16.42, 8 October 2010
I'm sure many people will have noticed that Sunday will be 10.10.10 – the tenth day of the tenth month of the tenth year of the century. It’s the sort of symmetrical date that is always likely to spark our curiosity.
It can also set off alarm bells for the technophobes who fear it could cause computer's internal clocks to jam (particularly at 10.10am), or for a virus to be unleashed across the internet.
But for some, Sunday's date will be an auspicious one. For example, the status of the number 10 in Far Eastern cultures has led to a rush in wedding bookings. According to press reports, Shanghai's registry office is fully booked on that day. Couples seemingly want the date and its symbolic association with perfection and completion to ensure ongoing marital bliss.
But other reports make for more troubling reading.
In Dubai, the Daily Telegraph
reports, one hospital has allowed ten expectant mothers to elect that date for their caesarean section. The view at the Dubai Healthcare City Hospital is: ‘People opt for special phone numbers or special car numbers, so why not special dates of birth?’
It's a casual approach to elective caesarean section that many will hope does not catch on here. The idea of basing such a crucial decision on the novelty of a symmetrical birth date is plainly irrational and irresponsible.
So it's somewhat comforting to note the findings of research published this week by the British Medical Journal
, examining the variation in rates of caesarean section in England.
The study found that, that despite the rate of caesareans doubling since the 1980s, most of the differences are due to decisions taken in emergency situations and not women clamouring for caesarean as a whimsical lifestyle choice.
May common sense prevail, until 11 November next year, and beyond.
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