Of course I'm not going to start praising Swine flu, or H1N1, but in the middle of all of the fear I did want to report one positive outcome. I suppose you hope the fallout from any war will result in something positive to make the suffering mean something.
When I came to South Korea, in the middle of the joy and perfection I found there was one problem: soap. For almost five months, my school almost never had soap in the bathrooms. There was soap in the lunch room, but not the bathrooms. Not just my school, but all schools seemed to feel the same way. The students simply didn't wash their hands. Which presented a problem for the foreign teacher- with students always wanting a hello and a handshake. This was the same issue for public bathrooms. I never left the house without my own hand sanitizer. I found this odd in a country where the biggest concern is personal health, which you can see in their healthy diets, motivation to exercise daily, and practically flawless system of health care.
However, since H1N1 became an issue I don't think I've gone anywhere without seeing soap. Once a bar runs out in my school bathrooms, a new one replaces it. Teachers have stocked up on hand sanitizer. I can dole out handshakes and high fives to my students with extra gusto. Dunkin Donuts now has an automatic hand sanitizer dispenser at the checkout counter. Even the bars I frequent, with bathrooms to rival American truck stops, have adopted the new soap policy. It's a delightful utopia of sanitation.
Now, now, I can say South Korea is perfect for me.