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.

Home is where the heart is…

i feel like i’m a walking shell sometimes. Don’t get me wrong. i know that God lives within me and i'm the temple of the Holy Spirit and my life is filled with the plans and purposes that He has in store for me. My life is “full”. And now with my wonderful wife with me, a constant and more than compatible companion, there’s hardly any reason at all to be in want.

But that’s not what i mean.

My heart (again, try to see what I’m getting at) is back in KL. Back in the company of family. My family, Ling’s family, and most of all our family in ACTS. i close my eyes and i see them. i’m constantly in the company of memories of them and a longing to be rejoined with them. Like i said, home is where the heart is and boy, do i so want to go back home.

i feel it necessary to say that Labuan really is a beautiful place. And both my wife and i have come to meet and know just wonderful people that have not only enriched our lives here but made it filled with the warmth of friendship and camaraderie. Friends that i know i will cherish for a long time more to come and for that i am thankful.

But, i have to be honest it isn’t home. And it has nothing to do with the lack of hospitality or anything of the sort. If anything, i’ve learnt a whole lot from the spectacular people here about being hospitable and open and warm (you guys know who you are)…

i guess i can best liken it to going to your uncle’s and aunt’s place to stay for awhile. They treat you well (like you’re their own child even) and they open up their home to you and welcome you to make it yours. And you enjoy and appreciate all the love and care and warmth they show you and reciprocate it in return. You even grow to love this “extended-family” of yours as you grow to know them more and live with them longer.
But after awhile (and in my case as soon as i reached Labuan)… you miss ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad’. You miss your own home. You are filled with gratitude towards your uncle and aunt but you can’t help your feelings. Your heart is back HOME.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Highly recommended

i figured that since i'm quite the movie enthusiast and after my recent ranting over how you can't trust all the comments and quotes that you read on the backs of the vcd and dvd covers... hey, why not i give some input of my own. Perhaps it'll shed some light on some of the movies that i've found worth watching. Not a review. Just a recommendation.
that way, people can learn from my mistakes rather than make their own. And for the skeptics, well, at least they'll be making an informed mistake ;)
so ya.
i'm beginning to appreciate more and more what i watch. In the sense that, i'm no longer that interested in movies that are just pure eye-candy or 'adrenaline-rush' -ers (think i created a new term just right there)... although i have to admit that i do indulge myself every now and then... but nowadays i feel that movies should do far more than entertain. They should educate, enlighten, inspire... they should provoke us to thinking (and not numb us to it)... they should move us to aspire for the better...
In this multimedia age it is inevitable and practically unavoidable to be influenced by even the slightest degree (if we're honest with ourselves) by what we see and hear. So i say, rather than avoid multimedia all together.. why not filter and use it to our advantage. You know, be selective. Choose that which builds up and edifies and adds value rather than just "take everything in".
Anyway, back to this movie.
It's fantastic.
Inspiring to say the least.
In fact, to the point that it may make you and i consider becoming teachers ourselves.
And the best part about it (which is something i particularly enjoy about the movies i watch), it's based on a true story.
It deals with some hard but real issues and in a very much in your face manner but at the same time with just the right amount of tact and grace.
It doesn't shove principles and morals down your throat but rather opens up the opportunity to explore these issues and realities ourselves.
Can be intense (i cried a couple of times) but appropriately so. i mean who doesn't like a good cry now and then right (especially when it's more of the touching sort rather than the sad and depressed kind).
So simply put. Watch it. And tell me if you weren't inspired.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


i've been having this real urge to go on holiday somewhere with my wife, Ling. i think it would be splendid (man, how British does that sound!) cos' ling is really the outgoing type and a joy to be with and explore new things and places with.

Cos' i think one of THE most important things about travelling is not so much the destination but the COMPANY.

i mean, i've been on a trip to Spain and also a tour round parts of Indonesia including Lake Toba but i have to admit that i hated it. Simply because of the lousy and downright boring company (shall not volunteer the details of who in particular to blame... take a guess).

and i hate tours.

i hate the experience of having everything (almost) decided for you and eating and visiting all the overly-commercialised and overly-tourist-oriented food and places.

Especially when i'm the type who loves going on mission trips where you eat, travel and live as the locals do. All the more i tend to detest the whole idea of having everything dressed-up for tourists.

i mean even in Malaysia just how many of these tourist spots do we frequent ourselves? How many of these tourist places which supposedly serves the best in terms of food and the like do we as Malaysians even visit? (simply because we've found places that are leaps and bounds better)

ok ok... i think i'm quite clear on where i stand on this whole issue of tours.

Now, back to the "holiday".

So ya, i've been looking out for possible places to visit. Once this December and again for our anniversary in August of next year. i'm thinking of slowly extending the borders in time, i.e. first somewhere nearer to Malaysia, then South-east Asia, then Asia, then maybe Australasia, Europe and maybe then North America.

Hopefully, time and finance permits (God-willing).

Anyways, in the near future (this December) i've boiled it down to either a trip up to Thailand or somewhere nearby with a group of close friends (they've been saying we really need to to a trip somewhere of some kind) or else Ling and i will be going to Singapore post-Christmas.


Familiar (lived there for about 5 years or so) yet it's been a long time since i've re-visited the country (maybe about 5 years).

It's nearby (just a drive/train away).

Relatively cost-effective.

And i think it's a good place to start our travelling streak.

whatever the case, i'm just really looking forward to having fun with my wife (she's a whole lot of fun herself) and experiencing all this new things together. Creating new memories of our own together.

Really looking forward to it.

So, once some things are more or less settled with regards to logistics and placement (that's a whole other story), i'm definitely gonna start the ball rolling.

World, here we come!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Short term memory loss

Sigh. Here's my venting out again (thankfully these are few and far between... at least i try to keep them that way).
i occasionally (well, perhaps too often than i would like) receive patients who i'm certain needs beyond their medical problem at the time, an indepth study and probe into the possibility of severe brain damage and memory loss (particularly short term).
Let me qualify...
Now and then (or rather more often than not) i get patients that literally beg to be admitted (most of whom actually have very clear and even urgent indications for admission).
So i do.
We then manage them as best as we can. We put our hearts and souls and not to mention brain matter into seeing them get better (and in some cases crawl back out from their grave)... and by the grace of God... they do improve.
In fact, in these particular cases apparently the improvement is too good and too much for these patients too handle... because all of sudden they forget the state they were in when they first came, they forget how they begged us (or their condition begged us) to be admitted, they forget how they literally threw themselves at our mercies... and suddenly decide on their own (again based on nothing) that their well enough to go home despite our assertion to them to continue with the treatment till we deem them fit and safe to go home.
They've developed some kind of bizarre memory loss!!!
And in some cases just overnight!!!
It's either that or somehow while they were admitted and no one was looking they went ahead and got themselves a medical degree (heck, the way some of them act... it's like their suddenly specialists)!
And again, putting their lives and those they love at risk.
ARGHHHH!!!! (i'm getting tired of all this internal screaming)
And on top of that in some even more peculiar cases the patients even ask when we're supposed to seem them again in the clinic to manage their problem.
HELLO! We're not letting you go yet! You're the one who wants to leave against our recommendation and then now you're asking us to follow-up and follow-through!!!
i tell you, i think the problem with a lot of these people is not their physical condition or medical ailment but their mentality.
Their attitudes.
Their ignorance.
Their outright disregard for professional (and necessary) help.
i mean i've even had patients who were in the ICU (intensive care unit) demand to leave it on their own accord.
and it leaves me wondering... why do these people come to the hospital in the first place then!
Just stay at home or wherever else they feel appropriate and manage their conditions themselves.
Why use our resources, our energies and our efforts... only to lay them to waste.
And funny thing is (well, not funny at all actually) these patients almost inadvertently require readmission... in the very near future.
But again, only to ask to be discharged against our recommedation again (to be fair some do learn from their 'mistakes'... but, my oh my, at what a cost!).
i recommend an urgent psychiatric review for all these kinds of patients.

The brainless leading the brainless

From here on in what you read is unedited and uncensored and unprocessed. If some of the following comments offends anyone... my sincere apologies. Their just my honest opinions.
It's my venting out

There a host of things to be frustrated about in the practise of medicine. But none i think are as frustrating, cumbersome and downright infuriating as the attitude and disposition of patients with regards to their own health.

today is one perfect example...

i had a patient (and i do get them every now and then) who came into the diabetic clinic for her regular review with her husband. As i quickly flipped through the previous entries (i was seeing her for the first time you see) and as i read through the notes of the previous doctors including my specialist, it was apparent to me that i was going to have a problem getting through to this patient. Her blood sugars had been through the roof over the past 2 years and she's already been on almost 5 medications for her diabetes at maximum doses (the recommended guidelines is to not even exceed 3 maximum doses, in fact beyond two... it's time for insulin). And yet, she refuses insulin! No reasons given.

Fine, so i thought i'd better do her justice (i was particularly concerned about her future in terms of her health because once her condition deteriorates to the point of grave complications there's really no turning back...and she was sure headed that way)... and explore her reasons for being so averse to the idea of insulin (starting insulin early is now recommended and the majority of patients really have no problems whatsoever with the therapy). Guess what, she just refused to give me a reason. With no help from her equally ignorant husband who claims that she's been excercising and as such expects her to imrove on her own without taking our advice (thank you very much!), i looked at her blood results taken 2 days prior and improvement was far far from where she was headed! Blood sugars almost 3 times the normal, fat almost 7 times the normal and cholesterol almost 50% above normal!!!

And there they were just plainly telling me in not too may words... "I know better doc, just give me my meds and let's be done with this". ARGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

And to put icing on the cake (pun intended... since she's diabetic and all)... she finally tells me that a 'friend' of hers told her insulin is bad!!!

Who on earth is this friend!
Ask this friend then to start up her own clinic if he/she's so smart!!!

My blood boils just at the thought of patients who are willing to take serious risks with their health simply based on ...nothing! or worse still the brainless opinions of a uninformed and totally ignorant so-called friend. And i've seen too many pay too dearly to take it lightly!

Sure, it's easy for her friend to give some stupid remark...she's not going to bear responsibility for it, is she!!!
She's not going to have her own foot cut off, or go through dialysis or spend countless days in the hospital or intensive care unit.

And to put the cherry on the ice-cream (again, pun intended)... she has to tell me that she has not been taking her medication for some time now!!!

When i asked her and her husband why on earth then do you come to the hospital. To get advice you don't want? To seek help you don't need? Her 'simple' (more like idiotic) answer is "to check ma"! Check what???!!!! i should very well check if you and your husband have brains or not!

of course, as you can imagine, i could hardly keep my opinions quiet and as such, they were getting upset themselves (probably not used to getting the truth told to them...finally) and even told me that they'd go look for another doctor in the private setting.


See if you can find another brainless (and also heartless) doctor to comply to your brainless requests!


Sunday, October 05, 2008

the blind leading the blind?

Decisions, decisions, decisions...

Some of which are what i like to call more 'life-defining' compared to others.

One in particular which seems to be the common topic among adolescents and budding young adults... CAREER.
i come from a 'big' family. 'Big' because i've got all these cousins whom i'm very close to... who are more like my own brothers and sisters really rather than cousins. And they're mostly in the age-range that is either embarking on their life defining journey of career choices or at least considering it. Not to mention my aunts and uncles (their moms and dads) who are evermore concern (and rightfully so) with the possible future outcomes of their children respectively.
And so, i generally am a part of or ever so often hear discussions pertaining to the issue of career path. All the more so since i happen to be in the field of medicine as a practising doctor.
You see, when it comes to career i think we as a society (at least in Malaysia) have yet to widen our horizons and extend our ideas beyond the very typical traditional choices - Lawyer, Engineer, Doctor... and maybe Accountant (i think this is more of a recent thing in comparison..anyways). That's all that comes to mind everytime some concern parent or family member or even adolescent venture into the whole issue of career choice... afterwhich the subsequent discussions only have to do with how to make that choice a reality. How to finance it... which university to go to.. where to eventually work...etc... etc...
Now i may be an idealist but i think that we need to relook and rethink the whole notion of career paths. i mean it is a life-defining choice and as such i think it's important to ask ourselves the right 'life-questions' before we proceed full steam ahead into something that can very likely make or break our lives and the lives of those we love.
Questions like (in no particular order):
1. What do i really want out of life? What kind of lifestyle would i like to lead?
2. How important is the 'money' factor? How much is enough? How much am i willing to sacrifice for it?
3. What do i hope to achieve eventually?
4. On my 'death bed' what would matter most to me?
5. How important is family? How important are relationships?
6. Where do i intend to live and build my home/family?
i mean we all know these questions are critical and essential to ask... and those of us who work or who've had our own experiences with work-related life issues (e.g. spending too much time at work, no time for family, no opportunity to explore dreams, marital strain, health deterioration, etc.)... we know that in retrospect especially (well, at least most of us) that some things that we thought were important at the start of our careers turned out to be not so important... that some things are just not worth sacrificing for the sake of that 'extra'. We know, that life is more than just what we do... our vocation... our title... our salary bracket... the car we drive... the bank account balance. We know, that at the end of the day little much is going to matter except for family, friendships, love, health and peace.
And yet, when we talk to our younger ones... we somehow put it across to them that the contrary is true.
Suddenly, money is top priority.
Prestige is of utmost importance (if we are honest enough to admit it).
Worst of all many a time we give our opinions as if we really know what we're talking about. And these vulnerable, impressionable minds believe us!
Let me qualify...
i see a lot of people (parents, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters etc.) who've had no personal experience whatsoever in a particular field of expertise give their opinions on them as if they were the gospel truth. Now, i'm not saying we can't give our opinions and even infer from our general understanding and from what we've either heard or seen. Maybe extrapolate a little here and there... but really, i think it's more than appropriate that somewhere along the line the input of someone trustworthy who is actually in the field should be sought... so that a far more informed decision can be made. Especially a decision of such magnitude.
i mean if i wanted to know what it would be like to be a doctor, i should ask a doctor.
Sure, some people may say that those who are in the profession may have a tendency to be biased, have their judgements clouded by their own grapplings with their career. But hey, isn't it far les objective to get counsel from someone who has no clue at all what it's like. i think THAT is terribly biased! Cos' all the person can go on is simply imagination and hearsay.
C'mon people. Let's be sensible. For the sake of the younger generation and the lives ahead of them. For the sake of the future families that they're gonna build.
Let's open up our minds a bit more...
Think of more possibilities...
Cos' in the end i think all we want is what's best for them. And that 'best' has to translate to what we know to be true. Peace, Joy, Love, Happiness and Satisfaction. We've had our experiences in life that have taught us (perhaps even the hard-way) that there are some things that are just not worth sacrificing.
i mean, i personally know of persons who've had everything going for them so to speak. Escalating in their career, earning the salary that they dreamed of (finally) and living in that dream house, driving that dream car only to be grappling at the end of the day with broken marriages, wayward children, debilitating disease and even in worst case scenarios death.
Life is short. With the time we have surely all that we wish for our children and loved ones is that those days be their best. Filled with all the goodness that life has to offer and God has in store. Not with materialism and empty earthly temporal pursuits.
Surely, we wish for ourselves and those we love something 'better'.
So let's open our eyes. Let's not blind ourselves to what we know in our hearts of hearts to be true. And let's take heart and have courage in helping these younger ones lead braver, bolder, and happier lives than we have ever lived.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Quotable quotes?

Now, i love movies. i'm quick to admit that i'm not really the hobby kind but i do have this habit of buying and collecting original vcds and dvd of movies that i love and movies that i'm willing to give a go (cos' in my experience there are times when you come across 'gems' that have somehow been unnoticed by the common public eye).

So, every now and then especially when my wife and i get the chance to go back to KL, we'll visit our regular store that not only sells a good range and selection of original vcds and dvds but also sells vcds and dvds that have been previously viewed (they also rent you see) at very low prices. This category of viewed/used videos are usually the ones where i take the risk of exploring unchartered waters into the realm of the 'less known' to venture and see if i do come across something more than worthwhile. So with only the look of the cover, a 'gut' feeling and a skim through the synopsis, my wife and i decide on the titles we want to take on.

From the fact that i have not much to go by in making such decisions, quotes by supposedly reknown magazines and reviewers about the movie and the fact whether it's been nominated or won any awards prior (Academy awards or otherwise)... really weighs heavily in favour of or not with regards to whether the movie is worth my time.

but, i've changed my mind about that from here on in...

After having enough encounters with movies quoted as "Stunning!", "Absolutely hilarious", "A masterpiece!" on and so forth... where instead i've only to found them dull, boring, empty and a pathetic attempt at being even vaguely meaningful, i've lost hope in these so-called experts.

Nominations and awards count for nuts too!

i mean i've had numerous instances where movies have either won or been nominated for numerous awards (even the "Oscars") only to be left wondering what on earth did the people on the reviewing board have in mind when watching them.

i feel cheated.

Robbed of my trust and faith in the persons and organisations that are supposed to be the voice of sound judgement and impeccable taste.


Forget about reading those synopses!

Forget about all those remarks and quotes and comments!

Forget about even the reviews on newspapers/websites and magazines!

i'm deaf to them!

From now on it's gonna be my 'gut' feeling and the opinion of like-minded person(s) - movie enthusiasts like me with similar tastes (very good taste at that... at least i would like to think).

Setting forth in my "adventures" to find and collect rare and valuable treasures of a movie... taking my own risks on my own account.

Cos' at least when i've made the decision on my own and suffered from it... i'm willing to pay the price of learning from my own mistakes.

Otherwise, i demand payment from the people who've led me to believe.