The Five-Day Plan in Southeast Asia

Will the Five-Day Plan work in Asia?

DANIEL R. GUILD, Ministerial Association Secretary, Southeast Asia

Will the Five-Day Plan work in Asia? Are there smokers addicted to the habit here who will have the same desire to quit smoking as people in America? Will enlight­ened self-interest and the physiological and psy­chological principles be­lieved in by Seventh-day Adventists and used so successfully in America be equally effec­tive in Asia? Can the program be success­fully adapted to meet local circumstances? Will the news media, which receive so much of their income from the tobacco monopolies, and the governments, which are dependent on the tobacco taxes for a large share of their much-needed reve­nues, cooperate with this new program?

These questions were much in our minds as we contemplated introducing the Five-Day Plan in Asia. But now the questions have to a large extent been answered, for two pilot programs are now history. In July Dr. Roger Nelson and Pastor Chester Damron, of the Bangkok Sanitarium and Hospital, conducted a Five-Day Plan in that institution. In August, Dr. Ralph Waddell, medical secretary of the Far Eastern Divi­sion, and I held a Five-Day Plan in Penang.

Although the newspapers are much more reserved about cooperating with the pro­gram, much free publicity was given. In Bangkok the editor of the Bangkok Post, the largest English daily, took the course, and on the following Sunday gave more than half a page of coverage in pictures and a story.

In Penang the local newspaper ran two stories, and the national newspaper of Ma­laya ran one story. But a local newspaper reporter who desired to take the course failed to attend, probably under pressure from his editor. The government-con­trolled Radio Malaysia gave us an eight-minute interview, which was broadcast na­tionwide on Sunday evening.

Dr. Waddell put a great deal of thought and effort into adapting the program to meet the economic needs and physical needs of the local people. The control booklets printed in America cost the equivalent of a laborer's salary for one day in Malaysia, and their cost was thus prohibitive. So Dr. Waddell designed a set of five pocket-size cards, one for each night, and an envelope to keep the cards to­gether. In this tropical climate men do not wear coats, and these cards have the added advantage of fitting into a shirt pocket.

It has also proved possible, with some thought, to adapt the materials presented by the physician and the minister to meet local conditions. Some of the illustrations and other materials in the talks were adapted and changed. The diet here is much different from that in America, and modifications were necessary. In fact, in the General Conference kit the physician's talk for the fourth evening deals almost wholly with meat eating, and flesh food is only a small part of the local diet. Dr. Waddell worked out an entirely new talk for that evening, of course devoting the time and emphasis necessary to develop the advantages of a totally vegetarian diet.

Pastor Paul Eldridge, division ministe­rial secretary, has developed a combina­tion admission and punch card listing the day and title of each group therapy ses­sion. Titles for each day are: Sunday, "So You Want to Quit"; Monday, "Time Pulls the Trigger"; Tuesday, "Your Secret Weapon"; Wednesday, "The Spice of Life"; Thursday, "You Are the Winner." These are supplied in advance to those who send in registration cards. They are helpful in determining beforehand the size of the group that will participate and in keeping the attendance regular.

Plans are now under way to translate the script of the film One in 20,000 into the major languages of our union. At least for the present, a taped sound track is planned for the film. It is hoped that sound tracks in these languages can eventually be added to the film through the service provided by the General Conference Tem­perance Department. The Radio Doctor filmstrip So You Want to Quit and the filmstrip Nature's Filters are, of course, much easier to use in the local language.

Fearing that the people would not enter into the group-therapy portion of the eve­ning sessions as freely as in America, we were not prepared for the great surprise awaiting us. They responded in a warm and enthusiastic way. A man who had smoked sixty to seventy cigarettes a day for twenty-five years testified in the Pe­nang session: "I have more confidence in myself. Anyone with a genuine and intense desire to stop smoking will not fail to drop the disgusting smoking habit if he has at­tended the meetings and carried out all the instructions." A woman said the last eve­ning, "I have tried drops, pills, lozenges, everything, but have never been able to quit. With this program I made it. I'm through with cigarettes."

In the Bangkok session one woman, the wife of a doctor, said she had smoked four packs of cigarettes a day for the past twenty-four years. Her husband had ad­vised her that she must stop smoking. In­stead, she cut down to only two packs a day and added ten to twelve cigars a day! But gradually she went back to four packs a day. Under the program, for the first two days she was sleepy and lethargic. By the fifth evening her physical symptoms were gone. "I feel much better," she testified during the group-therapy session, adding with a grin, "and I've kicked my habit of drinking fifteen to twenty cups of coffee a day as well."

The results of the program have proved to be about the same as in America. Of the twenty persons who participated in Bangkok, Pastor Damron reports that 80 per cent of them were able to quit the habit. Results in Penang were similar to those in Bangkok. Of the sixty persons who took the course, 68 per cent of those who faithfully carried out the program were successful in breaking the habit.

A most encouraging aspect in both of the pilot programs is the type of people who are attracted by it---the wealthier peo­ple in business, Americans, Australians, and army men. In the past, other methods of evangelism have failed to reach many of this class of people in our union territory. Bangkok reports as participants the chief accountant in the Bank of America, two men from the American Embassy, a news­paper editor, and officials in the army. In Penang, several company directors, a lead­ing physician, officers in the Australian army, as well as Malays who are Moslems and strongly prejudiced against Christian­ity, were all attracted by the program.

On the closing night in Penang a hand­some Indian gentleman who had been coming each evening asked me for my home address. Then he offered his address to me. Finally he summed up the true

 

 


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DANIEL R. GUILD, Ministerial Association Secretary, Southeast Asia

April 1965

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