Thursday, March 29, 2012

do you want to be a doctor?

i received a few queries from SPM-leavers enquiring about qualifying for med school & life as a doctor. as it happened, there is an excellent elaboration on this issue written by a physician in the form of a letter to a prospective medical student. all interested students should read it here.

i can vouch for Dr Wong's impeccable credentials. he was an excellent med student & i am proud to have been his classmate.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

next time, drink beer from a can?

people accidentally swallow a variety of stuff. children swallow pieces of toys while adults, dentures, chicken & fish bone. so they come to hospital to have them removed under general anaesthesia.

this chap had a drinking session till late one nite. he must have been stoned drunk because he didn't realise anything wrong till the following afternoon. he felt something stuck in his throat.

his xray showed this:

the close-up:

and yes, he did remember he had quite a few rounds of heineken:
it would definitely be the most expensive bottle-cap in the world - once he gets the hospital bill!!

however, i doubt if he would drink beer out of cans after this. how else is he going to get the pretty promoter girls in tight skirts to serve him? heh, heh!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

it's that $%#@&!! time of the year again.....

you know the one i mean?

yeah, the day when the results of the public exams are announced.

which is today.

headlining the news would be the top scorers with a whole bunch of A+s to their names. good for them because, i assume, they worked hard for it.

but what about those that worked as hard but just fell short of perfection? my colleague's daughter really took it hard. she didn't get THE CALL yesterday. apparently, the state education department calls up the straight A+ (not just A, mind you!) students a day before the results are announced to invite them for a special ceremony to commemorate their success.

so, she didn't get the call. she was upset & so was her mother. her father, my colleague, took the news better, probably because, like me, we went through the old system & were satisfied with the results we got. those days were different, i guess. our MCE (& HSC for 6th form)) certificates were well respected & were easily accepted as entry qualifications into overseas colleges/universities.

as it turned out, she got 10 (yes, TEN) A+s & an A. a near-perfect score which, apparently, is not good enough these days.

in our time, we'd have partied thru the nite!! golly, don't we love those good old days!!

ps. as an after-thought, i wonder how many, if they have a choice, would stay back for the revamped STPM. the education ministry announced recently (& suddenly) that there will be assessment-based gradings instead of just one main exam, from this year onwards in a lab rat pioneering effort to enhance interest in the exam.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

the week that was

the one-week school break sure passed by fast.

the girl has been home this whole week but i've not had much time to catch up with her except during dinner time. she did achieve one thing though - she finally passed her driving test. (read here)

the boy did something nice, too. he loves frozen yoghurt & he offered to give us all a treat today, limited to rm20.

as a working parent, sometimes my life is controlled by forces outside my control (read: patients) & there's a real danger that the kids grow up without my being there or my realising the changes that accompany their rite of passage.

so, in a way, i'm glad i agreed for the wife to be a stay-at-home mum.

Monday, March 05, 2012


kids are often looking for acceptance from their peers. as students, they join school societies & cliques, & maybe out of school, they join secret societies & gangs.

my son has his own group of friends in school - the so-called english-speaking group. you know the type - speaking english amongst themselves despite being in a chinese-medium school. the other day, this group tormented a girl by calling her names. she cried as she told her mother. fortunately, her mother & my wife are friends & that's how we knew about that incident. when we questioned the boy, he revealed that although the group was verbally harsh to the girl, he just stood there & said nothing. the girl confirmed that my son was just a bystander.

i can imagine the predicament he was in. to support his group & harass the girl or do the right thing & abstain? to consolidate acceptance into the group or to risk alienation?

adults aren't much different. acceptance, recognition or approval - they mean the same, a desire to be part of a group, be it family, work colleagues or business circle. 

i myself found acceptance last week. my daughter finally added me to her FB.


Saturday, March 03, 2012

i know life's unfair but then.....

it's was one of those difficult on-calls but definitely a poignant one.

11-month-old child with brain tumour which suddenly bled & required surgery. results are not promising & he had to be transferred to a university hospital for further treatment.

70-yr-old man scheduled for neck surgery. on the night before surgery, he slipped & fell in the bathroom, causing a bleed in the brain & requiring emergency surgery. the bleeding had caused too much damage to the brain &, in all probability, he will not survive.

young mother into 8th month of pregnancy. the placenta separated prematurely from the uterine wall causing bleeding. the emergency C-section saved the mother but the baby suffered asphyxiation ( medic-speak for suffocation from lack of oxygen) & died the next day in ICU.

81-yr-old man with bowel cancer scheduled for surgery. 15 years ago, he had cancer in another part of the large bowel which was successfully removed. fortunately for him, the tumour this time was again completely excised.

often i wondered to myself why sometimes innocent people suffer while others who do evil flourish? there's no way we could predict what's going to happen tomorrow. how do you explain to the parents that their 11-mth child will not see teen years, or the expectant mother that her newborn has passed on? what do you tell the children that their father, just 6 hours before a routine surgery has sustained a fatal fall instead, or a man who has developed cancer twice?

yeah, bummer, isn't it? but i suppose if you believe in a Higher Being or a Divine Power, then you'll surrender your life to the fate you've been destined with. life just goes on thereafter.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isa 55:8, 9