Earlier this week, Donald Trump committed a heinous act and bought 90% of the world’s supply of Remdesivir from the US pharmaceutical company, Gilead Sciences. Whilst the US hoards it for their own use, it deprives the rest of the world of this potentially life-saving drug. Apart from a handful of countries who hold some stock of this drug such as South Korea and Australia, there is nothing for the others for at least the next three months. This is what America does, to both friend and foe. Since it is under patent to Gilead, no other rich country can produce it, despite their capability to make it or the potential to save lives. Lower-income countries however can access the generic version of the drug, made under licence with India, Pakistan and Egypt. We can understand America’s immoral behaviour though – their daily infection rate has hit a new record, now over 50,000 cases. On July 1, Europe started opening their borders to many countries but the list excludes their old ally, America. The most powerful and wealthiest country in the world is ranked very lowly in terms of managing the spread of the virus. That the world’s most advanced economy is greatly out-performed by minnows such as Montenegro, Morocco, Tunisia and Rwanda is an indictment on the Trump administration. Citizens of these countries are welcomed to visit Europe but not Americans. Prior to the pandemic, the US was ranked No. 1 and the UK No. 2 in a Global Health Security Index. We now know the US ranks last in the world and the UK last in Europe, for the number of COVID-19 deaths they have reported.
Remdesivir is an antiviral drug that has been repositioned as a fore-runner in the treatment of COVID-19. In late April, The Lancet reported that early trials in China did not show any significant benefit on patient recovery time or on mortality rates. The trials were abruptly terminated in China due to their low cases in May but preliminary results in the US showed patients recovered some four days faster after Remdesivir treatment, although there was no significant difference in the death rate with those given a placebo. That Trump can leave all other nations without any supply of a life-saving drug by hoarding it wholly for themselves shows how evil the empire has become. It begs the question what they will do with the vaccine, should that become available to them first. It does not stretch my imagination that Trump is capable of using it to extort the world for his own personal gain.
There is much evil and treachery in the world. I was therefore pleased when a friend baked a pie and our conversation turned to nursery rhymes instead. We began with the one about a pie, of course.
Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye,
Four and twenty blackbirds
Baked in a pie.
But, we came to the part about the maid who was hanging out the clothes in the garden. Along came a blackbird and snipped off her nose! So graphic, so violent. Was this a children’s nursery rhyme? How awful. What did the adults do to us when we were young? Soon after, I was telling my friends I was somewhat traumatised by other rhymes too, such as Humpty Dumpty and Jack and Jill. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again. As for Jack and Jill, they did not tell me Jack was King Louis XVI who lost his crown (he was beheaded) when he fell down, and Jill (his Queen, Marie Antoinette) came tumbling after. Another gruesome tale for a young boy.
Ring around the Rosie has a lot of relevance today. The rosie is a red rash, a symptom of the Bubonic plague. The children sneezed and soon died whilst on their feet.
Ring around the rosie
A pocketful of posies
We all fall down!
Goosey, Goosey Gander was equally ferocious to an elderly man. They simply caught his left leg and threw him down the stairs! I wondered if any kid ever did that to their grand-father after learning these harmless rhymes.
Goosey, goosey, gander,
Where shall I wander?
Upstairs and downstairs
And in my lady’s chamber.
There I met an old man
Who wouldn’t say his prayers;
I took him by the left leg,
And threw him down the stairs
It’s Raining, It’s Pouring was also about a head injury. He was careless going to bed, hit his head and died. I do not understand the preoccupation with head injuries.
It’s raining, it’s pouring
The old man is snoring
He went to bed and he bumped his head
And couldn’t get up in the morning.
London Bridge Is Falling Down. London Bridge Is Falling Down. I did not understand why there was a fair lady when the famous bridge by the Thames fell down. This nursery rhyme was actually about Anne Boleyn, the beautiful second wife of King Henry VIII. She was accused of adultery and had her head chopped off for treason. I may be mistaken for believing that Anne Boleyn is beautiful, as I often confuse her with Lady Jane Grey whose execution was also held in The Tower of London. I was captivated by Paul Delaroche’s superb “The Execution of Lady Jane Grey”.
London Bridge is falling down
Falling down, falling down
London Bridge is falling down
M-y f-a-i-r l-a-d-y
Nursery rhymes are meant to encourage young children to sing and recite poetry – lyrics that rhyme with nice melodies helped us while our holidays away. But, why the horrible tales? Three blind mice with their tails cut off with a carving knife was gruesome, and in Ladybug, Ladybug Fly Away Home children burned in a house fire!
Ladybug, ladybug fly away home,
Your house is on fire,
Your children will burn.
Except for the little one whose name is Anne,
Who hid away in a frying pan
In Mother Goose, why would the adults even think it’s wise to put a baby to sleep high up on the tree top? Rock-a-bye baby on the tree top, When the wind blows the cradle will rock, When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall, And down will come Baby, Cradle and all.
Luckily, we Chinese kids had some reprieve from these horrible nursery rhymes from the West. One of my favourites was a Shanghainese nursery rhyme about some mice that came out to play when the cat was away. It returned and sprung a surprise at them.
Loh Tze kui koh
Huo meh leh thou
Cheche tha Cheche tha!