ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Economic progress takes its toll
By David Swartzentruber
In Shanghai a 25-year-old female employee with the Shanghai office of PricewaterhouseCoopers, a junior auditor with the firm, died April 10 from cerebral meningitis that had developed from a flu virus.
She left as her legacy a micro blog.
Before her death, she had frequently turned to the Internet to complain about feeling tired and about her poor health, conditions she believed resulted from overwork. On March 31, she wrote, “"Whenever there's a chance to take a break, a fever comes."
Her death caused an uproar on the Internet, igniting public debate over the increasing health risks white-collars workers are subjected to in large Chinese cities like Shanghai and Beijing, where overwork and fatigue commonly lead to various occupational diseases.
Although this incident occurred in China, it could easily be placed in any major Asian city as upward economic mobility follows the same route as in the older western economies.
Recent research indicates that setting in front of a computer working is sure to shorten life spans unless workers devote more time to physical activity for balance. This 21st century phenomenon has spawned the growth of exercise centers throughout Asia. However, the associated costs and lack of recognition of the benefits of exercise means many Asian white-collar workers are easy targets for the latest flu strains.
The spread of disease is always accelerated by the poor air quality in most Asian cities.
Health issues and work hours are sure to become major issues as Asian economies improve and work stress increases.
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