Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Our last summer

30 years ago today.

8th Aug, 1988 or more auspiciously remembered as 08.08.88.

5 friends, all medical officers at Penang Hospital, decided to spend an evening to commemorate the occasion. Dinner at a hotel restaurant, coconut pudding dessert and a dance at the Casuarina along Ferringhi beach.

It was our 1st and last dance together. Peter, Loga, Kavi and Dolly  - thanks for the memories.

Love you all. πŸ•ΊπŸ’ƒπŸ₯³

Our last summer

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Piano exam

This is it.....the finale.

The boy will be taking his Grade 8 music exam today. He has been religiously & conscientiously practising for weeks now, esp the last few days (& nites).

May he play not for himself, not for us his parents, not for his music teacher but for the glory of God.


Sunday, July 22, 2018

Breaching professional limits ?

I seldom get very friendly with my patients, probably because they weren't sure if I were the buddy-buddy type. Most times I am not.

But Rz was a tad different. A 39-year old who came in for abdominal surgery, he speaks English like his mother tongue & with a sense of humour, too, both a rare coincidence these days. What clinched the deal was that he supports Arsenal as well.

Then the floodgates opened. He seemed a little cheery when I do my clinical rounds & we spent a good few minutes dissecting life in general. He seemed keen to cut down some weight (20kg, no less, I advised him!!) so I suggested to him to slow-hike up the neighbourhood hill. We parted on that optimistic mood.

I'll know if he's serious about the hill climb if I meet him on the slopes. Otherwise, all bets are off.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

World Cup Final 2018

Like in 2007, 2010 and 2014, we the ex-EC students managed to get together for a weekend of good food, drinks and camaraderie. We left school in the mid-70s but only in 2007 that decided we would meet at least once every 4 years on the weekend of the World Cup Final.

But this time I am touched beyond words.

I didn't arrange prior accommodation but someone offered to share his twin room.

I didn't have a car and someone else offered to lend me his.

These acts of random kindness overwhelmed me.

Thank guys. See you again in 2022.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

RIP Andrea.

My blogger friend passed away today after a short illness.
Our common ground include reading, supporting Arsenal and being avid fan of StarWars. And also being cynical about life.
She lent me a whole set of  StarWars books & special edition DVDs, and now, I don't know if I should return them to her family or keep them in remembrance of our brief friendship.
Have a good trip home, Andrea, to the great football pitch in the sky.
You will be missed. 

Thursday, July 05, 2018

One good turn deserves another

As a follow-up to the Help!Help! post,  on the following day, it was I who needed help & it was the same colleague who provided assistance and advice during a critical event.
This patient developed a severe allergic reaction near the end of an operation, resulting in a drastic drop in blood pressure & oxygen content in the body. And because we took immediate measures to counter the reaction, the patient recovered without any ill effects.
This truly lent credence to the practice that two heads are better than one and that many hands make light work.
And I forget, no man is an island.

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Help! Help!

I was called out of the OT by a nurse who said my colleague needed help in an adjacent OT. When I got over, he was furiously performing CPR & barking orders to the nurses. He told me the patient just had a cardiac arrest. After a few more life-saving injections, the patient miraculously came around - he actually opened his eyes & cough & spluttered.
My colleague thanked me although I didn't contribute much but I guess, sometines, one's mere presence is comfort enough.
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good for everyone. (Gal 6: 9,10)

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Dealing with people you can't stand

I bought the 1st edition (currently, 3ed) of this book over 20 years ago, hoping to get by some of the difficult relationship with so-called friends & colleagues. And some relatives as well.

I think I still got nowhere & certainly none the wiser after more than halfway thru the book. Yes, right, so up till now, I didn't haven't finished reading it, because relationships are just too complicated.....

Then I realised I could have gotten free advice, concisely in 2 sentences, from Peter the apostle.

Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world. (1 Pet 2:12)

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A good samaritan

Commandment : Love your neighbour as yourself.
Question : Who is my neighbour?
Answer : The stranger who changed your flat tyre.

Monday, March 12, 2018

A new dawn

It's so cliche to talk about every day being a new day, or a day to look forward to new experiences.

Given the on-off alternating turbulent and calm times I've had to go through these recent years, I think I have finally turned the corner. A light at the end of the tunnel which I hope  is not that of an approaching train. :P

Incidentally, coinciding with, but not related to, the passing of my dear friend Robert,  I felt there was, in the process, a sense of reconciliation and restoration, that it was the 1st day of the rest of your life.

a new day indeed.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Chap Goh Meh

Finally, it's the last day of the lunar new year celebration.

This year, we made the daring decision to celebrate with the in-laws in Penang, anticipating traffic in grid-lock on the NSE. To our pleasant surprise, we think we have crack the code to avoid the perennial traffic jam.

Travel up 2 days before CNY & return on the 2nd day. traffic was generally smooth & Rest Stops weren't packed like sardines.

We were also pleasantly surprised the food stalls started operating on the 2nd day itself but that came with a premium of RM1 over the regular price (RM5).

Looks like everyone's out to make a quick buck at every possible opportunity. Talk about veg, fish (esp white pomfret) and prawns before CNY.

But I say, live & let live lah - hard times are coming & everyone's going to be affected.

Friday, February 09, 2018

Long arm of the law

I am a pretty law-abiding citizen (ahem). The last fine imposed on me was a summon compounded for speeding. That was 8 years ago when I drove a turbo-charged 2-lit continental. With age rapidly catching up, I have since downsized to a 1.8-lit Japanese. I figure my reaction time would have dampened and parking is easier with a smaller car.

But I had casually more often than not, not placed parking coupons for short-term stay at certain less crowded places. Well, the law finally caught up with me.

The parking outside Jusco requires coupon up to 6pm. At 5.25pm, I thought I could just sneak in for a couple of grocery items. When I came out at 5.30, the misdemeanor had been promptly witnessed & duly slapped with a RM30 fine. The irony was that I could have parked for free within Jusco itself, but was just too lazy to go in & out of the gantry.

Commit the crime, do the time, we have been warned. I think it's only human nature to take risks & hope we can get away with it. Anyway, blaming only myself, I turned up at the payment counter the next morning & was pleasantly surprised when the clerk asked for only RM10. He duly stamped the payment.

Even though the fine is only the price of a set lunch, the impact is considerable. I thought I am a law-abiding citizen but obviously I am suffering from delusions of grandeur.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

The Circle Game

This song didn't mean much when I first heard it in my teen years. The cover version sang by Hong Kong star Agnes Chan was popular with my classmates because we all fell in love with her. But now that I've heard Joni Mitchell's original version, I am also thinking of a child......

Yesterday a child came out to wonder....

And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

 Next year, in November, with the blessing of God, the circle will be complete and she will walk in the shoes I have walked in for 35 years.

Tuesday, February 06, 2018


The general perception of giving is that, by doing so, you actually lose something, with the exception of unsolicited advice, which people often give freely & generously.  :)  And conversely, that by receiving, you have gained something. 

Giving is integral in the fabric of the Hippocratic oath. What the unwritten understanding is that when a fellow physician seeks your professional service, you are duty-bound not to charge professional fees. Giving, remember?

Yesterday, I spent 6 hours in OT with a patient who is also a fellow doctor but whom I do not know personally or professionally. The surgery was labour intensive, and sometimes energy sapping. At the end of it, to conform with the spirit of professional courtesy, I do not expect any remuneration for this effort. It did feel unsettling initially, given the nature & duration of the surgery, but what did I actually lose? Nah....just exchanged 6 hours of my time for professional social responsibility, a notion I gradually warmed up to.

The good doctor (the patient, I meant :P) survived the surgery, so let's not sweat the small stuff.

Saturday, February 03, 2018


There's no doubt New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and the South Island is where many tourists will spend most of their vacation.

My friends and colleagues are just puzzled why, having been to NZ 5 times, I still have not been to the South. And I keep repeating there's so many sights to behold in the North. Last year, my daughter and I trekked the Mt Taranaki trail at Egmont National Park in the North. It is one of the most symmetrical mountains in the world & because it resembles Mt Fuji, it was used as location shooting for the movie The Last Samurai starring Tom Cruise.

And no, I am not ready for the South just yet.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Both sides now.

42 year old gentleman. Had nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) 20 years ago and was treated with radiotherapy.

Last year he developed cancer of the neck, probably as a result of repeated & prolonged exposure to the radiation treatment for the NPC. He has had 3 surgeries to remove the growth on his neck & this has left him with a hoarse voice, unable to swallow properly and partially disfigured.

Today, he needed to have a feeding tube surgically inserted into his stomach to facilitate nutrition.

And then, some one I know well complained about the prices of Chinese New Year cookies.


I've looked at life from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all

Both sides now (Joni Mitchell)

Thursday, January 11, 2018

MH 131

That's the malaysia airlines flight to Auckland. Always brings a smile to us when we get to visit the daughter, marking the beginning of a much anticipated family vacation at year's end.
Except when she has to board the same flight on her own, to go back for the new academic term.
She's spent the last 10 days with us at home. She regaled, shopped, feasted and caught up with old friends.
And she lamented she has to go back again and that if only we all could be there with her.
Grow up, girl. There are many solo  journeys in life. Paths on which you thread alone. A rite of passage.
But you are not really alone. Our love  for you abounds wherever you are. Our thoughts of you tarry by your side. On your shoulders, you carry our aspirations. And God's presence is nigh if you open your heart to Him.
Goodbye is painful only when you know you'll never say hello again.
Goodbye for now, Hello in October.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Friend or foe?

Conflicts at work are a norm. Everyone is wired differently, so they think differently over the same issue, and accordingly, act differently. Some problems resolve amicably while others simmer in the background, sometimes ready reignite.
Is there a feeling that is worse than being stabbed in the back? It's so cliche to state that a brave person will face the issue by taking the bull by the horns, and only a low-esteemed low-life coward will stick in the knife when no one's watching.
My colleague seemed to be such a person. Another colleague had attested to that. So sad...going away for meditation.....for spiritual faraway exotic retreats... came to nought.
A skilled pair of hands would do great wonders prompted by a honest mind and compassionate heart, and only a few can claim that honour. But for now, it's a relief to get the uneasiness off the chest. And the knife off the back.
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
So cliche!