A healthier drink than water | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 29, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 29, 2008

VittachiOnly in AsiaBy Nury Vittachi

A healthier drink than water

TAP water is not only better than bottled water -- but it's healthier than filtered water, too. Yet beer is the best of all, reports reader Alex Goh, a Malaysian hydro-engineer.
Thanks, Mr. Goh. I shall adjust my children's drinks intake list accordingly.
Mr. Goh, an expert in water systems, read the column on this page about tap water being healthier than bottled water and was inspired to share his own experience.
He was part of a team who installed high-grade purification equipment into the Carlsberg plant in Malaysia, so can confirm that the beer was made from the purest possible water.
But his study of Malaysia's tap water produced surprises. It revealed that it had high level of chlorine. This is not dangerous unless the stuff combines with organic matter to form trihalomethane, a carcinogen, he told me. He found that normal tap water in Malaysia contained almost no organic matter, but the stuff that came out of home water filters often did.
Thus: in terms of health, at least in his part of the world, tap water is better than filtered water, but beer was best of all.
Thanks, Alex: you have just made a lot of men very happy indeed. Next: I need you to use your chemical analysis skills to prove that eating chocolate fudge cake increases longevity.
This column today should be better written than normal, since I am going to devote the whole space to feedback from readers.
Contrary to what was stated in my column last week, the haggis of Scotland should be eaten, not played, I heard from readers Humayun Hye of Bangladesh and Dilys Mackenzie of Sri Lanka.
But I did get some support from a lady named Pilates, who said: "You imply that people should blow into the haggis and eat the bagpipes instead of the other way around. Your suggestion is good as it would improve the taste of one and the sound of the other." So there.
On the subject of having a name which suits your job, one reader pointed to the top writer of cowboy gunslinger novels, whose name is Zane Grey. He adopted the first name "Zane" because he thought it sounded tougher than his real first name. His real first name was Pearl. Ouch!
Staying on the topic of names and macho men, reader Lisa Ip of Hong Kong said that every time her husband Bartek introduces himself, people say: "Eh? Martin? Barton? Burton?"
His professor got frustrated and decided to call him by his middle name, Jan.
"But he pronounced it 'Jane'," Lisa lamented.
Bartek is large, beefy and powerful and really does not look like a Jane.
Still on the topic of names, reader Karuna Menon from India wrote: "Indians typically use a god's name for their children, their cows and their elephants. With a million gods to choose from, it's easy. But, dogs are usually given an English name, such as Jimmy, Tommy or Johnny."
The English would probably take this as a compliment, since they're crazy about dogs. In England, the name "Rex" is reserved for monarchs and dogs -- although the press seems to respect dogs more than royalty.
In the meantime, the men of Asia should raise a toast to Mr. Goh -- and make sure your glass is filled with a health drink, such as beer.

Sellers of water filters can complain to our columnist via: www.vittachi.com.

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