Tuesday, April 15, 2014

what changed the world?


i can totally relate to this article. the world now is not the same one we used to know when we were kids. progress stamps its mark but along with change comes its ugly baggage as well. how often do we wish we could go back to the good old times?

i would. that's why i look forward to reunions.

we just had one.

this is our class of 79/84.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

authorised car service....or another scam?


dropped off my car last week at the authorised workshop for the 50K km service. the service advisor told me the parts that needed to be changed, eg. engine oil, filter, which i had expected.

half an hour later, i got a call from the foreman servicing my car & he said the wipers, air-con filter & battery needed replacement. apparently, the wipers had uneven edges, the air-con filter is clogged up & the battery is weak.

i said OK but told the guy that the battery was changed middle of last year & it's still within the warranty period, ie. 12months & 20K km. he said he'd check & call me back. it was the service advisor who called me & said the battery was weak because i hardly use the car, hence it's not fully charged.

i told her it doesn't matter how much i used the car, as long as it's within the warranty period & if the battery is "weak", then it should be changed without any cost to me. then she started bla ...bla....bla.... that she'll get the foreman to fully charge my battery & that should be OK after that. but i stood my ground, questioning why the foreman asked to change battery in the 1st place when all it needed was a full charge.

anyway, i told her in an agitated tone to do what needed to be done & i'll come collect the car later that evening. my mind was screaming,"Scam! Scam!"

 i sort of held my breath when i went to the workshop later. as expected, the woman service advisor whom i had earlier dealt with avoided me & it was another guy who who attended to me. he explained that, although not standard practice, the battery was changed out of goodwill. i thanked him & wondering if it was standard practice to change parts that do not need changing.

back home, i deleted the email i had earlier drafted, addressed to car's corporate HQ in KL.

Monday, March 17, 2014

we prayed and we prayed.


we prayed.

we waited.

and it rained......finally, over the weekend.


then we continued to pray.


and we wait.

will this prayer be answered soon?

Monday, March 10, 2014

one born every minute


email scams are so common, yet people fall for it all the time. the ones i often get are strangers from african countries who seemed to have pin-pointed me as a beneficiary of grand sums of money left by unknown benefactors.

but a windfall from singapore airlines may sound more believeable.....

esp if the reward is in SGD & not USD.....

the postal address is correctly stated but the email domain remains highly suspicious.....
 

so i just deleted it.

i don't want to be another statistic.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

live & let live


i know times are hard...


and this headline doesn't help.

most of my colleagues aren't rubbing their hands in glee because they don't strictly follow the fee schedule, ie. they don't charge the maximum allowable, because of the fierce fee competition amongst doctors. many of my GPs colleagues are struggling to make a decent living. those with huge cars & houses are mostly in established practices & are in the panels of doctors for factories & other businesses; many others are not in these "lucrative" panels. well, it's not exactly lucrative as these factories also try to squeeze a deal with the doctors - with so many clinics now, they will go for ones with the lowest cost.

i'm not saying the increase aren't justified - no increase in prices will ever please the majority. if you've ever been admitted to a private hospital, you will realise that the doctors' portion of the total bill range between 25-35%, while the hospital charges are NOT regulated. one hospital charges rm3.30 just to serve medication. multiply that by the number of tablets a day and the number of patients served & you'll realise who else has been reaping the rich rewards of private healthcare!

all i want to say is, live & let live.

when astro increased the price of their packages, i cancelled the movie subscription. when TNB increase their tariff, i stopped using the air-con on cooler nites. everytime McD adjusts the price of their value meals, i patronise it even less.

live & let live.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

upstaged


not many people like to be upstaged by others.

but i have to admit that my little girl (well, not so little now but still.....) has outperformed me at every level of school education.

when she did well in the UPSR & PMR exams, i brushed it off as a different level of standard over the decades between our exams. when she did it again at O-levels, i thought it was a flash in the pan.

and yes, i'm a hard man to please.

but now that she has outscored & out-aced me at A-levels, it's certainly time to pass the torch to the next generation & i'm proud she's up to the challenge.

she 1st flew the nest here and then here.


Thursday, February 27, 2014

then & now again.

 
then......
 
 
now.......
 

and because the boy didn't go this time, he's missing out.....& tries to communicate.....


a rite of passage of sorts for the family........

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

T - 1 day


yeah, i'm all mushy about my little girl today......



Sunday, February 16, 2014

then and now


this was 2010.....(on vacation)

this is now.....(& it's no holiday this time).....


after the initial application, followed by an interview & offer & acceptance, application for certificate of good conduct & student visa......

this is it.....

she's off to varsity.....!

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

a horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!


it's been 12 years.....and the year of the horse is upon us again.

my boy will be 12 this year, & i foresee he'll be as tall as i am very soon. just see how we match....his right hand against my left, palm to palm.

 
this quote is from Shakespeare's Richard III. in the battle, King Richard III 's horse, Surrey, is killed. unable to flee and unable to gather more troops, he falls to the Earl Of Richmond who slays him, to become King.  he died and his kingdom went to the conquerer because his horse was killed and he could not flee.  it is a manner of summing up the frustration every human feels when he or she lacks the service of something once taken for granted.
 
my son & my late father were both born in the year of the horse, 72 years apart. one living at home, the other in our hearts. indeed, by grace, in my family, we lack nothing.

Monday, February 03, 2014

credit card scam?


you know how it is when the bank wants to offer you a credit card.

they will call you (how did they get your mobile number when you don't have an account with them????) or more likely, hound you at the shopping malls or at the exit of IT/computer/furniture/travel fairs. often, they will entice you with free umbrellas, flashdrives, toys, shoe bags, etc. that it can be difficult to turn down.

but what happens when you want to cancel the card after finding out a competitor is offering a better deal?

you go to the bank to cancel it, right?























i was waiting at the bank today when i saw this guy try to do just that. he waited for about 10-15mins for the customer service exec to return from lunch. she's alone because the others must have taken off for Lunar New Year. she gave him a form to fill while she disappeared into the main office, the locked room you can't access without a keycard.

and made him wait for at least another 15mins, because he was still waiting when i left.

is this a one-off incident or do banks treat their want-away customers this way?

i don't know. i usually call customer service (the number given at the back of the card) when i want to cancel. every time without fail, they will offer to waive the annual fees AND give me the govt service tax rebate of rm50 after using the card for a specified number of times, usually 3 times within a month.

and every time, almost without fail, i will change my mind & retain the card.

after all, i think i have nothing to lose.

or, have i been scammed as well????

Monday, January 27, 2014

Barang Naik

it's true.....

according to this supermarket....



and that's not even considering electricity, toll, astro, sugar, petrol, quit rent.........!!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

concert

 
 


http://youtu.be/jafPjlUxZ_o

http://youtu.be/jafPjlUxZ_o
       

hell


is it really a state of the mind?


then, how come i feel it only at work??

:P

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

great ocean road

appropriately enough, being the last day of the year, i have this to confess : despite all the attractions that melbourne affords, many of which were mention in the previous post, i chose to visit melbourne over sydney because of the iconic great ocean road and the 12 apostles.

not to mention that the air tickets were also cheaper.


The Great Ocean Road (aka surf coast highway, B100) is an Australian National Heritage listed 243 kilometres stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Allansford, near Warrnambool. (wikipedia)

we had planned on staying a nite at apollo bay, somewhere in the midpoint of this iconic road but because all  accommodation listed on agoda & booking.com were not available on the date we wanted, we ended up staying further west at port campbell. this turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as the famed 12 apostles is located just a short drive away.....
after 4 hours on the road, was this a welcome sight or what??

there were originally only 9 of these limestone rocks but for the purpose of tourism, they were called the 12 apostles. one, humourously called Judas, has been eroded by the waves in 2005, leaving just 8 currently.

another rocky attraction is the loch ard gorge a few km down the road.



just to end with new year greetings from my family.....



Melbourne CBD



in a city where parking spaces are few & expensive, a good public transport system is a boon to tourism, even better if it's free!! such as the city circle tram.....

it tracks around the CBD & gets people to many touristy spots, eg. victoria market, harbourtown, south yarra. some within walking distance from the tram stops.

one place where tourists congregate is federation square, a post-modern block of buildings which houses an exhibition hall as well as tourist information. of course, free wifi also helps...














my host thinks it's an eye sore! it seems a bit out of place amongst the new and old.....















...... like these 2 adjacent old church buildings and the new block being constructed in the background. ah yes, we did notice quite a few apartment blocks undergoing construction right within the CBD itself. perhaps these have already been advertised in our local papers.

what's a vibrant city without people having a few beers on a friday evening....















food......





























and street performers............?

throw in shopping......
and something odd, like a tourist-friendly street-full of graffitis....
 
and there you have a city worth a visit.

Monday, December 30, 2013

a tale of 3 daughters.....


............and their respective fathers. all 3 daughters are 1st-born & their respective fathers are doctors in private practice.

daughter #1 aspires to be a lawyer, but her father is encouraging & cajoling her to take up medicine. basically, he wants her to take over his practice when he retires.

daughter #2 wants to be a dentist, because she wasn't sure if her grades could take her to med school, which got her father upset. now that she's aced the A-levels, she's decided to do medicine instead & her father is now happy as a lark.

daughter #3 plans to do pharmacy & her father is glad she's not following the herd. however, at the interview with the university's representatives, they offered her an additional option of medicine as well, based on her forecast results. now, she's changed her mind & decided to take up the "improved offer." her father is not so sure she's made the right choice but lets her decide her own destiny anyway.

in this current climate where everyone can take up medicine, you must know of daughters or fathers who resemble the fictitious characters in this tale.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

our annual family vacation 2013


all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, & this is where i stop feeling like Jack.

this year's time out with the family was in Melbourne, often & widely proclaimed as the most livable city in the world.

no doubt it was the hottest we've been - on our 1st day there, it was a blazing 39*C! so out came the sunshades, sunglasses & sun-block lotion! there's also a month's window when cherries are just ripe for the picking & because workers are few, the farmers invite locals & tourists to pick them, charging entrance fees as well as cherries by weight.

 so that's our 1st experience at a cherry farm. we've also tried picking at a strawberry farm many years previously but that was near the end-of-season, so the fruits were small & unappealing.

many cafes ground & brew their own coffee & this has led melbourne to be touted as one of the coffee capitals of the world. well, i'm not surprised - even my host owns a coffee machine which grinds, brews & filter the drink & even has a steamer for milk.


how cool is that!!

but on a hot day, i wanted an iced coffee instead of the usual brew in a cup. to my pleasant surprise, an iced coffee over there is coffee in a tall glass chilled with a huge scoop of vanilla ice-cream & cream.

ah, i'm beginning to like this city already......

(to be continued)




Tuesday, December 17, 2013

deception


treating children is not my forte; that's why I didn't do paediatrics. but often I get kids who are unco-operative & will do a running battle with me.

like trying to insert an intravenous cannula. so, i try to cajole this 8-year-old into thinking that it's actually a cute little butterfly......
















he only looks partly convinced.

before i spray some cold liquid on the back of his hand, i tell him it will feel like iced milo. this numbs the skin & i try to insert the cannula fast before the cold wears off. once in, the battle is almost won.

then i tell him i need to feed the "butterfly" some water....


finally, i tell him the butterfly needs to have some milk because it's hungry.






















that's the last thing he remembers before he doze off to sleep.............and kids looks so angelic when they're in deep sleep!!

butterfly, iced milo, milk......this is how we "deceive" kids into co-operating with us.

Monday, December 16, 2013

stringed ensemble


we had our little Christmas do last nite.

besides food & drinks & outreaching, we also discovered our little stringed ensemble.....

















may they use their God-given talents in praising His name. Amen.

Monday, December 09, 2013

thank you, pa!


those were his 1st words after he got this....



......which was a promise made to him early this year if he maintained his position in class. and he did exceed our expectations.

however, this was not without condition - he will be denied access should he slack or falter next year. then, he will learn very quickly that, in the real world, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

or, in his case, an iPad.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

am i the prodigal son?


years ago, i made up my mind to return to my roots & serve in a mission hospital. i did apply to join but while waiting for a vacancy, i went over to s'pore. months later, due to some miscommunication, the mission hospital hired someone else.

that's when i came back & found another vacancy at another hospital in another state.

and i've been here since.

a few months back, i met up with a pastor who said he has served at the mission hospital & know the management team well. and if i had any intention to return, he could help me. i sort of brushed it off disregarded it.

then last week, another former pastor and currently educator told me via FB that he has been sent to join the senior management team of that hospital. when i related how i almost got to work there 15 years ago, he asked if i was still interested to return to the fold because he wielded considerable influence there.

ha ha, is someone up there messing with prompting me?? sending these two people to bid me to return to my roots?

i think, just to be on the safe side, i'll just wait for a 3rd messenger ....that would really convince me to uproot & move.

until then, i'll just remain content in my kampong life.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

whatsapp!


used Whatsapp for the 1st time today.

(it just means that i've just got myself an android phone la!!)

better late than never, right?

Sunday, December 01, 2013

an unusual birthday gift


i received this self-made birthday card from the daughter today......



yes, she's finally finished.....but something else may be about to start.....
 
she's introduced us to a local boy.....2 years older, from the church, currently undergoing national service.......
 
should i laugh or cry??

Thursday, November 28, 2013

dust to dust

 




















"For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.” gen 3:19

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

3.15pm (and the fat lady has sung.)


the last paper is done & dusted......

and although school officially is over, the learning never ends.....

but now, it's time to relax for little while........

.....and rejoice......

..........and reunite..........

..............and anticipate.......

....................where the path will next lead to..........

exams.....another love-hate relationship.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

butterflies.....again!

 
i had another dose of butterflies some weeks back.....
 
this was a middle-aged man with a tumour that secretes a hormone which raises the blood pressure. never in my 28 years in medical practice have i seen anyone with a blood pressure of 307/111 (!!!) until that day.
 
 
but there's always a 1st time for everything, yes?
 
a sudden surge in BP is never good, particularly for the brain or heart & a stroke or a heart attack is a very real threat.
 
to cut a long story short, the body is a wonderful machine which can withstand  multiple insults & assaults & still come through largely intact.
 
the tumour was successfully removed after a 6-hour surgery. while the patient will probably live longer now, i fear, ironically, that my life just got cut short by at least 3 months.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

butterflies.


this i remember from the 70s....

there was this sitcom about a Mexican family living in the US. the guy was terribly anxious about an upcoming event & he told his wife so.

"i'm having cocoons in my stomach!"

"err...you mean, you have butterflies?"

"no, cocoons....but they will be butterflies this afternoon!!"

lame, right?

i can understand the anxiety my daughter is going thru during the current A-level exams. some days, it even feels like i'm sitting for it!! after all, i've been doing exams after exams from primary school till varsity, & each seemed to be more important than the previous one.

& i still go thru anxiety spells at work. like today.

2-month-old kids are fun to make monkey faces at & tickle koochi-koochi, but i tell, they're no fun to give an anaesthetic to. they are so dainty.... so delicate....the margin for error is slim. one little slip &........

arrghhh....don't want to think about it...

so you can understand why, like my daughter, i've been having cocoons since early this morning.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

of queens and princesses.........

 
so far, half of this statement has been true for me......
 
 
what about you?

Thursday, November 07, 2013

just a phone call.....