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Serving chopsticks protect health
2010. 17 March
by Zong Lei
(shanghaidaily.com) It is only half a year since we were last in Shanghai, but the city has again changed in the lead-up to World Expo 2010.
The new Metro lines together with the existing ones have linked almost all corners of Shanghai to the city center. What's more impressive is the new regulation that bans smoking in most public places and requires large and medium-sized restaurants to designate a non-smoking area.
These changes echo the Expo theme "Better City, Better Life." While hailing all the progress Shanghai has made, I have yet another recommendation to make for better and healthier lives - using clean serving chopsticks.
Half a year ago, I had a stomach check in Shanghai after having frequent stomachaches. The result showed that I was infected with a kind of bacterium that can cause digestive problems and illnesses such as ulcers or even cancers.
The doctor explained simply that due to the fact that we Chinese normally do not use serving chopsticks, more than two thirds of the population is infected with the bacteria, though only some manifest symptoms.
I was appalled. This meant I might pass the bacteria on to my family by eating the same dishes with them. On that very day, I introduced serving chopsticks at home.
However, changing our habits alone cannot solve the problem. During the Spring Festival, we ate many times with friends and relatives at home and in restaurants. None of the families used serving chopsticks at home, and only one restaurant provided serving chopsticks, which were actually ignored by all around the table.
If the introduction of this pair of chopsticks can significantly reduce the spread of the bacteria, why shouldn't we embrace it? It may be inconvenient at the beginning to change this entrenched habit, but the benefits of avoiding health risks far overweigh the inconvenience.
I spent, over a 2-month span of treatment, more than 1,000 yuan (US$146) on tests and medication. Besides, I spent a lot of time traveling to and from the hospital and waiting to consult the doctor and to be tested. If this sum of money and time is multiplied by the millions of people who are infected, isn't this cost too enormous to be neglected?
(The author is a freelancer in Shanghai. Her email is: email@example.com)
Photo: The Sunday Telegraph