Friday, December 31, 2010

Why Muslims cannot touch dogs?

Yesterday, I saw a group of Malay kids harassing some stray dogs just outside my house. The place I live in is a predominantly Chinese neighourhood, so it is quite rare to see Malay kids around. And everytime they are around, I can assure you there will always be a commotion outside my house because they will always disturb the innocent stray dogs who are lying by the roadside.

But I am not saying that Chinese and Indian kids do not disturb the dogs. They do as well. There are many mischievous Chinese and Indian kids who will also harass the stray dogs in my neighbourhood.

I am aware that Malay-Muslims in Malaysia are taught not to touch dogs, so, my curiousity began to arouse me as to why they cannot touch dogs.

As I read through the Internet, then I realise that it is NOT 'haram' for Muslims to touch dogs or to keep dogs as pets. It is just that it may be troublesome for Muslims to have to clean themselves according to a certain set of procedures after touching dogs' saliva. You may read the explanations here.

Also, I have found a post written by a local animal activist, Joanne Lee, with a snippet included which explained why Malaysian Muslims are prohibited from touching dogs.

==========SNIP SNIP==================

Dr. Gorman said...
American here, and yes, an animal lover. I have donated to Furry Farms for this cause. Yes, they need to educate the officials on the fishing island about spay and neutering the strays, or having them humanely euthanized. It's better than starving to death.

Question please: Why are Muslims encouraged not to touch dogs? God made them one of our two domesticated animals (along with cats) specifically for the purpose of helping humanity and providing companionship.

May 10, 2009 2:24:00 PM MYT

Zalina said...

Dr. Gorman,

When the rule was written, rabies was wide-spread. However, in the book is also written that dogs have been companions to the Prophet and his followers. Muslims overseas have no problems with dogs. I am a local muslim, and I have no problem with dogs.However, there is a cleansing ritual involved after being licked by the dog. I think people are just too lazy to go wash with red clay earth. Also, I'm a little more forward thinking and believe soap will do. Don't blame the religion -- blame the (few) followers. Thanks for your donation. On behalf of of the Pulau Ketam Dog Rescue Secretariat. Thanks from us all.

May 11, 2009 6:30:00 PM MYT

Antares said...

Zalina, thanks for responding to Dr Gorman. I'd just like to add my two cents worth. I believe the hadith against touching dogs was inserted long after Muhammad's time during a severe outbreak of rabies in Arabia. Since infection is mainly via saliva, and water isn't easily available in Arabia, people were advised to wash their hands in mud if licked by a dog. Soon dog saliva became regarded as "dirty" and long after rabies ceased being a problem, dogs remained anathema. Only in Malaysia do you find such rabid dog-haters/fearers. Muslims everywhere else have long become sensible about most taboos.

May 11, 2009 7:03:00 PM MYT

Dr. Gorman said...

Thank you, Zalina and Antares, for the excellent answers. It helps to try to understand the actions of those you can't understand! Still praying for the volunteers, the relief effort and the change of heart of the villagers and officials who did this.

Kim Gorman, O.D.

You may read the entire post written by Joanne Lee right here.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Who founded Christianity?

At first thought, many would think it's Jesus. But no!

Similar to Buddhism, it is his followers/disciples who founded Christianity. Fundamentally, Christianity is based on the teachings and life of Jesus Christ.

It is said that Jesus was a Jew and he was even sentenced to death for blasphemy by the Jews themselves. (A Jew is someone who practises Judaism).

I don't subscribe to the religion but I like the teachings of Jesus. He is one Prophet that everyone should look up to. Love, forgiveness, and brotherhood are the main theme of Christianity. That's what I like about his teachings.

Monday, December 27, 2010

He who have not sinned shall cast the first stone

Since I don't read the Bible, I'm not sure if this is told in the Bible. But I have watched a scene from a movie about Jesus and I heard him uttered this phrase. I'm no longer a practising Catholic but I still admire the teachings of Jesus Christ.

The story goes like this.

A woman was running for her life away from an angry mob. The mob were not just chasing her, they were also pelting her with stones as they chased after her all because she has committed adultery.

Soon, the mob cornered her and violently pelted her with stones. Thankfully, Jesus happened to be around and he saw and heard the commotion. Quick enough, he walked in and stood in between the mob and the woman. He then uttered this famous phrase,
"He who have not sinned shall cast the first stone"

Immediately, everyone stopped what they were doing. Embarassed by their actions, the mob dispersed and walked away.

Jesus then said to the woman, "go forth and commit this sin no longer".

Perhaps, Jesus should come and spread this message to our Malaysian politicians and religious officials. They are not angels and yet they want to be our moral police.

Although I am an atheist, I admire how Christians preach one to forgive and love their enemies, INSTEAD of killing their enemies.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas or Xmas?

You can read the history how the word Xmas came about right here in Wikipedia. It is said that X comes from the Greek letter, Chi, which is translated as Christ.

It's almost Christmas and Catholics (I'm not sure about Protestants) are probably at their churches by now attending the Midnight Mass. I think it's almost 20 years that I have not attended the Midnight Mass.

Christmas is so commercialised that even non-Christians are celebrating it. Yes, even the Ah Bengs are celebrating Christmas without fail every year. While the Catholics are celebrating Christmas at churches, the Ah Bengs and Ah Lians (in Penang) are celebrating Christmas at Gurney Drive.

Yes, that was how the Ah Bengs celebrated Christmas last year in Gurney Drive, Penang, by banging and spraying cars with aerosol foam. You can read the last year's fiasco right here. I wonder if the same thing would happen again tonight.

Christmas is a holiday where Catholics/Christians observe to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. Some say the true meaning of Christmas is about love since love is a staple teachings of Jesus. Certainly, Christmas is a day of joy when Catholics/Christians' families will get together and bond with each other.

And to me, Christmas is incomplete without Christmas songs! One of my favourite Christmas song of all time is Last Christmas, originally written and performed by Wham! (comprising George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley). The song was released in 1984 and it peaked at #2 in the UK Singles chart at that time. This song has been covered by more than a dozen artistes ranging from Crazy Frog to Ashley Tisdale to Taylor Swift. This shows how good the song is.

Go listen. And Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Meritocracy vs social justice

The Government will strike a balance between meritocracy and social justice when rewarding students for outstanding academic achievements, Datuk Seri Najib Razak said. This was reported in TheStar two days ago.

Well said, Mr PM. I always find it painful to see rich students getting scholarships.

My nearby neighbour was awarded a JPA scholarship a couple of years ago and she was sent to the US. Guess what happened next? Her parents bought a new house and moved to another residential area. Their house, which is just a few units away from mine was left vacant for a few years. They are probably so cash rich that they don't see the need to sell off the house or even to rent it out.

A former student of mine related to me how unfair that her schoolmate whose parents are both doctors was awarded a JPA scholarship. Indeed, how unfair. Where is the social justice?

Rich students whose parents could afford to fund their education do not deserve to receive a scholarship. However, we will often hear cries from them saying that scholarships should be given out based on meritocracy. They argue that they deserve the scholarships since they have worked hard for it.

Why a rich student would want to compete with other less fortunate students who score fairly good results to obtain a scholarship? There are many other students with outstanding academic achievements who do not have the opportunity and means to further their tertiary studies. All they want is some financial aid to fund their studies. Unfortunately, we have selfish rich students who want a slice of the scholarship pie as well depriving others who seriously need financial aid.

When I was teaching in this College X, I came to know students who enrolled in courses like the A-Levels programme, HSC programme, and the American Degree Transfer programme are already financially prepared to further their studies abroad. Yet, they still apply for the JPA scholarship hoping to strike a lottery. Well, once they got the scholarship, it could save them tons of money and probably they could spend their well-saved money on a trip to Japan or maybe they will buy another property, perhaps.

Yes, meritocracy is important when awarding scholarships but financial needs should also be seriously considered. At the same time, social justice should also not be restricted to one race only. Social justice should be served to all Malaysians. There are poor Chinese and poor Indians as well.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Do you want to be an academician?

A couple of years ago, I asked myself, "Do I want to work my way up?" or "Do I want to study my way up?". I chose the latter path so that I could avoid the typical corporate bullying and corporate politics.

If you choose to study your way up, this means you have to equip yourself with a postgraduate qualification, preferably a PhD (Doctor of Philosophy).

But of course, with so many profit-driven private colleges around, you don't need to have a PhD to be a lecturer. With just a master degree or just an undergraduate degree, you can already apply to be one and probably an underpaid lecturer. I can testify to that. So, with a PhD, you can only demand a better pay.

Being a compulsive learner with a passion for academic, becoming an academician is the right career choice for me, I believe.

Unfortunately in Malaysia, most of the academic institutions especially the private ones are profit-driven with no strong emphasis on research at all. Instead, all they care are student intakes, student intakes, and student intakes (I can testify to that as well). On the other hand, the public institutions of higher learning are government institutions and that means, I as a non-bumiputera will have great difficulties to be employed by them, even if I were to have a PhD one day (I have acquaintances with PhD who can testify to this). Well, what to do? That is why we have brain drains in Malaysia.

So, how well academicians are paid in Malaysia? Let us take a look at USM. I got this information from their ad.

Professor = RM10,885.75 to RM12,422.50 per month
Associate Professor = RM5,910.42 to RM7,610.50 per month
Senior Lecturer = RM5,276.92 to RM6,899.50 per month
Lecturer = RM3,073.50 to RM5,969.42 per month

Hmmm...not bad, eh.

Once you are armed with a PhD and depending on your experience, you either start your way up from the Lecturer position or the Senior Lecturer position. As an academician, your KPI will be heavily based on your research publications on peer-reviewed journals. It is the usual practice that academicians are hired on a three-year contract basis and you are required to publish your research articles consistently or else you will be shown the door.

One professor once mentioned that the reason why he chose to be an academician is because it is the closest to being self-employed. That can be quite true.

So, do you want to be an academician?

Monday, December 20, 2010

What are antibiotics?

This year is the very first year I took antibiotics. I have never taken any antibiotics before in my life. So, I didn't know much about antibiotics until this year.

Now I recalled seeing a particular colleague of mine (when I was working in one factory) who took antibiotics several times for minor reasons. Everytime, she had a runny nose (I assumed she had the common cold), she would see a doctor. When she came back to the office, I would see her taking some pills which look to me like antibiotics.

Similarly, everytime I see the doctor for the common cold (since I want to get the MC...hehe), the doctor would prescribed some antibiotics to me. Luckily I did not eat those antibiotics as I realised recently that antibiotics only work against bacterial infection NOT virus infection. The common cold is caused by the rhinovirus infection.

Because of the widespread use and misuse of antibiotics in modern society, bacteria are constantly exposed to these antibiotics. As a result, many bacteria have already developed resistance to the drugs' effects, just like the Superbug NDM-1. Just like I had blogged in my earlier post, I'm afraid we are going back prior to the 20th century before the invention of penicillin/antibiotics due to the increasing bacterial resistance to antibiotics. We are just going back to square one.

Antibiotics must be taken strictly as prescribed to avoid bacterial resistance and a dose must not be missed. For example, those on TB treatment have to take up to 8 tablets of antibiotics per day for 6 months. A dose must never never never be missed or else the mycobacterium tuberculosis will grow stronger and start to develop resistance against those antibiotics. As a result, the TB could turned into MDR-TB (Multi Drug Resistance TB) or XDR-TB (Extensive drug resistance TB), which are harder to cure. These MDR-TB and XDR-TB are man-made diseases, speaking metaphorically.

The common side effects of antibiotics include upset stomach, diarrhea, and, in women, vaginal yeast infections. Some side effects are more severe and, depending on the antibiotic, may disrupt the function of the kidney, liver, bone marrow, or other organs.

There was a news of a lady who took excessive painkillers that led to her liver failure in TheStar. It is important that you do not simply prescribe yourself any medications whether it is antibiotics or painkillers. Also, remember NOT to take antibiotics for a virus infection.

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible and continue with your regular schedule. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Straits Quay and Blue Reef Fish & Chips

It has been a long time since I have pampered myself really good. I spent the last six months poring over textbooks and visiting hospitals. I was craving for some nice fishy meals, so I headed to the newly opened Straits Quay and I had a wonderful lunch at Blue Reef Fish & Chips. I wish I am a food blogger so I get to sample their food for free.

I also found that Straits Quay is way much better than 1st Avenue. Straits Quay certainly looks much more classy.

Really small christmas tree

Really big christmas tree

Christmas is coming. Yay!

Nice scenery in the night time.

It is time to eat. I'm hungry!

There is wide variety of food especially fishy food. But of course, they do have some other non- fishy food like lamb chop and such.

The service was friendly and efficient. Kudos, Blue Reef.

Fish and Chips - Mahi Mahi (RM16) + Iced Lemon Tea (RM4)

Grilled Fish - Siakap (RM21) + my lovely warm water (No charge)

It has been a longggg time I have tasted some good food. Anyway, Blue Reef, I'm doing some free viral marketing for you. So, Blue Reef, do you want me to sample your food for free next time? But, ok I know my photography skill is amateurish.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Buddhism is not a religion!

I have always knew that.

Buddha has never preached any religion at all in the first place. It is his followers who created the religion - Buddhism. Buddhism is supposed to be a philosophy.

There is an article in TheStar featuring Gary Gach, the author for The Complete Idiot's Guide to Buddhism. He clearly stated "Buddhism is not a religion". He is right!

From what I understand about Buddhism, Buddha preached that one should live a simple lifestyle. The more desires/temptations you have, the more you will suffer. So, live a simple lifestyle to end those suffering! Yet, I have seen a Buddhist monk driving a Mercedez. That is so extravagant!

What are the teachings of Buddha? It basically centres around the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.

The four noble truths are as follows:
1. Ordinary life is suffering
2. Suffering is caused by desire to satisfy oneself
3. We end suffering by ending those desires
4. follow the 8 fold middle path

So, let's practise Buddhism by following the Noble Eightfold Path: right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.

Buddha asked his followers not to idolise him. So, to practise Buddhism, you don't need to shave your head, wear a robe, be like him, and to pray to him. That's what Buddha did not want you to do - to idolise him. So, don't idolise Buddha. Buddhism is actually a philosophy.

All you need to do is just to live a simple lifestyle and be compassionate! And most importantly, do good for the sake of goodness!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Respiratory Disorder - Episode 19

I decided to go to a government clinic this morning because I would like to do the phlegm test. It only cost me RM1 to see the doctor.

I reached the clinic at 9.45pm and as usual there was a humongous crowd in the small waiting area. It's so crowded and there are people coughing here and there. What a ripe place for TB/influenza virus/pneumonia/bronchitis to spread.

So, I decided to wait outside instead of sitting inside the waiting area. I'd rather stand in the hot sun that to risk myself contracting TB. Anyway, do you know that sunlight could kill TB. But of course, I seeked shelter under some trees. Occassionally, I would walked to the door to check the number whether it has reached my turn or not.

Finally (after painfully waiting for one hour and 15 minutes), my number appeared on that electronic device attached to the wall (what is it called, anyway?). I wore a mask and walked in to the doctor's room. As usual, I told the doctor everything. I then asked the doctor that I would like to do the phlegm test. I also asked for some Vitamin C and glycerin. All for only RM1. Hmmm...maybe I should ask for more.

After seeing the doctor, I hurried to the lab, collected the bottle from them, and ran out from the clinic. And then I took a deeeeep breath. Wow...fresh air. Haha. I was holding my breath the moment I walked out from the doctor's room. The face mask is not completely foolproof against any airborne germs, anyway.

After breathing in some fresh air from outside, I entered the pharmacy section to collect my medications and quickly ran out from the clinic again. Clinics and hospitals are such a risky place to go.

The air in the waiting area is seriously contaminated. I wonder when people will ever learn to cover their mouth when they cough/sneeze.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Respiratory Disorder - Episode 18

My next appointment with the doctor was supposed to be next month but I decided to see the doctor today because my phlegm has turned yellow every morning and there is blood in it, for the past two weeks. If your phlegm turns yellow, it means there is some bacterial infection.

Right after I woke up, I spat my phlegm into a small bottle, which was given by the hospital to me a couple of months ago but I still have not used it until today. The bottle will be given to the hospital for them to check for whatever germs that are in the phlegm.

I reached the hospital at about 9am and the carpark was almost filled up already by then. As I walked into the foyer, I was greeted by some beautiful Christmas decorations. I have always seen such Christmas decorations at hotel lobbies but I didn't expect to see it in a hospital. These decorations certainly cheered my mood up.

I brought the bottle to the hospital lab and then I proceeded to see my doctor and I told her about my symptoms. I was then asked to do a chest x-ray again to see whether abnormalities on my lungs have worsened or it gets better.
In the x-ray room, a fine young gentleman (he is either a radiologist or a medical officer, I am not sure) helped me to position myself correctly to pose for the x-ray. I asked him whether it would be dangerous to do an x-ray several times in a year. He assured me the radiation exposure is neither very high nor dangerous and he advised me to drink lots of water later after the x-ray. If I am not mistaken, he explained to me that drinking lots of water after the x-ray could help to wash away the enzymes. I didn't really catch what he had explained to me. After it was done, I went home because the x-ray report will only be released in the afternoon.

I went back to the hospital again in the afternoon to see the doctor. When I returned to the hospital, I was surprised to see an unusual crowd in the waiting area. Wow...even a private hospital can be very very crowded. I waited for about 20 minutes before the nurse called out my name.

I went in to her room and she told me that there is some slight improvement, after looking at the x-ray. I felt happy to hear that.

But I'm still worry about the yellow phlegm. So, she prescribed me an antibiotic (amoxycillin + clavulanate potassium). I do hope the antibiotic could kill those bacteria.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

1st Avenue

1st Avenue is another redundant shopping mall in Penang. Just a kilometre away, we have the half filled Penang Times Square and now we have another new one here. Not many shops are opened yet, by the way.

I will just let you enjoy the pictures.

Some nice view from the top of 1st Avenue overlooking Georgetown.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Exams are over. It is time to read.

My exams for the semester have come to an end. So, it is time to read. No kidding.

Right after the exam, I headed to the library, took out a book, and enjoyed myself reading a book by the sea.

The University by the sea. Serious!

Actually I was trying to avoid the jam along the Jelutong Expressway. The last exam ended at 6pm and if I were to follow the crowd going home at that time, I will be stuck in the jam with them. 6pm is the usual rush hour and all roads leading to the Penang Bridge will be choked with traffic at that time. I learnt my mistake the previous semester and I decided to stay in the library.

With the exams done, now I could read a book that I have been waiting to do so for so long.

Case Study Research: Design and Methods by Robert K. Yin

I am interested to learn the philosophies of constructivism and interpretivism. In layman term, it means learning how to write a case study research. That's my holiday.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Child marriages. Is it ok?

Say, a 50 year-old man marrying a 12-year old girl? What do you think?

My social calling has long prompted me to blog on this but I reckon it's better to shut my mouth. Why? It's because it mostly touches on religious issues.

Some religious officials believe child marriage is a solution to avoid some 'social problems'. Yes, you can start rolling your eyes and smack yourself in the forehead.

Hence, I would like to direct you to an excellent writing by Marina Mahathir. She recently wrote an article in The Star titled Marriage is not about legalising sex. I strongly encourage you to read it to learn something (especially towards the end of the article).

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What makes a good lecturer?

You can read an interesting post here where a lecturer in UTAR had to adapt to the spoon-feeding culture in that university. That post was written in 2006. Such culture is not just restricted to UTAR but it is prevalent throughout Malaysia especially in private colleges/universities.

I share her predicament as I faced a similar situation a few years back when I first started out as a lecturer. I, too, managed to adapt to this spoon-feeding culture after teaching for a few semesters and only then I received positive evaluations from my students. The positive evaluations were encouraging and motivating for me but honestly, I felt that this whole spoon-feeding teaching is not right. What to do...."if you can't beat them, join them!"

In short, to be a "good" lecturer, you have to spoonfeed your students. Yes, I am serious. You have to "teach" if you want to be a lecturer in Malaysia.

What must you do?
- You have to prepare very detailed notes.
- You have to teach very thoroughly on every single part of the syllabus.
- You have to point to them the important areas of the syllabus that will be examined in the exams.
- And most importantly, the notes/slides must be distributed days in advance before the class starts or else the students will not be able to follow your lessons.

Monday, December 6, 2010

We should encourage self-directed learning

We should encourage self-directed learning among Malaysians instead of relying on tuitions centres. Many Malaysian students tend to go to tuition centres when they are in secondary or primary schools. So, when they come to college, they are unable to cope because it requires independent learning on the part of the students. Unfortunately, these students demand lecturers to spoonfeed them.

So, gone are the days when lectures lecture. Instead, now lecturers (in especially private colleges) have to 'teach' instead of lecture. Proper notes/slides have to be handed out to students or else the students will complain. Lecturers have to teach every single part of the syllabus or else the students will complain.

I have heard stories how lecturers in overseas universities lecture. The lecturer will not distribute any notes/slides to the students but instead the students are expected to jot down important points on their own while the lecturer lectures in the lecture hall. Hence, the lecturers in those universities do not teach but they give lectures. Yes, that is what a lecture is all about! The Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary defined lecture as a formal talk on a serious or specialist subject. Attending a lecture is supposed to be like attending a talk.

In Malaysia, college students are indeed spoilt by having been spoonfed. Hence, many of these students are unable to adapt when it comes to a distance learning environment such as in Wawasan Open University because it requires independent learning. Over here, the lecturer does not give any lecture at all and all we have are just tutoring sessions delivered by the tutors.

Since there are no lectures at all (because it is a distance learning environment), some students here actually expect the tutors to teach them! To give in to those demands, many of the tutors became 'teachers' instead of tutors. The proper role of a tutor is to engage in an active interaction with the students instead of teaching the students slide by slide.

This is the sad case of our Malaysian educational environment, thanks to the proliferation of tuition centres.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Some parents just don't know how to raise their children

Just like my neighbour and their relatives. A gang of Ah Bengs and Ah Lians with gangsters' attitude.

A couple of years ago, a small boy and a small girl (a relative of my neighbour) threw some sweet wrappers on our porch. Hence, my mom scolded the two children for doing that. The father (a typical Ah Beng) came to know about it and instead of apologising and scolding his children, the Ah Beng scolded my mom. Wow! And they did not apologise. In the first place, the Ah Beng father does not live here at all, he is a relative of my neighbour.

Well, there are consequences when you don't discipline your child properly. It is because those children turned nastier because what they have seen that day implied that it is perfectly OK to throw stuff to your neighbour's porch.

The very next day, they threw eggs to our porch. Yes, eggs! Thankfully, this time, the Ah Beng father was not around. Instead, the grandma was around this time. So, the grandma had to apologise and she had to clean our porch for her grandchildren's wrongdoing. Only then, the grandma scolded the children.

This is an eye opener for me because now I understand why there are so many criminals today. It is because their parents just don't know how to raise them properly. Like father like son. I wonder what is going to happen to that two children in the future. Probably, they will end up just like another Ah Beng and Ah Lian.

I'm sure you have read cases like the Kugan's case or the Mat Rempit's case. When they do funny stuff at night, their parents don't seem to bother. Only when they are caught by the police, shot by the police, or beaten up dead in the lock-up, the mothers would come up and say he's innocent bla bla bla...and blame the police instead.

Well, at least now I have seen with my own eyes how these children are raised by their useless parents.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I love History Channel!

History Channel is my favourite channel of all time!

AXN, HBO, Star Movie, Max Cinema, Star World....would not even come close.

Why I like History Channel? It's because I love history. And yes, History was my favourite subject in school with Geography coming second.

Through the History Channel Asia, I have watched documentaries on the French Revolution, American Revolution, World War 2, Communism, Cultural Revolution, the life of Prophet Muhammed, P.Ramlee, Al-Maunah incident, and many many more.

My only wish is that if they could play documentaries on Jesus or Buddha but I think it will not be allowed to be screened in the History Channel Asia because Malaysia is a Muslim country. But at least, a lot of documentaries on Islam are shown and I have watched many of these documentaries. Watching these documentaries does not mean I will convert to Islam but it helps me to understand that religion because I'm always curious about it. Now, I understand many many many things.
I have also learnt a lot on communism. I remember the narrator mentioned that if China had not practised Communism, China would have been a superpower by the 1980s, instead of now. Yes, I agree. I watched the documentary and it shows that communism was a total failure. Communism may look good in theory but in practice, it just couldn't work.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The stairs are free but some prefer to use the crowd-filled elevator.

The stairs are free but some prefer to use the crowd-filled elevator.

I read this somewhere in The Star newspaper but I can't remember who wrote this. I think it was some campaign to promote exercising.

Yes, I find it funny that there are people who prefer to wait and wait and wait for the lift instead of using the stairs to climb just one floor up.

Especially in that College X where I have once worked before, I have seen students using the lift just to go one floor up or one floor down when the stairs are just so nearby!! If you are using the lift to get to the 10th floor, then it's ok. But if you are using the lift to get to the next floor, I feel like smacking my head!!

I don't like using the lift because I am paranoid of germs. Imagine especially if someone with TB sneezes/coughs in the lift. Wow, if that happens you can't escape from it. LOL!

In fact, I have always used the stairs to climb to the 6th floor (almost on a daily basis) in one particular place I have worked before because there are always dozens of people waiting for the lift. Instead of waiting, I just climbed the stairs.

So, use the stairs! Exercise your legs. It's a free gym!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Do we need to go to tuition?

I noticed that many parents nowadays send their kids to tuition centres? Do we need to do that? I'm never a fan of tuition centres. To me, going to tuition is useless and a waste of time.

I have seen young children as young as Standard 1 students being sent to tuition centres. I wonder what their parents are doing?? Can't they teach their own children simple arithmetic or simple English grammar or simple Bahasa Malaysia? Or maybe these parents themselves are uneducated.

In my opinion, opening up a tuition centre is very profitable because many parents today are fond of sending their children to tuition centres. If they are so lazy to teach their own children simple Standard 1 lessons, let me do it for them by charging them money.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Only those who have lived through the 80s will know what a mullet is. Mullet is a type of hairstyle which is short in front and long at the back. Many considered mullet as the worst hairstyle of all time. LoL! But I think if you style it nice enough, it will be cool.

Yes, I once had a mullet when I was a kid in the 80s. Short at the front and some long trail of hair at the back. If I were to have this hairstyle again today, many will frown at me. Yet, there are still people having this hairstyle. Who? You guess it. It's the Ah Bengs!

Now I will take an opportunity to show you what a mullet is and one of my favourite 80s songs of all time (Icehouse - Electric Blue). I wish musicians would produce good pop songs today as in the 80s. Icehouse is an Australian new wave/synthpop band. Pop bands are very rare in the 90s and today. Instead what we have today are boybands who don't write their own songs or play any instruments on their own.

In those days, the keyboard players played an important role in pop bands because the 80s is synonymous with electronic pops! You will also find that the keyboards in those days are like guitars which you can hang over your shoulder.

Let's go back to the days when we have genuine pop bands who play pop songs! And mullets! Watch out for the lead singer and the drummer with mullets.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Flu

Influenza (flu) is infection of the lungs and airways with one of the influenza viruses. The flu is not the same as the common cold. The flu is a more serious infection such as the swine flu (H1N1) or the bird flu (H5N1).

Influenza virus is spread by inhaling droplets that have been coughed or sneezed out by an infected person or by having direct contact with an infected person's secretions. That's why I have been repeating 49 times that one should practise cough/sneeze etiquette. Please don't blame the cold weather for it. The flu is caused by a virus. I repeat, a virus.

So, what are the symptoms of the flu? Sore throat, runny nose, cough, chills, fever, body aches and pain, headache, and watery eyes. Yes, the symptoms are the same as the common cold. The symptoms for the flu could start 24 to 48 hours after infection or it could begin suddenly!

How to treat it? All you need to do is to rest adequately, drink plenty of fluids, and avoid exertion. Fever may be treated with acetaminophen (paracetamol, as it is commonly known here in Malaysia). Alternatively, the flu may be treated with antiviral drugs.

And since the flu is a virus infection, antibiotics will not cure you. Antibiotics are to be taken if it is a bacterial infection, such as a bacterial pneumonia infection.

Should I say it again? Practise cough/sneeze etiquette!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

H5N1 is back

Remember SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) seven years ago? Well, it's back!

Hong Kong has confirmed its first case of human bird flu in seven years and raised the bird flu alert to ‘serious’. Read here.

A 59-year-old woman had tested positive for H5N1 bird flu after returning to Hong Kong from the Chinese mainland, and is in serious condition in a local hospital.

We just had H1N1 last year and this year we are going to have another round of flu, this time, H5N1.

Again, the worry is where did she contract the flu from? She must have got it from someone or from the birds.

And please, everyone, please practise cough/sneeze etiquette. Just imagine how H1N1 which started in Mexico could spread to the entire world. We should thank those who don't practise cough/sneeze etiquette for that.

As long as we don't observe this etiquette, we are going to face another round of influenza pandemic again.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Something was in the hotel room, I am sure

It happened way back in September 2005 when I was working as an auditor. I was sent to Sungai Petani together with my colleagues and we stayed in a golf resort for one week. I will not name the hotel. If you know Sungai Petani well enough, then you will know there is only one golf resort in Sungai Petani. Haha.

All of the rooms are designed like a chalet and it is located at the end of the golf course. From the lobby, you need to drive to the end of the golf course to reach your room. Of course you still can walk there but it is quite far. It is pretty creepy since all of the rooms (or chalets) are lined along just next to a jungle.

I shared the room with one of my colleagues and my other two colleagues took another room just next door. On the very first night after working, my colleague took a bath first. After his turn, I took my bath and he left the room to discuss work related stuff with my other colleagues. Even the toilet is creepy enough because there is a small window at the top corner facing the jungle and the window is opened. If your imagination is running wild, you can just imagine what sort of things could climb in through that window. Haha.

Good thing nothing happened while I was bathing. So, I was wiping my body getting ready to come out when I hear a knock at the toilet door. I can remember it was a loud and obvious knock. The knock was just once, "KNOCK". Thinking that my colleague wanted to use the toilet, I quickly wrapped the towel around my body and opened the door. Nobody was outside the toilet. So, I walked around the room and indeed nobody was in the room. And yes, my colleague had already left the room earlier after bathing! At that point, I had goosebumps throughout my body and I could feel some chills running up my spine. Who knocked the toilet door just now?

I began to ponder whether it was my colleague who knocked on the door and then ran away? But it was impossible. I took just 5 seconds to open the door after the knock. And the room door is not very near to the toilet door, unlike most hotel rooms where the toilet door and the room door are just next to each other.

Whatever or whoever knocked the door, I was not perturbed to it because I have bigger things to worry at that time. My work! I was working in a tight deadline environment! But I am sure that there was something in the hotel room. However, there were no other incidents for that entire week. Or could it be just a door crack? I don't think so because I can clearly remember the knock was loud and obvious as if someone has knocked on the door.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Some English radio stations in Malaysia

1. Hitz.FM (previously Hitz FM)
I have stopped listening to this radio station since 10 years ago. All they play is only the current hits. They don't play any old songs at all. But I used to like the Rick Dees Top 40 programme every Saturday back then.

2. Mix FM
I listened to this radio station somewhere between 2000 and 2006. My favourite programme is the one-hour Awesome 80s programme. I remembered that the Awesome 80s programme was on every weekday morning at 8am. Then in 2004, they shifted the programme to 8pm instead. They played 80s music throughout the day with songs from other decades sandwiched in between. I don't listen to Mix FM anymore today.

3. Lite FM (previously Light and Easy)
I began listening to Lite FM somewhere in 2007 after I was dissappointed of how Mix FM has transformed into another Hitz FM. To my delight, Lite FM also introduced the Awesome 80s programme in 2007. I remembered that they have it every Saturday morning for two hours from 10am to 12pm.

There was also a time I listened to the then Light and Easy in 2003 for just one month. At that time, Light and Easy played more music from the 50s, 60s and 70s. They even had a programme that played songs from the 1940s!

4. Red FM
I can't remember exactly when I began listening to Red FM. Maybe in 2008 or 2007. Red FM also played a lot of 80s music but now I feel like it's just like Mix FM. Sadly, they played hip hop music as well. But most importantly Red FM have this Retro Disco programme on every Saturday night. They played music from the 70s and 80s for about two hours. Mix FM also used to have this programme many years ago but I'm not sure if Mix FM still have this similar programme today.

5. Classic Rock
Classic Rock only operated from 1997 to 1998. I used to listen to it just a while and it played only rock music and mostly classic rock from the 60s and 70s. But, the Classic Rock radio station can still be listened on Astro today. On some days I would switch on the TV just listening to this Classic Rock.

6. Talk Radio
As the title suggests, it's a talking radio station. LOL. It also operated just from 1997 to 1998. I used to listen to it as well. It's more like a forum radio station with a lot of discussion going on. Of course, they played music as well. I think Talk Radio is almost the same like RTM Radio 4 (now Traxx FM).

7. Traxx FM (previously Radio 4)
This is the radio station that I listened to before 1997 and I only listened to it when I'm in the car as a small boy. It's the only English station in Malaysia, I believe, during those time. I remembered there were more talkings than music on Radio 4, just like Talk Radio.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

How I like the 80s music

I don't really listen to the radio when I was a schoolboy in the 1990s. The only good radio station at that time was Radio 4 because that's the only English radio station available!

Then came 1997 with Hitz FM, Mix FM, Light and Easy, Talk Radio, and Classic Rock. My bas sekolah (school bus) driver used to play cassettes on his bus radio before 1997. And from 1997 onwards he began to tune in to Hitz FM. It was a great radio station playing songs from Will Smith, Savage Garden, Spice Girls, 911, Backstreet Boys, N'Sync, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and so forth at that time. But I began to feel annoyed with these bubblegum pops and the resurgence of hip hops in the late 1990s.

It was a relief when the bus driver changed to Mix FM one particular week in the year 2000. Mix FM was once famous for playing lots of 80s music. Yes, 80s music all the way. Sadly, Mix FM sounds like Hitz FM today. Lite FM (previously Light and Easy) has now taken over the role from Mix FM of playing lots of 80s music. Red FM also plays lots of 80s music.

It is very nostalgic listening to 80s music after not listening to 80s music throughout the 1990s because there were no good radio stations in the 1990s.

From that day onwards, I fell in love with 80s music. It is so much better compared to 90s music for sure. It is also so much better compared to 70s music because 70s pop music are too cheesy. But 70s classic rock are good, very good!

Let me share with you one of my favourite 80s songs (Whitesnake - Is This Love). It is a power ballad sung by a hair metal band. Power ballad is soft rock in layman term. Hair metal is the 80s heavy metal in layman term.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bill Clinton at INTI International University

Bill Clinton was here at INTI International University, Nilai giving a speech to students. It was reported in The Star right here.

In his speech, Clinton gave a definition of a good citizen of his time and today.

“In my time, the definition was this: If you are young, you get as much education as you can, you give your best effort when you take a job, you pay your taxes honestly and you cast an informed vote in every election,” he said.

“Today, one more item has been added – every educated person with awareness of social conditions should also devote his time, skill and even resources to solve public concerns as a private citizen.”

I find what he said was really inspirational.

I wonder why our local politicians could not give such inspirational political speeches like most of the American presidents could do.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Burn, burn, burn...and pollute the air.

A few days ago while I was studying, I decided to open the window to breathe some fresh air. Instead, I smelt something unpleasant. Air pollution! My nearby neigbour has been burning again. They were burning some incense on the road. They will do it every month.

I noticed that only Malaysians and Singaporeans have developed their own newfound culture of burning really really really big incense. They are helping us to destroy the planet. We all know that the Chinese in mainland China don't burn such big big big incense. Only Malaysians/Singaporeans do such thing. If I am not mistaken I believe that such culture of burning big big big and really big incense does not exist like 10 or 20 years ago. So what happened?

Thank you again, Malaysian/Singaporean businessmen for telling lies again. Yes, the bigger incense you burn, the better because through this way only the God will notice. That was what I was told. Looks like our unscrupulous Malaysian/Singaporean Ah Beng businessmen are making good fortunes here by selling lots of big big big incense.

My neighbour, Ah Beng, will always burn as well. Especially with the SPM exams coming soon, the family will burn, burn, and burn hoping that it will help their son to score really well. Rigghht. Anyway, he always hang out with his friends almost on a daily basis. Well, some people don't need to study, they just need to burn to score well in exams.

Perhaps they have not heard this verse "God helps those who help themselves."

You see, I don't mind if you practise your religion, but please bear in mind that what you are doing is detrimental to our planet and to everyone because you are polluting the air.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Two young Malaysians were infected with HIV through dental treatments?

It was recently reported in The Sun newspaper and here, that two young Malaysians working in Singapore have tested positive for HIV in the last four months. The two young Malaysians, both aged 20, went for a blood test to renew their work permit in Singapore. One of them, a young woman, broke down on the spot when the doctor revealed that she is HIV positive.

Both of them claimed that they were virgins, did not do drugs, and have not had any blood tranfussions. So how were they infected?

It was believed that they were infected after undergoing dental treatment.

The doctor that tested one of them said "if the dental equipment was not cleaned properly and the earlier patient was HIV positive, it could spread that way."

Okayyy, that's dangerous. Many of us have been to a dentist, so now, should we all go for a HIV blood test now?

I have already taken the HIV blood test two months ago in Island Hospital and thankfully it was negative. You can read my post again - Lung Infection (Part 7).

Doctors in Malaysia are not allowed to do a HIV blood test on us unless we have given permission to them to do so. I believe this is due to ethical reason. That day, the doctor had to ask my permission to do a HIV blood test on me.

Please take precaution whenever you have to deal with blood or any bodily fluids. HIV is spread through blood, semen, vaginal discharge, and breast milk. Experts said that HIV cannot be spread through saliva. But bear in mind that the saliva of an infected person does contain the HIV virus. All they said is that the HIV virus in the saliva is insignificant.

Ladies and gentlemen, please have a talk with your dentist next time to 'educate' him/her to sterilise the equipment before he/she treats you. Please take precautions!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Some lil' history on Israel

Israel is the only country on this planet Malaysians are not allowed to visit.

Why? I think I don't need to say it here. I know it, you know it.

Okay, by now everyone knows there are a lot of conflicts going on in the Middle East especially between Israel and other Arab countries. Well, the conflict is said to have started back in the biblical times.

And the conflict started again when Israel gained independence on 14 May 1948 after The United Nations granted independence to Israel as a country in its own right within the Middle East.

On the very same day when Israel gained independence, the armies of Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq attacked Israel. Hence, the 1948 Arab-Israeli war began. The war lasted for about a year. The Israelis called it the War of Independence that claimed 6,000 Israeli lives.

If you want to read more, read it here.

It was a surprise attack but the Israeli army was well-equipped. So not surprisingly, Israel won the war and it occupied more neighbouring territories as a result. Of course, that led to more trouble as you know it today. And the conflict never ends, until today.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Dinner at Hard Rock Hotel

I was invited to a sponsored dinner at Hard Rock Hotel recently and the food was really great.
I was here five years ago as well for a company-sponsored dinner. That time the hotel was known as Casuarina Hotel. Casuarina Hotel was very laid-back and it gives you this 70s feeling when you entered the hotel. However, the hotel was then bought up by Hard Rock Hotel and the entire place was renovated, refurbished, and re-opened last year.
A typical chinese set dinner was served. That's the menu.

Thankfully, it is NOT a shark fin soup. It is a crabmeat soup. Ladies and gentlemen, please do not ever request/order/consume shark fin soup, if you are a socially responsible human being. If you are going to host a dinner, please do NOT ever request for a shark fin soup.

My favourite - deep fried boneless chicken. Yum yum.

It changes colour!

That's a nice guitar I would like to own.

Hard Rock Hotel at night.

There is a gigantic guitar right at the entrance to Hard Rock Hotel.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Is WOU's CEMBA recognised overseas or not?

Is Wawasan Open University's Commonwealth Executive Master of Business Administration (CEMBA) recognised overseas or not?

The above question is very misleading. Allow me to clear this up.

1. An MBA is not a professional degree. It is an academic degree.

So, there is no such issue as whether Singapore, Australia, US or whatever countries will recognise it or not. It is because an MBA is not a professional degree. There are no professional bodies like a professional accounting body or a professional engineering body to validate certain degrees from certain universities from certain countries.

In fact, even ACCA allows everyone to study ACCA regardless of you having a degree or not. If you have a degree and upon inspection of the syllabus of your degree, then you might be given exemptions by ACCA.

2. MBA is usually taken by those wishing to advance their career in the corporate sector.

No matter where you work, no employers will outright reject you just because your MBA is from WOU. WOU is an accredited university in Malaysia, so why would anyone wants to reject WOU?

As long as you don't BUY your degrees from some Internet sites representing some non-existing universities, your degree is accepted whether it is from WOU, USM, UM, UKM, UPM, Limkokwing, Multimedia, Uniten, etc.

But of course, some employers may prefer to hire candidates who graduated from a certain top ranking university but this is a totally different issue. This is just their recruitment criteria. This is not a recognition issue, definitely.

3. There are also people who studied MBA as a stepping stone to pursue their PhD provided the MBA has a research project component.

This is my personal opinion. I have friends who have studied coursework Masters (even from overseas universities) that do not contain any research project components. If they wish to continue their studies to a doctoral level, then I believe they would face problem in conducting a doctoral research.

If that's the case, the university may require these students/candidates to do a MPhil (Master of Philosophy) or an Honours degree programme as a prerequisite to their PhD research. Then, they would have to spend probably a year or two years before they can begin their PhD research.

Again, this does not mean that a university does not recognise your Master. You are still allowed to continue your studies provided you complete their prerequisite course first. To be safe, study for one which contain a research project component

4. In my opinion, an MBA with a research component is much better compared to an MBA without a research component. WOU's MBA has a research project component.

In my opinion, the WOU's MBA should be good because there is a research component in the syllabus which requires you to do a research project using either a quantitative method or a qualitative method. This would prepare you well for a more thorough and comprehensive doctoral research.

MBA recognised or not recognised. Let me clear this up.

I think one common question that everyone would like to know is whether Wawasan Open University's (WOU) MBA is recognised in other countries or not.

For example, someone asked "Is WOU Commonwealth Executive Master of Business Administration (CeMBA) recognised in Singapore"?

And a lawyer (I don't know this lawyer, thankfully) once gave a statement, "Why study in WOU when the courses are not recognised overseas"

I don't mean to be rude but the above picture exactly depicts what I felt on hearing especially that statement by the lawyer. I find it funny that the ignorant lawyer could say such thing when he himself cannot practise law outside Malaysia.

Let me clear all this confusion.

First to the question on whether WOU's MBA is recognised overseas or not. Seriously, I don't know how to answer this. If you asked this question, does this mean that if you have an MBA from WOU, no employers would hire you just because your MBA is from WOU? Don't you think that's nonsense?

Also, I have heard people saying that Malaysian's public universities degrees are not recognised in Singapore. What nonsense. So again, if you graduated from a public university from Malaysia, no employers would hire you just because your degree is from a Malaysian public university? That's nonsense, don't you think so?

I will drone on this misconception in a new post above.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Buffet at Bayview Beach Resort

Last Sunday, a close relative gave my family a nice treat to a buffet lunch at Bayview Beach Resort. We had a great time to bond ourself with each other on a nice Sunday lazy afternoon. I remembered coming here five years ago for a company sponsored team-building training. Now here I am again five years later.

Bayview Beach Resort is located in Batu Feringghi, Penang. It is located just next to Hard Rock Hotel. Yes, they are neighbours. And both of them are by the beach.
We had the buffet lunch at the La Veranda Coffee House. There is a huge variety of food. Salad, fried rice, fried bee hoon, ham, wantan, vegetables, porridge, duck meat, beef, chicken, pizza, sausage, fried squid, tempura, and the list goes on...hey it's a buffet!

Mmm mmm...yum yum. The food was really awesome.

You saw it right. There are satays! There are roti canai, ice kacang, ice creams, puddings, fruits, and cheese cakes. I was so full that day that I could not sample all of the food there. I wish I could go there again.

The pool is just next to the coffee house. I feel like dipping myself in the pool.

I took a nice walk down this path. Just beautiful.

There is really a big garden just before the beach.

A hotel by the beach. Just splendid!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The common cold - It's so common

Ever had a runny nose, sneezy, fever, and cough? It must be the common cold. It's so common that everyone will get it from time to time.

Many will blame the cold weather. But hey, the common cold is not caused by the weather. It's caused by a virus. I repeat - it's a viral infection. It is not caused by the cold weather or the food you ate recently. That's what the book said.

The common cold is not the same as the influenza (flu). A flu is a more serious viral infection like H1N1 or the bird flu.

A person with the common cold could infect you when he/she sneezes or coughs near you. You will also be infected when he wipes off his nasal secretions with his hands and touches you.

How to cure it? Sorry, until today scientists have yet to discover any anti-viral drugs to cure it. But the good news is that you will recover on your own within two weeks. So, just take a good rest and drink plenty of fluids if you have the common cold.

Most importanly, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Please practise cough/sneeze etiquette.

But if you are coughing for more than two weeks, remember the important rule!
Think TB unless proven otherwise. Go see the doctor immediately if you are coughing for more than two weeks. And please no, not the chinese sinseh.

Now you learn something.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A man chasing a dog

Last Friday night, while I was doing my assignment, I heard a straydog barking, at the backlane of my house. I didn't really bother about it because the dog would usually bark at something.

Previously, many times I have looked out from the window but I saw no one or nothing. I guess the dog was just barking at some ghosts. So, this time I didn't bother. Furthermore, I am rushing to finish off my assignments.

A couple of minutes later, I heard someone running. I opened the window and saw a man chasing after the dog! Not only he was chasing after the dog, he was splashing some water at the dog (not sure where he got the water from).

He was chasing the dog like a mad man from one end of the backlane to the other end of the backlane.

Well, I felt suspicious. It was already ten something at night and what was this guy doing at the backlane? And why was he so angry of the dog that he wanted to chase the dog away from the backlane.

I opened the backdoor and I lost him. He dissappeared at the end of the backlane.

First of all, there were a couple of minor theft cases in the backlane of my house a few months ago. Someone has actually stole an electrical appliance from my house by removing the window panes. I was not the only the victim, some of my nearby neighbours also fell victim to this thief.

Now I am wondering, was he the thief? Now I should be more cautious whenever the dog at the backlane starts barking. Dogs are natural guards!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

CEMBA has finally been accredited. Yay!

The Commonwealth Executive Master of Business Administration (CEMBA) offered by Wawasan Open University (WOU) has finally been accredited by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA). You can read the news here from TheStar.

The course is given the accreditation after the first batch have graduated. I was told that this is one of the requirements set by MQA that the first batch have to complete the entire course before it can be accredited.

The WOU's MBA was already given recognition by the MQA and the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) three years ago. It is only a matter of time before it is to be accredited. So, the day has finally arrived.

In Malaysia, a program has to be given recognition first by the MQA before a private college/university could run that program. Once it has been given recognition, the private college/university could then start offering that program to students. After the first batch of students have graduated, the private college/university could then apply for accreditation from MQA.

This is definitely the selling point for WOU's MBA because there are so many MBAs out there offered by various colleges where the MBA are not even recognised by MQA.

The only biggest competitor for WOU's MBA in Penang is definitely USM's MBA. The Penang branch of Open University Malaysia (OUM) offers an MBA as well. But somehow I wonder why OUM does not do much promotion on its MBA.

Of course there are other MBAs being offered by various colleges in Penang. But I doubt those MBAs are recognised by MQA.

I was told by a lecturer that some courses (especially the executive diploma courses) being offered by a certain public university are not recognised by MQA! I was surprised. So, please do not think that all courses being offered by a public university are recognised by MQA. The one you should be wary of are those executive diploma courses.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Superbug has reached Malaysia!

Go read today's (27th October 2010) news here.

The superbug which was first identified in India and Pakistan a couple of months ago has finally reached Malaysia.

A superbug which is resistant to antibiotics has been detected in a 24-year-old woman, the first known case in Malaysia, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

The superbug is scientifically known as NDM-1 (New Delhi metallo-lactamase-1). Thankfully, she has recovered after receiving treatment at Ampang Hospital for the past one month.

Excuse me, did I read past ONE MONTH? Yesshh. Looks like the government is hiding this news from us for the past one month. That means she had contracted the superbug one month ago. Did she spread it to anyone else then? Maybe more news are not revealed to us. The news mentioned that she had not travelled overseas. So, she contracted the superbug right here in Malaysia. Okayyy, that's scary.

I wonder then if the superbug is resistant to antibiotics, how did she recover? It was not mentioned in the news what medicine she was prescribed.

I was quite relieved to read that the superbug was only transmitted through direct contact like touching and through wounds, not through the air.

The world's first fatality of the Superbug was a Belgian who got infected in Pakistan after he was hospitalised for a leg injury suffered in a car accident.

The penicillin was only invented in the 1940s which was a great invention to humankind. But after 60 years or so, bacteria have managed to grow resistance towards antibiotics. We are going back to square one.

A bacterium which is resistant to antibiotics is something very scary, just like the MDR-TB and the XDR-TB. The XDR-TB is said to be virtually incurable. It's like being infected with HIV, which is incurable. But there are reports claiming that there are XDR-TB patients who managed to recover, with a recovery rate of roughly 60%.

I felt that this planet is no longer a safe place to live. What killed the dinosaurs? Could it be some superbugs as well? Perhaps. And maybe it could happened again. This time on human beings.

2012 is coming.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The definition of an Ah Beng and Ah Lian

I begin to realise that I receive readership outside Malaysia, so I reckon I should explain what is an 'Ah Beng'.

There is a full explanation of Ah Beng right here in Wikipedia - Ah Beng.

Based on my personal encounters with Ah Bengs, here is my personal explanation of Ah Bengs.

Basically, Ah Bengs refer to Chinese men living in Malaysia/Singapore with some distinctive characteristics. On the other hand, Ah Lians refer to Chinese women living in Malaysia/Singapore with some distinctive characteristics. They are like the American equivalent of the Hillbillies. You can read about the American Hillbillies right here in Wikipedia - Hillbilly.

Ah Bengs and Ah Lians usually possess the following characteristics.

- Rude and vulgar
- Lowly educated (yet they can be rich)
- Inept in speaking English
- Only speak in Mandarin or any Chinese dialect.
- Speak very loudly
- A strong follower of the Japanese or Taiwanese fashion
- They love dyeing their hair
- They like modifying their cars
- They like burning really really big incense to pollute the air

It is very unfortunate that my neighbour possesses all of the above characteristics. I used to have nice loving neighbours but they have moved out many years ago. That was the good old days.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Be careful of objects falling from the sky

Yes, especially when you are around some low cost flats. No offence to those staying in those type of flats but seriously you should be wary of falling objects from above.

Recently, a 60-year-old man was killed after being hit by a stone said to have been thrown from the 21st floor of a low-cost block of flats in Jalan Sungai, Penang. You can read the full story from TheStar.

This is not something new. Such news were reported before in the past. All sorts of things were thrown down from such flats such as flower pots, bicycle, TV, fridge, and so forth. There are just crazy people around on our planet.

When I was in the General Hospital, I saw a lot of people waiting at the Psychiatry Department. So, indeed there are people around who are mentally unsound. We shouldn't be worry if they are harmless but sometimes they can get violent and do funny stuff.

Many years ago I attended a BBQ party at my friend's flat in Perak Road. Probably, we got a little too noisy and somebody threw down a packet of ice on us from several stories above. Thankfully, he/she missed us. Penangites will know how notorious Perak Road is. For those who are not from Penang, Perak Road is an area where people say there a lot of gangsters living within that area.

So, ladies and gentlemen, just be careful when you are walking around some low cost flats. I may sound discriminating but it's a fact. The news said so.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Why do I study so much?

A friend once asked me why do I have to study so much?

She told me her husband don't even have a degree and yet he could earn so much. Well, he's a businessman obviously.

I replied her saying that I'm pursuing an academic career and that means I have to study my way up. And yes, I plan to start my PhD research next year.

Anyway, her question made me ponder something about society today. Does this mean that education is no longer important? And it's all about money?

Now I see it. No wonder kids today lack manners. No wonder today the F-word seems to be the norm even among fellow bloggers. No wonder today Ah Beng and Ah Lian generation seems to be on the rise.

Another friend of mine once saw someone drove a Mercedez into a mechanic workshop. My friend was pretty impressed with the car. He was curious to see who was the driver. The driver soon stepped out from the car. And when the driver starts talking on his handphone, vulgar words were the only words that came out from that Ah Beng.

So what do we have here. Yes, he may be making a lot of money but he has no education. So what moral values these Ah Bengs are going to teach their kids? Nothing. It is because you can make a lot of money without proper education.

So what will happened when their child misbehaved in school and get caned by a discipline teacher? The parents will rush to the school demanding an apology from that teacher. That's what happening now. Not surprising. The parents already cannot see what is right and what is wrong, so how can their kids do the same.

So, now I see it. Just walk around shopping malls and you will see kids with nasty manners. Thanks to their Ah Beng parents.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Respiratory Disorder - Episode 17

I went to see the doctor again on 19th October 2010 to get the result of my ANCA blood test.

The result was negative, as told by the doctor.

So, it is unlikely that I am suffering from Wegener granulomatosis.

So, it gets even stranger. If it is not TB, if is not Wegener, if there is no bacteria in my phlegm, that what am I suffering from?

Anyway, my phlegm was sent to Pusat Perubatan Universiti Malaya to be cultured and tested.
I am pretty surprised that nothing was found. No bacterium at all. Well, they did find Candida but this fungus is a common fungus found in anyone's trachea.

Again, the doctor asked me whether I'm keen on doing the needle lung biopsy. I am definitely not keen on anything invasive. Furthermore, I was told that there is a possibility that the lung biopsy might not reveal much.

I am still coughing but it's not as violent as 3 months ago.

I was told to come back 3 months later for another chest x-ray to ensure that whatever abnormality on my x-ray is stable and did not get worse.

I went home wondering what am I suffering from. Could it be hookworm inside my lungs that gave me all this problem? Or could it be a fungal infection - histoplasmosis? Any medical students reading my blog, ohh...please figure it out for me.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I'm addicted to...

The Internet!

I realised this after I couldn't connect to the Internet for almost the entire day today - Thursday!

Soon, I began to feel uneasy when I couldn't get into the Net. I wonder what's in my e-mail. I wonder what's going on in Facebook. I wonder what's going on in my University's forum. And most importantly, now, I couldn't download journal articles for my assignments and research.

Well, life still goes on but...I began to realise that Internet eats up a big chunk of my daily routine!

I had to call up Telekom this afternoon and they said they will call a technician to fix the port.

Thankfully, I checked up the line again and I could access to the Net exactly at 6.57pm just now. It looks like the port has been fixed. Phew!

So I could now blog again...

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Versatile Blogger

A fellow blogger which I followed, Vida with her blog The Happy Wife awarded me 'The Versatile Blogger'. I'm not pretty sure what this award is about but I believe it is a tool that we bloggers can help to link and drive web traffic to each other.

I'm seriously flattered that Vida would gave me this award because I hardly know her. So, thank you VIDA - The Happy Wife!!

Below are some guidelines that you need to know once you grab the award.
"Sorry but you don't have a choice", that was what I read. Hahaha... gotta follow the rules

The Rules:

* Be sure to thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.
* Share 7 things about yourself.
* Pass the award to other bloggers who you think deserves it.
* Be sure to let the bloggers know you chose them to receive the award

7 things about myself:

1. I love drawing and illustration. I was once a Chief Artist for my school Catholic magazine board.

2. Strangely, I hate manga. I never liked manga although I like illustration. I like drawing comics which are more attuned to the DC Comics type - realistic comic illustration, not those type with big big manga eyes.

3. I am a compulsive learner. Yes, I have a strong compulsive desire to know and learn everything!

4. I learn almost everything about life through self-help books. I have learnt through books on how to play guitar, music theory, juggling, performing magic tricks, how to do academic research, and courting girls. Well, I can say it works! The one thing I have read and haven't tried is on hypnotising girls to bring her to your bedroom.

5. I'm poor in mental maths despite being an accounting graduate.

6. I'm an introvert and I don't like big crowds. So, I hate parties, gatherings, and all sorts where there are many people around.

7. The irony is that I like public speaking and I dare to boast I'm good at it. Toastmasters Club has trained me to what I am today in terms of public speaking. I have even learnt how to deliver effective stand-up comedy through Toastmasters Club. And yes, I practise stand-up comedy in my classes from time to time without my students knowing about it.

Now it is time that I share my awards with other bloggers:

1. A Growing Teenagers Diary - A college student who spill out his emotions and feelings through his blog.

2. Maple-Leaf - A blogger who shares with us her travel experience and her 'almost' personal brush with H1N1.

3. Wayne's Diary - A former accounting student who is now pursuing his passion at The One Academy and living his dream by studying Advertising and Graphic Design. Actually, I don't understand what is he writing about (the blog is written in Mandarin by the way), but hey, 'a picture speaks a thousand words!'. I can also live my passion by just looking on what is he doing in The One Academy.

4. Fly to the Sky - a smart ACCA student who blogs about her personal life.

5. Millymin - An ex-colleague of mine who is now given an iPhone 4 by Maxis to promote iPhone 4 through her blog. LoL! She travels a lot as well.

6. Juan's Weblog - A smart former student of mine who just blog about everything.

Of course, I would like to share the award with as many bloggers I know of. Wow...It's pretty tiresome to do the linkage and my assignment deadline is coming soon and so that's all I could do about it. Hehe...

Friday, October 15, 2010

What do I want to be when I grow up?

I love sketching since I was small (about 4 or 5 years old)! I would sketch on anything where one could sensibly sketch on such as blank papers, exercise books, cupboards, walls, doors...yes, that's what I'm talking about. Something sensible to sketch on. I would just draw anything. And all I like to do is drawing! So, I wanted to be an artist!

When I was in primary school, I upgraded my drawing skill to some designing skill. I like designing buildings. I remembered back in 1991, I drew up a plan of a twin tower with a bridge connecting the two towers. That was many years wayyy back before the Petronas Twin Tower plan was revealed to the public. My idea was stolen!!

Anyway, I enjoyed looking at pictures of hotels with fancy architectural design and I would like to improvise on the design of the hotels. I was especially impressed with the architectural design of Marina Mandarin Hotel in Singapore at that time. So, I wanted to be an architect!

From buildings, I expanded my design skills to toys, cars, and video games. I was obsessed with Transformers at a particular time and I would design new characters I could think of for Transformers. Yes, I also like to conceptualise new design for cars. So, I wanted to be a designer!

Then came secondary school and I have to put aside my favourite hobby for more serious time of studying. I did put full use of my talent on my Art Education from Form 1 to Form 3. By that time, I wanted to be graphic designer after knowing that there is such occupation.

When I was in Form 4, I chose to go the arts stream since I loveeee art. Many people were shocked over my decision as they expect me to choose the science stream. Well, it is a decision that I never regret. Somehow, by now, I began to think pragmatically and I aimed to be an accountant.

But when I was in Form 5, I was told about the advertising industry, for which I have never heard of until that day. So, I wanted to be an advertising creative director! I'd love to design advertisements for everyone to see!

Somehow after SPM, I studied accountancy. It is something that I am not really passionate about. However, I had to pursue accountancy because a design course fees is really really expensive such as in Limkokwing or in The One Academy compared to an accountancy course.

Now, finally after all these years, I have found another field which I am passionate about. The academic research field! So now, I wanted to be an academic researcher!

Would you like to share yours?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mischievous students

When I was teaching in College XXX (a college where rich spoilt kids like to go), I saw unimaginable things that I thought it only happened in schools.

There was a case where someone or a group of mischievous students threw down wet tissue papers down on someone's car. I'm talking about lots and lots and lots of wet tissue papers. The entire windscreen of that poor fella's car was covered with wet tissue papers. LoL... Well, the victim was a girl. Eyewitnesses claimed that the wet tissue papers were thrown down from a few storeys above.

The parents of that student came to the college to complain to the principal.

With help from eyewitnesses, the college's management staff managed to identify the classroom from where it was thrown. Based on the time and classroom number, the management staff knew the students (of a particular semester of a particular course) who did it, but they are unable to pinpoint exactly who did it. So, case closed.

Eventually, I found out that the students who were in that class at that particular time were my students! I'm not surprise at all. Rich spoilt kids.

There was another incident where someone threw an ice cream with a cone down on someone's car. Could it be the same culprit? Perhaps. I didn't know much about this case because it happened before I joined the college.

College XXX....what a college!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

MDR - TB (Report from The Star)

WHO has endorsed a new laboratory equipment that can diagnose multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) within 90 minutes instead of two months.

WHO Stop TB Western Pacific Re­­gio­­nal Office adviser Dr Catharina van Weezenbeek said the simple de­­vice would be able to differentiate MDR-TB from the normal TB infection through genetic changes in the microbacterium.

“Until two years ago, it was difficult to diagnose MDR-TB but last week, WHO endorsed a new laboratory equipment, which is a revolution to TB control,” she told The Star.

Anyway you might ask what is MDR-TB. It is multi drug resistant TB - a pretty pretty dangerous form of TB which is difficult to cure. There is another type - XDR-TB (Extensively drug resistant TB), which there is no cure at all. Bad, bad...

So ladies and gentleman, please be careful.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Why do we study? We study for ourself or for our parents?

That's the question one of my ex-student posed in his facebook account a few months ago.

I feel like slapping myself in the head when I saw that post. Don't you too?

I used to teach in a particular college and I find some of the students there don't deserve to be there. They are in the college just because there parents want them to be there. Some of them are so rich that they do not know the reason why education is important. They just don't seem to be interested in their studies.

There are unfortunate people around who want to further their studies but do not have enough money to study. It is sad to see that there are rich students who don't appreciate that they have a chance to study but yet don't make good use of that opportunity.

I used to teach in two different colleges. One college is like a budget college meant for the poor and the other college which I recently joined is a 'luxury' college where there are a lot of rich students in it. And yes I saw a big difference between the students in these two colleges. The rich students lack discipline and have no interest on their studies. Some of them played with their handphones in the class, some of them didn't even bring their notes/textbooks to class, and some didn't even bother to hand in their assignments.

I don't see such students when I was teaching in the so called budget college. They are very disciplined and studious and I respect those students.