Friday, October 30, 2009

an apple a day

i did something uncharacteristic this week. i ventured out of my comfort zone & made an enquiry for teaching job at IMU.

i met a few members of the faculty & they seemed keen to take me on. except they can't understand why i would give up a better paying job to teach medical students.

actually, i thought maybe i'll just do it on a part-time basis, just so i can still keep in touch with recent changes & advances in medicine, & perhaps impart some useful knowledge along the way. after all, it's been said that:

"those who can, teach. those who can't, make bad teachers."

hmm....i wonder if my students would bring me apples.

and i also found it amusing that in Paul's hierachy of Christian workers, teachers outrank healers!!

And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. 1 Cor 12:28

do teachers rock or what!!??

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

train up a child when he is young

i think the boy's going to be like me when i was younger - live football, sleep football.

recently, he started watching EPL matches with me on weekends. then he started checking the sport pages for fixtures, scores & tables. & now, i've taught him how to get into the ESPN website.

last saturday, we found out that ex-national player Wong Kou Foo conducts coaching sessions at the local field for youngsters of various ages.

although the session started with a pep talk, followed by basic skill exercises...

it's obvious the kids were more excited about playing the actual game

the boy's so happy, it's almost like he's found his football

i know where we'll be spending many saturday evenings from now on.

Monday, October 26, 2009

junk food for your PC

some commercials strike a raw nerve, like yasmin ahmad's festival promos for petronas.

some commercials are funny, like P1 wimax's current "potong" blitz.

but i think this is one's really in bad taste (pun intended). it's Burger King's tie-up with Microsoft on the launch of windows 7 in Japan. read here & here.

7 pieces of beef patties at one sitting? doesn't that just make you want to puke??

no wonder gluttony is one of the 7 deadly sins.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

how the budget affects me

i actually have 7 credit cards. not that i need a lot of credit or that i collect them as a hobby. some times i get cornered at the mall & the guy gives me a sob story like he's been on his feet for hours & still hasn't got anyone to sign up his bank's credit card - free for 1st year, he will emphasise. some times i relent. some times it's because an umbrella or a shoe bag is thrown into the deal.

anyway, i only use one card, mainly to get petrol rebate. one more, i keep in case the 1st one got rejected.

as the govt will levy a RM50 charge per card annually from 2010, it makes sense to cancel the other 5. i'm ok with that. i just feel sorry for those guys & girls at the malls trying to get people to sign up.

they will be on their feet a lot longer from now on.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

mission weekend

it's the church's yearly pilgrimage to the orang asli settlements this weekend. it was originally planned for early october but i didn't want to commit then because my daughter was sitting for her PMR. it was subsequently changed to this weekend & i was hoping to bring her along so that she, born & bred with all amenities for a comfortable living, could have a peek at the other side of the socio-economic divide.

& perhaps be grateful for what she has.

but it was not to be. as it turned out 14 people volunteered for this year's trip - 4 docs, 1 dentist, 2 pastors & 7 helpers. it's an overwhelming response as we have been getting 9 - 11 people on previous occasions. i see a few issues here:

1st, in my opinion, we don't need that many people. some settlements have only 20-30 people, so 14 visitors would appear disproportionately crowded;

2nd, transport then becomes a logistic problem because we need to bring medical supplies as well;

3rd, our regular host, though very hospitable & accomodating, would be hard-pressed to squeeze us all into her house.

since, one of the aims of the mission is to encourage new volunteers, i, having been on 3 previous trips, withdrew with much reluctance. the big loss would be my daughter's - this would have been a great lesson on blessings & contentment.

Give me neither poverty nor riches,

but give me only my daily bread.

Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say,
'Who is the LORD ?'
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.
prov 30:8,9

Friday, October 16, 2009

bad doctor?

no, i'm not about to spill the beans about someone else. actually, it's about me.

more than 2 decades ago, when i started training to specialise, i exposed patients to unnecessary risks.

a few times.

in the 1st instance, i was dealing with a child who was the 1st case in the morning. i later left the care of the child to a nurse while i stepped out to read the papers. it was not the 1st time i did this but on this occasion, i was caught red-handed by a visiting consultant, who came weekly to provide clinical services & conduct teaching sessions. she gently reprimanded me & i appreciated her discretion for that. since that day, i've not touched the papers till all work had been done.

in the 2nd incident, i was involved in a nasty disagreement with another doctor about how a patient should be managed. out of annoyance, i stormed out of the room, again more like abandoning the patient. the other doctor complained to my boss, now deceased, God rest his soul, & he gave me a mouthful. again, i appreciated that because since then, i've not disadvantaged a patient on the account of disagreement with another doctor.

here's the thing.....

the other day, i heard a doctor did just that - left the patient in the care of nurses when he should have been responsible himself. that brought back those memories i reminisced earlier. it reminded me of how i had neglected some of the patients that had been entrusted into my care. they served as a stark admonition for me - that when i was young, impulsive & with an atrocious attitude, i was not a doctor but a irresponsible & reckless person in a white coat. it also taught me, sometimes when i have delusions of grandeur about myself, i am actually an ordinary guy & there's nothing great about being ordinary.

i feel ordinary & i just want to rant.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

breaking free

freedom has come early for thousands of students. 10am to be exact. those PMR candidates taking 7 subjects sat for their last paper today.

my daughter will be hanging out with her classmates at the mall, that's a certainty - a fast-food lunch, a movie & more girl-talk after that. but what's the long term plan, if any?

for the long vacation last year, she planned to learn the guitar, improve on her chess & practise the piano more regularly. unfortunately & rather expectedly, none of the intended endeavours got beyond 1st base.

i suspect this year will not be much different but not because of a lack of effort. her calendar is pretty much lined up with stuff till the end-december. she'll be going back to penang in mid-november, attending a youth leaders' camp end-november, helping out with vacation bible school early december, having our family vacation mid-december & before we know it, it's christmas & she'll really be literally flying the cage after that.

but i have a plan for her. well, actually, i hope to carry out God's plan. despite all that running around & activities that clogged up our lives, many times we fail to hear His voice beyond all that background noise.

because we do not remain still. always moving, always doing, always distracted. must encourage her to keep still - long enough to feel His presence & feed on His words. when she can do that on her own, without my prompting, i will have accomplish my holiday task.

never mind the guitar, chess or piano.

"Be still, and know that I am God;" psalm 46;10

Sunday, October 11, 2009

perils of an obedient Christian

As I walked down the busy sidewalk, my eyes fell upon one of those unfortunate, homeless vagabonds that are found in every city these days.

Some people turned to stare. Others quickly looked away as if the sight would somehow contaminate them.

Recalling my old pastor who always admonished me to "care for the sick, feed the hungry & clothe the naked," I was moved by some powerful inner urge to reach out to this unfortunate person.

Wearing what can only be described as rags, carrying every worldly possession in 2 plastic bags, my heart was touched by this person's condition.

Yes, where some people saw only rags, I saw a true hidden beauty.

A small voice inside my head called out, "Reach out, reach out & touch this person!!"

So I did.....

I won't be in church this week.

**thanks, YO, for the email**

Thursday, October 08, 2009

killer vaccine?? (updated)

one of the principles advocated by Hippocrates as code of conduct for doctors is, 1st do no harm. no one has any doubt that most doctors have their patients' interest at heart. sometimes, however, in our zealous attempt to heal, we overlook our own ignorance & limitations, & cause suffering instead. when pharmaceutical companies push their way past so-called stringent safety measures & quality control, that noble intention may be further blurred.

we remember the thalidomide disaster of the early 1960s (read here) & more recently the issues regarding certain painkillers (read here) & heart stents (read here).

recently, the government proposed to vaccinate all 13-year-old girls against cervical cancer from next year (read here). however, reports of adverse effects of the vaccination have since emerged, including brain damage & death, with the latest involving 2 teenaged girls (read here and here). in fact, as early as 2007, there were already reports of 3 deaths that occurred hours after vaccination (read here)

so, how did these drugs & devices get approval from FDA, only to result later in failure? it is not impossible nor unthinkable that the large pharmaceutical firms, in their haste to recoup research & development costs, may have withheld vital information which, had it been made known to the licensing bodies, would have resulted in their failure to be registered for use, therefore causing loss of billions of dollars.

is that amount of money worth a human life?

i am not saying it's good or not good to have the vaccination. what i am proposing is that we should search for all relevant information regarding the issue, & then make an wise & informed decision. don't just depend on reports from the mainstream media or the drug companies concerned.

surely our children's lives deserve that level of scrutiny & discernment.

**update : key researcher downplays cancer vaccine (read here)**

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

the circus comes to town

in this circus...

the clowns are the guys running the show & they drive everyone nuts. at 1st, it was in english, then BM, then english again & soon to be in BM all over again.

it's like, now you see it, now you don't.

can't really blame the ministry people - they're just following orders.

as a result, it sure feels like we, the parents, are walking on a tightrope...

the teachers can't make head or tail what's happening....

while the poor students are treated like spectator sports

actually, the circus already started last month; it's called UPSR & it continues tomorrow as PMR. it runs till the end of the year as SPM & STPM but it's not over till the fat lady sings...

because in a circus, you always get a few star performers thrown in.

(they're more famously called multiple straight As students)

have you got your tickets yet??

Saturday, October 03, 2009

left behind

there must be many times when we become obssessively compulsive. like before we leave for a vacation. is the handphone charger packed? did we bring passports? are the gas stoves switched off? is everyone accounted for, ala Home Alone? all for good reasons, too. we want a really nice, smooth & trouble-free holiday.

surgeons have to be meticulous in this respect. it is well known in medical circles that all kinds of instruments have been left in patients after surgery (read here and here)

causing the doctors & hospitals to foot huge compensation payments & suffer poor reputation.

sometimes even the most minor things gets missed. like today, i was seeing this patient just as she was preparing to go home. she showed me this that was still attached to her chest...... ECG electrode to monitor the heart. there are usually 3 of them, so she promptly showed me the other two. apologetically, i removed them there & then, & reassured her that she could safely go home.

yes, we all in the hospital ought to be more cafeful in the things we do (& say). today, ECG electrodes, tomorrow it could be something less visible & life-threatening.

i can tell you no doctor will relish a day in court.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

timing is everything

supertition dictates that the chinese traditionally don't (usually) marry, travel nor have their surgeries during the "ghost month", for fear that something unfortunate may happen.

i just found out that the british public have their own superstition - a taboo for junior doctors & apparently august is not a good month to be in a NHS hospital.
(read here)

but timing IS everything, isn't it? how else could you have that chance meeting with a long lost friend? how did that freak accident occur? without fortuitous timing, a movie like Final Destination would not have been conceived.

many a time, i too wonder about the events that happened in my life, like how an
encounter with a bunch of enthusiastic Christian workers eventually led me to med school. or, how a weekend magazine forged a meeting with a stranger i ended up marrying. i now know it as divine interventon.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
eccles 3:11

**image : Le Temps (Time). bronze sculpture by Charles van der Stappen**