So many of my friends back in the US have been asking about the craziness about SARS. I thought I'd post a couple thoughts on it, given the concern.

I went to Hong Kong in the later half of March for a week. My cousin was getting married (first of my first cousins to do so) and since I was relatively close by, it made sense to go. Anyways, for reasons beyond much control, my parents could not attend the wedding even though they definitely wanted to. So, it winds up that I was in HK to meet my relatives for the wedding. During my 1 week stay in HK, I managed to visit CUHK to visit Wai Lam and Ee Peng and later to HKUST to visit Dekai Wu, Pascale Fung and Grace Ngai.

But I digress, the topic today is SARS.. During that week, the war broke out, and SARS became more of an epidemic in HK. I did see some people on the subways (especially the subways, come to think of it) that had face masks on. But the general populace was relatively unconcerned. I guess the ones that were stayed at home (and may still be staying home). It's odd because the relative probability of getting SARS is so much less than winning lotto, it seems silly to condition so much on it, at least the individual level. I think we should all enjoy cheaper travel in SE Asia in the next couple of months due to it. It will be the only advantage of the current media event.

SARS has caused Singapore to close down its elementary, primary and secondary, as well as its junior colleges (grades 12 and 13) for an entire week and a half, after some cases of suspected and confirmed illnesses were found in a couple of schools. Because of the high density and the highly infectious nature of the disease, the ministry of education (MOE) issued a school closing. It's not yet clear whether the school holidays are going to be shortened as a result (which is a great concern to the students, naturally). But the university and other government branches are opened as usual.

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