Thursday, June 28, 2007

rich rewards (or how not to bring up a child)

Q : how do you get a child to take medicine?
A : offer a cup of ribena to go with it.

Q : how do you get a child to do homework?
A : allow some television after the job is accomplished.

Q : how do you get a child to brush teeth?
A : not by showing pictures of dental caries, i should think!!

not unlike adults, children are motivated by reward. after all, children ARE little adults, aren't they? so, to get the boy to brush his teeth TWICE a day, the wife got him.......

(1) a cute little toothbrush.....

... that actually stands on its own,

(2) fruity toothpaste the deal..

& (3) to make him feel very much part of the family...

....a child-friendly stool to reach the wash basin.

i think i read somewhere (was it ruth liew's column?) that children should not be taught that the reward justifies the task, lest they grow up focussed solely on the bounty, without the promise of which, no voluntary effort will be duly expensed. like maybe, they should be coaxed to take medicine to get better, or they should complete their homework to gain knowledge.

but, seriously, how else can you really convince a child to brush his teeth TWICE a day?

Sunday, June 24, 2007


i'm not a bookworm by any measure, so it's interesting to see this week's bestseller list released by MPH & published in today's sunday star - because i actually have read 4 of the 10 novels listed.

so, what does that make me? an avid reader? i'm not sure but i'd like to think that i could fill those blank moments in between treating & waiting for patients with some literary knowledge. (note : doctors wait for patients, too!) oh yes, that's also how i kill time while waiting for my turn at governmental offices, banks & also for people who are habitually late.

i think to be a "balanced" well-informed reader, i should also read non-fiction, although i must point out that Tuesdays with Morrie strictly should be classified non-fiction, as it is a true story (& almost a biography). if i can vaguely remember, the last non-fiction that passed through my fingers in the distant past was Rick Warren's Purpose-driven Life .

so, do i ever read local/asian writers? sadly, very occasionally. Karim Raslan writes well with dollops of humour & cynicism, Catherine Lim's style is simple & straight-forward & we all know about Lee Kuan Yew's blunt & hard-hitting autobiography.

hmm, maybe it's time to re-read The Malay Dilemma again.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

long live the King

the writing has been on the wall for some time & now, it's finally happened.

i saw it with my own eyes - thierry henry, arsenal's striker extraordinaire, has announced on french tv that he has signed for Spanish giants Barcelona.

it doesn't matter how much was transacted.

it doesn't matter why he left.

he's gone &, godzillions of gunners fans will mourn the passing of an era - of sublime skill, spectacular goals & mastery of the ball.

long live King Henry!!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

On-call on Father's Day

i am on-call this weekend, so i missed out on the Father's Day presentation at church by the kids.

it's heartwarming to see them up on stage in a public display of affection, so i had the girl take some photos in my absence (it's obvious she needs more practice!)

all fathers were presented a gift each as well.

hmm, what's the relevance of a packet of groundnuts & a bunch of bananas?? maybe it's the attached message that counts.

2 kids & an aspiration

i have 2 kids, a girl aged 13 & a boy aged 5.

when they become adults in due time..........

.....i hope the girl will yearn to meet a man of God whose virtues remind her of me..

....and i hope the boy will strive to emulate me, at least the good bits.

that's the sort of parent i aspire to be, as cliche & tacky as it may sound!

happy father's day,
one & all!!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

the dark side

i was very upset when i got the call from hospital last nite. something life-threatening happened in the ICU which was not supposed to occur, had the nurse strictly followed my instructions. what made it worse was that this nurse was an foreigner & i had difficulty understanding her accent. obviously it riled me up when precious minutes were wasted when no useful exchange of infomation took place. i asked to speak to the team leader, & after getting a rough picture of what had happened, i gave her a mouthful (read : alex ferguson's hair-dryer treatment), again for non-compliance of my clearly-written orders.

i rushed onto the road, hearting pounding from anger & thoughts of murder clouding my mind, & yet grateful for the wise decision made years earlier for staying just 1km away from hospital. despite the tensed moments with the patient & nurses, the problem was sorted out without further aggravation. & no one was killed, intentionally or otherwise, in the process.

(however, it did make me feel a little better when i privately apologised to the team leader for venting my frustration on her.)

i'm not exactly what you'd call a "cool dude"(though i wish i were one!!). far from it, i often try to justify my temper tantrums by apportioning blame to someone or something else, which doesn't solve the underlying problem. in my younger days, i saw myself as the accursed david banner in the tv series The Incredible Hulk - "don't make me angry, you won't like me when i'm angry!!" - whose green-skinned alter-ego left a trail of destruction in his fits of anger.

anger leads to many outcomes, all of them harmful eg. heart attack, stroke, stomach ulcer, yadda yadda...but i think the other green guy, yoda, said it best in The Empire Strikes Back:

"fear leads to anger, anger leads to hatred, & hatred leads to the dark side."

maybe he was inspired by the Wise Men:

"Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil." psalm 38:8

anyway, what do you know - i skipped fear & went straight into anger. i've fast-tracked into the dark side & i can tell you, it's not a pretty sight there.

God help me!

**image : source**

Friday, June 08, 2007

she's always a woman to me

Although my kids call me papa, i'd like to think that i'm more than just a parent who contributed 23 chromosomes to their genetic make-up. like maybe i could also be their teacher, doctor, friend, mentor & hopefully spiritual leader as well. (although i can envisage the dreadful possiblity that i maybe be no more than an ATM to them!!)

so we all wear a few hats, but to be functional, we should only wear one at a time. i faced this dilemma yesterday. i was supposed to send the wife for a procedure with the gynaecologist, scheduled for 8.30am. but i got a call from the hospital at 7am, informing me of an emergency orthopaedic procedure planned also for 8.30am & while i'm still plotting out plan B, i got another call minutes later, informing of another patient with an even more serious head injury that needed immediate attention.

so, should i be the loving & supportive spouse who accompanies the wife to the doctor's office? or, should i be the dedicated doctor who puts the patient's endangered life above all else? multi-tasking is not the issue here, mind you! it's just that i can't be at both places at the same time.

the Oath (of Hippocrates) stated : "In every house where I come I will enter only for the good of my patients, keeping myself far from all intentional ill-doing......"

the wife is only too aware of my professional responsibility, & suggested i attend to the patients while she drove herself to the clinic for her appointment - much like her responsibility as outlined in the Word (of God) :
A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. (prov 31 :10-12)

so, i went off to the hospital while the wife bravely faced the gynae on her own. (well, not really, because prayers have been communicated on her behalf). the 2 patients were duly sorted out by lunchtime while her procedure went smoothly. met up with her in the afternoon & i drove us home shortly after.

the wife is more resolute & much stronger than i thought. didn't Helen Reddy resonantly proclaim this many years ago : "I am woman, hear me roar......I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman"?

no argument about that, but i am even more fascinated with Billy Joel's dark lyrics in his 1977 song she's always a woman.(this is way before he found marital bliss with model christie brinkley, whom he immortalised in the song uptown girl in 1983) :

She can lead you to love
She can take you or leave you
And she can ask for the truth
But she'll
never believe you
And she'll take what you
give her as long as it's free
steals like a thief
But she's always a woman to me
She will promise you more
Than the garden of eden
Then she'll
carelessly cut you
And laugh while you're
But she'll bring out the
And the
worst you can be
Blame it all on yourself
'cause she's always a woman to me.

now, that's one aspect of a woman i wouldn't want to mess with!!

**image : source**

Monday, June 04, 2007

a feeding frenzy??

if a public holiday fell over the weekend, & if i'm not on-call, chances are that we'd be in penang. just like the last weekend.

we broke journey at the tapah rest area, & grabbed a dough-nut at dunkin's. we reached penang around lunch time, & had our meal at.....

genting in island glades, with a triple-header of

char kway teow (with BIG prawns)...

hokkien mee (aka prawn mee) &

pasembor (aka indian rojak)....& all these downed with...

..soya bean milk with gula melaka. yummy! (& this is just for ME!)

after leaving our stuff & having a nap at the in-laws, we burned some calories hiking at youth park.

starting point.........

& who the non-starters were......

...a steep climb......

..for a cup of hot chinese tea...

....& a hill-top view of the city. other activities available at the park include ...

an extensive playground with exercise equipment & a swimming pool.

there was a floral fest at the nearby botanical gardens, that resulted in .....

a bumper-to-bumper crawl on the way in & out of youth park.

dinner with the clan on the 1st nite was at a thai restaurant...

Prontip at peel avenue....

kerabu as starters....

tom-yam to spice up the appetite......

unique crab-meat omellete baked in crab shells

kangkong with belacan....

& thai style bean curd.

the next morning, we attended service at ......

the Reservoir Garden Baptist Church at Air Itam,
after which we had lunch at....
(note : we skipped breakfast)....

Kek Seng at Penang Road, famous for its ice kacang with ice cream....

but i had loh bak.....

& dried kway teow instead.
for me, a visit to penang is NEVER complete without ....

a bowl (or two) of penang road chendol.....

where business was brisk.
then, a few minutes at the nearby chowrasta market....

to get some tau sar pneah (aka tambun biscuits) for friends back home.

after that, a brief stop at Borders at Queensbay. there were offers galore but it was the view from the in-store Starbucks that caught my attention...

penang bridge in the distant & .....

pulau jerejak much closer.

it rained in the afternoon, so we couldn't do the hike again (someone heaved a sigh of relief here).

dinner again with the clan, this time at a buffet steamboat...

Today BBQ/Steamboat at Krian Rd (off MacAlister Rd)

a selection of the dishes

& the cooking & grilling.

brunch near Lam Wah Ee hospital...

& then we're on our way home already. & the usual stop-over? sungai buloh overhead rest area.

so, was this a feeding frenzy? a weekend of gluttony? well, it's been said that half of penangites are hawkers & the other half, customers. there could be some truth in that & i may have to start taking cholesterol-lowering medication for future trips to penang.

the other thing is that, we are so very predictable everytime we're in penang. same rest-stop, same hawker stalls, same chendol stall, same hike routine. (if this feels like deja vu, read here) i would certainly be an easy target for a stalker. or a hit-man.

or, maybe i'm just reading too many jeffrey archer's novels.