Monday, November 29, 2010

houseman glut

that was the front-page headline in saturday's Star. read here

those within the medical fraternity have already known for some time that the rate at which the government is trying to achieve the magical figure of 1 doctor for every 600 people is just too fast & too furious.

establishing private medical schools at an average rate of 1-2 a year for the last 10 years has obviously lowered the qualifying requirement of the students since these schools, currently 17 in all,  require numbers to be profitable. & where are they going to get competent academics to teach the students? manipal, monash & newcastle may benefit from their collaboration with the respective home universities.

my colleague Dr L is assoc prof in one of the public medical universities in the klang valley. in his ward, there are 2 housemen for every patient & as many as 5 can go missing at any time & no one will notice the difference!! remember, it's our tax money that's paying their rm4000 monthly salaries!!

during a particular clinical teaching session, some were asked to describe how they'd catheterise a patient, ie. pass a rubber tube to help the patient pass urine. none of the housemen could give the right answer & the worse part was that none seemed interested to want to learn the proper way to do it.

when my peers were housemen, we were criticised for being young & inexperienced; apparently, you could add indifference to that list now.

at this rate, it's only going to get worse. 

& that's putting it mildly.

Friday, November 26, 2010

today is black friday

when the colour black is used to describe something, it's usually not good.

like black widow, the female spider that eats up its male partner after mating.

or, black death, the bubonic plague epidemic that wiped out half of europe's population in 1350.

or, black money, a scam where con artists attempt to fraudulently obtain money from a greedy victim by persuading him/her that  piles of banknote-sized paper in an envelope is really money which has been dyed black (e.g. to avoid detection by customs).

or, black monday, 19 oct 1987 when the american stock exchange lost 22% in a single day. that event marked the beginning of a global stock market decline, making Black Monday one of the most notorious days in recent financial history.

or, black friday. in september 24, 1869 there was a financial panic in the United States caused by two speculators’ efforts to corner the gold market.

but today, the friday after thanksgiving day in the US is also called black friday, a name originally given by the Philadelphia Police Department in 1966. "Black Friday" officially opens the Christmas shopping season and it usually brings massive traffic jams and over-crowded sidewalks as the downtown stores are mobbed from opening to closing.

over the years, the importance of the consumer spending during this period has become important to the sale figures for the retailers, & crucially adds to the bottom-line. it could turn a lacklustre loss-making year into one with bulging profits. hence, the terms "in the red" & "in the black."

however, black friday is only applicable in the US. over here, every & any occasion can be used as gimmick sales - new year sale, mid-year sale, year-end sale, opening sale, renovation sale, stock-clearing sale, closing-down sale.....

the list is endless.

Friday, November 19, 2010

raw nerve

someone sent this to me & i thought it struck a really raw nerve.

"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it."
 Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931

thanks CT, for the email.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

she's back......!

the girl came back from cambodia yesterday. since i finished work a bit early today, i took a "short drive" down to the Little Red Dot to catch up with her.

we just had enough time for a steak dinner....

and some ice-cream after that.

& i told her - i missed her when she was away.

Friday, November 12, 2010

flown the nest....literally.

except for class trips, the girl has never gone on vacation without us & neither have we gone away without the kids.

so, it was a totally new experience that she went on an overseas trip with her schoolmates today. i posted on this earlier this year. (read here)

as concerned parents, it's difficult to let the young ones go but we consoled ourselves that this would put her in good stead when she eventually leaves for varsity in 3 years' time. moving around with her group of schoolmates, i know she will not be alone & more importantly, she's God's child & will be under His care.

what did get me worried (a bit) was that when i tried to call the hotel reception in siem reap, the guy could hardly understand me & i don't think i speak bad english either. this is supposedly a 4* international hotel in the town centre.

we do really look forward to her return next week.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

full circle

my 1st camera was a canon SLR which was purchased in the 80s.

it served me very well till the affordable compact aim-&-shoot cameras made their debut in the late 80s. after that, i had a olympus digital camera which developed a problem with the shuuter-release button while on vacation. the dealer told me it was cheaper to get a new one than to repair it. i then got a lumix which i still use & i liked it for the 10X zoom. read here.

then i caught the bug - the dSLR bug. so, after months of mulling over the nikon D90, i took the plunge & joined the crowd. but it wasn't the D90 i got.

yeah, it's got zillions of pixels, image-stabilizer & superb image processing but personally, as far as photography is concerned, i have turned a full circle.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


that word generally gives a good impression. like someone specially recruited from another country,  who is well-schooled, highly-qualified, an expert in a chosen field of profession & certainly generously remunerated. like a CEO of a well-run corporation.

but that has not been my experience with those i've encountered of late. i considered them expatriates only because they are foreigners & are paid better than the locals. however, the similarity to my earlier description ends there.

their attitude to work is generally lackadaisical, they shun responsibilities, teamwork is an alien concept (pun definitely intended) to them & they are certainly not top performers in their chosen field of work.

unfortunately, they are here to stay, just like their fellow workers who are in construction, cleaning & domestic help services. as long as there remains a void left by the locals who seek their fortune elsewhere, as long as there is a desperate demand for their substandard services, they will continue to torture be around for some time to come.

so, i grit my teeth & try to bear with it.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

pound of flesh

i would say, it's been a difficult year for the girl. away from home, living with friends & not family, taking bus to school & trying to cope with a  high-strung education system.

given the trying circumstances, i think she's done remarkably well & she knows that, too. that's why she's come out with her year-end wish list. starting with this pair of nike sneakers....

the list includes a swatch & some clothes. i jokingly told her it's that time of the year again to take that pound of flesh from me.

seriously, i shouldn't complain. there's still no sign of an iPhone, iPad or dSLR on that list.


If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! matt 7:11

Thursday, November 04, 2010


no, i'm not going to write up about the political kind currently going on in galas & batu sapi.

i'm referring to the upcoming elections in church for officer-bearers for next year. quite unlike the political manoeuvering that will culminate in the polls tomorrow, the one in church is very much more sedate. no, none of that name-calling, back-stabbing & character assasination stuff for the nominees. in fact, it's just the opposite - we have difficulty getting leaders to rise up to serve in the various ministries.

that's probably because we have a unique problem - there is a whole generation of 25-45 year-olds that virtually doesn't exist. most of the current office-bearers are above 45 & almost all have served several terms already. some have expressed intention to step down but there's just few people in their 30s & early 40s to take over.

until such time when this generation of young people aged 25 & below is groomed to to fill existing shoes, we'll just have to make do with what we have. i've been privately expressing my own opinion, sometimes rather bluntly, concerning people who should be standing up to be counted instead of being just pew-warmers & space-fillers.

Someone Up There must have heard me because the potential leaders i mentioned eventually accepted nomination for the various posts. while i was wondering at this turn of events, whether i may have spoken harshly too soon, or have failed to see the hands of God at work, i found out the bitter truth in these words :

Fools find no pleasure in understanding
but delight in airing their own opinions.
prov 18:2

i now bow my head in shame.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

near-perfect weekend

no doctors i know ever relish doing on-call on weekends, regardless of remuneration. myself included.

but although my time is largely determined by the whims and fancies severity of the patients' illnesses & i can't get away from that, it doesn't stop me from making a wish-list of a perfect weekend on-call :

1) all clinical work completed by evening;
2) no need to be called out to hospital after 12 midnite;
3) uninterrupted sleep till the next morning;
4) able to attend church on sunday morning;
5) have dinner with the family AND.....
6) get to watch all the important Premier League games!!

last weekend, i only missed out on one dinner with the family. can't really ask for more!

**after some thought, i realised the term "perfect weekend on-call" probably doesn't exist - can spending time on-call in hospital over a weekend be considered perfect??**