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Vietnam’s Greatest Feat of Engineering: Sticky Plasters

It does exactly what it says on the tin.
It does exactly what it says on the tin.

I’ve discovered one thing that Vietnam does better than anywhere else in the world: sticky plasters.

Today I went for a medical. To work legally in Vietnam, you need a work permit. To get a work permit, you need to pass a medical exam. Thus today I visited a clinic near where I live.

They were very thorough. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t quite finger-up-the-bum time. But I spent a solid hour there, having a blood test in case I have HIV or malaria (in which case you get deported), having a chest X-Ray in case I have tuberculosis (in which case you get deported), and having an impressive range of hearing and seeing tests, having urine tests, having my lungs listened too, my eyes checked for something or other (she didn’t say what), having my weight and height taken, and broadly answering all sorts of probing questions about my medical history.

The only thing she didn’t do was that thing where they hit your knee with a little rubber hammer. Do they even still do that anymore? Why did they ever do that anyway?

I digress. I started talking about sticky plasters. One thing Vietnam does better than anywhere in the whole world is sticky plasters, in that they stick to your skin as if they were backed by not a soft, water based adhesive, but  rather industrial strength super glue. Ronseal need to get in touch with these guys and find out what they’re using, these plasters could stick chairs to walls with very little fuss.

See that plaster in the picture? The one covering the tiny little dimple where the needle went in when I had my blood taken? That plaster is now essentially a part of my body. I’ve tried removing it with warm soapy water, and it won’t come off. I’ve tried shoving a toothpick under the edges, but that doesn’t work either.

The only thing for it is going to be for me to endure a moment of bravery greater than anything mankind has known thus far, and for me to take my life in my hands, a wooden bit between my teeth, and rip it off in a single, swift movement. It will hurt more than anything I’ve ever known. It’ll leave me requiring stitches and very possibly a skin graft, and the scream will echo from here to… Well, lets just say everyone back home 8,000 miles away will probably hear it.

…….either that, or I could leave it a few days and hope regular showers somehow begin to dissolve the glue. And if they don’t, what’s so bad about wearing a plaster forever anyway? Can’t be that bad for you, can it? I’ll just say its covering a small wound, a wound inflicted when I was rescuing a child from a burning building. An orphan. A sick orphan. A sick orphan, in a burning building, which had rabid dogs outside. A sick orphan, in a burning building, with rabid dogs outside and which involved leaping over a pit of cobras on the way out, but alas whilst performing said leap I endured a tiny scar on my inner left arm from a piece of flying shrapnel, hence the Ronseal plaster.

Yeah that’ll work.