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Ebola and etiquette: man fi bow!

Published:Friday | October 24, 2014 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir: Western greetings and social etiquette embrace handshakes wholeheartedly as a norm. We go to a meeting at work and we shake hands with co-workers and clients. We go to church and we shake hands with brethren. In Jamaica, we have a 'shake-hand' culture. But what about Ebola, which can be transmitted by a simple handshake, perhaps even through a sweaty palm?

As new as Ebola is, some church brethren seemed to have known about it from its origin, given from ever since they'd have been reluctant to shake hands with you anyway.

Check out the WHO website: "The World Health Organization has recommended to people to find different ways of greeting apart from handshake so as to reduce the chances of contracting the Ebola virus." You see how serious this issue of handshake is?!

The irony is the bumping of fists and 'elbow speck' greeting, which usually draw the ire of the sophisticated keepers and overseers of social etiquette, may be safer than handshakes. None is acceptable for me, however, because they all involve physical contact.

So how do we great each other then?

With the flood of Chinese investment into the island, some smart person suggested the country be renamed Chimaica. But even if we don't go that far, we can adopt Chinese greetings for safety.

Unlike Westerners who shake hands, it is common for Chinese, Japanese and other Asians to greet each other without a single touch but merely with a bow.

Therefore, I suggest that we now replace handshakes and, in turn, develop a culture of bowing to prevent diseases and sustaining good health.

As of today, men and women, let us all begin to bow!