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    Surviving the Urban Jungle

    Dec 22, 2014

    JUST the other day, an officemate of mine was pistol-whipped inside a bus when it was held up by a group of gunmen.

    Such stories as this one really hit home: The city can be a dangerous place. As engines of prosperity, urban areas naturally contain the most people, the biggest investments, the speediest innovations—with all the good and bad that come with them. It’s in these places that people who have so little in common must depend on each other to survive.

    Strangers run your trains, butcher your meat, and cure your illnesses. They can also hold you up, pass on deadly diseases, or crash your stocks. They can even—in the worst of scenarios, when all social institutions break down—turn on you in dog-eat-dog post-apocalyptia. Survive 3 unique scenarios that can only happen in the urban jungle.

    Survive! a Financial Crash

    Presently, our country is in what Mike Oyson, CEO of BPI Trade, calls an economic “sweet spot”—a period of vigorous growth we haven’t enjoyed since the ’90s. But that decade also saw the arrival of the Asian financial crisis. “I called the crash six months before it happened, in December 1996, and no one believed me,” recalls Oyson.

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    What if it happens again? Oyson gives some money pointers for when a crash happens again.

    1. Job security should be your top-of-mind concern. “You’ve got to be in a company that is stable, first of all, and has a very low likelihood of firing you,” stresses Oyson. A steady paycheck should ensure that you have cash flow to keep paying your mortgage and car loan.

    2. Manage your debt levels. “You saw what happened in the United States, right?” Oyson asks rhetorically. “People had very interesting lifestyles, but very weak balance sheets.” Keep yourself in the red and don’t borrow from the banks.

    3. Maintain a good network. It’s friends and family who can help you find other jobs or even loan you money during critical periods.

    Survive! Leptospirosis

    Thanks to Typhoon Ondoy, there was, in 2009, “a major outbreak of leptospirosis,” says Cybele Abad, M.D., I.D.P.I, a consultant at The Medical City and clinical associate professor at the Philippine General Hospital. Leptospirosis is a uniquely urban disease thanks to its most common carrier: the rat. Spiral-shaped Leptospira bacteria piggyback on rat urine in floodwater and sewage, which can enter your body through the eyes, the mouth, or breaks in the skin.

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    “In most cases, leptospirosis is very mild,” Abad continues. In 10 to 15 percent of cases, however, she warns that leptospirosis can progress into deadly Weil’s disease. Take these steps to lock leptospirosis out of your system.

    1. Shoes are your best bet. Abad’s recommendation is to brave the floods in nothing less than plastic boots with rubber soles.

    2. After walking through floods, Abad prescribes taking 200 milligrams of doxycycline, an inexpensive antibiotic. If you have breaks in your skin and experience high-risk Leptospira exposure, take doxycycline every day for seven days.

    Survive! a mugging

    According to Fred Nogales, instructor at Krav Maga Philippines (Facebook.com/kravmagaph), the most common stick-up tactic is a come-from-behind ploy, wherein a robber sidles up to you, puts an arm over your shoulder, and points a knife at your side. Here’s how to get out of this alive

    1. “The first movement: The closest forearm should push the arm or the blade toward the body of the attacker, with your thumb pointed forward and your hip turning in place. You don’t push it with your hand—you push it with your body weight.”

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    2. “Keep maintaining this position and grab [the attacker’s knife wrist] with your free hand. Continue turning toward the assailant and [use your other hand to go] into what we call a double-handed control. Now, you’re gripping his wrist with both hands.”

    3. “Now that he’s facing you already, start kneeing or kicking the groin with your shin, depending on your reach. Continue doing that, then you run and escape. Don’t just run—push the hand holding the knife with equal force.”

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