Saturday, April 30, 2011

the wedding - an english lesson

you couldn't have missed it - it was the wedding of the year, maybe of the decade or the century. it was televised on both free-to-air and satellite TV & the media screamed its headlines.

so here's our english lesson....

what's the difference between complete and finished?

when you marry the right one, you are COMPLETE.

when you marry the wrong one, you are FINISHED.

AND when the "right one" catches you with the "wrong one," you are COMPLETELY FINISHED!!

so, i wonder what the outcome will be when you refuse to vow obedience..... 

Friday, April 29, 2011

don't be

don't be fat.

ok, if you can't help being tubby, at least don't smoke.

ok, ok, if you weigh 108kg & smoke 3 packets of ciggies a day, at least stay away from doctors.

unfortunately, if you're obese & you smoke like a chimney, you're most likely to develop diabetes, hypertension and/or high cholesterol, & then you CAN'T avoid doctors.

and, if you have to undergo difficult abdominal surgery, your recovery is very likely to follow a stormy course.

Mr G is such a person. he had to spend one day in ICU hooked up to a ventilaor after surgery, because he couldn't breathe, when most people would have just breezed through.

he's only 45. i dread to think what he'd be like in 10 years if he didn't change his life style!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

migration to new zealand

when we vacationed in NZ last year, the whole family thought aloud in the same wavelength - fresh air, fresh milk, fresh lamb & lots of space. if you disregard the occasional tremor, it is a very liveable place. truth be told, we did toy around with the idea of migration.

but looks like 10 malaysians beat us to it....(read here)

apparently, in NZ, when you are caught for a drug-related offence, you are not executed like in some unciviilsed countries (see, another reason to move to a country where you actually live longer!) but granted permanent residence with free food & a place to stay, albeit behind bars. hmmm....think of the lamb shanks, fresh strawberries & local wine you'd be served!

actually, these drug mules give other bona fide travellers a bad name. don't be surprised if the immigration & custom officers give you a dirty look when you next visit.

ditto heathrow airport.

in the mean time, our NZ dreams remain just that.


Friday, April 22, 2011

playing God......with a twist.

i posted earlier about how doctors are sometimes accused of playing God (read here).  here's one with a twist......

72-year-old Mr O was admitted a few days ago with chronic obstructive airway disease & acute renal failure. after he had gone for a CT scan & then connected to a ventilator to assist breathing in the ICU, his daughter then dropped a bomb - she wanted to take her father home.

WHAT?? we were stumped!

if a patient is incapacitated, we often respect the wishes of the family as to how they want treatment to proceed, within reason, of course. so while Mr O will benefit from a few rounds of haemodialysis & a few days on ventilator to tide him over this difficult period, there is still no certainty that he will be back to normal after that. he could remain in critical condition, or even get worse. perhaps it's the lack of a guaranteed outcome that the family chose to defer further treatment. both my colleague & i don't know for sure why the family took this course of action.

however, having to make many difficult decisions each day, it does lighten our burden just a bit when the patient or the family make their own decision & boldly adhere to it.

it's out of our hands now.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

man with one kidney

i've had many patients who've undergone a nephrectomy (surgical removal of a diseased kidney), so it's not a big deal to meet yet another. but Mr K is special. and very unique in these modern times.

he has the courage to undergo the removal of a NORMAL kidney to donate to his younger brother who had 2 damaged kidneys from poorly-controlled diabetes & hypertension. the brother had previously required haemodialysis but since the transplant 15 years ago, has been leading a largely normal life, thanks to Mr K.

his family may have said he did it out of love.

youths of today may call this act "cool" or "awesome." (i often wonder if their vocabulary of adjectives is limited to just these words!)

i can only think of  one word. selfless.

we ourselves don't know if we are able to commit to this sort of sacrifice but we can always start small. like making regular blood donations. or, register with the Malaysian Society of Transplantation to pledge our organs. (download form here:

and, it's so appropriate that i met Mr K this easter week, his unselfish act reflected in Christ's ultimate sacrifice - His crucifixtion & resurrection.
this is what the apostle John wrote about love:

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters .1 John 3:16

Blessed easter!

Monday, April 18, 2011

poker-faced doctors?

is medicine like playing poker?

well, yes & no.

it's NOT like poker because you don't gamble with your patients' lives.

and yet, everyday you face problems that require both your own rational judgment & dependence on  a bit of luck  divine interevention. like sometimes, you have to decide if the problem is too big to handle & that the patient is better managed at another institution. in poker-speak, would you raise the stakes & take a chance that you have a better hand, or fold up & cut your losses?

proceed to treatment or refer to another hospital?

in my honest opinion, i think doctors make bad poker players.

internet banking?

internet banking is supposed to effect transactions in the blink of an eye, right?

when i tried out CIMB clicks, my account is debited & the money got transferred out as soon as i hit the enter button.

not so with RHB. i tried to pay my credit card bill today the same way. but after 12 hours, nothing has happened. i checked my savings account & no funds has been debited. so i called up the credit card centre to enquire if the bill has been paid. the lady said it'll take THREE DAYS to update the account!! to be fair to her, she did apologise although i doubt if she was responsible for this.

maybe that's why CIMB is the 2nd largest bank (by capitalisation, which probably also means 2nd richest) & RHB is not. but i'm only with RHB because their travelmoney credit card gives the best cash rebates (between 2 - 10%) for fuel.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

something new, something old

penang has certainly moved on since i was last there 2 years ago....

nothing costs rm2.30 anymore at the islands glades food stalls. char kuay teow is now 2.80 WITHOUT eggs. a chicken egg costs an extra 50sen & a duck egg, rm1. no wonder people resort to manufacturing fake eggs!

in reflecting inflation on a larger scale, the straits quay development on reclaimed land near tanjung bungah, has terrace houses starting at rm1.2M!!

penangites will go far for good food. a thai food restaurant that has been in operation for 3 years is Bukit Genting Thai (on my GPS) near balik pulau. it's located on top a hill 290m above sea-level & you can get both a good view of the coastline as well as authentic Thai food at reasonable prices.we just had a snack & after that, my sisters-in-law were adamant they must have the famous balik pulau laksa another 10mins drive away. while in penang, be prepared to learn about the many famous food stalls - penang road chendol, craven A nasi kandar, air hitam assam laksa, etc. penang is not called a food haven for no reason!

however, some things don't change. i was at youth park this morning at 9.30am, hoping to have some quiet time for exercise. to my utter surprise, the car park was almost full & people are everywhere - families with young children, retirees, everyone - at a time i had expected people to be still having a late breakfast on a weekend or queueing up at the shopping mall.

but maybe i shouldn't be surprised. the youth park has been well maintained by the local council & it's a refreshing piece of green-lung right smack in the city, & it's always crowded in the evenings. looks like people throng the place on weekend mornings as well. as i walked up the hill, i noticed i'm panting more than i used to. i could previously walked up the 1st rest place without stopping but this time, i had to stop TWICE to catch my breath. truth be known, i haven't been exercising regularly of late.

all the more i should focus on after this weekend savoring the the food haven.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


penang is like an adoptive home for me.

i worked there for 4 years & i married a penangite. so when i am there, i feel quite at home. i still know my way around & where i can get great food. i also like the simple life there, except that the traffic drive me nuts sometimes.

and oh, the beach holds many a fond memory for me, too....heh heh!

yeah, i'm looking forward to going home this weekend. if only i had bought that house years ago when it didn't cost so much.....

taxes & death

who was it who said that the only things certain in life are taxes & death?

anyway, it's a load off my back now that i've submitted the receipts & statements as i fulfill my responsibility as a tax-paying citizen. but the issue that leaves a bitter after-taste is the way the guardians of our country's wealth seems to squander away needlessly on dubious projects & schemes.

it was announced yesterday that malaysian experts working overseas who return home to serve will be subject to a special flat tax rate of 15% (compared to a maximum of 26% we non-experts have to pay), except that it's only for 5 years. i doubt if our experts overseas are jumping for joy at this offer. only FIVE years & what happens after that? they will still have to put up with all the rubbish we all face on a daily basis.

nah, this is only a stop-gap measure & both the govt & experts know that. we all look for long-term solutions to our brain drain & other pressing matters, eg. education, healthcare, etc.

this requires strong political will to achieve & everyone knows this is still sadly lacking in the current batch of leaders.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

looking for a good deal in sinking ship

like the proverbial rats scrambling out of a sinking ship, this scenario seems to be replayed in christchurch in the aftermath of the recent earthquake. varsity students are transferring out (read here) to australia & elsewhere. my friend in auckland who came back for a vacation said the property prices there has escalated steeply as the south islanders relocate to seemingly safer grounds in the north.

i'm not sure if it's foolish to invest in real estate in & around christchurch now, but i'm sure there are risk-takers out there who can smell a profitable deal from miles away. my point is that, while people are avoiding it like a plague, i would actually vacation in christchurch & the south island if there's a good flight deal now. i mean, look at it - the NZD is at a reasonable 2.35 exchange & i think there won't be as many tourists as in the previous years. except that, i can't find a flight cheap enough to convince me to take that small risk of a repeat tremor.

air asia is currently offering about rm1500 per pax in late november, & that's excluding baggage, insurance & meals.

nah....i think i'll wait....

but i'm definitely not planning for japan, not even with free flight tickets!