Where the Scrubbing Never Stops

It was the mah-jongg, Ann Kong believes, that finally put her over the edge. Living just a few blocks from Amoy Gardens, she was already nervous about SARS. But the reality didn't hit her until she arrived at her brother's home for the family's weekly mah-jongg game. Everyone had to wear slippers, and there was a designated "shoe area" to prevent footwear from contaminating the flat. The usually raucous pregame lunch was silent—the 10-person group had agreed not to talk to avoid spitting on one another and the food. Kong's brother wiped the...

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