe and don’t get H1N1.

Teoh T Hoong Profile

Here’s another task I was assigned to. I recently, on a college/school trips, met editor Teoh T Hoong of the Subang Jaya (SJ) Echo :

Walking into his small but messy office, you wouldn’t have guessed that it was a place where a newspaper was produced. After all, there was not a  sight of a single journalist busily typing their stories at their desks like a normal newsroom. Yet it was, as we were led into the editor’s office.

Teoh, the man in  question and Managing Editor of the SJ Echo sat in his office. Clad in his paper’s official shirt and pants, he beckons us to sit.

He admits that as Malaysia’s only community paper, there are a lot of challenges in running the paper. Among them time.

He says, “It’s just a paper. That emotionally drains you especially if you’re dealing with sick children. Time is of the essence”.

Teoh continues by saying that his paper reaches an estimated audience of 20,000 people in the township of Subang Jaya, an impressive figure for a free paper run by a one-man show.

The SJ Echo is published once a month and distributed within Subang Jaya and its surrounding areas.

Teoh, who prior to his SJ Echo gig, was an environmental journalist with The Star, Malaysia ‘s biggest selling English paper before switching to the WWF.

Even so, Teoh says about the switch from mainstream to working solo, “Working alone is nice. It’s more like a home away from home. Working alone means working with flexibility, to your limitations”.

The only thing he says he misses from his former mainstream days are the traveling, citing his trip in Bangladesh during the Reformasi days. He says that the conditions there were extremely poor and was so glad when he arrived home that he wanted to kiss the ground.

Teoh gives his two cents worth on the democratic situation in the country. He says, “The country must change. In free democratic countries, there are no demonstrations, we have plenty of food, no burning cars.

teoh

He his however politically moderate in his views, preferring to be neutral. This is also the stance that his paper takes.

Ironic, considering that Subang Jaya State Assemblyman Hannah Yeoh is just a couple of doors away from his office in SS14 Subang Jaya.

For the record, yes, she has her very own column in the paper, though Teoh is always warning her to keep the politics out of the paper.

Teoh is blunt though about his voting preferences, admitting that, after the  country’s political awakening  of  March 2008 dubbed the political tsunami last year, he did not vote for Yeoh.

“Hannah knows that I did not vote for her,” he reveals without a hint of regret in his voice.

However, he still maintains a good relation with his neighbour cum local representative joking that due to the close proximity with Yeoh’s office, some of her mail has crawled into his office.

“They think I’m DAP headquarters now,” he says,smiling.

Speaking of representatives, Teoh, in his capacity as the Managing Editor of the SJ Echo as well as resident of Subang Jaya, regards himself as a little bit of both.

“Most residents regard me as  a resident,” he reveals.

Yes,a resident albeit one who runs a paper for the community.Some might think that running the paper is for Teoh’s personal gains but he reveals that it is more than that.

“I do community work in my own neighbourhood.Just me,myself and I.I share with the community.The paper is about the people,”he says.

Teoh is an example of the modern citizen journalism who do not need the backing of large corporations behind them,with him demonstrating that he can do it himself.

He gets his stories from various sources,both young and old.Contributors make up the rest of his team.

Whenever there’s a story regarding  Subang Jaya,Teoh will be there.For those stories that do not make it,Teoh will squeeze them in the online edition.

SJ Echo has done remarkably well with advertisers in such as supermarket Mydin contributing space in his paper.

Teoh has to wear two hats in this case,that of publisher and marketing executive presenting proposals to get advertisers’ backing.

When asked about the future of his paper,on whether there were plans of expansion than the usual monthly.

Teoh says there are no urgent plans as of now.He likens Subang Jaya to a kampung.

“Bring back the kampung feeling,where everybody knows each other,” Teoh reveals his wish.

He further advises, “One thing about trying to bring  change is a fact that it never stops.It is an infinite role to accomodate what you want to do”.

He ends the interview with this piece, “At the end of the day,what drives us in journalism is curiosity.The curiosity in you drives you.What is it I want to read?”.

Wise words, indeed.