Tuesday, March 24, 2009

G'day, mate!

you know you're Down Under when you see this....
it was more an impulsive move rather than a well-thought out plan. when MAS offered some cheap flights in Oct last year (oil was about $100 per barrel), we couldn't believe that return tickets for Perth went for about RM1300 each, all in. having talked about vacationing in Australia for years but not doing anything about it, this was like an offer from Don Corleone.(the tickets have come down to under RM1k since)

after an uneventful flight, we touched down to a sweltering 35 degreesC, & this was supposed to be autumn already. my secondary school classs-mate CL picked us up at the airport & sent us to our apartment in Joondalup...

....a modern suburb about 25km north of Perth. after settling in, we went for a drive along the coast....

to the reknowned Hillary's Harbour, just in time to catch the sunset ....

...& for our 1st meal - a sea-food platter dinner....

a short visit to King's Park at nite was our last stop on the 1st day.


this is the city at nite as seen from the park & zooming in on the bright structure on the right, & hey, what do you know - they have their own version of the ferris wheel by Swan River....

the next morning, CL took us to a Car Rental & we decided on a Mitsubishi Lancer for $33 a day.....

now that we've got wheels, Perth is there for the taking. drove to Cottlesoe Beach where a local exhibition was on show.

some of the sculptures include giant polo mints....

extra long pencils....

...and an oversized scrabble set...

next post : swan river & the city

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Down Under

the boy has never been on vacation with the family for more than 5 days - that was to bangkok last year. so, you can understand his excitement that he's going Down Under...for a whole week!

so excited he already marked it on his diary way back in january.

Friday, March 13, 2009


"Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be
remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

Knowing when to come in or out of the rain;
Why the early bird gets the worm;
Life isn't always fair;
And maybe it was my fault

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an Elastoplast to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason. He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, I Want It Now, Someone Else Is To Blame, and I'm A Victim.

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you
still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing."

**thanks, YO, for the email**

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

those were the days, my friend...

so, march 12 will be D-day for thousands of SPM candidates.

this is where the students are spoilt for choice - some have already started A-levels, while others wait for 6th form & matriculation places, & a small minority hope & pray a windfall called a scholarship.

i remember clearly the day i went to school with my friends to collect our results. nope, no top-scorers amongst & certainly none of that calling-parents-on-the-handphone rigmarole but hooray, we all passed! we had lepak-ed for over 3 months since the exam & we still had another 2 months before school re-started. yes, for us, life was simple - pass SPM (called MCE then), lepak some more & then join 6th form.

we ate ice-cream as we took a leisurely stroll through the istana gardens to town to catch a bus home...

on the way, we reminisced those care-free lower secondary days while ruminating over a concept still alien to us then - the co-ed classes of 6th form. hmm....girls!

& we laughed wickedly in anticipation.

Monday, March 09, 2009

evacuation drill?

Next time, if there is an evacuation drill in your office, think before you rush out...

In a large multinational company..............

A fire alarm rang at 4 PM in a large office when almost all employees were in office (approx 5000). As usual the entire office was evacuated within 3 mins & all employees gathered outside the office in the designated area waiting for further announcement.

The Security Officer in charge made the following announcement: "Dear employees - with sincere regret I have been asked to announce that for many of you it will be your last evacuation drill. Due to the recession the company is laying off almost 50% of its employees. So when this announcement finishes, I ask all of you to move back into the building and if your swipe card does not work then it means you have been laid
off, in which case you will not be allowed inside and all your belongings will be couriered to you by tomorrow.

The Company has used this innovative approach as we didn't want to fill up the email box with lay-off mails and good-bye mails in thousands & also to avoid any fight inside the office and the consequent security issue for all staff. Hope you have had a rewarding career with us and all the best ahead. Please move back in & try your luck".

**thanks, WW, for the email**

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

black sheep

a post-mortem examination is usually performed by a pathologist (also called coroner in UK or medical examiner in US) to determined the cause of death when it is not obvious, or in medico-legal or suspicious circumstances, eg. road traffic accidents or suicide.

or, like when someone dies in police custody.

we all know about the Kugan case & now that the 2nd pathologist's is available online, it should make us medics wonder how is it possible that the 1st report is so vastly different from the 2nd?

obviously, someone has gone against the oath. the hippocratic oath. the part that upheld one to abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous.

i know some of us overcharge, while others are less than meticulous in treatment, but to lie in a high-profile police case?

i've since removed this from my side-bar...

Sunday, March 01, 2009

the head bone & the heart bone

lynnxuan's post got me thinking again about why i applied to do medicine in the 1st place.

this is that time of the year, after the SPM/STPM/matriculation exams, when career paths take shape. some students are focussed enough to know what they want to do, while for others, their ambitions are molded by well-meaning parents.

it really doesn't matter what the reasons are for doing medicine. it's noble to desire to want to heal & relieve suffering, yet it's not a crime to want to make lots of money.

many years ago, a dear friend gave me a cutting from a magazine, Newsweek i think, about a speech directed at a graduating medical class. the speaker was Alan Alda, most famously revered for his role as US army surgeon Hawkeye Pierce in the long-running TV series M*A*S*H.
he highlighted several pertinent points:

You're entering a special place in our society. People will be awed by your expertise. You'll be placed in a position of privilege. You'll live well, people will defer to you. call you by your title - and it may be hard to remember that the word "doctor" is not actually your first name.Where does money come on your list? Will it be the sole standard against which you reckon your success? How much will it guide you in relating to your patients? Do patients in a clinic need less of your attention than private patients?

Where will your
family come on your list? How many days and nights, weeks and months, will you separate yourself from them, buried in your work, before you realize that you've removed yourself from an important part of your life?

I congratulate you, and please let me thank you for taking on the enormous responsibility that you have — and for having the strength to have made it to this day. I don't know how you've managed to learn it all. But there is one more thing you can learn about the body that only a non-doctor would tell you — and I hope you'll always remember this:

The head bone is connected to the heart bone - and don't let them come apart.

here is the full text of a most inspiring message every prospective & new medical graduate should read, deliberate upon & keep in mind, as they embark on their brave journey.

bon voyage, doctors!