Tuesday, December 31, 2013

great ocean road

appropriately enough, being the last day of the year, i have this to confess : despite all the attractions that melbourne affords, many of which were mention in the previous post, i chose to visit melbourne over sydney because of the iconic great ocean road and the 12 apostles.

not to mention that the air tickets were also cheaper.

The Great Ocean Road (aka surf coast highway, B100) is an Australian National Heritage listed 243 kilometres stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Allansford, near Warrnambool. (wikipedia)

we had planned on staying a nite at apollo bay, somewhere in the midpoint of this iconic road but because all  accommodation listed on agoda & booking.com were not available on the date we wanted, we ended up staying further west at port campbell. this turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as the famed 12 apostles is located just a short drive away.....
after 4 hours on the road, was this a welcome sight or what??

there were originally only 9 of these limestone rocks but for the purpose of tourism, they were called the 12 apostles. one, humourously called Judas, has been eroded by the waves in 2005, leaving just 8 currently.

another rocky attraction is the loch ard gorge a few km down the road.

just to end with new year greetings from my family.....

Melbourne CBD

in a city where parking spaces are few & expensive, a good public transport system is a boon to tourism, even better if it's free!! such as the city circle tram.....

it tracks around the CBD & gets people to many touristy spots, eg. victoria market, harbourtown, south yarra. some within walking distance from the tram stops.

one place where tourists congregate is federation square, a post-modern block of buildings which houses an exhibition hall as well as tourist information. of course, free wifi also helps...

my host thinks it's an eye sore! it seems a bit out of place amongst the new and old.....

...... like these 2 adjacent old church buildings and the new block being constructed in the background. ah yes, we did notice quite a few apartment blocks undergoing construction right within the CBD itself. perhaps these have already been advertised in our local papers.

what's a vibrant city without people having a few beers on a friday evening....


and street performers............?

throw in shopping......
and something odd, like a tourist-friendly street-full of graffitis....
and there you have a city worth a visit.

Monday, December 30, 2013

a tale of 3 daughters.....

............and their respective fathers. all 3 daughters are 1st-born & their respective fathers are doctors in private practice.

daughter #1 aspires to be a lawyer, but her father is encouraging & cajoling her to take up medicine. basically, he wants her to take over his practice when he retires.

daughter #2 wants to be a dentist, because she wasn't sure if her grades could take her to med school, which got her father upset. now that she's aced the A-levels, she's decided to do medicine instead & her father is now happy as a lark.

daughter #3 plans to do pharmacy & her father is glad she's not following the herd. however, at the interview with the university's representatives, they offered her an additional option of medicine as well, based on her forecast results. now, she's changed her mind & decided to take up the "improved offer." her father is not so sure she's made the right choice but lets her decide her own destiny anyway.

in this current climate where everyone can take up medicine, you must know of daughters or fathers who resemble the fictitious characters in this tale.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

our annual family vacation 2013

all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, & this is where i stop feeling like Jack.

this year's time out with the family was in Melbourne, often & widely proclaimed as the most livable city in the world.

no doubt it was the hottest we've been - on our 1st day there, it was a blazing 39*C! so out came the sunshades, sunglasses & sun-block lotion! there's also a month's window when cherries are just ripe for the picking & because workers are few, the farmers invite locals & tourists to pick them, charging entrance fees as well as cherries by weight.

 so that's our 1st experience at a cherry farm. we've also tried picking at a strawberry farm many years previously but that was near the end-of-season, so the fruits were small & unappealing.

many cafes ground & brew their own coffee & this has led melbourne to be touted as one of the coffee capitals of the world. well, i'm not surprised - even my host owns a coffee machine which grinds, brews & filter the drink & even has a steamer for milk.

how cool is that!!

but on a hot day, i wanted an iced coffee instead of the usual brew in a cup. to my pleasant surprise, an iced coffee over there is coffee in a tall glass chilled with a huge scoop of vanilla ice-cream & cream.

ah, i'm beginning to like this city already......

(to be continued)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


treating children is not my forte; that's why I didn't do paediatrics. but often I get kids who are unco-operative & will do a running battle with me.

like trying to insert an intravenous cannula. so, i try to cajole this 8-year-old into thinking that it's actually a cute little butterfly......

he only looks partly convinced.

before i spray some cold liquid on the back of his hand, i tell him it will feel like iced milo. this numbs the skin & i try to insert the cannula fast before the cold wears off. once in, the battle is almost won.

then i tell him i need to feed the "butterfly" some water....

finally, i tell him the butterfly needs to have some milk because it's hungry.

that's the last thing he remembers before he doze off to sleep.............and kids looks so angelic when they're in deep sleep!!

butterfly, iced milo, milk......this is how we "deceive" kids into co-operating with us.

Monday, December 16, 2013

stringed ensemble

we had our little Christmas do last nite.

besides food & drinks & outreaching, we also discovered our little stringed ensemble.....

may they use their God-given talents in praising His name. Amen.

Monday, December 09, 2013

thank you, pa!

those were his 1st words after he got this....

......which was a promise made to him early this year if he maintained his position in class. and he did exceed our expectations.

however, this was not without condition - he will be denied access should he slack or falter next year. then, he will learn very quickly that, in the real world, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

or, in his case, an iPad.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

am i the prodigal son?

years ago, i made up my mind to return to my roots & serve in a mission hospital. i did apply to join but while waiting for a vacancy, i went over to s'pore. months later, due to some miscommunication, the mission hospital hired someone else.

that's when i came back & found another vacancy at another hospital in another state.

and i've been here since.

a few months back, i met up with a pastor who said he has served at the mission hospital & know the management team well. and if i had any intention to return, he could help me. i sort of brushed it off disregarded it.

then last week, another former pastor and currently educator told me via FB that he has been sent to join the senior management team of that hospital. when i related how i almost got to work there 15 years ago, he asked if i was still interested to return to the fold because he wielded considerable influence there.

ha ha, is someone up there messing with prompting me?? sending these two people to bid me to return to my roots?

i think, just to be on the safe side, i'll just wait for a 3rd messenger ....that would really convince me to uproot & move.

until then, i'll just remain content in my kampong life.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013


used Whatsapp for the 1st time today.

(it just means that i've just got myself an android phone la!!)

better late than never, right?

Sunday, December 01, 2013

an unusual birthday gift

i received this self-made birthday card from the daughter today......

yes, she's finally finished.....but something else may be about to start.....
she's introduced us to a local boy.....2 years older, from the church, currently undergoing national service.......
should i laugh or cry??

Thursday, November 28, 2013

dust to dust


"For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.” gen 3:19

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

3.15pm (and the fat lady has sung.)

the last paper is done & dusted......

and although school officially is over, the learning never ends.....

but now, it's time to relax for little while........

.....and rejoice......

..........and reunite..........

..............and anticipate.......

....................where the path will next lead to..........

exams.....another love-hate relationship.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


i had another dose of butterflies some weeks back.....
this was a middle-aged man with a tumour that secretes a hormone which raises the blood pressure. never in my 28 years in medical practice have i seen anyone with a blood pressure of 307/111 (!!!) until that day.
but there's always a 1st time for everything, yes?
a sudden surge in BP is never good, particularly for the brain or heart & a stroke or a heart attack is a very real threat.
to cut a long story short, the body is a wonderful machine which can withstand  multiple insults & assaults & still come through largely intact.
the tumour was successfully removed after a 6-hour surgery. while the patient will probably live longer now, i fear, ironically, that my life just got cut short by at least 3 months.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


this i remember from the 70s....

there was this sitcom about a Mexican family living in the US. the guy was terribly anxious about an upcoming event & he told his wife so.

"i'm having cocoons in my stomach!"

"err...you mean, you have butterflies?"

"no, cocoons....but they will be butterflies this afternoon!!"

lame, right?

i can understand the anxiety my daughter is going thru during the current A-level exams. some days, it even feels like i'm sitting for it!! after all, i've been doing exams after exams from primary school till varsity, & each seemed to be more important than the previous one.

& i still go thru anxiety spells at work. like today.

2-month-old kids are fun to make monkey faces at & tickle koochi-koochi, but i tell, they're no fun to give an anaesthetic to. they are so dainty.... so delicate....the margin for error is slim. one little slip &........

arrghhh....don't want to think about it...

so you can understand why, like my daughter, i've been having cocoons since early this morning.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

of queens and princesses.........

so far, half of this statement has been true for me......
what about you?

Thursday, November 07, 2013

just a phone call.....



Monday, November 04, 2013

hell on earth

on some days, work feels like this....

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Saturday, September 28, 2013

exotic restaurants



that's the guy who makes you an offer you can't refuse.

i met one today......at Popular.

the hardcover copy priced originally at rm87.90 is going for a song at rm20.00!!

isn't that one offer you too can't refuse??

(or, maybe the Big Bad Wolf can come up with a better offer?)

Monday, September 23, 2013

a little ME time

i was in the Big City over the weekend all by myself. ok, not exactly all alone because it was a medical conference & some of these meetings served more as a social event than for discovering advances in medicine.

usually the family accompanies me on trips like these because we hardly come to the Big City. this time, free of any constraint, i managed to explore a little more of the city.

one thing's for sure - it doesn't sleep on weekends. mamak shops/stalls thrive because people meet & eat round the clock. and the double & triple parking after office hours is legendary.

also, the high cost of living isn't a big issue for some people. i had dinner with an ex-classmate at a restaurant & he suggested a set dinner at rm58++ per pax. i baulked at the price but he didn't even bat an eyelid. back at the kampong where i live, people only pay price this for 8-course wedding dinners. i intentionally chewed on the meal slowly & swallowed cautiously to savour the moment!

ah yes, also managed to meet up & have coffee & cake with a FB friend.

it's so cliché but true - home is where the heart is. after 3 days, i missed the rm3 lunch, toll-free roads & ample free parking in the kampong.

ah....it's good to touch the green, green grass of home!

Thursday, September 05, 2013

superstition is here to stay...

i ought to be more careful with my choice of words.....

me : ok, we've arranged for your surgery to be done asap. it's time to go now.

patient : doctor, don't say, "it's time to go."

that's when i realised my mistake. for the superstitious traditionalist, "time to go" means going to one's death & that's a no-no, even though the ghost month (when the spirits are released from hell) officially ended yesterday.

i promptly apologised & rephrased that the nurse will send her to the OT soon.

and the surgery went thru smoothly.


Saturday, August 31, 2013

just the wrong place......

it was a tragedy that the Air Asia exec was knocked down by a car driven by a Good Samaritan trying to help save her from robbers. if only she had been a little further from where she was, the robbers may have been seriously injured instaed.

same with this guy. he was eagerly awaiting the for fireworks as the countdown to Merdeka began. however, instead of shooting off skywards, the fireworks went straight towards his direction instead.
he suffered some minor burns & cuts on his face close to his right eye. his vision was fortunately not affected.

if only he had stood a few feet away in a different position, he may have avoided injury altogether.

sometimes, our own negligence causes accidents to ourselves or to others. at other times, we have no control over things that happen to us.

may God watch over & protect us always!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

patients can make or destroy you.

if you have treated a patient well, he/she may tell his/her circle of friends & thereby improve your referral rate.

conversely, the patient may also speak badly about you & the reverse occurs.

this actually happened & could have been a back-fire....

patient (speaking aloud) : doctor, doctor! you remember you operated on my mother 3 years ago? she died la!

doctor : ????

(later, the said patient went on to clarify that the operation was successful but her mother eventually died of old age)

fortunately, the conversation did not take place in a crowded clinic room or else the doctor's reputation would have been tarnished, though of no fault of the doctor.

Monday, August 05, 2013

botox, anyone?

many, myself included, believed that the best milk are produced in new zealand. maybe it's true, maybe it's just persuasive advertising, but trusted names like fernleaf, anchor & danone have strong following worldwide.

suddenly, in the wake of the botulism scare, china, the largest importer of new zealand milk, has ordered a recall of the latter's milk products. in 2008, tragedy struck china's milk industry when tainted milk killed 6 infants & made many more sick.

botulinum toxin, produced by the bacteria Clostridium, poisons the nerves, causes paralysis & can be fatal. the irony is that doctors are injecting people with this toxin (even the label on the bottle said so)......
 ......though in small, controlled doses, so that the recipients may loose their wrinkles, frowns lines & crow feet.
medicine, like most things in life, dictates that too much of a thing can't be that good, eg. sugar, salt, cholesterol. the other classical example is vaccines. these are watered-down versions of the actual viruses, that in their original forms, causes diseases like polio, measles & tetanus.
so, if you're thinking of having botox, just imagine that you're getting a toxin injected into you & that's just to look good.
is it really worth it?
But the fruit of the Spirit is ............ temperance: against such there is no law. (gal 5:22, KJV)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

was i just plain mean?

i enjoy talking to medical reps. they are generally nice people - they have to be if they want to sell stuff.

i tried selling things when i was in school to earn some pocket money but wasn't good at it. i realised it takes a certain personality & lots of dogged perseverance to make a success of of it, so i often give these med reps some time to promote their stuff. some are interesting to talk to, some are time-wasters while a small minority are just plain eye-candies.

so, i was a bit busy yesterday (manic monday??) when this rep came around. because i had things to settle, it was about 10 mins before i could see her. i imagine some have to wait for hours at the clinics. when i went out to the reception area, she was nowhere to be found. not a word nor an sms to tell me where she was.

yeah, i became the big bad wolf & huffed & puffed.

i then went back to doing things but not before sending an sms to her to express my displeasure at the disappearance. she replied asking if she could wait for me then, but i told her i'm not seeing her. period.

i did feel little bad after that. it's days like this one makes me mull & ruminate & reflect on myself.

yeah, i'd like to blame it on manic Monday but that excuse is as water-tied as the sinking titanic.

i was just plain mean, wasn't i?

big bad wolf perhaps?

Monday, July 22, 2013


a non-descript year but a great one to be born in.

because if you follow the malaysian school system, you'd be sitting for the SPM in 2011. and because the govt was dragging its feet on GE13, it made a few promises to students who do well in the exams. it also introduced the "bursary" which i initially thought was just an allowance to help part-pay tuition fees at private colleges.

as it turned out, it was a windfall beyond anyone's wildest & optimistic imagination. this bursary covered all tuition fees & accommodation for students doing A-levels at private  colleges. for those who entered the matriculation programs & excelled, it also covered tuition fees when they entered varsity.

i know this because 3 of my daughter's sec school classmates are now eagerly waiting to do medicine at newcastle university medicine malaysia in sept, fully paid for by courtesy of the govt's election promise.

before anyone thinks this a freebie, let me also emphasise that there's a minimum 8A* requirement for SPM as well as acceptance into the chosen university for this bursary to be awarded.

looking forward, if GE14 is held around 2018, i would imagine those born in 1999/2000 may be  in line for some substantial academic rewards.

but only if there is any money left.


Tuesday, July 09, 2013

not poker-faced

the worried father asked me if Dr S is a good doctor as his daughter was about to undergo surgery. as far as I know, there are no bad doctors, only irresponsible or unethical ones.

so, i told him that his daughter would be fine. (note: i didn't reply directly to his query) somehow, i could see that he wasn't convinced because he could sense that i myself didn't sound very convincing.

the words may mean one thing but the body language said otherwise.

i definitely can't play poker to save my life but in this case, the "gamble" paid off as the surgery was a success.

Saturday, July 06, 2013


how else to explain this?

another sms from the daughter....

me : isn't the passport with you? (how did you leave the country without it...duhh!)

she : oh yeah, what was i thinking?

me : not about your studies, i would think!!!

DIL is the acronym for Dangerously Ill List & relatives of critically ill patients are asked to acknowledge this in writing.

it's also applied to young people caught up in throes of teenage emotions where it stands for....

Deeply In Love.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

life as an electric current

i was amused when my daughter sent me this sms recently....

the exchange went like this....

me: why?

she : because i take the path of least resistance.

me : AC or DC?

she : AC

me : why?

she : because i'm so indecisive.

i just love it when she talks physics with me......except that it's not her favourite subject.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

a million tear-drops....

I see it ever so often, esp in ICU......

patient dies.....

the family gathers around......

shedding tears.....

a million of them.....

it's like a grand send-off.....

but yet, they are imploring that the dear & beloved remains a tad longer....

but the ECG doesn't lie.....

people show emotions in different ways & in varying degrees.....

when my father passed away, i just shed a tear......

maybe two......

now, it makes me wonder how many drops of tears will flow for me.....

if any.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

what goes around, comes around....

when you give love...........

you get a return a hundredfold more!