How should we judge a government?

In Malaysia, if you don't watch television or read newspapers, you are uninformed; but if you do, you are misinformed!

"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing." - Malcolm X

Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience - Mark Twain

Why we should be against censorship in a court of law: Publicity is the very soul of justice … it keeps the judge himself, while trying, under trial. - Jeremy Bentham

"Our government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no
responsibility at the other. " - Ronald Reagan

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

Career options
I suggest government... because nobody has ever been caught.

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?
Corruption is so prevalent it affects English language?

When there's too much dirt...

When there's too much dirt...
We need better tools... to cover up mega corruptions.

Prevent bullying now!

Prevent bullying now!
If you're not going to speak up, how is the world supposed to know you exist? “Orang boleh pandai setinggi langit, tapi selama ia tidak menulis, ia akan hilang di dalam masyarakat dan dari sejarah.” - Ananta Prameodya Toer (Your intellect may soar to the sky but if you do not write, you will be lost from society and to history.)

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

End of the road for some cancer patients seeking treatment in government hospitals?

My last visit to SOPD was devastating when I was referred to Palliative Care Unit. All along, I had the impression PCU is like death row, with patients waiting to die, but given medication to alleviate suffering. Sure enough, I was told I could be given morphine (only available in GH) if the pain becomes unbearable. In the process of registration, the question on my religion adds to the morbidity of reference to the eventuality. When I said I was expecting cure, it seemed out of place in PCU, with other patients and even doctors looking at me, as if with disbelief!

Slowly, but surely, the reality of GH's limitations and constraints sets in. The reason why my previous visit to oncologist in HKL did not result in prescriptions became clear when I learned that budget cuts had resulted in quotas which were quickly filled. Now even government pensioners have to pay for drugs, which I presume, relate to those expensive cancer ones, for starters.

In other words, for those who cannot afford exorbitant charges of private medical centres, it is practically end of the road, unless there are options in alternate cures. There are so many in the market that it can be confusing. Each supplier will swear by his or her products. Each of us has only one life, so the question of testing any one product could be fatal, if proven ineffective, without timely medical attention.

Meanwhile, I will have to remain positive (B+ happens to be my blood type) while I wait to see oncologist with my latest PET Scan report.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

There are many ways to fight a battle

Lately, we have witnessed the sabre-rattling stance between North Korea and USA. The threat of nuclear war is alarming and cannot be discounted.

China has been spreading its economic power in Africa and elsewhere where there is an urgent need, which effectively gain itself friendship as well as immense influence in the process. Its special interest in South China Sea has seen the building of military bases within, with total disregard of international verdict at The Hague. Besides, it is investing heavily in Malaysia which many believe it can gain undue political influence from Malaysian leaders.

But how many of us have ever thought of using education as a weapon of destruction?

A University professor wrote an expressive message to his students at the doctorate, masters and bachelors levels and placed it at the entrance in a university in South Africa. 

And this is the message:

*"Collapsing any nation does not require use of atomic bombs or the use of long range missiles. It only requires lowering the quality of education and allowing cheating in the examinations by the students".*

The patient dies in the hands of such doctors

And the buildings collapse in the hands of such engineers

And the money is lost in the hands of such accountants

And humanity dies in the hands of such religious scholars

And justice is lost in the hands of such judges...

*"The collapse of education is the collapse of the nation"*

Malaysia has all along shy away from meritocracy in education, unlike Singapore. The latter gained from the brain drain of Malaysians unappreciated locally, and prospered to become one of the most advanced and richest nation in the world.

Through its own lack of foresight or nationalistic reasons, the level of education dropped drastically since it gained independence in 1957. Will we see the collapse of Malaysia in the long term because of this? Collapse seems too strong a term, but in comparison, the glaring success of Singapore which has nothing but human resources, and that also depended partially on foreign input, would put Malaysia which has natural resources to shame.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

In my search for cancer cure

A fellow cancer survivor chanced upon Dr Alex Tang's Multidisciplinary Oncology Symposium, after having been referred by a specialist in Ipoh.

In my own case, Ipoh GH has its limitations in terms of facilities and staff. Had a major colon surgery and confirmed as Stage 4, I had been through 12 cycles of chemo drug taken orally. I could sense the specialists are under severe constraints as follows, especially in view of the recent budget cuts:

1. Only general surgeries are available in Ipoh and specialist surgeries have to be referred to Selayang, KL or Penang, for instance. Even those hospitals have stopped accepting referrals. So patients of urgent cases have to consider private medical treatments, which as we all know, are very expensive.

2. Late 2016, I had to go private with CEA blood tests. Certain blood tests supposedly in hospital system could not be found. Were those not done? While pointing out some inconveniences, I must admit the general efficiency of the system and staff despite the sheer number of patients, for which I am truly grateful.

3. As I was expecting IV chemotherapy, the fact that it was not offered makes me wonder if it had anything to do with budget cuts. But personally, I felt relieved because of the bad publicity relating to the adverse side effects of chemotherapy.

4. In seeking possible private treatment, I attended a symposium in Ipoh conducted by St Stamford Modern Cancer Hospital in Guangzhou. The presentation was in Mandarin by a Professor while any English translation by a local graduate in Food Science and Nutrition. Looking at my details, she suggested 3 likely treatments in the presence of the professor:

1. Interventional;
2. Cryotherapy; and or
3. Immunology.

While considering the Multidisciplinary Oncology Symposium (MOS) treatments, there is no clear or easy way of choosing one which specifically suits me. Asked surgeon and she replied she is not an oncologist. Asked an overseas oncologist and she replied she is a radiotherapy specialist, not a chemotherapy specialist, and she is non-committal on the treatments mentioned in the MOS, but suggested immunology/targeted chemotherapy, provided there was test on gene mutation. How would I know if such tests were being done in our government hospitals or who or where should I start to ask that question?

Meanwhile, I am seeking alternative options and hope to be able to provide myself as proof if the chosen treatment is successful.

Link to Multidisciplinary Oncology Symposium:

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Jane Clarke to me, is closest to an oncology dietitian

As a stage 4 cancer survivor, one of my problems seems to be what foods to eat and what to avoid. Jane Clarke's article in the Daily Mail provides essential answers to my dilemma where food is concerned. Though my wife used to be Chief Dietitian at Seacroft Hospital, Leeds, it was 40 years ago. Where diet is concerned, I had my freedom of choice. Though, a diabetic for many years, her well-controlled diet used to be off whenever she indulged in a cheese cake or durian, at the expense of a normal lunch or dinner.

Just before my appointment  with the oncologist in HKL, I read an article which I had read before, shared by good-intentioned friends or relatives, which debunked chemotherapy. Just imagine for someone who had just completed 12-cycle of chemo drug taken orally, and half expected to be recommended stronger chemo drug intra-veinously, I was in a dilemma. Shall I go against professional advice or go along and expect more of my good cells to be destroyed in the process?

My wife was with me when the oncologist explained in detail my condition and what she thought was best for the next few months: monitoring by CEA blood tests and CT Scan, I was secretly happy for her advice, just as I was happy when she gave me the option of chemo drug to be taken orally instead of IV. 'Sum siong si seng' in Chinese, (or what you wish for comes true) comes to mind. I was glad my wife was with me, otherwise my daughters might think it was my decision instead of the doctor's.

Anyway, here is the excerpt of Jane Clarke:

The truth about diet and cancer: Top dietitian JANE CLARKE reveals what to eat (and what to avoid) to beat the disease

  • Some statistics predict one in two of us will go on to develop cancer
  • Many cancers, from stomach to bowel, are linked to diet and weight gain
  • Jane Clarke shows diet tweaks that could help reduce your risk
"There doesn’t seem to be a day that passes without a new cancer statistic being published — one of the most alarming from recent years is that one in two of us will go on to develop the disease.
It makes so many of us feel vulnerable, and naturally we want to know what — if anything — we can do to protect ourselves. As a dietitian and nutritionist for the past 25 years, I have treated hundreds of people, young and old and often a key question, even if I was seeing them for a different issue entirely, was what we should and shouldn’t eat to reduce the likelihood of developing cancer, and how can food help us fight the disease if we are diagnosed?
The incidence of different cancers varies hugely but, worryingly, the numbers of people affected are on the rise.
Bowel cancer is now the third most common cause of cancer death in women in the UK, according to the charity Bowel Cancer UK. And it is increasingly affecting younger people, with a 45 per cent increase in those under 50 being diagnosed.
Breast cancer, the most common cancer in women in the UK with around 54,000 new cases each year, is also on the rise.
Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show an 8 per cent rise in the number of people with pancreatic cancer since 2012.
Better detection and our longer lives play a part in rising cancer rates, but our lifestyle and environment must also be part of the picture — what we put into our body has a profound impact, with many cancers, from stomach to bowel, linked to diet and weight gain.
A massive two-thirds of bowel cancer cases could be prevented by eating, drinking and living well according to the NHS.
Weight gain is strongly linked to an increased risk of stomach and oesophageal cancer, according to a new study from the National Cancer Institute in the U.S.
Meanwhile, the Mediterranean Diet — a long-time staple of healthy eating lore — has recently been found by the World Cancer Research Fund to reduce the risk of contracting one of the most dangerous forms of breast cancer by 40 per cent.
The same study also found a strong relationship between weight gain around the waist and incidence of womb cancer — even a small increase in waist size can lead to a 21 per cent increase in risk of the disease.
The foods and nutrients we eat — and what we avoid — can have a huge impact on our wellbeing and cancer risk.
And if someone already has a diagnosis of cancer, what they eat is also incredibly important, especially as cancer treatment can make eating difficult, causing nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, mouth ulcers and extreme exhaustion. Unfortunately there are many misconceptions about food and cancer.
So here, I’ll separate the wheat from the chaff — I’ll also show you the tweaks to your diet that could help reduce your risk.
There are all sorts of ‘miracle’ anti-cancer diets out there but I strongly advise anyone against embarking on a dramatic ‘clean eating’ or exclusion eating plan.
Not only do they add to the fear of anyone worried about developing cancer, they can also worsen the outcomes of those living with the disease.
People end up malnourished and there just isn’t the evidence to support such extreme strategies. So let’s look at the biggest myths around food and cancer and see what adds up . . ."
Following are several myths and facts as well as advice on foods (headings only), according to her opinion:
Myth: Meat will give you cancer
Myth: Wine protects you 
Myth: Dairy foods cause cancer
Myth: Sugar ‘feeds’ cancer
Stock up on your tomatoes and turmeric
Fruit and vegetables

For those interested to know more, rest of her article:


Thursday, April 27, 2017

David Dodwell: Be afraid: China is on the path to global technology dominance


"I have often jested that the main difference between the United States and China is not that one is capitalist and the other communist. Rather, it is that one is run by lawyers and the other by engineers.
Nowhere is this truer than in the astonishing “catch-up” occurring on the mainland in the explosion of digital technologies and their application to the daily lives of hundreds of millions of ordinary Chinese consumers.
Ask people in the US or Europe about Chinese technology and most will still cast a dismissive smile and say China remains home of the cheap and cheerful copycat stuff that fills Walmart shelves. The dangerous naivity of this view was brought home forcefully at our APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) meetings last year – the first in San Francisco and the second in Shenzhen. The first thing we noticed was that our internet worked noticeably faster in Shenzhen than around San Francisco. The second was that our Chinese colleagues were paying for everything via AliPay on their smartphones.
In awe of the smart technologies on display at PayPal, Google and Dolby sound studios, we were blown away by Huawei, where 40 per cent of its 170,000 staff are working on pure research, and the foundations are being laid for roll-out of 5G across the whole of China by 2020."
"In truth, China’s government was not doing anything unique or even novel. The Made in China 2025 initiative was based on Germany’s Industrie 4.0 blueprint for technology development. What is awesome is the speed and effectiveness with which they have built this technology self-reliance initiative from scratch. A total of 19 data labs have been established in universities across the country. STEM education (science, technology, engineering and maths) is being prioritised countrywide. A “Qianren Jihua” (Thousand Talents) scheme is trawling the world to attract brilliant scientists.
And for a US official who has for decades had first-hand experience of how US government-funded defence industry research has been carefully used to fuel the US’s technology leadership worldwide, complaints about Chinese government support for high-tech research sounds a tad hypocritical."
Rest of article in South China Morning Post: