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Comment Asia is out of control (Score 5, Interesting) 110

Over prescription of antibiotics is a huge problem here in Asia mostly due to cultural face saving practices. In the West when you go see a doctor you are sometimes, probably not often enough, told to just go home, stay hydrated, rest and that you don't need any medication because there's no medication that can really help.

In Asia however, when someone sees a doctor they expect to go home with something. Even though the doctor's advice is 'respected' it would be a loss of face for a patient seeking treatment to be told to just to go home and rest, no medication is needed. It's hard for Westerners to understand, and IMHO serves very little purpose in today's society, but Asians would view coming home from a doctor without medication as the doctor not doing their job. Also, by not providing some kind of medication the doctor is basically, in the Asian mind, telling the patient "you are wrong, there's nothing wrong with you" which would be a big loss of face for the patient.

There's also a cultural service and purchasing custom that applies but it's much more esoteric and difficult to describe. Briefly, there's an expression "buy 10 buns, get 11 bags" because everyone is conditioned that a transaction is not complete until the goods or services are delivered well and completely packaged. It's a nice polite custom and all but you should see the dumbfounded look on many vendors' faces when I tell them I do not want a plastic bag for my purchase(s). It may sound irrelevant but it comes into play at the doctor's office in terms of, the service transaction is not complete until medicine is delivered.

So, doctors here are not able to go against the cultural grain, even though they know medically and scientifically that antibiotics will do more harm (in the long run) than good, the cultural conditioning is too strong so they always prescribe and 9 times out of 10 it's antibiotics. I was a paramedic in the US for years and I know treatments are highly relative to cultures. I've got no problem with cupping or coining or other 'treatments' that appear to be absurd when viewed through the filter of my culture but, none of those practices have an international impact.

Over prescription of antibiotics is a very significant international problem and Asia is doing the world a huge disservice by allowing it's cultural customs to influence medicine to such a degree in this matter.

Comment Re:Just Block Google (Score 1) 224

"I did not read the first article about the Google employee who monitored chats of teenagers. However as I recall, he was fired and convicted."

He was promptly filed for unethical use of his acces but no criminal wrong doing was found.

I know it sounds more sensational to say he was convicted even though completely false. +5 Informative to the AC!

Comment Keep the pressure on elected officials about it! (Score 1) 57

I wrote up a plain text summary, from the /. submission, and personalized it a bit so, if you want to copy / paste and sign it and email it to your reps, senators and Obama you can grab it from here:

Find your reps and links to their contact info with your zip code here:

If you're too apathetic to think it can make any difference no need to reply. Thanks much!

Comment Re:Someone start a defense fund (Score 1) 955

Indeed, please also sign this petition which I would simply love to hear the administration's response to.

President Obama, if you believe in NSA surveillance, we challenge you to a live, public debate with Edward Snowden.

President Obama, you have said that the NSA's blanket tracking of Americans' phone calls and collaboration with tech giants "struck the right balance" and that you "welcome this debate". You must agree that this issue is worthy of your time, and as our president you are the best qualified person to make the case in favor of broad surveillance. To make the opposing case, we can think of no one better than whistleblower Edward Snowden. Like you, he has access to the data showing the tradeoff between securing America and damaging democracy (which at this point the public does not). He speaks with breathtaking clarity, and has left behind a comfortable life, facing death for the strength of his convictions. If you are as strong in yours, you owe him (and us) 1 hour of your time for this.

Comment Re:Hmm (Score 1) 104

I agree with your characterization of a non-functioning democracy but, you're wrong that the king is simply a figurehead. The monarchy wields considerable power and influence with the government and private sector through the privy counsel. He's the 4th richest man in the world, personally, even without full disclosure of his wealth. The assets belong to the monarchy (him), they are not property of the country in trust to the monarchy, there's no comparison. The military answers to the monarchy and the monarchy first. The monarchy may choose to not visibly exercise their authority often but, don't mistake that they have a very big hand in shaping the larger landscape of their land. No coup happens without their approval, the military is insanely loyal to the monarchy above all.

I think you know just enough about Thai politics to sound like an authority but, with all due respect, you're not. I've lived here 7-years and I'm still not either.

Finally, from the Asian / Thai perspective the harsh lesse lèse-majesté laws make sense... The monarchy occupies the highest rung on the social ladder and therefore, must be respectful to everyone and can't speak ill of anyone so, not being able to defend themselves, the state put into place laws to defend them. I'm from the US so it's hard to reckon with my system of logic but, it makes perfect sense to Thais.

Comment Re:Hmm (Score 1) 104

He may be pulling some strings from afar but his influence is waning considerably.
However, you would have to be pretty stupid not to know that the current PM was elected:,_2011 and that this isn't exactly the government Thais want. It was the democrat party, that was in power before the election, who got there with administrative maneuvers.

Comment You're asking in the wrong forum (Score 1) 273

/.ers are, for the most part, introverts, and not seasoned travelers. You see all the (negative) advice here about how hard it's going to be and all the potential problems. Now go post the very same same question on forums like Couch Surfing, Ball of Dirt or Lonely Planet and watch the (positive) ideas to solve your concerns flow like a waterfall from people who travel *a lot*.

Comment Re:do it (Score 1) 273

Indeed, especially here in Asia where the cost for a Western standard of living is comparatively very low. I've also been self-employed overseas for years and would never go back.

One quick bit of advice, get out of the hostel mentality now! You're not going to be crashing at a different place every night. You should be looking for accommodations that rent by the month. You can get a decent studio apartment across the street from where I live in Thailand for about $150 /mo. WiFi there is shared amongst all the residents of the building so that can be inconvenient. My 2bd, 1ba, full kitchen "duplex" costs me $230 /mo. My 14/1Mbit ADSL is $30 /mo. I started with a 6 month lease contract but could have probably got the place with no contract if I had pressed. Also, housing contracts here aren't worth the paper they are written on. If you don't leave much of a deposit or if you use it for your last months rent, a very common tactic here, you cave hardly any liability and can move anytime you want. The OP should consider themselves as a part-time resident, not a traveler, and should be looking for accommodations to match.

3G isn't everywhere in Asia yet but it is in most major cities and is expanding very rapidly. In some countries it's very well deployed. It's fast enough for work and besides cell/mobile phone tethering you can buy an "aircard" that accesses the GSM network. Then all you have to do is buy a sim card and sign up for a monthly data plan for whatever country you're in.

I've got a Kali VM and travel with a wifi nic that can run in monitor mode and do packet injection so I rarely have a problem finding an internet connection anywhere I need one these days, even when hard pressed to find a good open one. I'm a very courteous uninvited guest though, I don't mess with others' network configs nor saturate their bandwidth.

Sign up for Couch Surfing no so much for finding people's couches to crash on but for networking in the new country you have arrived. The expats who already live in the countries you are coming to will be more willing to help show you the ropes and how to get up on your feet in just about any country you land. Think of it as an easy way to make friends abroad that will help you integrate into the new community you're in. For example, I found out about where I live by word of mouth, it was not advertised, and that is the kind of thing people who already live where you are going can help you with.

And finally, yes, here in Asia all major malls have wifi and internet cafes or Starbucks and they will let you sit there all day long for purchasing a $3 cup of coffee and/or a $3 pastry. Don't look for public libraries here though, you won't find many / any.

Just do it and don't look back. Don't let the neckbeards here who haven't left their crypts for a month get you down. You'll have the time of your life and, if nothing else, the value of the experience itself will be immeasurable. Send me a PM / email if you want more specifics about how I made it work.

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