Sunday, July 04, 2004

Independence Day

The street fair in my neighborhood today is very similar to temple festivals I used to go to as a kid. The crowds are thinner and the food is not as ingenious, but it still brought back some hazy memories.

As much as I wanted to try some grilled lamb on sticks from one vendor, fear of diseases kept me away. I am still amazed at how cavalier Americans are when it comes to food safety. Washing and peeling fruits before eating is standard for me, but here, people just wipe fruits off on their clothes before biting into them. I often had to stop myself from saying, "Aren't you worried about hepatitis?" Probably not. Americans are so blessed in this regard, having never been invaded, not even by wide-spread food-borne infectious diseases.

I came home to an urgent phone call from Dr. Zhou. She was looking through her mail herself today (I often help her with sorting junk from real mail), when she saw that she was fined with $3000 for using the word "Doctor" on her clinic's sign. She was trained in China, but without acquiring a M.D. here, she couldn't use the word. Injustice! But then again, Dan Ming told me he had to go through all sorts of medical tests when he was applying for the green card. If someone had anything undesirable, his or her status would be in doubt. Maybe not outright deportation, but who knows. INS is a black hole of bureaucracy, full of people who aren't motivated to work, and they'd look for anything to reject someone's application. Count yourself lucky then, even if you were disease-ridden -- at least you are an American still. You're inside this blessed land.