One of the biggest worries I have about living in Indonesia is about the Avian Flu. It was constantly on my mind last year and because of it, I don't even go near the section of the market that sells chicken.
Obviously, I'm too paranoid to buy any chicken home to cook but I do eat it occasionally when we are out since the danger is when the chicken is still uncooked. However, if I were to let my paranoia go further, I'd worry that the people in the kitchen might somehow have come in contact with an infected chicken when they went shopping for the restaurant. And the worst case would be that they catch the virus and it mutates in them to the strain that can be transmitted from human to human.
Initially, I did have have multiple paranoia induced scenarios in my mind all the time but after awhile, even though I avoided chicken, I 'forgot' that Indonesia has the most cases and deaths (by FAR) from Avian flu. Not a good thing. I'm all fired up again now after a conversation I had yesterday. By the way, as of 28 May, 2008, 108 out of the 241 deaths from Avian Flu was in Indonesia.
Aini asked me why we don't eat chicken. After I told her, she very casually said "Oh yeah, we had that at home. It got a few of our chickens so we moved the others to a different location". She said this with a 'No big deal' kind of tone.
What happened to quarantining and culling the remaining birds in the area??? And guess what else, she's not sure how they disposed of the affected chicken. She thinks they were just buried but they may have been burnt. Not really sure ALL ALL. Wasn't she worried? No, because the affected chicken have been removed.
There was absolutely no worry or a shred of concern from her about the whole issue. She was not aware of the dangers or the potential of a world wide pandemic either. And the ultimate worst part of it all: Even after I told her everything, she doesn't seem to feel the gravity of the situation.
Yes, she is just one person but I am pretty sure that if I were to go ask her neighbors, I'd get similar reactions. There is hardly any mention of the Avian Flu in the newspapers. Nobody talks about it. It is a non-issue here. Even last year when there was more international mention of it, the people here did not have basic facts about it.
Anyhow, my paranoiameter is back up to 'Red Alert'.