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Friday, September 18, 2009


In 2001, the mother of my friend, a neighbor, came home for the summer vacation after ten years of living in North America. Two days after she arrived, she was admitted to the hospital for illness. About ten days later, she died of what her physicians confirmed as lung cancer.

According to my friend, her mum was only 72 years old. Back in the States where she lived with her family, no one smokes a cigarette and nobody takes alcohol. But, she regularly drives her car to work. Everyone else in her family has each a car, and drives their own to work.

Listening quietly to these details, I also committed the same to memory. I have heard more of similar cases with people I know around. Several of my cousins who died quite young in life, drove their own cars. Two of them were more recent. One was stricken with cancer, and the other died of hypertension.

My own brother died at age 60 because of hypertension. He drives his own car since he was in his teens. My best friend died at 60. I remember well that everyday since 1979 she commutes for about 18 kilometers on public transport everyday, 5 days a week. Another friend neighbor just retired died of brain cancer. He drives his own car, and he owns a variety of them. My husband died at an early age of 55. He died of a complication from diabetes. He drove daily our car when he was still in good health.

My granddad died at 76. He smoked his pipe everyday that I can remember him when he was still alive. He has a car, but he does not drive. I recently heard that the guys who were his drivers before died quite young, not reaching the age 50, similar to their parents who died earlier than my mother. They own an automotive shop and have several family cars.

My grandma died at 81. She shared cars with granddad before. My father died at 69. But, he smokes, drinks some alcohols, and drives the family car. My mom died at 86. She is very homey. Seldom does she travels on motorized engines. She does not smoke, drive, or take any alcoholic beverages. But, we had the family car to travel with sometimes. Her physicians confirmed her to be stricken with osteoporosis which caused her to weaken until she died.

The mother of my dad who knew nothing of cars and just walks around wherever, died at 106 years old. She smokes the raw tobacco and drinks every afternoon her favorite locally made alcohol and sometimes the fermented coconut sap. The first cousin of my granddad died at 114 years old. She also just walks around and seldom rides any motorized vehicles. She smokes her raw tobacco everyday with the glowing ember inside her mouth and drinks her favorite locally made alcohol everyday without pass. Now, which is more toxic?

1 comment:

  1. You got me thinking for a while. My hypothesis would be the carcinogenic organic vapor from the vehicle's interior that is causing the illness. A substantial amount of material found in the cabin are made of plastic which under high heat will release toxic vapors. In japan there are some cars that uses less 'volatile' materials in the interior. One can distinguish those models by their lack of "new car smell".