An Education

PORTFOLIO Magazine|May - June 2020

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An Education
While researching this article, I scanned through the folders in my inbox for the keyword “MACC,” which stands for Master of Arts in Contemporary China, the master’s degree program offered by Nanyang Technological University I enrolled for, way back in 2009.
Wendy Long

Ironically, I came across an email dated June 29, 2009, with the subject heading “Registration of New Students - Precautionary Measures on H1N1 (Influenza A).” As I read through the content, it felt like it could have been an email from March 2020, since it contained familiar phrases and advice such as “travel advisory,” “stay home for seven days if you have just returned from xxx countries,” check for symptoms like “high fever, sore throat etc.,” and “social distancing.” Wait — you mean these aren’t new phrases coined during current COVID times, and we had them during the H1N1 swine flu pandemic of 2009 too? What about H1N1? Why do I not recall much about it? After all, it was only slightly more than a decade ago and not half a century. Does that mean we’ll soon forget about these virulent COVID times as well? If we have learnt anything from history, it’s that it repeats itself, so this too shall pass and we’ll soon forget about it, however crazy it may seem now.

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May - June 2020