Tuesday, June 30, 2009

you reap what you sow, except.....

Bernie Madoff has just been sentenced to 150 years in prison for his ponzi fraud.

former south korean president Roh Moo Hyun committed suicide last month on allegations (ie. not proven) of corruption.

japanese prime ministers Shinzo Abe & Yasuo Fukuda resigned in 2007 & 2008 respectively for poor performance.

& yet, we are still waiting for someone to take responsibility for bank negara's RM30b forex losses, & scandals involving Perwaja, MAS, PKFZ,....the list goes on....

it's so cliche...but malaysia boleh la!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

kampung folks in the Big City

when we go to the Big City, we try out things that our "village" doesn't offer, like....

(1) teppanyaki...

which we enjoyed very much....

(2) ice-cream from new zealand & watching ice skating...

(3) super-sized bookstores &......

(4) new fast-food restaurants....

yes, we don't have all these back home but at the same time, we also don't miss paying toll, searching for parking, & getting caught in grid-lock traffic.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

life goes on...

my father is back at the nursing home. the caring .....

& the clowning continues....

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

sports injury

y brother recently had surgery on his foot called repair of the archilles tendon, as a result of a badminton-induced injury. he had to put on a foot cast for 6 weeks after that.

my colleague is having severe backache (hopefully not a slipped disc), probably from playing too much badminton (at least 3 time s a week). he hasn't come to work for 3 days.
my other colleague, a self-proclaimed worldly-wise sage, attributed these injuries to not warming up enough before competing on the court as well as age catching up. he could be right on both counts.
i myself have stopped playing badminton years ago (for fear of archilles tendon injury) as well as jogging (knee injury). so i just go for brisk walks & the occasional aerobics session at the park. i think there are just a few things in life you can't fight & win - like, income tax, bosses & Father Time. the sooner we realise that, the easier we accept our inadequacies.

speaking of Father Time, it seems my father's time is not up yet - he's just been discharged after 3 weeks in hospital & is now recuperating at the nursing home. thanks again for the prayers & words of encouragement.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

farewell lunch

5 nurses recruited from India will be going home next month & it's customary to give them a lunch treat as a gesture of appreciation.

much like foreign maids, they come to fill a huge gap left by our locals who are seeking their fortunes elsewhere. but the similarities with the maids doesn't end there. most that come to malaysia couldn't make the cut in s'pore, hongkong or the middle east, so they generally fall short of the standard that i've come to expect from expatriates.

having worked in a foreign country myself, i can identify with them. they uproot themselves from their loved ones & go through all the hassle/inconveniences of living amidst people of different cultures, ideologies & whims. some adapt so well, they exend their 2-year contracts, while for others, the heat (not the weather) is too unbearable, so they cut short their stay & contract.

anyway, these 5 nurses had stayed on the full 2 years. it seems that having worked in malaysia is somewhat a status symbol in india & that can only enhance their worth to prospective employers & spouses!!
to these 5, we hope you had enjoyed your stay here & that, unlike your indonesian sisters, we didn't treat you too badly. i'm sure you savoured our food but i bet you liked the your salaries even more. (heh heh)

bon voyage, ladies!

Monday, June 22, 2009

fatherly advice

my daughter made this card for me. simple as it may be, i appreciate it was created from the heart. in return, for some reason i now thought baffling, i gave her this piece of advice :

"when you grow up, don't marry someone like me, if possible.
instead, marry someone like your brother,
who loves God, loves people, & who will love you endlessly."

she just smiled & gave me a hug.

Friday, June 19, 2009

the decision

after discussing with my family & then with Dr L, we all agree that father will not have a quality of life we would all like him to have - he will be bedridden, unable to care for himself & for most times, not know what's going on around him. just a couple of steps short of being vegetative.

since, being the eldest, i was given charge to make all decisions regarding father, i sought counsel from the prophets & they spoke to me thus :

This is what the LORD Almighty says:
'Administer true justice;
show mercy and compassion to one another.'
zech 7:9

He has showed you, O man, what is good
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God. micah 6:8

so i explained to the family that father will continue to have basic nursing care, including cleaning, feeding & his regular parkinson's medication. any other requirement will be assessed on its merits but there certainly will be no more invasive intervention, eg. resuscitation, ventilatory support.

as expected, they all agreed.

so, this is our decision : to act justly & to love mercy.

may God see us through.....

Sunday, June 14, 2009

playing God

doctors are often accused of deciding which patients should have proper treatment for their medical problems while others are denied it, because of the lack of staff (usually doctors & nurses), hospital beds or medical equipment, esp if this decision was made without discussing the issues with the patient or the family.

this is often a dilemma in the ICU where adequate staffing is a perennial problem which subsequently affect the number of available beds.

today i played God but not based on the above reasons. my father has been on the ionotrope (heart-pumping medication, remember?) dopamine for 11 days & his blood pressure has been hovering around 110/60, which is lowish for him. after discussing with the attending physician Dr L, he concurred that my father should start having the dopamine gradually reduced & eventually stopped, irrespective of how the BP would react.

that was 5 hours ago & his BP has gone down to about 90/50. my sister arrived from KL this afternoon & my brother will be here tomorrow. maybe he's just waiting for my brother to turn up. after all, the last time we all got together was chinese new year 2008.

nevertheless, we all agreed he has suffered enough - 8 years with delibitating parkinson's disease, a broken hip & a serious chest infection.

yeah, the old man is running the home stretch. may he find Home soon....

Friday, June 12, 2009


as the debate on the use/importance of English in schools continues with no end in sight, many parents aren't taking any chances. hundreds thronged the Sunway Convention Centre last saturday waiting to pick up their kids while the latter sat for the Asean Scholarship selection test. it invites students to apply for entry into their Sec 1 & 3, & pre-U programs.

my daughter has an older school friend who applied last year & successfully entered Sec 3 this year. so she took it upon herself to follow the friend's footsteps - she applied online & prepared the required documents. my only role in the whole process was to send her to the post office to post the documents & fetched her back from the test centre. (she got a lift to Sunway from this same friend whose brother is applying for Sec 1). wife & i didn't give her our "overwhelming support", in the sense that, we weren't totally convinced she was ready to live out on her own in a foreign land. well, maybe for the pre-U....

it's obvious this isn't a 2-bit scholarship test that we are all too familiar with. it's a whole day session which tests on English (includes writing an impromptu essay), Maths & General Ability. if the student get past this, then there's still the final interview to contend with.

from the parents' perpective, the final objective is presumably to do pre-U & then at least gain entry into the Univ of Singapore (ranked #30 in the world in 2008, & for comparison, outranked ALL aussie varsities except Australian National Univ at #16, & Univ of Malaya is #230,
read here)

the issue of patriotism doesn't arise at all here. this is our kids & the govt has messed about the education system far too often & for too long (& let's not get started on the quota system) NOT to give them an alternative.

seriously, is there a parent who is satisfied with the way public schools are currently managed & who wouldn't provide the kids the opportunity to do better?

not me. (or, is it not I?)

(test over)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


thanks to all who have sent messages of encouragement & interceded in prayer on behalf of my father. he is still in ICU & recovery has been slow. he does not need any respiratory assistance now but is still dependent on inotropic (literally, heart pumping) support.

every cloud has a silver lining, they say. of the many things i learned from this difficult period, the one that stood out is my son's care & concern for his grandpa. he wants to visit everyday & has lots of questions to ask at the bedside. at the end of each visit, he will offer a prayer for him, & for the other patients, doctors & nurses.

i ask for nothing more.

Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are sons born in one's youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them. psalm 127:4,5

Monday, June 01, 2009

a setback

just when we thought my father's recovery from hip surgery was going smoothly, within a week our optimism grounded to a screeching halt.

1st, the hip screw which had held the hip fracture in place.....

loosened quite a bit....

he could have tried to stand up & put pressure on the hip before it recovered fully. because of this, it's back to square 1 & another 6 weeks of non-weight bearing, ie. not allowed to stand on the affected leg.

the carers at the nursing home then resorted to feeding him in bed for fear of aggravating the hip. last week, he apparently choked on his food. although he recovered, some food may have lodged in his right lung resulting in an infection....


so currently he is in ICU on multiple medication & respiratory support. it's a strange feeling. after treating so many patients in ICU, i'm dealing now with someone i've known all my life. will it be easier? will my clinical decisions be biased because of this relationship? & will i make a decision which i wouldn't normally do for someone else?

i may have taken the easy way out. i asked my colleague, whose clinical acumen i have the highest respect for, to manage the treatment & reassured him i will not interfere with his decisions.

my brother in Christ, JL, sent me this verse when he heard the news:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. phil 4:6,7