Monday, January 31, 2011

money changer

music lessons aren't cheap & neither are concert tickets. that's probably why music teachers can charge a premium & there will still be a queue for their services.

the boy started learning cello a few months back & he seems to enjoy himself with the lessons & his new-found talent (i use this term this loosely). as each session lasts only 30 mins, i usually send him & then wait for him to finish. then i pay the teacher, as & when he has the lesson. 

i just started to joke with him.

me: you know, your teacher is like a money changer

him: how come?

me : every time i give her some money, she changes a smaller note for me.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

parting is such sweet sorrow.

staff nurse N has resigned from her job to go back to her hometown in another state, where her 2 little children are being looked after by her parents, & a little closer to where hubby is working.

when she asked to have a photo taken with me today, i was a little taken aback. we didn't have a smooth working relationship. i've known her from the time she started as a fresh-faced graduate & although she struggled the initial few months, she picked up with time & experience. even then, i think i still gave her a hard time because i didn't think she was focussed on the job. i reckoned she would at best be mediocre.

as i looked back at her time with the department, i'm trying to figure out why she isn't confident & couldn't excel in her job. it wasn't obvious to me till now. it can't be easy to fully concentrate & be focussed on the job when the hubby is working miles apart & the kids are even further away. living all alone can't be good for a marriage. now that she will at least be reunited with her parents & kids in the hometown, i hope she will be happier & henceforth be a better nurse. actually, i know she can be one.

if she wanted to.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

quality control

the quality control people are at the hospital to assess, what else, the quality of the service provided by the hospital. for these 3 days, they'll scrutinse everything - from correctly filling of forms, signing of important documents, safe dispensing of medication & proper provision of healthcare by all levels of staffing. even the kitchen & waste disposal won't be spared the surveillance.

the ward is extremely efficient today. extremely. the staff are looking busy at their stations or with patients, no one is having coffee in the pantry, the floor is squeaky clean & the corridors are cleared of clutter (i wonder where they managed to store them).

this is too good to be true!

maybe it's because i overheard the sister barked this morning : i don't care how you do it but for these three days, you better do everything the proper way!!

i should relish this while the survey is ongoing because by friday, i fear it'll be just another day at the office.

Friday, January 21, 2011

love bites can kill!

we all know what love bites are, right? but do you know that these can be dangerous? and girls, i don't mean the situation when your fathers find out about them.

it was reported that a maori woman in new zealand suffered a minor stroke as a result of some vigorous kissing. read here & here.

so, there's a cautionary tale for dating couples & a chance for medical students to impress their examiners & get bonus marks by mentioning neck-kissing as a rare cause of a stroke.

Monday, January 17, 2011

MRT: here we go again

the mass rapid transit transport system is estimated to cost RM36b. (read here)  lobbying has begun as to where the lines should run & stations be located. naturally, the shopping malls & commercial owners want the stations nearby their premises while home residents want them as far as possible, both for obvious reasons.

i don't live in the klang valley but the few times that i've used the LRT/Star trains, i find the whole exercise inconvenient, to say the least. when i needed to switch lines, i have to exit one station & walk to another station some distance away & then purchase another ticket. but i can actually understand why that happened - because the different lines were constructed at different times & by different parties.

now that there is a Urban Transport masterplan in place, hopefully when the whole thing is up & running (estimated to complete in 2016), there is some semblance of a much needed smooth (dare i say seamless?) travelling experience. hopefully they don't need to send some more people for study trips to europe/america to learn how to design/construct/manage a MRT. they only need to look south.

call me a pessimist but going by past events, i suspect terms like "unexpected delays" & "cost over-runs" to be bandied around in time to come.

however, i would like to be proven wrong.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


no, i'm not referring to the scanty lacey types women put on that drive men crazy.

i meant the cotton or polyester types that little boys of school-going age should wear. if they don't put one on, one day in their haste to zip or unzip their pants, a bit of the foreskin may get caught & ouch! it's not a pleasant experience for the boy, his teachers or parents.

just tonite we had such a boy - 7-years old & his "little brother" was caught as he was unzipping his pants to pee. this is worse than getting caught zipping up because he HASN'T peed yet & the pain has made him fearful of peeing. by the time he reached hospital, the discomfort of his distended bladder is causing him more distress than the pain from the zipper. poor kid!

anyway, the zipper was released under general anaethesia & a circumcision was subsequently done to reduce the risk of future "accidents." both his parents have been advised to encourage the boy to put on underwear from now on.

and as far as i know, little girls are spared this little embarrassment.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

horse has bolted

it's right there on page 3. (read here)

another reminder of how our education system has gone awry. & the recent changes on History as a compulsory-pass exam subject & going ahead with the move to make the elective languages of Arabic, Chinese, Tamil, Iban and Kadazandusun compulsory for all Year One pupils this year when there aren't enough language teachers are not going to inspire confidence amongst parents & educators. & we haven't even begun on language of instruction, university places, scholarships, etc. etc.

no wonder concerned parties are sceptical over the government's Talent Corp program (read here). how can you expect  people to return home when the house is in disarray? anyway, if policies don't change, & so far there's no indication they would, expect more exodus & brain drain. it's like trying to shut the stable door after the horse has bolted.

but then, maybe they don't care as long as semuanya ok.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

needle phobia

this patient really got me riled up!!

24-yr-old guy who underwent surgery last month under general anaesthesia. now, he's so scared of pain that the removal of stitches on his face will need to be done under general anaesthesia AGAIN! he won't even allow a catheter, no matter how small i tried to reason with him, to be inserted into his hand. after 10 minutes of negotiation & bargaining, he still refused & we decided to give him the "gas" to put him to sleep, a technique usually reserved for children.

in the end, the removal took less than 5 mins - a procedure that is usually done in the ward without any anaesthetic.

so, what's so unusual about this, you ask?? ok, get this.....

he is a 4th year medical student & in TWO YEARS, if he passes his exams, he could be serving the public, which means people like you and i. think about it - if he's terrified of needles himself, how is he going to administer an injection to his patients?

let's not even think whether he could stand the sight of vomit.

or blood.

Monday, January 10, 2011

why does God allow suffering?

i ask this question not because the speed demon crashed on the expressway & suffers severe head injury. neither because the guy ate like there's no tomorrow & now suffers a heart attack.

i ask because of a 11-year-old girl who is completely paralysed from an inoperable tumour in her spinal cord. she is totally ventilator-dependant in ICU & needs to be fed & cleaned. when she's awake, you can see the emotions she goes thru - the occasional smile & grin but mostly solemn & grim. she will most likely not recover, a few doctors have concurred.

my initial reaction was that it wasn't fair for an innocent child to go through such suffering with no cure in sight.

i am searching for answers myself.

but then, there are many things we do not understand until such time that God chooses to reveal to us (deut 29:29). it's certainly not because she or her parents had done anything wrong because Jesus Himself said those who died innocently were not more guilty than others who lived (luke 13:1-5).

i then realised that it all boils down to one fact: all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (rom 3:23) & the wages of sin is death (6:23).
& the stern warning to me is this :

"But unless you repent, you too will all perish."

but that doesn't stop me from feeling sorry for the girl & her family. somehow i must try to share the Good News even if it's obvious that they are staunch believers of other faiths.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

NZ #7 : hobbiton & rotorua

it was a really, really long drive from whitianga down to rotorua. although only about 250km (like from seremban to JB) in distance, the route through hills & valleys on a damp day made the journey longer than it really was. but we did make a stop at mata-mata, just an hour north-west of rotorua, for this...

the shires are under reconstruction for the new movie to be filmed later this year. this is private land & when the owner was asked to leased it to the film company, he was offered to stay anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, till filming was complete. what made this land special is that it has this lake...

**notice the houses are larger on the left & built smaller towards the right.this is to give the effect of dwarf-like hobbits in a large house & humans in a cramped hobbit's home**

.....and a century-old oak tree next to it. remember party tree & party field at the beginning of the 1st episode?

some places were still out-of-bounds as they were being prepared for the new film, so we could only picture frodo's home from a distance.

rotorua is a definite must-see if you only have a few days in the north island. the best authentic cultural performances are said to be here, held on traditional (sacred) maori land. the show started with the MC demonstating how our "hangi" dinner was being cooked...

followed by warriors paddling their "waka" down the river....

then a welcome by the women....

followed by the traditional haka performance - the local battle-cry before combat, seen more often nowadays when the NZ rugby team All-Blacks prepares for competition.

but one attraction that will thrill the kids is the skyline cable car up to Mt Ngongotaha...

then take the luge downhill.....
and back up again by cable car.

yeah, we each went on 3 rides of different levels of slope.

St Faith's Church, by the edge of Lake Rotorua, is the 1st permanent church built in the Rotorua area.

what's unique here is the image of Christ sandblasted on a glass window with the actual lake rotorua as backdrop, giving the impression of God walking on the water!!

ok, rotorua is famous for its geothermal activities as it stands in the crater of an ancient volcano, giving rise to geysers, thermal springs & boiling mud pools. the odour of sulphur can be revolting to sensitive noses.

boiling mudpools

one more stop before departing rotorua is the Huka Falls jetboat ride. the driver definitely knew how to skillfully manipulate the boat as it twists & turns on the river, as well as approaching the waterfalls itself. needless to say, the kids loved it!

there's no doubt in my mind that Rotorua is the one-stop tourist attraction of the North Island. no wonder Rolf Harris had this hit song many years ago, which went like this: 
Hurry hurry hurry home love
Hurry home to Rotorua
To the mountains and the valleys
Hurry home to me
I know I know
You had to go
Please hurry back home love
I miss you so.

no doubt, too, that many people will return one day, including us. this concluded our 12-day vacation.

waiting at the bus-stop in downtown Auckland for the express bus to the airport