Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Mini food blog :)

just a few of the 'indulgences' over the recent Christmas holiday...

Okay.. seriously.. no more toys ;)

What can i say? My phone has been giving me trouble for quite awhile now and yes, i've been wanting to change to something 'simpler'.

i mean what's the point of having such a 'canggih-fied' phone which has all the capabilities when those capabilities overlap with the other gadgets you own that do those task all the better?

So ya...

i tried to drag it on as much as i could but just problem after problem kept creeping up and it was evident that my phone was dying a slow and somewhat 'natural' death.
So, i sent it for repair (not too sure how much that would cost and if it's even worth repairing) and in the meantime...

Can't say i didn't try ;)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

the cost of INTEGRITY


Yup, that's right. That's how much the Microsoft Office for Mac 2008 costs. 

As compared to...

well, i didn't really check but i don't think i would be too far off the mark in venturing a guess that it probably only costs RM5 at a nearby pasar malam. 

Perhaps with more thrown in too  ;)

Like, i said... integrity has its costs.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


One of the many areas that i know i need to work on is having my ‘head screwed on tight’.  Well, at least tighter than it used to be ;)

i think it is a problem of mine (and I would like to think most people…hey, i’ve got an ego too you know… hehe) that i get a tad bit too ‘emotional’. Now, i don’t just mean the whole “i cried watching that scene” (although that does tend to happen to me more often nowadays than before come to think of it). What i do mean is that more often than i would like, my feelings seem to motivate and drive my course of action. They attempt to overrun my logical and very rational thought processes. They tempt to derail me from what i believe and know to be true.

‘Mischief-makers’ they are sometimes.

i can relate to that portion of scripture where the Apostle Paul talks about the dichotomy of what you ought to do and what you actually end up doing. A seemingly losing battle between what the mind firmly belives and stands to and the almost opposite direction feelings take us.

My battleground is on the field of my soul where my flesh and Spirit war for my compliance that i may yield and follow suit.

Just obey, i say to myself.

Just obey.



Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Losing my imagination?

You know when i was young(er) i used to have a wild wild imagination (in some ways i still do.. to my own detriment at times i have to add...hehe).

And it occurred to me lately that maybe some of that imagination has diminished.
i was watching the clouds to day and i realised my used ot be active imagination seemed almost hard-pressed to be conjured up.

i used to look at those 'cotton balls in the sky' and make out all kinds of resemblences of them.

They weren't just clouds.

They were dragons.
They were men on horses.
They were giants.
They were unicorns.
They were my uncles and aunts.

i could see 'things'.

But now, all i see are clouds.


i've got to start using my imagination more ;)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's the final countdown!

FIVE more days to go!!!


i realised the other day that it's almost been 3 months since my wife and i went back home.
Oh my gosh! That's practically equivalent to a lifetime! (okay, maybe i'm exagerrating a little... but you get what i mean...hehe) ;)

i'm nothing short of absolutely excited. i've got so much on my mind and my heart that i want to do, see, buy, meet and eat ;)

Definitely want to spend most of the time catching up with family and loved ones. Over meals i reckon (yeah! the typical Malaysian style of which i'm a firm propagator..hehe)...

Also, gonna take the opportunity to do quite a bit of shopping and scouting around... especially for ling and the baby. Get an idea of the potential costs involved and work out some sort of 'ball-park' budget ;) Probably gonnae even start buying some maternity clothes for ling (there's usually a pretty good sale come year end so might as well capitalise on it) ;)

Ahhh shopping - another of my joys =)

*notice the number of 'smileys' i'm using in this particular blog. Gives you an idea of just how ecstatic i am about the prospect of going back*


And there's so much to look forward to for Christmas.
Massive Christmas musical production.
Dinners and lunches.
Going-out and hanging out.

Too bad i've only got a week or so.
But what a week it's going to be ;)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Couvade syndrome?

There is a recognised phenomenon in which during pregnancy, the man (i.e. the father) actually shares or even substitutes the mother in terms of experiencing some of the symptoms associated with pregnancy.

This syndrome is known as "Couvade Syndrome".

It generally begins at the end of the first trimester and can increase in its severity up to the third trimester. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, changes in appetite and even weight gain. There's a lot of information out there about this phenomenon and most of which actually come to the conclusion that this syndrome may have more of a 'physical' component than once thought.

Previously, it was the assumption that most if not all of these symptoms that make up the syndrome are purely psychosomatic (i.e. psychologically induced) seeing that there was no real physiological explanation for them. But the current school of thought seems to be shifting towards a more physical basis of which the exact cause is yet to be identified. Hormones are mainly to blame but which and how and why... well, that is yet to be known.

Interesting ain't it?

The father experiences "morning sickness" together with his pregnant wife.

In fact, it is documented in some cases that the father can even develop a 'baby belly' in which the abdomen becomes swollen resembling up to a 7 month pregnancy!

Now, i'm not sure if ill be one of the fathers that 'sympathises' with my wife's pregnancy to that extent.

Perhaps the weight gain i'm experiencing now and the occasional cravings are attributable to 'Couvade'.

then again maybe it's just my love for food! ;)

Monday, December 08, 2008

Bracing myself...

i'm really excited with all that's going on with ling's pregnancy and the fact that i'm going to be a father sooner than i think ;) (God willing - all goes well)

But at the same time i do have to admit that there's a lot to be considered and worked out. A lot to prepare for.

For a person like me, who's pretty used to 'change', i'm bracing myself for possibly the biggest change of my life thus far... becoming a father.

The more i take stock the more i edge into a sense of being overwhelmed by what's to come. Yet, i am insistent, with God's grace, to brave what things may come and as they come.

Here are some very 'practical' issues that have been 'swimming around in my head' for awhile now:

1. The hospital in which ling is going to deliver.

2. The immediate financial cost that the pregnancy is bound to incur, e.g maternal clothing, baby stuff, etc. etc.

3. The 'long leave' that ling will be on (we're sort of planning that she take about 1 to 2 years of leave... reasons for which i can't really explain here and now) and as such, the financial adjustments we'd have to make in terms of loan payments, our giving, etc. as we'll be sort of transforming from a dual income family to a single income family (at least for a time)

4. i would like ling to stay and be around family and loved ones after the delivery, i.e. in KL, which means on my end, arranging things and praying for God to somehow work something out so that ling and i can both be together in KL

And i haven't even touched the stuff about actually being a father (well, of course the issues mentioned above are part and parcel of it but you know what i mean)
i've been reading some articles off the net (planning to buy maybe 1 or two books about fatherhood too) and boy, oh boy, do i have my work cut out for me.

i mean not that i wasn't aware or anything like that... guess it's slowly starting to hit home that's all ;)

Still, as i put my trust in God who is my Abba Father, i'm certain that He will supply over and above all that i could ask, hope or imagine.

DAD... help me ;)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

the pursuit of happyness

There are days when i reach the hospital and all i think about is "What in the world am i doing here?" And the feeling gets worse either after a 'break' or whenever i'm oncall. i go through the day and i carry on to do the best i can with regards to work and all but i can't help but feel that... surely, there's more to life than this.

Hey, i'm human too bah. (notice the use of 'bah' that proves my assimilation into the community over here)

All i want is to be 'happy'.

Now, don't get me wrong. i've got a lot to thank God for. A lot.

And being in a relationship with Jesus has in itself built in me and birthed in me 'joy'.

And spending my life with my best friend (my wife) at my side and what more building a family with her has more than been a blessing and reward to me.

i've got a lot to be 'happy' about.

but still...
i just feel like 'breaking free' from what i do. i sometimes feel like maybe this isn't what i'm supposed to be doing with my life. Maybe... being a doctor is not for me.
And so i begin to ponder on what exactly my options are...

a) The military: A 'dream' of mine since awhile back which as it stands now is still pending to progress beyond it's current stage in it's processing
b) Full-time: Always been 'swimming around' in the back of my mind but honestly think it to be wrong to quit and go full-time based on the fact that i can't seem to 'cut' it in the 'world'. It's an insult to God don't you think?
c) God knows

And i guess i've got to go with option C.

The pursuit of 'happyness' can sometimes turn into a very self-seeking pursuit.
An indulgence.
And indulgences are something i can't afford.

Perhaps it is part of God's plan as i stick with whatever it is i'm doing, through all of it, to iron out things in my life. To build in me more character. More patience. More responsibility. More sense. More trust. More hope. More love.

Perhaps life is not always and all about what's fun and easy and 'happy' all the time and everytime.

Sure, if i had a billion dollars i might not be doing what i am doing right now.

But then again, maybe i would. Especially if it means it achieves whatever it is God is trying to mould in me.

Sometimes it boils down to choosing between having that 'better' life or becoming a better man.

And i choose the latter.

i can't wait to go home for christmas...

Doesn't it sound like the opening line to some Christmas season song of some sort?

But the fact of the matter is... i really can't.
i really can't wait to go home for Christmas.

What am i saying? i really can't wait to go home period ;)
Doesn't matter if it's for Christmas, or Chinese New Year or Hari Raya (like that will ever happen)... i just can't wait to go home.

But what makes Christmas all the more special is the fact that ... everybody is around. The kids are on school holidays... church is busy with the upcoming Christmas play and the sort and even the ones who are working tend to use up all that accumulated leave before it gets 'burned' come year end.

So it's perfect timing to catch up and spend time with loved ones. To do things together. To go places together. To stay over.

And there's just something about the mood and atmosphere during Christmas don't you think?

Sure, i could be biased (cos' i am a Christian myself) but honestly, don't you think that somehow Christmas just feels 'happier'?

Maybe it's all the christmas carols playing on the radio wherever you go. Or all that frenzy about buying gifts and giving them (well, most look forward to the receiving) and not to mention all the 'end year sales' that distracts you to splurge on yourself while your at it. Or the nice warm and 'comfy' colours associated with Christmas that decorates most commercial and even some residential areas.

Or maybe it's just the fact that it marks the end of yet another year. Maybe it brings some sort of feeling of closure. An end to another chapter.
And as humans i think we all find some form of solace in that.
And with that closure... marks also the beginning of a new year... a new chapter.
And that i guess fills the milieu with a sense of hope and expectancy.
Some sense that things are somehow going to look better and brighter come the following year.

Maybe Christmas is all that.

This time around Christmas is gonna feel 'happier' for me =)
With Ling carrying our baby (a real gift from God, talk about an early Christmas gift hehe)... i feel all the more the need to be surrounded by friends and family... people we love and care about.

Joy is meant to be shared.
Good things are meant to be celebrated... together.
And what better a season to celebrate
than Christmas.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

ok ok... no more 'toys' ;)

yup, i got my macbook! ;)

i decided to go for the macbook white instead of the new macbook because the price dropped substantially and it seemed far more affordable. Also, i always liked the macbook white design better ;) so, that's what i did. i got the macbook white and for some added 'ooomph' i upgraded the RAM to 4GB ;) hehehe

anyways, like i said. 

No more toys.

Got to save more to buy my children theirs'  ;) hehehe

read between the lines ;)

Praise God!!!



Friday, November 14, 2008

My 'first baby steps'...

good thing i've got an excellent and ever-willing 'model' at my side ;)
Makes my pictures look a whole lot better than they should =)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

1 down.. a few more to go hehehe

My new toy! ;)
a few more pending...

inspired again...

Ling and i recently had the privilege of being apart of a medical camp organised by the Diocese of Sabah, i.e. through the Anglican Church, in the interiors of Telupid. And what a medical camp it was indeed!

A real eye-opener. Never been on anything like it. i mean i've definitely had my share of experiences on mission trips (blog about that some other time) but nothing involving medicine per say. And this time.. WOW! We had almost 30 medical professionals including dentists and specialists covering various fields including opthalmology and even ENT surgery. And we had so many volunteers from various backgrounds but ALL with a mind and heart to serve... God and the people.

My 'driver' was actually the previous attorney-general (a 'Datuk')... which in itself just epitomises the spirit of servanthood that was prevalent amongst the team that went. Didn't matter how 'big' or 'small' the task cos' it was clear that nothing was too 'small' for God =)

And like my 'driver' (who's really a wonderful man indeed) i met many other inspiring individuals. There were a few in particular who made a significant impression simply because they too were in the field of medicine and so i found that the manner in which they carried themselves, their philosophy, the passion... all the more compelling and inspiring.

i stood in awe at their 'energy'. Not of a physical but rather 'soul-ful' nature.

i asked myself questions that demanded some internal responses.

i asked God to build in me the characteristics that these people exemplified... and make me more and more in the image and likeness of His Son.

Not just for the sake of the people i 'see' as a doctor and the future function i would fulfill in God's kingdom for His people but really bottom line.. for myself.

As i worked alongside these marvellous individuals i was reminded again of just how much i lack and how flawed i still am. How far still the apple has fallen from the tree... if i may use the expression loosely...
A good reminder.
It's one of those things that we all need now and then. The kind of inspiration that you know, perhaps stings at first but gets you going well into the direction you should be headed.
i need those.
And during this recent medical camp (which i thoroughly enjoyed)... i got one ;)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

a follow-up...

Believe it or not!!! Take note of the emphasised portion!

2000 B.C.
Bananas have apparently originated in Malaysia

600 B.C.
Bananas are cited in Buddhist texts

327 B.C.
Alexander the Great's army recorded for the first time in history the existence of banana crops in the indian valleys. Alexander is also credited for bringing the banana from India to the western nations.

63 B.C.
Antonius Musa - the personal doctor of the then Roman emperor Octavius Augustus - was credited for promoting cultivation of the exotic African fruit from 63 to 14 B.C.

200 A.D.
Organized banana plantations have been recorded in China

650 A.D.
Islamic conquerors helped bananas make their way to Madagascar, and then spread to the African mainland by vegetative propagation. Here in Africa many genetic mutations occurred, that produced different species of bananas. Portuguese traders then spread the fruit from Africa to the Canary Islands

1502 A.D.
The Portuguese and the Spanish are credited for bringing bananas to the Carribean and to America. According to Spanish history, Friar Tomas de Berlanga brought the first banana root stocks to the Western Hemisphere. A Chinese variety was sent to England, where it was named "Cavendish" after the Duke of Devonshire's family. This variety and its sub-groups account for much of the commercial banana cultivation. Even though several other varieties are now cultivated for commercial purpose, they only account for about 20 of 300 different species.

17th century
Its Guinean native name - "banema" - which became "banana" in English, was first found in print

1836 A.D.
The yellow sweet banana is a mutant strain of the green and red cooking bananas, discovered in 1836 by Jamaican Jean Francois Poujot. He found that in his plantations, one plant was bearing yellow fruits rather than red or green. Upon tasting the new discovery, he found it to be sweet in its raw state, without the need for cooking. He quickly began cultivating this sweet variety.

1876 A.D.
Bananas are introduced to American families as an exotic dessert. From here it will grow and become a staple fruit. They were officially introduced to the American public at the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition. Each banana was wrapped in foil and sold for 10 cents.

1900 A.D.
Bananas are now considered a commodity and are traded by large companies. The United Fruit Company is credited for being of the first to commercialize bananas

Thanks to new transport technologies such as refrigeration, bananas have become widespread in the 19th and 20th centuries. Today, bananas grow in most tropical and subtropical regions with the main commercial producers including Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil and Ecuador.

*information courtesy of some website on bananas on the web*

Well, i guess my whole theory on the 'man watch monkey' thingy wasn't quite what i thought.
Who would have thought that it all boiled down to the plain curiosity and boldness of a farmer who was quick enough to notice and do something about the 'alien' in his plantation ;)

Monday, November 03, 2008

How did ‘we’ find out?

i find food utterly fascinating.


i mean, think about it, the next time you sink your teeth into a banana or gobble down a bowl of rice or slurp up a dish of noodles you’ve got to sit back and wonder for awhile how on earth did people find out that this was edible let alone come up with a concoction of a ‘recipe’ to make it taste so good.

Think about it.

Who ever found out that kangkung would be nice to eat (with belacan of course)? i mean the thing literally looks and smells like a ‘cousin’ to the average grass. Who was the daredevil that figured out that potatoes (the stuff that you quite literally dig out from the ground) would be so versatile in its culinary functions.
And rice!
Man, have you seen the raw form of rice? You know, 'padi'??? How in the world did people ever discover that it was edible, much more than that, come up with a means and method of processing and cooking it?
Cooking itself is such a fascinating discovery. How did we come up with the ideas of adding water to stuff and mixing them together and putting them over fires or just setting them over open flames while pouring other mixtures over them?
It’s genius!

No, it’s ingenius!

These guys/girls deserve 'Nobel prizes' each!

i’ve got to probably do some background research on some of these things… cos’ the more i think about it the more it blows my mind away.

p/s: My hypothesis about how ‘we’ (as in humans) discovered the banana was an edible fruit is that one daring individual after observing monkeys have their way with the banana and eating them decided to try it out himself and therefore discovered it to be quite the delectable fruit indeed.
Just a guess ;)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Natural born chef

Ling is an excellent cook!


All things considered... the fact that she only started cooking ever since we moved to Labuan, that she doesn't have any formal training whatsoever, that she hardly has any experience at all prior (honestly, i don't think there was a time at all that i remember her cooking when we were dating, courting or engaged), that she's not the type who's really into food (at least not the way i am... although i do have to say i've influenced her somewhat...hehe) and that it's not like she has all the time in the world either to 'explore' or 'experiment'.

And despite all that, she manages (to be fair, not always but often enough) come up with stuff that just leaves me wondering - How on Earth does she come up with this? (and i mean that in the best way possible).


She disappears into the kitchen, whips up something that she vaguely feels will work and then, almost as if it were totally expected, comes out with a dish (or dishes) that is more than a pleasant surprise.

i don't know where she gets her inspiration. Definitely not me. Cos' all i've contributed, other than being the designated 'food-critic', is to clean up and help her wash up after. Which comes naturally cos' it stems from a gratitude for all the effort she put in (which most of the time translates to surprisingly wonderful results).

And i don't know where she finds the energy. i mean, she comes back from a long day at the clinic and most of the time even in between during lunch and really, out of a initiative and interest on her part starts 'working' at stuff in the kitchen... and she seems to enjoy it!

Again, i'm utterly grateful.

Sure, she isn't Nigella...

But hey, at the rate she's going i won't be surprised that in no time she'll be dishing up stuff that could put Nigella to the test ;)

well... maybe not.. but i'd like to think so ;)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How slow can you go…

It’s funny (not in a humourous kind of way but rather in an annoyingly peculiar kind of fashion) that despite the fact that we’re living in an age of high-speed broadband, super-computers, satellite tv and transmissions, globalization on every front including communications, multi-functional and high capacity phones and gadgets… a time of cutting-edge technology and all-advanced know-how with an ever increasing value in human capital and resources… the ‘speed’ and efficiency at which we work with is still defined by the ‘person’.
Yes, no point having all that technology in the palm of your hand and all that speed at your disposal if your hand ain’t gonna MOVE any time soon.


i speak of such things because i find and am personally frustrated with the condition and circumstances revolving around bureaucracy and paperwork (and in my case, specific to the ministry of the government i serve in). It just takes ages to get one simple thing done!
My salary was a perfect example… but this isn’t just about that (because at long last i’ve got it).
i’m utterly disappointed and to a certain extent even disgusted with the way and the rate things ‘move’. Honestly, what’s the point of all the facilities and all the ‘power’ if the individual in possession of it fails to use it and use it to its best.

It’s a shame really.
It all boils down to our attitudes doesn’t it.

Let me be clearer in what i’m getting at (cos’ i’ve been told that my blog entries although insightful can be rather vague in what exactly their addressing).

Right now, i’m waiting. Yes, waiting. Why do i always seem to be waiting???

Anyway, i’m waiting for the Ministry of Defence to get back to me. You see, it’s always been a desire of mine to serve in the military (i’ll possibly tackle the reasons why in another entry one of these days… just take my word for it for now). And all the more so since it appears that overall the likelihood of ending up in KL and specifically back in ACTS is much much higher (or so it seems). So i wrote to them. And yes, initially they were quick to reply. In fact, in government terms they were super fast … almost moving at the speed of light (i.e. a few days in ‘government-time’) and i was pleased. Very pleased. Finally something’s moving at the speed and efficiency that it should be.
Later on, and in fact very soon after (you see i tend to move very quickly myself) my wife and i went personally to meet the people in-charge and again things seem to be going quick and smooth.
Now my ‘case’ is being handled by some sergeant who’s supposed to look into the details further (with regards to the paperwork) and push things through. And it’s all been left hanging…
And so i wait…
And wait…
And wait…
And it really doesn’t help that compounding the issue is that my ‘case’ is hanging in the balance of technicality! (i’ll express my grouses on that matter some other time too)
God, why is patience such a weakness of mine?
A lesson i’ve always needed to learn.
i admit to it and submit to You and Your timing. For You are not slow as man define slowness.

But still, i pray … teach ‘others’ (and You know who i mean) diligence and excellence and purge from them procrastination and non-chalance….
… i humbly ask …
HeHe ;)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Yes… I know I’m lagging ;)

i’ve only just watched “Iron Man”! Yes, believe your ears. Guess, that’s what working as a doctor and living in a place like Labuan does to you… it makes you ‘lag’… big time!
Anyway, it was such a thrill ride in my opinion. Enjoyed it immensely. Sure, there’s not much of a character development (perhaps i’m the emo type who would have liked to see the compassion and righteous anger shine through a bit more especially after the turn of events involving Tony Stark’s accomplice Yinsen)… but hey, do you really expect a lot of philosophy and life lessons from a movie based on a comic book character. i think not.
Still, it had a real good dose of humour, action, eye-candy and ‘wow’ in it to keep me at the edge of my seat.
And, i’m more and more convinced with every movie i watch that Jeff Bridges (the guy who played Obadiah...i think that's his name) is just a fantastic actor. Loved him in "The Big Lebowski'. Makes me wonder if i'd shave my head bald and keep a goatie when i'm in my 50s. Looks awesome! hehe

Overall, this movie is a whole lot of 'cool' and i dare say is one of the best movies Marvel has produced thus far (sorry Spiderman fans).

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ahhh.. the new macbook

Now that i have some cash in hand (hehehehehe), i must honestly say that my mind has been wandering towards potential items to purchase (muahahahaha) ;)

Which brings me to this beauty which i've had my eyes on for almost a year or more now...


well, it's already released in the US but it should be coming really soon to Malaysian shores ;)

So yes, i'm planning to jump ship and join the bandwagon of Mac users!

And no, i'm never looking back!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Finally… and yet…

i’ve not been paid my salary for the past 6 and a half months. That’s right. No typo there. SIX AND A HALF MONTHS!

Ever since i left my previous hospital where i did my housemanship by which in doing so i sort of changed ‘ministry’, i.e. from the ministry of education to the ministry of health proper (don’t ask me the details cos’ i really don’t understand it myself), i have been, as such, victim to the paperwork that so ensues of which the by-product is – DELAY!

Most of all, a delay in me getting my money.

So yes, i’ve been working for the past 6 and half months here in Labuan with absolutely no salary. How i survive? By the grace of God. In fact, the goodness of God is thereby more apparent because despite such dire circumstances with regards to my regular income, i’ve managed to fully pay for the wedding (with surplus… lots of it) and make a home out of the place we live in here in Labuan (which includes a 42 inch flat screen LCD TV, a home theatre system, a Nintendo Wii, a washing machine and dryer combination, a fridge, a king sized bed, etc. etc- you know, the necessities …hehehe).

To God be the glory!

Nevertheless, in principle it’s downright wrong for such a ‘delay’ to take place in the line of work i’m in (in any line of work for that matter). How in the world does the ministry of health (or whichever that’s to blame) expect me to uproot myself, reside and work in an altogether new place, hundreds of miles away from home for 6 months with no salary?


Finally this month, after much waiting, i’ve got my payslip stating the amount i’m getting as a lump-sum. But, mind you i said payslip because when i checked my bank account there was no money yet to be seen.

But that’s not the icing on the cake (not too sure if i can even afford icing…or cake). What’s even more peculiar and a huge pain in my… pocket…is the fact that apparently my previous hospital made a mistake with their calculations (mistakes…mistakes… that’s all that they can tell me… without apologies or rectifications at that). Somehow, they miscalculated my salary and ‘over paid’ me by 1 month. And they’re asking for that sum of money back. The thing is, as far as i can remember and as far as i know (honestly, i’ve got to check my bank statement again) there is no such sum of money banked into my account. But they insist that the transaction has taken place.

So now that i have my money (in theory... since all i have to go with is a payslip)…i can’t even have it in peace because i’ve got to look into this financial mess. i’ve got to clarify and clear it.

And all this is not at all due to a mistake, delay or omission on my part. None whatsoever. It’s all them and they readily admit to it (again without remorse…to the contrary… quite rudely)… but who pays the price for their mistakes… ME!


Monday, October 20, 2008

The Constant Combat to Keep our Conscience Clear

i feel that we’re all in a constant battle. Now, i’m not just referring to spiritual warfare or the prevailing battle of good over evil or the struggles of our soul with our flesh in our efforts to obey the spirit.

i’m talking about something that’s perhaps more universally relatable and dare i say relevant… a battle to preserve our conscience.

It says in God’s Word (and i’m paraphrasing) that He has written His laws in the hearts of men and women… i.e. He has given us all a conscience. So, there’s really no blame for ignorance, especially when it comes to right and wrong. Sure, we may not know what’s the “correct” answer to some of life’s questions but when it comes to right and wrong… whether we should lie… whether we should steal… whether we should kill… and the various permutations in between… there’s something within us that leaves no room for doubt. We know what is right. We know what needs to be done (or not done). We don’t need anyone to tell us or teach us do we? We just know.

It’s called a conscience.

And it’s constantly challenged isn’t it?

When you’re filling up that claim form to your office (which you know you’re entitled to anyway) and you’re tempted to put down claims that you know are beyond what you actually spent.
When you’re best friend offers you the answers to the exams that you so need to pass to get your degree with a promise that it’ll be a secret between the two of you.
When you see that money clip filled with a whole bunch of 100 dollar notes (not Ringgit Malaysia) lying on the floor with no one seeming to be looking for it in sight.
When you’re boss asks you to lie on his behalf and in so doing ensures that he’ll make sure you’re ‘taken care of’ when the time comes.

It’s challenged. There’s a battle that rages within. And the battle is not really about what’s right or wrong but rather about whether we’ll do what’s right or not. Whether we’ll drown out the cry of our conscience that screams for justice, equality and truth. Whether we’ll somehow numb ourselves to the guilt that always follows while we just ignore what needs to be done. Whether we’ll hide ourselves in the shroud of our own manufactured inaptitude and ignorance… almost deluding ourselves that we know no better.

But there’s a cost.
There’s always a price to pay.
Will we enjoy the spoils of our war or will we become prisoners to it, cursed to suffer and serve its master.

Too metaphorical?

Well, i think the price we all pay for the stands that we make (or not make) is the price of our souls (and i don’t mean that in just an eternal death and damnation kind of way).

The more we succumb to the pressures that seek to rob us of our conscience the more we find that we lose a piece of ourselves with it. We lose who we are, who we’re meant to be. We lose the core of our being.

Without a conscience, deep sense of right and wrong and more importantly a conviction that drives us to stand upon it and act upon it… we’re nothing but empty shells. Void of what makes us who we are. Void of our humanity. We’ve regressed and undifferentiated ourselves into creatures that are driven by necessity. A product of circumstances. A dependent on the pressures or the lack of them around us and upon us. We’ve thrown away our privilege and honour to ‘higher function’ and the resemblance of the ‘Higher Being’ after which we were made in. We’ve sold our ‘birth right’ to something better and become mere mammals.

The peculiar thing is, many of us settle for that.
We’re fine with it.
We’re hardened to it.

i pray that as i brave to fight every day for all that i know to be true that the ‘scars’ of battle will not eat away at my fervour to win the war, my faith in Him who holds the victor’s crown.
i will stand!
i will not be shaken!
And i will fight!

So help me God.

Friday, October 17, 2008

One of my favourites

Yes, yes, you can call me 'kiddy' all you want but i am an absolute fan of 'Cooking Master Boy'.

Sure, it's old school in terms of the animation and the graphics are nothing to shout about but i tell you what a concept and what creativity. It's ingenious in my opinion at least.

It has some of the best elements i personally favour... food, cooking and an engrossing storyline. One of the most fascinating features however is how the story seems to come up with very 'logical' reasonings behind the fantastical and realistically impossible (although most of the time it leaves you wondering if it were) culinary feats.

It's easy on the brain but yet piques just the right amount of curiousity and interest without leaving you numbed or exhausted by the anxiousness.

And talk about throwing curve balls!

For a 'simple' story (which it essentially is), it sure does throw in a lot of unexpected (and i really do mean unexpected) twists... and not too far-fetched ones at that.

My only wonder is why isn't there a sequeal (although i must say that i prefer series that conclude at a definite point without any prolongation or procrastination to its ending - i hate series that just go on and on).

Anyways, if you're willing to take some risks and break-away from the 'usual' popular crowd pleasers amongst anime and are willing to take some queer looks for your choice... you won't be disappointed =)

C'mon, develop some personality and taste of your own. Forget what people may think or how they may look at you for that matter.

Even if it does mean you're gonna sound a little childish ;)

In the still of the night...

i've been oncall pretty often here in Labuan. Yes, i have to admit that the 'physical workload' is much much less compared to my 'houseman' days. i do get more than 5 minutes sleep (so far) and my phone is not constantly ringing (most of the time). But the mental and emotional stress is way higher, only because the responsibility is so so much more.

To put it crudely, this time my decisions matter. They really matter. i've got no 'medical officer' above me to hide behind and take the heat for stuff anymore. i am fully responsible. And although my specialist is there (when their around) to be that overlooking guide... but on ground zero it's me that faces the brunt of the issues and problems and the (many a time) life-depending decisions that come with it.

Anyway, that's not what i want to highlight.

i've noticed... well, it may be a sweeping statement but i think most doctors would agree with me... that most problems happen when you're oncall.

Most patients somehow take a turn for the worse, or even die either late through the night or during the wee hours of the morning.

i've had patients that were in critical state to the point that there's no 'point' anymore to actively resuscitate the patient should the patient 'go'. And the patient will be in the ward all through the morning and right through the evening with not much change in their status only to breathe their last at 3 in the morning the next day (oncall hours).
And, i've had patient who were perfectly fine and recovering well all through the day... some times for days on end only to all of a sudden (almost out of the blue) develop complications one 'fine' night.

Patients seem to get upper gastrointestinal bleeds at night.

Miscarriages seem to come in at night.

Postpartum haemorrhages (bleeding after delivery) seem to always occur at night.

Accidents and motor vehicle collisions go without say.

in short, all the problems (well, most at least) seem to occur 'in the still of the night'.

Hmmmn... foreboding isn't it?

Makes you wonder if the devil (the Prince of Darkness) starts playing his tricks and having his way with those vulnerable all the more when it's 'his time'. When it's all dark? When it's the dead of night? (pun intended)


Well, just an observation i've made.


i was just thinking about it and i started wondering what would i do if i’m bored (which by the way, happens more often than i would like here in Labuan) and there was nothing to stop me from doing absolutely anything i wanted. i started imagining… what if i had billions and trillions of dollars (well, pounds would be better)… basically money was no issue… i had all the time in the world (no job or obligations or commitments)… and i had all the means necessary at my disposal (logistics was not a problem at all)… what would i do? (now this is under the premise that the motivation is pure boredom so let's put aside all the 'causes' and noble pursuits for awhile ya)

So i thought i’d come up with a list (just to entertain my wild imagination… see this is what happens when you’re bored) and in no particular order… cos’ like i said time was not an issue so therefore all are of equal priority:
*by the way, it’s sort of understood that everything listed is under the premise that it’s done together with my wife unless otherwise stated*

1. i’d go to Disneyland (the one in Florida cos’ i heard that’s the best one) and try out every single ride there is. Twice.

2. i’d go to Koh Samui and enrol myself in their short term Thai cuisine culinary school then come back and throw a huge dinner for my family and close friends with me being the chef for the night.

3. i’d watch a live Broadway musical. In Broadway.

4. i’d learn Mandarin

5. i’d learn Tamil

6. i’d go to Dallas Theological Seminary and get my degree in Theological studies

7. i’d buy a brand new home and spend the time furnishing and redesigning it’s interior (and exterior)

8. i’d get a dog (perhaps a Great Dane and I’d call him ‘Sergeant’)

9. i’d train the dog myself

10. i’d get my motorcycle license and get myself a brand new Harley and just ride it across the country (Malaysia –there’s still so much too Malaysia to appreciate and enjoy don’t you think?)

11. i’d go on a non-stop ‘makan trip’ with all my friends who are really ‘kaki makan’ (which includes my wife, in case you were wondering)

12. i’d learn to surf

13. i'd start a restaurant. One that serves Asian-fusion cuisine. Always loved the idea of owning my own restaurant which i could very well use for my own private use whenever i wanted to. Pure indulgence, not for profit.

okay, i've run out of ideas for now... boredom only gets you so far huh? ;)

well, will extend the list the next time i get a severe bout of boredom

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Obedience better than sacrifice

Obedience (i believe) is not just important but central in our walk with Jesus Christ. Yes, we're not in a religion but a relationship and the core to that relationship is love but the Word of God is very clear in that our love is seen through our obedience to Him (i'm paraphrasing from a portion of scripture in James i think... or is it 1 John...anyway).

i guess it's because obedience really puts things in perspective doesn't it. You see when we talk about 'love'... it can sometimes be misconstrued and vague in its expression... and many a time just limited to its qualities as an emotion... a feeling. But how do we really grow or get by in our relationship with God just based on a feeling? Can we ever know for sure, so to speak, that our 'feeling' is true? Is strong? Is what we make it out to be? Cos' the heart is deceitful beyond measure (you don't really need to read the bible to know that) and often if we're honest with ourselves, we tend to have an overvalued idea of ourselves. We never can be accurate in our own 'self-assessment' if it were just based on an evaluation of how we 'feel' and where our emotions lie.

But, obedience... well, that tells no lies. Obedience is the acid test. Obedience is where feelings meet fact. Where the rubber hits the road (as we so often say). Now that, can be a mirror to our souls. For how can we say that we love God so much if we fail to obey Him?

So ya, obedience is far far better than any possible 'sacrifice' we can offer. i have far more respect for the guy who loves his wife and is faithful to her (and still makes it for prayer meetings as best as he can) than the guy who never misses a prayer meeting but can't control his 'wandering eye'. Better is the man who stands by the principles of God and tells no lie than the man who 'preaches' so well but fails to be true and trustworthy.

Better is the man who is far more concerned with 'being' Christ than 'doing' Christianity.

For what does it matter if i read all the books about God and go to every meeting in church and be involved in every ministry of Christ but fail to obey God, have no love for my brothers and sisters in Christ, no passion for the extension of God's Kingdom and His church and most of all have no resemblance to Christ.

i'm all for the 'doing'. Really. In fact, it is my hope and prayer that i can 'do' more. But i think in this day and age especially where if it were possible even the 'elect' will be deceived... that we need more of us being far more concerned wit the 'being'. Let's not get distracted by the programmes (as much as our involvement in them is necessary and good) but let's come back to the simplicity of obedience as we 'do' all that we can for God.

i honestly think a man who has overcome his weakness of lust for example (by the power and grace of God and through simple obedience and faith) has achieved far more than the man who has read all that can be read about overcoming lust and attended every single meeting there is about overcoming lust. In the end, it boils down to that doesn't it?

i think about Jesus Christ himself and His time in the garden of Gethsemane. No fan fair. No 'big time' meeting. No hype. Not much of anything really. Just a son getting into the face of His God and working through His obedience.

That's what i strive for. Obey, Vinod.. i tell myself. Obey. Stick to it. Persevere. Yes, it's difficult and yes, the progress may seem slow ... but don't give up. Obey.

So God help me.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Could I have a bit of rice with my pork please? (never the other way around)

i have a serious love for pork. No joke. i absolutely love it. Just thinking about a good dish of pork makes my mouth water and my stomach growl.



Crispy and ceramalised on the outside and oh, so tender and exquisitely soft on the inside with just the right amount of ‘chew’ in it to make you crave for the next bite and savour the taste that follows.


And it’s so versatile. It tastes delicious be it fried, simmered, roasted, barbequed, smoked, broiled… no matter how you cook it (at least the myriad of ways thus far that i’ve tried) it’s fantastic.

And not to mention the wonderful flavours and textures each part of the pig lavishes on your taste buds.

One of my ultimate favourites – ‘HUA ROU” or literally translated as “Flower Meat”.
Yum! Yum!
It practically covers the entire ‘extent’ of pork and it’s available flavours. From skin to bone with lots of tender delectable meat and a generous layer of superb scrumptious fat (let me stop for a second to wipe the drool of my chin).
It’s the ‘mother’ of all meats in my opinion.

Pork, glorious pork!

*Anybody who’s thinking of getting me a birthday gift – if i may suggest, get me some real good char siew or siew yoke or even better yet BOTH and i’ll be the happiest birthday boy around*

Monday, October 13, 2008


Now, if you want a movie that starts a discussion (and i mean a 'real' one, not the type that's about who you thought was sexiest and which action sequence was the best, although for some movies that's really all you can talk about)... this movie is definitely the one to get one going.

Save for the profanity and explicit dialogue (which i honestly feel stays true to the characters and the circumstance it's set in and as such is "appropriate"... unlike the mindless, pointless swearing you sometimes see, you know, for the sake of it)... there's a lot that this movie sparks in you.

You move from the initial comfort of black and white to the untoward and somewhat foreboding realm of the 'grey'.

For those of us who stand strong in our principles of right and wrong (i would like to think of myself as one in this category... only because i've faced the consequences of my own vacillating time and again) the movie doesn't really question them but rather sets them in the perspectives in which they are many a times challenged. Where the answer may be simple but far from 'easy'. In fact, the movie deals with issues of right and wrong and how although we know it, many a time it's far too difficult to actually follow through with what we know.

Above and beyond that it also deals with the whole area of is doing the right thing always gonna lead to actually any 'good'. Is doing the right thing the 'best' thing. i know it sounds like a riddle but watch the movie and then you'll get what i mean.

i hate to give away anything in a movie. Especially one i'm recommending. So, tell you what... grab a hold of it... watch it and see for yourself if your not stirred to think. Stirred to consider. Stirred to ask yourself some hard and honest questions. To face some hard realities and admit to the difficulties they entail.

Talk about intense.