Thursday, September 29, 2005

A dreadful time to be down with fever

I was at home today, on Child MC, spending my day nursing Junior who was done with fever and flu. With the dengue pandemic, I wasn't taking any chance and brought Junior to a doctor who assessed that the fever was probably viral in nature. There was a small ulcer at the back of Junior's throat even though Junior complained of no pain. That probably caused the fever. There were also no rashes on Junior's body. According to the doc, a person who is inflicted with the dengue virus is often lethargic and with mild temperature, quite unlike Junior who is active as ever and whose temperature was high at about 38.2. The doc also said flu and cough do not usually precede dengue fever.

It started with a runny nose on Tuesday night. The Slim Lady thinks this was because he refused to wear the sweater while he was at his Maths tuition at one of the shopping malls. She reprimanded Junior, while at the same time blaming her mum in law, my mother, Junior's caregiver, for not ensuring that Junior put on his sweater. But then again, Junior could have picked up the virus anywhere - in school, at the playground, etc. You simply can' talk sense to someone who don't see eye to eye with their in-laws ....

Then last night, Junior started coughing. It always follows the same pattern - you get a runny nose, then the mucus flows from the nose to the back of the throat, and that's how the cough begins. At least that's how my nurse wife the Slim Lady explained it to me. And at about mid-night, came the fever. It's dreadful having a fever at this time, what with the dengue pandemic in Singapore.

But one can never by 100% sure. Happily, his temperature has gone down to about 37.4 last taken at 9 PM. But we'd need to monitor him for the next few days. Let's hope the doc is right.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

A city of whiners

White men have it easier in Singapore.

Being taken for a ride by taxi-drivers.

Retailers who do not know their products well.

The lack of service standard in Singapore.

A writer in the Sunday Times today griped about how Singapore is developing into a whining nation. On the same paper, a woman wrote to whine about how the MRT is not "baby-friendly". She complained about the lack of "space" to breast-feed her baby onboard the train and how some men looked at her leeringly when she was doing so. What? She expects a special carriage for mothers to breast-feed their off-springs? It also reminds me of how another woman wrote to bitch about how she was stopped by staff at the Esplanade when she was breast-feeding her baby at the Durian.

The gahmen has my sympathy - it is a daunting task indeed running tiny Singapore. In this politically-correct age, the gahmen not only must be sensitive to the "less-fortunate" (read handicapped), and make public transport friendly to them, they must also ensue that the amenities are "baby-friendly". With due respect to these mothers, I'm sure they have other resources when it comes to breast-feeding their off-springs. For a start, how about collecting the milk in the bottle in advance before they set-off in the MRT? Or, get off the station, find a comfortable and quiet spot at the platform and do what she has to do away from men who give them dirty looks.

As for white men having it easier in Singapore, I myself was at the receiving end of the "shabby" treatment at a petrol kiosk recently. The cashier greeted the Caucasian man who was standing beside me with such warm and friendliness and made me feel as if I was invisible. The white man was equally friendly, asking her, "how do you do?" I was a little pissed for being ignored at first but soon realised the different treatment was really more cultural than racial. Caucasians are by nature gregarious and friendly people. But we Chinese are more reserved and have no time to make small talk with strangers. It is true we Asians tend to look at strangers with suspicion. Admittedly, we don't have the habit of saying good morning to cashiers or sales people, much less ask them "how do you do". It's just not in our culture to do so. We also tend to avoid eye contacts.

White supremacy is a myth. So just stop WHINNING just about anything.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Presentation is a piece of cake

I can't explain it, but in a dry run of a presentation I gave to my boss, I was actually enjoying the presentation, much to my delight and surprise. Sure, I was a little nervous in the first 3 minutes or so; but once I overcame that, the adrenaline set in and I was on the roll!

I suppose the following tips found in the Internet help:

1. People are more interested in hearing what you have to say than who is saying it. The message behind the messager is what matters.
2. Treat the presentation as a form of communication to your bosses or colleagues rather than as a "performance".
3. There is no such thing as a "perfect" speech.
4. Don't think How you can survive the presentation; but think How you can do it Brilliantly?

You'll be surprised at how many people fear public speaking as seen in the photo below of a group of people having conquered that fear in a seminar. If you try hard enough, you could even spot me in the picture.

Hehehe.. Gotcha! That picture was taken from a website that generates banners for anything under the sun. Wanna protest against a policy in your office? Saying no to the cancer stick? Or lending your voice against pre-marital SEX? You can create you own banner here, courtesy of Cowboy Caleb.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Bye, little fellow .....

I had a little surgery done on 24 Aug to remove a "little fellow" from my lower abdomen.

Indeed, it's been said that as we reach middle age, everything starts to wear out, fall out and spread out. If you look up a dictionary, it will tell you that Middle-Age is a non-specific age when a person is not old, not young, but somewhere in the middle. It goes on to add that, in developed societies, the definition befits people between the ages of about 30-60. And I definitely fall between this age group :((

Back to the "little fellow" on my abdomen ... It started off as a tiny pimple. I didn't really pay much attention to it as it caused no pain and didn't really get in the way of my daily life. But it did irritate me at times for the fact that it refused to go away.

I was at the polyclinic recently, and I'd thought I might as well "introduced" the "little fellow" to the young doctor who turned out to be quite unprofessional. I didn't quite catch what he said when he told me to draw the curtain and lie on the bed. When I said "sorry?", he repeated his instruction, but this time with some annoyance in his voice. How rude. I was piqued by the flippant attitude of the doc towards my "little fellow". All he did was just took a casual look at "him", not bothering to even use his hand to touch him or examine him. Then, without missing a beat, he proclaimed: "It's a wart".

How enlightening, I'd thought and I didn't even know what a wart is, to be very honest. He didn't bother to explain or shed light on what causes a wart.

"Should I remove it?" I asked.

"You can if you want to. I'll give you a referral letter to the hospital", he said nonchalantly.

When I asked if he could remove it surgically for me, he said: "No we don't do surgery in the polyclinic."

"What about a GP?" I asked.

"Provided the GP do day surgery," he added.

In the end, he gave me a lotion, some kinda acid I think, and instructed me to apply it to the "little fellow" twice a day. He said I may have to apply it for months before the "little fellow" drop off.

About a week after applying the lotion, the "little fellow" got highly irritated. From an innocuous looking little fellow, he was transformed into a "fiery and mean-looking" fellow, waiting to unleash his rage.

I had to get rid of him, I'd thought. Taking matters into my own hand, I visited a GP that performs surgery and had it removed. The older doctor, who has surely consumed more salt then the one at the polyclinic, has a different opinion. The little fellow was no wart, he had said. Rather it was Pyogenic Granuloma- two big and mouthful words but basically, it's a relatively common benign skin growth, usually a small red, oozing and bleeding bump that looks like raw hamburger meat. It often seems to follows a minor injury and grows rapidly over a period of a few weeks to an average size of a half an inch. The head, neck, upper trunk and hands and feet are the most commonly sites.

That doctor at the polyclinic is not only unprofessional, he's guilty of misdiagnosing as well. Victor, in one of his comments to my blog, had marveled at the fact that we in Singapore receive good quality medical care with no wrong medicines being dispensed. Victor doesn't know any better.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

CRIB, all thanks to Dengue

JO was down with dengue fever. Paid her a visit today at CGH with VT, Victor and OKD, a colleague of mine.

She was one of many who fell victims to the aedes mosquitoes in recent months, and one of dozen of my colleagues who did so. According to the Health Minister, as many as 550 people were diagnosed with Dengue per week and about 8% of them need hospitalisation. Non-critical surgery were put on hold to allow dengue patients for admission.

JO was resting "CRIB" when we arrived. Of course, the CRIB here stands for Complete Rest In Bed, and not the baby crib. But Victor has to make a joke out of it. I don't think JO was amused. Her bubbliness was gone. So were her make-up and that, I'd thought, made her looked kinda sweet. She also looked tired and lethargic. We bought her red roses and that sort of cheered her up a little. Other than that, she was pretty quiet and didn't laugh very much at our jokes which was a little off-coloured at times. I kept reminding Victor that there were children (JO's two young daughters were with her) in the midst of us and that we'd better watched what we were joking.

Well, either JO was truly tired or she could not respond to our jokes the why she could have for she has to put on her "best behaviour" in the presence of her daughters. There should be no tolerance for "vulgarity" in front of the kids, much less in front of your own kids.

I think we overstayed our welcome a little 'cause she kept hinting to us that she's tired. We hope she'd get well soon.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Pain and suffering ...

The devastation in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The plane crash at Medan.

At a time when chaos, both by nature or the result of poor human judgement, wreaked havocs around the globe, it seems strange and irrelevant that I should be "celebrating life", blogging on my love for food, my fear of having to give presentation, and complaining about poor service standards by the retails industry. Surely, there is more to life then these.

In the US, New Orleans has descended into anarchy - looting running rampant; people dying, women and children being raped and killed. All under the eyes of the "law-enforcers". It's surreal that these are happening in the soil of the USA, the supreme power of the World, the very power that "could do no wrong", despite the "unjustified" war against Iraq. It's ironic how the table has turned. And not by men, but by the act of God.

Indonesia seems to be at the receiving end of much of the wrath of nature. It got the brunt of destruction during the Tsunami. Aceh was almost decimated to the ground. And now the plane crash.

Allow me to be philosophical for just once. After all, what happens to mankind does affect us one way or another. We are all part of this awesome universe by the Creator and we are all part of humanity, whether we like it or not.

Sometimes, life is so much pain and suffering .... I find little solace in this quote by Helen Keller: "The world is full of suffering, it is also full of overcoming it".

Friday, September 02, 2005

Me not "thinking on my feet".....

These past two days, I've been holed up in a training room, attending a course on "Think on your feet". It wasn't the best of time. Who would have thought a training session with such an innocuous title could be so stressful?

Apparently, "Think on you feet" involved more than just thinking. Participants were asked to stand in front of the class and talk about a given topic by the trainer for 3 minutes, using various methods to "collect our thoughts", "organise our thoughts" and then "presenting our thoughts". How neat. Somehow, the course ended up like one on giving presentation more than anything else. It didn't matter that some of us got "cold feet" (no pun intended). I was obviously "not thinking" when I signed up for the course.

By now, you'd probably guess I hate giving presentation. You just stand there, feeling naked and vulnerable, and when you open your mouth to speak, you think you heard a voice that sounds pretty much like yours, yet you're not quite sure it's yours. For yours surely is not one that quivers or even sounds so shrill. Then you look around the room, not wanting to make eye contact with anyone in particular. You don't know where to put your hands. They may be in your pockets. Or one of the hands may be holding a pointer. If it is, you'll find the beam "quivering" too. This is so surreal. And it seems to take forever to end....

Yet, if one is confident and sure of the subject matter, one needs not fear. I think most of us are fearful of leaving a negative impression on the audience. We worry too much about the audience's perception of us.

I've come across several tips to make one feel at ease while giving presentation. But the one that takes the cake is surely the one that tells you to "imagine everyone in the audience is naked or in their undies". I can't fathom how this would help me. Just looking at the many different sizes of my fellow co-workers, big and small, the thought is even more frightening than the presentation itself! I'm sure Victor would agree with me.

Next time before I sign up for a course, I know I'd better do some homework.

Oh. I just remembered. I've been told to give a presentation in the office sometime this month....Damn.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Food glorious food... Live to eat or eat to live??

According to an article on the Aug 10 issue of the Straits Times Mind Your Body, these are the food to avoid if one has been diagnosed with heart disease:
1. oily, deep-fried and high-calorie foods,
2. food known to be high in cholesterol such as pig's brain (yucks!) and seafood.
3. Local food like char kuay teow, roti prata, oyster omelette and fried chicken with the skin on are also food to avoid.

It goes on to add that if one is suffering from high blood pressure, these are the food to avoid:
1. Excessive salt and
2. All of the above.

Oh dear. What's there to live for someone like me who live to eat? Lest you think I'm suffering form some form of heart disease, no I'm not [TOO WOOD!], but yes, unfortunately, I do have some mild HBP, all thanks to over-eating and lack of exercising. Experts these days termed these as 'life-style' diseases most commonly associated with increased affluence. Which is absolutely crap for I'm certainly not rich. So why me???

Luckily, the experts are not always right (like when they hinted that I'm rich). For instance, scientists never fail to tell us the importance of drinking water. Then, in a back-flip, they said that too much water can kill! Not convinced? There are more here on "Why Medical Studies Are Always Wrong".

Unluckily, it would be foolhardy, suicidal even, for me to completely disregard the warning of the experts. What if they are correct this time?

I suppose Moderation is the key to my woes. We can't have too much of a good thing, (not even water). Perhaps I should take a leaf out of the book of our fore-father MM Lee, who, at 82 attributes one reason for his longevity on not always eating himself full. That means I'll go half hungry most of the time. Some food for thoughts (no pun intended). But I'm not sure if I have the will power to do so. I'll probably go half-angry most of the time too, as the saying goes, "A hungry man is an angry man". Besides, with due respect to MM Lee, he's no scientist and he may not be always right. Hmmm...