Saturday, April 29, 2006

Give Credit Where Its Due.

This is a letter published in The Star today (29/4/06) in the letters to the editor section.

Opinion Saturday April 29, 2006
Impressed with hospital performance

I WOULD like to share with your readers my recent positive experience when my mother, Wan King Eng, was admitted to the Malacca Hospital for stroke.
From the time she was brought to the hospital by ambulance, to her discharge five days later, my mother received appropriate care of a high quality that was provided with courtesy, professionalism and in a timely fashion by a multidisciplinary team of clinicians.
The doctors and nurses were always available to talk to us and I even met the physiotherapist and dietician.
My mother is making a steady recovery and is being followed up by the Neuro Clinic.
As a previous patient of the Malacca Hospital and as someone who now works with hospital performance in my current role, I was impressed by the clinical practice and diagnostic equipment available, the health promotion posters lining the entrance and the performance information put up in wards to give feedback to staff.
PROF YI MIEN KOH,London. (The Star)

*** In an age where whinging and complaining is the the order of the day it is nice to read a letter from someone who is satisfied with the care they have received and have taken the trouble to write and express their thanks.
Now and then we see letters in the papers complaining of poor treatment at some hospital or the other. These represent only a tiny fraction of the millions who walk through the doors of hospitals and have received good care. But how many of those satisfied ever write in and say thank you? Precious few.
Put it down to indifference or a third world mentality, we only react when our own interests are affected. 'No need to thank lah, understood what!' is probably the refrain. It shows a deep flaw in our upbringing where parents have not taught their children the importance of common courtesies and gratitude. The winner take all attitude, the freeloading habit and the 'to hell with social graces' behavior is inculcated not by teachers but by parental example.
I congratulate Prof Yi Mien Koh for his fine letter of appreciation and I hope the Malacca Hospital authorities place the letter prominently on it's notice board as an example of the reaction of a well bred Malaysian.

Exercise And the Elderly.

The following is a Reuters report published in the Sun (27/4/06):

Easing age gap through regular exercise.
OLDER adults may have to work harder than young people to perform the same physical activity, but regular exercise may close that age gap, research findings suggests.
In a study comparing sedentary adults in their 60s and 70s with those in their 20s and 30s, researchers found that older men and women had to use much more oxygen to walk at the same speed as their younger counterparts.
But that was before they went through a six-month exercise programme. After taking up walking or jogging, biking and stretching, the senior study participants reversed their loss of exercise `efficiency'.
Exercise efficiency refers to how much energy the body expends to perform a given activity.
At the start of this study, older men and women used 20% more oxygen to walk at the same speed as a younger person, said Dr Wayne C. Levy of the University of Washington in Seattle, the study's senior author.
But six months of regular exercise - 90 minutes, three days per week - improved the older participants' exercise efficiency by 30%, versus only 2% among their younger counterparts. The findings are published in the current issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
It's well known that as people age, there is a decline in exercise capacity - how much work a person can do before becoming exhausted. But the new findings suggest this is not just a product of the ageing cardiovascular system being less able to send oxygen to working muscles.
The older body also needs more oxygen to perform the same work as a younger one - that is, exercise efficiency declines. But this decline appears to arise largely from inactivity, and may well be reversible. - Reuters

*** The benefits of exercise are known to everyone but how many of us take regular exercise seriously? The excuses not to do so are legion and very convincing to hear. In our minds we feel nothing will happen to us, it always happens to someone else. Then a close friend or relative cops it and all of a sudden we become aware of our own mortality. This awareness I suppose is more profound in the elderly than the younger ones.

Let there be no doubt that exercise is essential for all, irrespective of age or sex or current state of health. 'Health is wealth' is not only a proverb, it should be your credo. A holistic approach to good health must include regular exercising, stable emotional and mental health, a balanced diet which has all the key nutrients and most importantly a healthy lifestyle.
Listed below are some of the long-term and short-term benefits of exercise, courtesy of as an encouragement to start exercising.

Long-Term Benefits
Decreases Risk of Heart Disease. Inactive people are 2x more likely to develop coronary artery disease (CAD) then active people.
Decreases blood pressure. High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. Inactive people are 2x more likely to develop high blood pressure than active people.
Decreases Body fat. Regular physical activity helps maintain optimal body weight and composition. High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.
Decreases Cholesterol Level. A high blood cholesterol level increases the risk of heart disease. Regular exercise raises the level of "good" cholesterol and lowers the level of the "bad" cholesterol.
Decreases Risk of Diabetes. Physical activity lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes and increases glucose uptake for those who already have diabetes. Fit women have diabetes 66% less often than unfit women.
Decreases Risk of Cancer. Physical activity lowers the risk of colon and breast cancer.
Decreases Risk of Osteoporosis. Regular exercise delays bone loss and promotes bone formation.
Decreases Arthritis Symptoms. Regular exercise helps keep joints flexible and helps build muscle to support the joint.
Decreases Number of Sick Days Exercisers feel sick almost 30% less often than non-exercisers.
Decreases Chance of Premature Death. Fit people live longer than unfit people.

Short-Term Benefits
Relaxes and revitalizes. Physical activity reduces mental and muscular tension, and at the same time, increases concentration and energy level.
A Break From Daily Routine and Worries. Physical activity is like a mini-vacation—you’re allowed to have fun.
Helps You Feel Good About Yourself. Physical activity increases your self-esteem and self-confidence.
While many people start a physical activity program because of long-term benefits, it’s the short-term benefits that keep them motivated to continue the habit. (courtesy

*** So there you have it. Why you should exercise and the benefits of it, and as for the consequences of not doing so.... we shall keep that for another time.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Beware Of Your Cellphone.

The cellphone is one of the most essential items for any person in today's world. It can even be termed as a 'lifeline' for some people on the go. But beware that same lifeline may also be your death warrant. Below is an article in today's Star and because of its importance I'm publishing it in full.

Cellphones draw bolts of risk
HANDPHONE use during storms can be deadly as lightning is attracted to the electromagnetic waves emitted by the phone's built-in antenna.
Universiti Putra Malaysia lecturer Dr Ishak Arif told Berita Harian that handphones used radio frequencies (electromagnetic waves) of between 9,900MHz and 1.2GHz, while 3G phones used 3GHz or more.
“The signals sent out while users are communicating via their handphones can attract lightning bolts,” he said, adding that a person standing in an open space faced a higher risk of being hit by lightning.
He said lightning bolts that carried thousands of volts could pass through a person within seconds, resulting in instant death.
Dr Ishak advised handphone users to switch them off during thunderstorms.
“Apart from the antennas, handphone casings that have metal parts can also attract lightning bolts,” he added. (The Star)

*** Now, that same friend the cellphone, whom we always take for granted has its dark side too. So please, those of you who rely very heavily on your cellphones do take care during thunder storms and avoid using them as a matter of habit during inclement weather. Remember you have been warned.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

PAS MP Says That Divorced Single Mothers Are 'Gatal'

Claws were unsheathed in the Dewan Rakyat today (April 26, 2006) when a PAS member made an unkind remark about single mothers. All women MPs from both sides of the divide stood up in consternation when Abdul Fatah Harun (Rantau Panjang) claimed most single mothers, with the exception of widows, were divorced because they were "gatal" (flirtatious). Taking the lead was Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil. Her male counterparts joined in the chorus of protest. (Part of a report in the Sun by Husna Yusup.)

*** Several questions crop up after reading the above. Firstly, is the man serious about what he has alleged. This is by any standards a very serious accusation which tars the reputation of many, many good women. It presumes that the men had not contributed to or responsible for the divorce; if only the women had not been 'gatal' the marriage would have remained matrimonial bliss. Secondly, what is a man with such simplistic views doing in an august body like Parliament? Does the party which he belongs to agree with his view or proud of what he has so eloquently propounded ? Only time will tell. Finally are the women of PAS going to ask for his ouster and if unsuccessful in their attempt will they vote for him again?
What about those of you reading this? Do you think that such a man should be allowed into parliament in the first place? What is your opinion on the real reasons for the existence of single mothers? Lets hear it.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Aging. The Importance Of A Safety Net.

I received the following via email some time ago. It consisted of a collection of good humoured and positive references to old age. However it also got me thinking about the latter years as I call it. Lets view the email message first.

Eventually you will reach a point when you stop lying about your age and start bragging about it.
The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.
Some people try to turn back their odometers.Not me, I want people to know "why" I look this way.I've travelled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved.
How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?
When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to youth, think of Algebra.
Yo! You know you are getting old when everything dries up or leaks.
I don't know how I got over the hill without getting to the top.
One of the many things no one tells you about aging is that it is such a nice change from being young.
Ah, being young is beautiful, but being old is comfortable.
Old age is when former classmates are so grey and wrinkled and bald, they don't recognize you.
If you don't learn to laugh at trouble, you won't have anything to laugh at when you are old.
First you forget names, then you forget faces.Then you forget to pull up your zipper.It's worse when you forget to pull it down!

** First I must say that I envy the happy disposition of the person who wrote the above. Its a wonderfully encouraging piece that all should read.
Having said that the aging process is not that easy to accept for many. Some tend to fight it, a losing battle, while others just give a damn. Both are unwise. Graciously accept growing old but carefully plan for any and every eventuality.
There are several points in our life where we tend to overspend; buying/building and refurbishing our home(s), education of our children, their subsequent marriage and helping them to 'stand' on their own. All this is done selflessly without a thought to our own future well-being. The conventional thinking has always been that our children will look after us when 'we are old'. Unfortunately things don't seem to work that way anymore. The increasing number of old folks homes is a testimony to that.
What then are we to do? With a limited income how are we to give the best for our kids and still save enough for our twilight years? That is a very, very difficult question to answer and I will not pretend that I have a solution. Perhaps a financial consultant or analyst would be in a better position to help us out here. All I know is that we must save.
I must make one thing clear at this juncture and that is, in this blog I won't be pouring out my 'wisdom' and wait for you to comment. I am not an expert and never will be. Here we share our opinions, concerns and doubts. From time to time I hope that a real expert would find time to drop in and share his or her expertise with us.
FOR THE RECORD: I cordially invite anyone who wishes, to kindly contribute articles to this blog under your own name, and it will be published. You can email me at

Friday, April 21, 2006

Saga Of The Malaysian Forum.

Some time ago I decided that I shall start a public forum where anyone could post comments on. Not a novel idea but I was willing to give it a try. Thus was born THE MALAYSIAN FORUM. I got the URL of the forum into several internet sites to let people know. Some came, saw and a few registered. Surprisingly those who registered did not post but those who didn't,
came forward and commented.
To get a website to be noticed is not an easy task. Especially if you are new to the game. Some hard work is involved. Now the question arises, why go through all that trouble? Do you need the hassle?
I am a professional who has the advantage of being his own boss. Therefore I can spare some time in this 'venture'. There is no profit involved and the only thing gained is self-satisfaction.
Like everyone in this country I too have my opinions, worries and doubts. Why not put that on the screen and discuss with others on the issues at hand at any given time. Thus was born the idea of a forum and subsequently to complement that, this blog, THE MALAYSIAN.
Over the next days, weeks and hopefully years, I shall post articles that I hope will be of interest to you and you can reciprocate by posting your comments and informing your friends about this blog. Both are for you, the forum AND the blog.

To access the Malaysian Forum click here. Malaysian Forum
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