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    May 6th, 2009 admin

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    Naming of the Flu



    A name is just a name, you said, names are just words you address a person or thing with. Instead of “Hey Buster”, you yelled: “John” , “Joe”, “Jane” or “Jill”, so that not everyone will turn to answer you at the same time. It can be embarrassing and annoying.

    But who will fortell, a simple name can become the “words of war”, that can be used as an economic weapon and a political tool in this recession.

    The word “swine”, as in swine flu, projected an image worse than those on TV, with people wearing masks everywhere, going about their daily chores. It reminds everyone the ghost of the SARS past. And it indicates, this time, it is coming from the pigs.

    People are jittery and scared. It can trigger further economic collapse during this recession time. Just look at the shrinking number of tourists in Mexico, except a few brave ones (and wait till they got home 🙂 ).

    The moaning and protests of the pig farmers, no matter what the World Health Organization stressed and re-stressed, this H1N1 virus is an air-born disease, and transmitted only by human to human contact. But do these countries listen, they still ban pork import.

    On the surface, we got the impression of people that are scared of a repeat of a pandemic like SARS. But don’t be fooled by them. If you look deeper, you will notice, these countires include Russia, China, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia etc, most of them are either pork producing countires themselves or Islamic countries that don’t eat pork anyway. This is just an excuse to wrap a trade war in the pig-skin of pandemic containment, with manipulative and purposeful cunning tactics, all in the name of the “Swine Flu”.

    Definitely we need to change the name. But how?

    Well, there are a number of ways.

    1.Hurricanes      During World War II, hurricanes were named after women; a practice that was in place until 1978. An international committee voted for a six-year rotating list of names that showed both gender equality (men’s and women’s names) and names with French, Spanish, Dutch and English backgrounds, as hurricanes affect a number of countries and are tracked internationally. That’s it, hurricanes and flu pandemic, they are both natural diasters that can spread like wild fire. As the saying go: birds of the same feathers should flock(or in this case, named) together.

    2.Babies     Parents name their child, usually based on popular names of the time, celebrities of movie stars status or characters on TV: Rachel, Jennifer, Emily etc for girls and Michael, Brad etc for boys. But mind you, these go in and out of fashion all the time. Remember Monica, this was popular due to the TV series Friends, until Bill Clinton’s cooled it. But this may not be practical, just imagine, the number of Johns or Janes that China will quantine.

    3.Source/Location     Name the source/location of origin. That’s what WHO used right from the beginning. They figured, the virus is genetically made up largely of the swine type of Influenza A, it should appropriately be named the swine flu. But who can fortell, suddenly it spelled trouble just from such a simple name.

    4.Family name      Use of family or full names is common, like the Rockefella, McDonald, Vera Wang, Anne Klein, Donna Karan etc, besides a boost to your ego, it remains within the family empire. So in our case, we may name the virus after the scientist who discovered or decoded it. Any taker?

    5.Generic     Use alphabets and numerics, and that is what WHO adopted just now, the H1N1. Still there may be problems, this is too similar to R2D2 of the STAR WAR, it can be a bit confusing, make people thinking of another SARS WAR 😉

    6.KISS     Keep It Simple, Stupid. So may be we just name it the KISSing disease, it is catchy, but also medically correct (it can be transmitted that way, not solely though). Sorry, no kissing please, we are Chinese (and in the middle of a pandemic).