Sunday, November 16, 2014

helping someone start a car

there are a few extra stuff i keep in my car.....

1) torchlight & umbrella;

2) spare cash;

3) spare bottle of plain water (for washer reservoir) AND battery water;

4) cloth gloves (for tyre change);

5) battery starter cables &;

6) a big stick (for self-defence);

i don't have a small fire extinguisher which would be useful as well.

i was at the petrol station today when i saw someone trying to start up a car with battery cables but for some reason, it didn't work. still, i was quite impressed that someone kept those cables handy. i have used my own cables twice & it successfully got the car started both times. so, i thought i'd find out why. apparently, one of the cable wasn't placed firmly on the battery terminal. a clue would be to see sparks fly when you attach the cables.

once that clip was readjusted, the car started at the 2nd attempt. good deed for the day!

Monday, November 03, 2014

here today, gone today... is so fragile...

48 year-old man who has been smoking all his life had chest pain yesterday afternoon. he walked into A&E & was wheeled into the cathetherization lab to confirm the diagnosis of coronary artery disease.

even before the procedure has commenced, he became sweaty & progressively drowsy. within minutes, Code Blue was activated & after an hour of vigorous resuscitation, he has become another statistic of preventable death from heart disease....

.....leaving a trail of tears & wails from his young family.

then the finger-pointing started.....

...he had just tucked into lunch with the family....

.....he was OK when he walked into hospital......

.........what did the heart specialist do in the cath lab....?

................did he do something that killed him........?

when questions like these are thrown about, you know might not get paid this time....

ahh....just another day at the office!

Friday, October 24, 2014

another foot in the mouth....

it was quite easy enough preventing singapore-registered cars from filling with subsidised RON 95 petrol. anyone can spot such a vehicle from miles away - just ask our highway patrolmen with speed cameras.

but just how are you going to make high-income Malaysians pay the full price for fuel? making such an announcement even before the details are worked out is typical of our faux pas-strickened lawmakers.

for example, how are they going to decide the level of high income? how are the petrol station staff to decide who these people are? what happens if the drivers of the BMWs & Mercs are really the lowly-paid drivers? what if i asked the wife to fill up for me? will there be separate pumps for unsubsidised fuel?

i can imagine the distress the petrol station owners are going thru. installing whatever system to discriminate the car owners is going to cost money & these won't be cheap because some crony will be getting this contract &, if true to form, this will eventually die a natural death ala AES.

however, if this bird-brained idea actually worked out well, i should stick my own foot into my big mouth.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

another one bites the dust

anyone remember ericsson?

of course not, because no one remembers losers!

sony bought over the ailing swedish cellphone manufacturer some years back & that's that. now that microsoft has bought over nokia, the latter's name would soon suffer a similar demise. (read here)

but we malaysians have no fear of that happening here. with solid unfaltering government support, our distressed car-maker proton has more lives than a cat.

it almost became volksproton, though!

hidup proton!!

Monday, October 20, 2014

if your elderly parent is in hospital....

very often we have elderly patients coming for surgery & because they usually are afflicted with various medical problems, they take a myriad of medications for their ailments. sometimes they forget to bring these with them when they are admitted & their spouse/children cannot remember what these medications are.

so, i was pleasantly surprised when i saw this note attached to a patient's file.
not as detailed as i would have liked, eg. dose & frequency not stated, but it's good enough, esp when there are times i haven't the foggiest idea what some patients are suffering from & what medications they take.

and that would be like sailing into the high seas without a compass....

Thursday, October 09, 2014

the fat lady has sung......finally!

it must be the longest school exam saga in history.

the final paper, mathematics, is held this morning & at 9.15am, the students will finally be freed from their angst, no thanks to the bumbling people at the ministry.

it was exactly one month ago to the day when the UPSR exam began. what was meant to be a straightforward 3-day exam has degraded into a 30-day fiasco.

even before the dust has settled, the same fellas there decided to thread on thin ice & proclaim that forecast results would not be allowed as entry requirements for pre-U courses, undoing a practice that had been in place for decades, only to do a U-turn after a public uproar.

this, and the debacle concerning language for teaching maths & science, & local universities not participating in the ranking exercise, has just strengthened the view that the name of the ministry should be changed.

to the ministry of un-education.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

careless or forgetful?

i went to pump petrol this morning. imagine my horror when i realised my credit card is not in its usual slot in my wallet.

i retraced my recent movements. the last time i used the card was yesterday evening at jusco. i remembered i had hurriedly kept the receipts & card into the wallet & may have dropped it in my haste to pay at the parking payment machine.

so it's gone now. alarms flashed in my mind. did someone pick it up? how much credit did that person rack up at my expense? full tank of petrol? new LED tv? business class air tickets?


when i got home, i quickly ran thru my clothes & other personal effects & the shopping bag but it wasn't there. i called the card centre immediately to cancel the card. to my relief, no one had bought a tv or air tickets.

credit cards, like internet banking, can be a double-edged sword. use it wisely & it's a great modern convenience. foul it up & you get nightmares.

this is not the 1st time i had lost a credit card but i have been fortunate not to suffer any loss other than a few desperate moments.

i need to be more careful. we all do.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

exam leak...again!

i think it's more common than we are told about exam paper leaks. most probably occur at school level & are overlooked or deemed insignificant to be reported.

but when it is headline news on TV or print media, you know the leak is serious & extensive. it's unfortunate that my son is affected in this year's UPSR exams.

if this can happen at a primary school exit exam, is it not unreasonable that this security breach could also be happening at secondary school or even university exams?

i remembered it happened at the MCE (predecessor of today's SPM) BM paper in the mid-70s. the leak was discovered AFTER the students have sat for the paper & the replacement paper was arranged to be held after the last paper of that exam. i can imagine the frustration of the students at that time because a similar incident happened to me years later.

when i was sitting for 1st year exams in varsity, one of the lab exams was leaked & that paper had to be retaken the following day. i didn't sit for that paper but that's another story for another day.

coming back to this UPSR fiasco, it was honourable of the 2nd education minister to apologise to students & parents but no amount of apologies is going to alleviate their angst.....

except when they catch the culprit(s) & prosecute with a deterrent sentence......

and in a different country, the education minister would have tendered his resignation.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014


it's that time of the year again.....

the exam season is upon us & along with it, comes its baggage of burning of midnite oil & of candles at both ends, sleep deprivation, last minute revision & extra tuition classes, amongst other labour-intensive tasks.

and the age-old tradition rears its ugly head....that the parents sit thru the exams as much as the students.

Monday, August 04, 2014

diving into shallow waters

just be careful when diving. or driving.

ok, just be careful in everything that you do.

this is the horrendous injury sustained when someone tried to dive into shallow waters.

this MRI scan shows a badly-fractured neck with extensive damage to the spinal cord. he can barely lift up his arms & cannot move or feel his legs at all. he required surgery to stabilise the neck (to prevent further damage) & the chances of recovery are slim.
what started out as a fun day at the beach has turned into a nightmare for this chap. let's learn from this & prioritise safety above all else.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

confession of a nurse

and no, it's not what you think it is....

nurse : doc, you know you have changed....

me: how so?

nurse : you used to be so fierce....

me : really?

nurse : yes, so fierce that i refused to join your department!

me : so, now how?

nurse : now you not fierce anymore. maybe you are getting old.

ha ha, how true! the older we get, we should mellow down & not hold on too steadfastly to the high ideals we have set for ourselves during younger days. some things don't change much, eg. work ethics, & sometimes the more you try to change (for the better), the more it feels like hitting a brick wall.

and, boy, have i had some terrible headaches from the impact.

so let's just let sleeping dogs lie.......and i may just live longer!

Thursday, July 31, 2014


Gave a farewell dinner last week to one of the nurses who has left the department.

it's the usual occasion for best wishes to be exchanged, promises to keep in touch to be made and group photos taken.

so, i was most surprised when my colleagues & i each received a gift from the nurse concerned....
maybe we said, taught or did something or encouraged her in ways we didn't even realise. i remembered her from her student nursing days & have seen her pass thru the rite of passage from a blurry-eyed student to a confident staff nurse. even attended her wedding.
she will be missed much.
reminds me about the way our country is managed. there must be ongoing brain drain in every industry & the biggest beneficiary is the Little Red Dot down south.
but i digress.

Monday, July 28, 2014

fully booked

i expect cinema halls, concert shows, plane flights & hotels to be fully booked.

but also restaurants at the mall?

don't take me the wrong way but i'm glad that the fasting month has finally come to an end, & i doubt i am the only one who feels this way.

think : providers of emergency/critical services.

Sunday, July 27, 2014


apparently, last week i had a patient from 1st century Greece.

Philippi was an ancient Macedonian city (of Alexander the Great fame, remember?) & one where the apostle Paul had helped set up church.
however, i wouldn't have gotten all excited if our education system had taught our "lost generations" proper geography - that the inhabitants of the Philippines are called Filipinos.
i just shook my head & shared a good laugh with some friends.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

act of God

apparently i slept thru a thunderstorm (what?) last nite.

because this is what i saw going to work this morning....

a tree in the visitors' car park has toppled over.....

......causing a dent on the roof.

so, who should pay for the damage?

the hospital because it collects parking fees?

car insurance comprehensive insurance?

the hospital has made its stand that cars are parked at owners' own risk & car insurance policies generally do not cover  "acts of God."

guess the car was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

just like MH17?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

deep sh*t

staff turn-over is a common event in many companies - people move for various reasons & these may be "pull" or "push" factors.

even in hospitals.

but when staff in their peak years move on to greener partures & the heads of department replace them by re-hiring retired staff with a poor previous working record, it doesn't speak well of employment process.

quantity instead of quality?

filling up the numbers?

or fixing sink holes with duct tape?

yup, we are in deep sh*t!!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

age of decadence?

i am a regular guy.

i buy regular stuff (read: mostly when on offer) & i drive regular cars (read: B-class Japanese).

which is why i cannot fathom why people in not-yet-1st-world malaysia would pay this much for a meal....yes, just ONE meal!

not exactly exquisite continental cuisine but just a buffet dinner at a local i imagine there must a quite a number of irregular guys out there!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


i am 30 a doctor.

on this day in 1984, i reported for duty as houseman in the paediatrics department. although medicine wasn't my 1st choice of career for most of school life, i had a change of heart when applying for varsity courses. although i initially struggled thru the initial stages of the course, it did take some time before i got used to it.

the rest is history & today, my classmates & i, of the class of 79/84, we celebrate our own special milestone.

*those days, i had a lot more hair & a lot less waist*

Thursday, July 03, 2014

saman 2.0

the earlier court hearing was postponed because the court room had to make way for an "emergency hearing."

so my turn for the re-scheduled hearing will be held this afternoon. of course, it disrupts my schedule, in addition to causing some degree of anxiety & distress.

which makes me realise that each one of us will affect someone else's life, in the decisions we make everyday, whether good or bad. i have to attend this court hearing because of someone's lack of rational thinking, lapse in judgement or selfish ambition.

oh well....have to go to the lions' den....

Monday, May 19, 2014


that's a scary word. it means "summons," & we're all to familiar with it, be it from the police,  road transport or internal revenue. usually it implies that some form of payment is outstanding & due.

it's also used when we receive wedding invitations. this may be from a friendly party but the outcome is nevertheless identical - a payment is in order.

i just received one last week.....

this is to attend court as a prosecution witness. someone from the hospital had used my name to pilfer stuff. so, in addition to getting the guilty party charged for wrongdoing, it's also to clear my name.

i just hope to defence counsel don't tear me to pieces 1st!!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

into the terrible teens...

my dear boy is 12 today....

tradition dictates that he will now enter a phase of life called the terrible teens. apparently, although still wet behind the ears, they think they know enough to stamp their identity & rebel if they can find a cause to do so. & that has resulted in untold angst amongst parents.

i wasn't a terrible teen when i was younger, yet i was no angel by any means. yes, i told a few lies & experimented with cigarettes & got distracted by girls. my earliest recollection of a birthday celebration was when i was 19.

and there wasn't a birthday cake either....

if i had my way, i'd make sure he'd as least not fare worse off than i did...

but i know he has a mind of his own. i just have to make sure he gets proper guidance before the rebellion starts...blessed birthday, dear boy!

Train up a child in the way he should go,and when he is old he will not depart from it. (prov 22:6)

Friday, May 09, 2014


as a 2 year-old, enjoying a macadamia ice cream......

and she's 20 today.....

Saturday, May 03, 2014

a sign of maturity

when i was a houseman many years ago, i could not make clinical decisions without consulting a senior colleague, eg. medical officer or consultant. as junior doctors, we were not expected to take such heavy responsibilities concerning the lives of patients.

as i gained more experience & read a lot more, i became more confident in the decision-making process by making correct calls & judgments. and when i made a wrong move, i knew how to do damage control and/or take corrective measures.

i call that a sign of maturity.

my daughter took a step towards that today....

she turned down a scholarship offer......but as concerned parents, we cheered her on....

because we have reassured her, unconditionally, that we will see her through her chosen field of study.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


i was once at a career crossroad.....

having already decided to do engineering during my secondary school days, as maths & physics were (& still are) my fave subjects, i made a sharp turn & took up medicine instead.

it was a major change, biology being my weakest science subject.

it was easy to explain the change to anyone who asked.....i received a higher calling & i have not looked back since.

this week, it was my daughter's turn at the crossroad......

having enrolled earlier this year into a pre-med course in auckland, she has been offered direct entry into another course ......

however, this is a different dilemma compared to's a step down in terms of career prestige but it's offered by the top-ranked university in asia with a full scholarship thrown in......

ahh.....decisions.....decisions.....although i elaborated to her the pros & cons of each offer, i restrained from expressing my preference. after all, it's her career, her life & her consequences.

in times like this, i directed her to some choice advice.....

Thus says the Lord:
Stand at the crossroads, and look,
    and ask for the ancient paths,
where the good way lies; and walk in it,
    and find rest for your souls. (Jer 6:16, NRSV)

i myself am curious whether she'll waver from the current what i did years ago.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

this is your pilot speaking......good night!

this is a true story narrative.....

my colleague went on an evening MAS flight from KLIA last week. it was after boarding that the passengers were told that there would be a delay because of a "technical problem." they had to remain seated for over 2 hours without air-con or beverage. my colleague decided to complain because of the discomfort of the warm & humid, not to mention cramped, environment. i suppose if you're already flying, the constraints of economy class could be easily overlooked. after all, you paid for those seats but you certainly didn't expect to be seated & yet not moving for over 2 hours.

with no further announcement forthcoming, people started to get restless. after an extremely long silence, this came over the PA system:

this is your pilot speaking......good night.....i'm going home.

as it turned out, pilots have a strict work-hour schedule & there has to be a change of flight crew after certain number of working hours, presumably to prevent effects of fatigue.

in the end, they had to change planes (presumably the "technical problem" was a major one) & the flight finally took off after more than a 4-hour delay.

with the current controversy over MH370, i think pilots should be more sensitive & refrain from saying "good night" in their flight announcements. i am just surprised a pandemonium didn't erupt.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

what changed the world?

i can totally relate to this article. the world now is not the same one we used to know when we were kids. progress stamps its mark but along with change comes its ugly baggage as well. how often do we wish we could go back to the good old times?

i would. that's why i look forward to reunions.

we just had one.

this is our class of 79/84.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

authorised car service....or another scam?

dropped off my car last week at the authorised workshop for the 50K km service. the service advisor told me the parts that needed to be changed, eg. engine oil, filter, which i had expected.

half an hour later, i got a call from the foreman servicing my car & he said the wipers, air-con filter & battery needed replacement. apparently, the wipers had uneven edges, the air-con filter is clogged up & the battery is weak.

i said OK but told the guy that the battery was changed middle of last year & it's still within the warranty period, ie. 12months & 20K km. he said he'd check & call me back. it was the service advisor who called me & said the battery was weak because i hardly use the car, hence it's not fully charged.

i told her it doesn't matter how much i used the car, as long as it's within the warranty period & if the battery is "weak", then it should be changed without any cost to me. then she started bla ...bla....bla.... that she'll get the foreman to fully charge my battery & that should be OK after that. but i stood my ground, questioning why the foreman asked to change battery in the 1st place when all it needed was a full charge.

anyway, i told her in an agitated tone to do what needed to be done & i'll come collect the car later that evening. my mind was screaming,"Scam! Scam!"

 i sort of held my breath when i went to the workshop later. as expected, the woman service advisor whom i had earlier dealt with avoided me & it was another guy who who attended to me. he explained that, although not standard practice, the battery was changed out of goodwill. i thanked him & wondering if it was standard practice to change parts that do not need changing.

back home, i deleted the email i had earlier drafted, addressed to car's corporate HQ in KL.

Monday, March 17, 2014

we prayed and we prayed.

we prayed.

we waited.

and it rained......finally, over the weekend.

then we continued to pray.

and we wait.

will this prayer be answered soon?

Monday, March 10, 2014

one born every minute

email scams are so common, yet people fall for it all the time. the ones i often get are strangers from african countries who seemed to have pin-pointed me as a beneficiary of grand sums of money left by unknown benefactors.

but a windfall from singapore airlines may sound more believeable.....

esp if the reward is in SGD & not USD.....

the postal address is correctly stated but the email domain remains highly suspicious.....

so i just deleted it.

i don't want to be another statistic.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

live & let live

i know times are hard...

and this headline doesn't help.

most of my colleagues aren't rubbing their hands in glee because they don't strictly follow the fee schedule, ie. they don't charge the maximum allowable, because of the fierce fee competition amongst doctors. many of my GPs colleagues are struggling to make a decent living. those with huge cars & houses are mostly in established practices & are in the panels of doctors for factories & other businesses; many others are not in these "lucrative" panels. well, it's not exactly lucrative as these factories also try to squeeze a deal with the doctors - with so many clinics now, they will go for ones with the lowest cost.

i'm not saying the increase aren't justified - no increase in prices will ever please the majority. if you've ever been admitted to a private hospital, you will realise that the doctors' portion of the total bill range between 25-35%, while the hospital charges are NOT regulated. one hospital charges rm3.30 just to serve medication. multiply that by the number of tablets a day and the number of patients served & you'll realise who else has been reaping the rich rewards of private healthcare!

all i want to say is, live & let live.

when astro increased the price of their packages, i cancelled the movie subscription. when TNB increase their tariff, i stopped using the air-con on cooler nites. everytime McD adjusts the price of their value meals, i patronise it even less.

live & let live.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014


not many people like to be upstaged by others.

but i have to admit that my little girl (well, not so little now but still.....) has outperformed me at every level of school education.

when she did well in the UPSR & PMR exams, i brushed it off as a different level of standard over the decades between our exams. when she did it again at O-levels, i thought it was a flash in the pan.

and yes, i'm a hard man to please.

but now that she has outscored & out-aced me at A-levels, it's certainly time to pass the torch to the next generation & i'm proud she's up to the challenge.

she 1st flew the nest here and then here.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

then & now again.


and because the boy didn't go this time, he's missing out.....& tries to communicate.....

a rite of passage of sorts for the family........

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

T - 1 day

yeah, i'm all mushy about my little girl today......

Sunday, February 16, 2014

then and now

this was 2010.....(on vacation)

this is now.....(& it's no holiday this time).....

after the initial application, followed by an interview & offer & acceptance, application for certificate of good conduct & student visa......

this is it.....

she's off to varsity.....!

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

a horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!

it's been 12 years.....and the year of the horse is upon us again.

my boy will be 12 this year, & i foresee he'll be as tall as i am very soon. just see how we match....his right hand against my left, palm to palm.

this quote is from Shakespeare's Richard III. in the battle, King Richard III 's horse, Surrey, is killed. unable to flee and unable to gather more troops, he falls to the Earl Of Richmond who slays him, to become King.  he died and his kingdom went to the conquerer because his horse was killed and he could not flee.  it is a manner of summing up the frustration every human feels when he or she lacks the service of something once taken for granted.
my son & my late father were both born in the year of the horse, 72 years apart. one living at home, the other in our hearts. indeed, by grace, in my family, we lack nothing.

Monday, February 03, 2014

credit card scam?

you know how it is when the bank wants to offer you a credit card.

they will call you (how did they get your mobile number when you don't have an account with them????) or more likely, hound you at the shopping malls or at the exit of IT/computer/furniture/travel fairs. often, they will entice you with free umbrellas, flashdrives, toys, shoe bags, etc. that it can be difficult to turn down.

but what happens when you want to cancel the card after finding out a competitor is offering a better deal?

you go to the bank to cancel it, right?

i was waiting at the bank today when i saw this guy try to do just that. he waited for about 10-15mins for the customer service exec to return from lunch. she's alone because the others must have taken off for Lunar New Year. she gave him a form to fill while she disappeared into the main office, the locked room you can't access without a keycard.

and made him wait for at least another 15mins, because he was still waiting when i left.

is this a one-off incident or do banks treat their want-away customers this way?

i don't know. i usually call customer service (the number given at the back of the card) when i want to cancel. every time without fail, they will offer to waive the annual fees AND give me the govt service tax rebate of rm50 after using the card for a specified number of times, usually 3 times within a month.

and every time, almost without fail, i will change my mind & retain the card.

after all, i think i have nothing to lose.

or, have i been scammed as well????

Monday, January 27, 2014

Barang Naik

it's true.....

according to this supermarket....

and that's not even considering electricity, toll, astro, sugar, petrol, quit rent.........!!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014



is it really a state of the mind?

then, how come i feel it only at work??