Swedish politician mulls Thai bows to counter swine flu

While several local parishes of the Church of Sweden are advocating the use of fortified wine to prevent the spread of swine flu during communion, a Swedish politician is proposing a different measure to prevent the virus from spreading - the introduction of traditional Thai greetings in an effort to reduce direct contact.

Moderate Party member of parliament Göran Thingwall, who is also a physician, has suggested reducing the risk of swine flu among Riksdag members by doing away with handshakes and instead adopting the traditional Thai bow. In a letter to the parliamentary speaker, which was published on polticial news website Politikerbloggen, Thingwall wrote:

“During these times of swine flu, I propose that Sweden’s Riksdag be proactive in reducing the spread of infection by introducing a new form of greeting. Rubbing elbows against each other is not appropriate because you come too close to each other. […] Personally, I have adopted the wai greeting [a slight bow often used in Thailand] to great success and with a positive reception. Let us in the Riksdag stand up for the fight against direct contact, which is a major factor in the spread of the virus!”

Metro newspaper reported that Social Democratic leader Mona Sahlin stayed home this week with a suspected case of swine flu following a vigorous handshaking session in Kungsträdgården in Stockholm on Sunday.


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