Sunday, October 31, 2010


we all know about the tragic accident involving a bus near genting just last week. 7 killed & 17 others injured, including the driver. today, he admitted to not even possessing a valid driving licence while adding that the brakes on the bus weren't working. it wouldn't surprise me that all fingers will now be pointed at the bus owners. why did they employ a driver without a licence & why did they use a bus with faulty brakes?

you could say it's bad luck. 13 years driving without a licence & if it weren't for a bus with faulty brakes going down a slope, he'd still be driving a bus with someone you know or love in it. or, you yourself could have been in it.

a lot of things around us would have passed by unnoticed if it weren't for a twist in events.

if the cost overruns of the PKFZ weren't discovered, we would not have known about the shady land deals & other financial irregularities, costing the public billions of ringgit.

if it weren't for the financial crisis of 2007/8, bernie madoff would still be happily ripping millions off innocent investors with his ponzi schemes.

however, herein lies the difference...

from his hospital bed, the injured bus driver has publicly apologised for his transgression. he will probably be charged for dangerous driving, driving without a valid licence & perhaps even manslaughter, punishable by a jail term if found guilty.

madoff also made a public apology in court before he was sentenced to a 150-year imprisonment last year.

however, the perpetrators of the PKFZ fiasco have neither apologised for misleading the govt nor expressed remorse for squandering public funds. they are still walking free.

In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them for the eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good. deut 32:35, prov 15:3

Monday, October 25, 2010

dǎo gào

that's mandarin for "to pray."

i was examining a patient last nite for surgery today. she has terminal cancer but looked surprisingly cheerful. while explaining what she would undergo, i noticed she has a bible by her bedside. i asked her if she was a believer, to which she replied she was. then unwittingly, i asked if i could say a prayer for her before the operation, to which she happily consented.

that's when i realised she is mandarin-educated & i've never gone beyond a smattering of mandarin in my everyday life. i decided to call up the mandarin-church pastor to ask for some pointers & interpretation. as i recited the prayer with him, he mentioned that i was not all that ready but i told him i just needed to do it.

so, i've never dǎo gào till today. & it wasn't fluent, some words had the wrong intonation but it was obvious she was pleased that i managed to say a few words of encouragement for her. that's the least i could do for someone who seemed to face her future with the confidence of God.

after surgery, my parting words to her was zǎo rì  kāng fù.*

*speedy recovery

Thursday, October 21, 2010

green cars

before i bought my current altis this year, i had seriously considered a hybrid car. despite a 50% reduction on import & excise tax, i decided that the toyota prius at RM175K & honda hybrid at RM129K were both still overpriced.

the recent budget has proposed a complete abolition of these taxes beginning next year, thereby reducing the price of these green cars to RM128K & RM100K, respectively. i'm already thinking maybe i'll change in a year or two. although i may be unconsciously reducing carbon output, i'm more aware of the fuel savings involved. after all, don't expect the price of petrol to remain unchanged in the long term & all indications are that it'll go up rather than down.

however, at above RM100k, these green cars are still beyond the reach of the masses. i guess this is where proton will join the hybrid bandwagon. Onn Yeoh, in an article in today's Sun paper, suggests the government do more for the environment, by lowering road taxes for these cars & offer special parking in the city. i wonder how the petroleum companies will respond to this proposal, considering these cars consume significantly less fuel.

my colleague Dr L won't be too happy, though. he just got a Prius in June.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


in sept, i made the decision to lead the worship, for the 1st time, at today's service.

for a start, i have to choose a sunday where my Care Group can support me as musicians & back-up singers. actually, it's odd i just mentioned that, because in my CG, only i can play the guitar & another, the piano. since, i'm leading, i won't play, so it's just down to the piano. i wanted it solely to be the CG's effort.

after that, i needed to select the songs that i'm familiar with, because other than the pianist, the rest of us (myself included!) are largely tone-deaf!

then, there must be a time for all of us to avail ourselves for practice, which was narrowed down to yesterday afternoon.

so, why did i take it upon myself to go through these aggravations?

well, i've been asked to worship-lead several times before some years back, but each time, i've turned it down, giving various excuses. then when i re-read the gospel where the angel appeared before Mary to foretell the virgin birth of Christ, all she said was:

"I am the Lord's servant, may it be to me as you have said."  luke1:38

if she, though not yet married to Joseph, was willing to shoulder the heavy responsibility of carrying Jesus, i reasoned that leading worship would be also a responsibility a (true) servant of the Lord would not chicken out from refuse. for the record, it went much better than expected. was it because my prayer went like this...

"even though we may not sing with the voices of angels, we praise from our hearts & may it be a sweet, sweet sound to Your ear?" 

When you feel impelled to help fill a need, when you are inwardly driven to serve – listen to those thoughts. You don’t want to miss God’s call. (Cindy Hess Kasper)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

euthanasia (or be careful what you ask for!)

Last night my wife and I were sitting in the living room chatting about things and life.

Then we talked about living and dying.

I said to her, “Dear, if ever I end up in a vegetative state when you are alive, please never let me go on like that, being totally dependent on machines and liquids from a bottle. If you see me in that state, I want you to disconnect all the contraptions that keep me alive. I'd much rather die.”

Up went my wife from the sofa, with this lingering look of admiration towards me.

She then proceeded to disconnect the TV, the Cable, the satellite dish, the DVD player, the computer, the cell phone, the hi-fi, the IPod and the Xbox, and then went to the fridge and threw away all my beer!!

thanks, YO, for the email.

instead of thinking of dying, why don't we make our lives count by pledging our organs instead? read here for a quick Q&A on organ donation. even better, sign up online at the National Transplant Resource Centre website.

for the record, i've been on their donors' list since 2001. hope to get someone off dialysis, ventricular assist device or gain sight when my number finally comes up.

what about you?

Sunday, October 10, 2010


for some unknown reason, today seems to be a good day to get married. other than being an easy date to remember the anniversaries, i fail to realise the significance of the number 10. i doubt if that will guarantee happiness for the couples or success for the marriages.

i wonder, if these so-called auspicious dates were more common, would they eventually be accorded the same hype of the current valentine day & mothers' day celebrations, where the people who really benefit are the florists, gift shop owners & restauranteurs?

anyway, what i will remember today for, is the good news that the trapped miners in Chile will be rescued in a few days and the PM finally proclaimed that the malaysian chinese should not be described as "kaum pendatang."

lets see which will come true.

Monday, October 04, 2010

a car workshop analogy

i've owned several cars, some 2nd-hand, since i started working 25 year ago. each time i sent the car to the workshop, parts were changed with minimal hassle & i have very few grouses with the workshops. that, perhaps, is because i make it a point to send to the dealers' workshop.

how would you react if you sent your car for a part replacement in the morning & sometime at noon, the service guy phoned you & told you they didn't have that particular part? remember, they made that appointment with you on the premise that they will get the car fixed.

how would you respond, considering that they've literally taken your car apart & then found out that the spare part was not in stock? & to rub salt into the wound, they enquired if you'd settle for an inferior part?

so, you are wondering - where's the analogy here?

well, how about this.....

you go for an operation in a private hospital. the surgeon opens you up. the assisting nurse tells the surgeon they don't have an essential piece of equipment in stock. then she asks the surgeon, would he mind modifying his procedure to accomodate an alternative but inferior device?

this, of course, is only an analogy of a hypothetical event.

Friday, October 01, 2010

everything in moderation

just as we were ranting about 3-in-1 coffee, today's papers came out with a report, with an advocate for healthy living no less than the CAP. (read here)

they offered good advice except that i disagreed with the part about soya milk & fruit juices being healthier alternatives. these drinks that come in packets actually contain a lot of sugar as well. 3 brands of soya milk have between 20-22g (= 5 teaspoons) of sugar per 250ml packet while a popular brand of fruit juice has 18g of sugar per 250ml serving, all of which i have at home.

however, i don't drink these everyday - at most, probably twice a week. but that's the issue - no matter how sweet or salty, everything in moderation is fine, including alcohol. even that super-sweet ice-kacang or cendol with gula melaka is ok, if consumed in moderation, which i would arbitrarily put as about once a week at most. even better is soya milk or freshly squeezed fruit juices without added sugar.

however, i thought CAP's suggestion to the health ministry to take action on this matter was ridiculous. the govt can't even stop people from cheating & killing each other, how are they going to stop people from consuming heaps of sugar?

i can only think of self-discipline.

PS. i also wonder how effective are the gory pictures on the cigarette packets in deterring people from smoking?