Thursday, January 27, 2011

Shaking Hands and Politics

I don't usually read Malaysian politics, not because I could not care less, but more because I have more thing to care about. I have to admit though, I became more aware of our own political situation after weeks of Malaysian Studies classes, and the classes really have done me good.

I am also not a reader of The Malaysian Insider but, this one issue forwarded by someone to me, caught my attention. It was emailed me to from someone I know, and respect. As we all know, the Tenang by-election is coming (please don't ask me when is it, I really do not know). And from this article I've read, and the comments below it, I found out that PAS is sending a Muslim lady to compete for the seat.

Read the article here:

And this lady, namely Ms Normala; a former teacher, refused to shake hands with men of her opposite sex (Muslims and non-Muslims alike, save those with matrimonial and blood relation). And MCA's Chua Soi Lek is making a fuss over this matter.

I continued reading the comments posted by readers, and I find the arguments getting more ridiculous. Why are these people arguing about a lady, refusing to shake hands with men?
Some people are saying she should not act that way because a politician must not be seen as "conservative" and they must be ready to be approached by people.

Some people are condemning that she is being rude by refusing to shake hands, because shaking hands is a way of paying respect to others. Refusing to do so means you are refusing to respect that person.

But really, I find it an idiotic issue to fight about.
In addition, shaking hands is not an Asian culture in the first place.
The Japanese bow to one another, the Chinese (before being infiltrated by western culture) did not shake hands too, the ladies just present themselves charmingly without touching the gentlemen. And the Indians, they put their own hands together to wish one another.

It was the western people who came to us, and taught us that we should all shake hands with each other.
The men were even supposed to take lady's hand and kiss it. They even greet each other with hugs and kisses, males and females alike (well, that's what has been shown in movies at least).
I can't imagine if any man I've just met for the first time, after being introduced by my friend to me, came and take my hand to kiss it, that's kinda gross, really really gross. Ingat sape2 je boleh pegang2 and kiss2?!

Why are we so excited, and keen to adopt this infiltrative, too-socialised culture?
There are good things we can take from them undoubtedly, but really, not everything from the west are good.
Most of them aren't.

I don't mind if this lady came from PAS, or UMNO, or even MCA.
The issue is not the political party, it is the right of a woman to refuse to be touched by strangers.
Why can't the people just let her smile and treat them nicely?
Why must this issue be politicised?

This is why, I don't really like Malaysian politics.
Petty things being debated, forgetting the bigger issues.

I am still living in Malaysia, and do not have the intention to leave her thus, I think albeit how much I dislike it, I have to know some important current Malaysian political issues, please note the emphasis, "SOME". Don't be surprise if you find I can't answer who actually won the Tenang election (But I doubt I don't know that, since I'm sure it'll be really publicised).


We Really Can Only Plan

Today, 27th January 2011.
I was supposed to have some meetings in IMU regarding the project I am working on.
My mother and two other siblings are supposed to be at school.
My brother, who have just got his driving license few months ago were supposed to send mum and siblings to school, and meet his would-be-mentor soon after, around 10.30am.

At 10.30 am, I had just started my meeting, he called me.
An SOS call, asking me to come to him at once.
He was involved in an accident, he hit no one but the car was severely damaged. He doesn't even dare to call mum yet, he called me straight away. I was split into two, I felt like going to him at once but this meeting have just started. And it was very very hard for me to get this meeting done, it has been postponed from one month to another.

Thinking over it carefully, I decided I could not do anything even if I go to him so I asked him to call mum. Mum called insurance people to come and tow his car. And from there, all our plans changed.

I need to rush back from the meeting, and after fetching mum and siblings from school, we were all stranded for a few hrs in the police station. And my mother was summoned RM150, for "carelessness and negligence". I need to fetch my brother from the workshop, send in all the necessary documents to claim insurance, and things like that.

It's irritating, but amazing to see how my whole plan for the day was ruined. Just because of a boy, who is now grounded, and perhaps have to pay any extra payment my mother has to make.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Holiday So Far

Somehow, I don't really see my holidays as holidays now.

During high school years, I used to cherish holiday as a time that I do not have to think about studying, AT ALL. All I did was watching TV, going out with family to places like Planetarium, National Science Centre, museum here and there, parks here and there, going out with some friends, and some other activities along that line.

But now, even though I pretty much do these same things while on a holiday, I still have that "I NEED TO STUDY!" thoughts barging into my mind. And up until now, I have not revised much, not as planned before at least. I was supposed to start studying Semester 3 stuff, preparing myself for the final exam in 5 months time. Uh! Now that I thought of it, there are only 5 months left before my final exam in IMU!

But, even though I have not studying, I would not say I've been wasting my holiday (though I did not really use it fully for beneficial purposes). My holiday is so full of non-academic activities, you could call them Extra Curricular Activities if you want, so much for that highly-in-demand ECA certs the partner medical schools are asking for.

It's kinda scary however, knowing that my ECA certs are all not the ones favoured by the partner medical schools. I wonder how excited will the schools be seeing my certs comprise mostly of the word "Palestine", "Islam" and "Muslim"? They might think they will have to take in a terrorist-in-making, hahah..
Yea right, I can carry a gun and plant a bomb at the basement carpark if you really wanna know what am I capable of. :D

I am still waiting for JPA money to come in, I have to say I am really going broke now, and I thank God that I am still in Malaysia. At least I can put up that pitiful face to my mum and she'll give me some pocket money for me to survive until JPA decides it's time to feed us. Imagine being alone in a country thousand miles away from home, and you're broke. :(

And the Chinese New Year is coming! I can't wait to go back Penang and eat all that delicious foods my aunts gonna prepare for us, and the legacy reunion steamboat dinnner, and angpows!

Oh by the way, I've watched it. :D
I've watch the much talked about Japanese drama; One Litre of Tears.

This drama was once the topic of discussion of some of my friends and I had to keep quiet during the discussion bcos I have not watched it. And that was a year ago. Now, I can proudly say I enjoyed watching it though the drama really had a lot of sad, emotional scenes in it. It's a good drama. I even downloaded them, and will have them burned into DVD.

M holiday is ending in 2, 3 weeks time!
Then, the 2 hours of class a day routine is going to resume, and I'll be talking more and more of exams. "Finals", they seem endless don't they?


p/s: The gun and bombing skills were a joke, if you have not figured that out yet.

And oh btw, I received 3 pageviews from Israel. How reliable is this "stats" service by Blogger?
Sunday, January 23, 2011

Gaza is A Tragedy

"Gaza is a tragedy". That was what our ex Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said last night at Viva Palestina Malaysia official launching dinner.

Being formed in December 2008 as a quick humanitarian response to the terrorist-led Operation Cast Lead, Viva Palestina Malaysia (or VPM) had its official launching last night, seeing 70 tables full of volunteers, donors, press, guests and of course committee members in the Grand Ballroom of Mandarin Oriental, KL.

And I was fortunate enough, to be one of the people attending the launching. Zillions of thanks to Mr Allan for that opportunity. :)
Like usual, I went around taking pictures (though a lot of them do not come out nice, my camera don't usually give good night pictures) and drafting a blog post in mind.

The registration counter.

The guests, before the arrival of Tun Dr M and other VIPs.

The ballroom.

Tun Dr M giving his speech, his style.

"We are not civilised because we still believe in killing people", said the man who was the most powerful man in Malaysia for 22 yrs. While some people in the world are learning how to use different sizes of forks for the appetiser, main course and dessert, believing they are at the height of civilisation of the modern world, the Palestinians are being hit, shot and bombed in their own homes. How bizarre...

"They (the Jews) have learnt nothing from their sufferings, and now they are inflicting it on others", added Tun Dr M. 6 millions Jews killed in the Holocaust, a figure, and an event no one can ever question without being accused anti-semitic. And now, another holocaust is happening, an ethnic being cleansed, slowly but surely by the then victims. Another malapetaka...

After his speech, Tun Dr M officiated the launching by cutting the ribbon and letting a bird free, as a symbol of freedom. The bird however, refused to cooperate and preferred to stay in Dr M's warm hands than flying away. Only at second try did the bird finally flew off. :D
Looking at it from the bright side, birds in Malaysia are not too keen to fly off, they are well fed and well taken care off by the humans, heh...

During his speech too, Dr Mahathir bravely slammed the US and UK for its continuous support for Israel, stating that it allows for the gross human rights violations against the Palestinians.

Wardina Safiyyah was the MC for the night, and she sounded just the same like in TV. I did not know she is the MC when I saw her in the surau earlier.

No explanation needed. ;p

During the whole event, I sat with 5 other INTEC students; who are Mr Allan's current students, my junior's junior. Funnily I didn't even ask any of them for their names, only introducing my brother and myself to them. 3 of them will be coming into IMU in August this year (I would have left by then), so we chatted about life in IMU, the interview, living as a medical student and stuff like that.

After the dessert, it was time for Ms Lauren Booth to give her speech, a piece of her experience to be shared with us. I would say she delivered a strong and clear message, on the atrocity and violence of the Zionists. She talked about her trips to Gaza, and how she really wanted to stay there. She was one of the passengers in the two wooden boats that sailed to Gaza in August 2008 under the flag of Free Gaza Movement. From that trip, 9 international human right workers stayed in Gaza when the boats left, bringing 7 Palestinians out, and Lauren Booth is one of the workers who stayed.

Israel then gave out an order to restrict all the workers who stayed from leaving Gaza and so when Lauren was at Rafah crossing, trying to get out into Egypt, the Egyptian told her, "The Israel doesn't want you to live, you're trapped." And she thought she'll never be able to see her children again. I do not know what happened then, and how she got out of Gaza.

Since she's from UK, her accent is not something I'm used to (though I have to admit, and be grateful I became more used to it after a yr of almost everyday Chemistry class with Mr Allan), so there were some bits that I could not fully catch. I find the Malaysian English by Tun Dr M easier for me. :D

Lauren also read out the pledge of Gaza Youth, which went public not so long ago. On this matter, I am not too sure how to comment on it. When I read the pledge, it does not really sound like it is from a population of youth who was born in Gaza, and held captivated since in the siege. It sounded more of influenced, influencing, sick of everything and perhaps, westernised group of people. There were even dirty swearings in the pledge, which brought my doubt towards the genuineness of the pledge even higher. You can read about the pledge here. I hate the fact that there are so many fraud news nowadays that it's getting harder to choose what to trust, and which to not.

When asked if the attention on Gaza Strip displayed by the Zionist regime is actually a way to divert the attention of the rest of the world from the West Bank, Lauren answered that the Zionist is actually diverting the attention of the world from the whole Zionist Project itself, not only from West Bank, Gaza or even Palestine. The project involves the whole world and slowly, they are infiltrating us, and one day, when we finally realise what is happening, it might be too late.
Now, that's something...

After the speech was....... the time to go home. :)
As everyone left, and it is already 11pm, I went towards the stage to snap some more pictures. Since I've obtained special permission from my mother to come back later than night, I shall use it to the fullest.

I managed to squeeze in between reporters and cameramen, and excited guests, and get this shot. Why do I even care to do that? I don't know, perhaps just so that I can get this picture posted here? :)

The owner of the beautiful and strong voice, Dina. She performed the theme song of VPM that night.

Ms Lauren Booth - the guest speaker of the night. At the end of everything, everyone just wanted to say hi to her.

I had two pictures with her, but both are far from perfect. In the first, my eyes were closed. And in the 2nd, her eyes were! And after much thinking which one should I put up, I decided on the one my eyes are wide opened, because this is my blog! :D

I believe, there are a lot of people in Malaysia, and in the world who have their hearts out to the Palestinians but, perhaps not many know some of the crucial things they can do to help them. One of them will be boycotting products of Nestle, Loreal, Coca Cola and Mc Donald since these companies are investing directly towards the mass destruction of Palestine.
Some people came to me and said a Malaysian company bought Mc Donald in Malaysia thus, the profit of McDonald in Malaysia goes only to us, and Msian McD do not have any link and is not doing what the McD in other countries are doing. But really, there will not be any way (if really Msia bought McD, as I am ignorant of that) that Msian McD do not have to pay any amount of money to the HQ, at least in the form of royalty. Read here for more info.

Don't you tell me you can continue doing nothing when the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) torment other human beings every minute in every day, every month of a year, every year, for more than half a century.
- edited from Letter to Israel, by Lauren Booth.

Link: The event in BERNAMA, The Star, in PressTV.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Orang Asli

The aborigins in Malaysia, or more affectionately called "Orang Asli" have a hospital only for themselves and this hospital is the only one in the world that treats solely Orang Asli. This hospital is located in Gombak, and is also where the office of Health and Medical Unit of Orang Asli Welfare Department is located. And for the past 3 days, I was given the opportunity to visit the hospital and was introduced to their system, scope of work and responsibilities. And I dare say our Health Ministry together with the Ministry of Development of Rural Area (whatever it is called in English, in Malay it is Kementerian Pembangunan Luar Bandar) are doing a great job in caring for the health of the orang asli.

The medical team goes into the interior jungle at least once a month to reach out (in?) to the people and treat those at risk, with symptoms or where appropriate. A team consisting of doctors, nurses, medical assistant and even pharmacist went deep into the jungle either by boat, 4x4, helicopter, or even walking for 5 hours just to ensure these people get medical treatment and are not left out. And their effort clearly pays when the incidences of TB, Leprosy and Malaria; three prevalent diseases among the orang asli(s) have been decreasing over the years.

I got to know all these facts today, when a health officer working for Orang Asli Welfare Department (JHEOA) gave us a briefing, together with some interesting pictures and stories on their work field. There was a picture whereby a doctor was searching for medicine on top of a jeep), also pictures of helicopters (approx 1 mil or more is allocated for JHEOA to rent helicopters to go to the interiors) bringing medical supplies, doctors, nurses and PVC pipes.

Watching the pictures while listening to the officer brought me into a whole new world and I forgot I was still in the meeting room of the hospital and I am only seeing the screen, not the real thing. And I was amazed by the challenges these teams went through. Well of course undeniably they are paid for it, since they work for the government but really at least they are doing it. And I am sure (being positive here), that at least a quarter of the team members is sincere in their job. And that got me into thinking, will I be able to take up that challenge in the future?

I don't mind going for a jungle trekking, camping in the jungle, riding on a helicopter, or having half the jeep I'm on under the water, crossing the big river. But even when imagining doing that every month, and staying in the jungle with them for 1 week is challenging enough, I honestly think doing it is much harder.

There will be no water and electrical supply I used to have. Even if the government succeeded in bringing in clean and water supply and the team is bringing their own generator for electric, there is absolutely no guarantee that I will be comfortable with the place. There will also be no guarantee that leeches are not going to get full of my blood. And most importantly, there will also be no guarantee that insects will not be crawling on me while I am sleeping.

However, I still find that kind of work interesting, and I will like to do it in the future. It's gonna be a good experience for me, after being raised through and through in the city. But of course, I don't plan to do it for my whole life, I will want to try other things as well.

I actually have so much to write on this posting of mine, but I have to end this post now before it gets too long and boring. I can always write another post can't I? :p

Monday, January 10, 2011

My GP Posting

Such a direct post title.

Last week, 3rd to 7th Jan 2011 was the week I had to tail a GP working in a private GP clinic. And I'm fortunate enough to be able to do the posting in a clinic only 3km away from my house, and I get to go back home for lunch and Zuhur, saved me a lot of money!

The doctor was a middle-aged chinese man whose eldest child is going into a kindergarten this year. And while surveying for the suitable kindergarten, he found that the rate is RM200-RM300 per month for only 3 hours a day! Ishh... Is that kindergarten that good?

Anyway, I am glad that he likes to ask me a lot of questions. Too bad, I didn't get to do any hands-on except for using the auroscope to view someone's infected ear.

There was one boy who came in for abdominal cramp and I noticed his arms and forearms had rashes on it. And when the doctor asked the boy to pull his shirt up for him to palpate his abdomen, I was even more shocked to see an abdomen full of rashes, red large islands of rashes.

The doctor asked the patient things like where do you go for the treatment of this skin disease and so on.
Then, he turned to me, "So, do you know what this is?"
And I was dumbstrucked.
"Is it impetigo? Eh, vertigo? Or is it .... vitiligo?"

And the doctor almost shrieked!
"Impetigo??! Vertigo?? Vitiligo??"
"Which one are u talking about?"

"Sorry doctor, but I do not know. I am confused with all the names now."

"This is a spot diagnosis. You should know what it is once you see it. Take the history from this patient after this. He knows his own condition."

"Okay, doctor..."

So, after interviewing the patient, I got to know it's neither of the -go -go. It was a psoriasis case. Hurm... How am I supposed to differentiate psoriasis from usual dermatitis? I can't even spot diagnose a chicken pox, yet.

And a few days later, another psoriasis patient came in. This time, the patient mentioned the name "psoriasis", so I know it is one. If not, there is no way I would know about it.

Of course, later that day the doctor asked me what exactly is "impetigo", "vertigo" and "vitiligo". And I was smart enough to have peeked into my book and read about them before he had the chance to ask me.

There was another day, he was talking about infectious diseases. And he asked me what was that latest infectious disease that almost turned our country outside down, and made the headlines. Spread through the wastes of rodents, and involves the lakes, I remembered it started with "L" or something like that. I even discussed that with Farahin the week before! After some thinking suddenly I got excited, and answered, "Leprosy!". And he burst into laughter.

"Leprosy is leprosy laaaa... This is leptospirosis!"

Ooppsss. I got confused again.

On my last day, the pharmacist next door told us that drugs containing pseudoephedrine can no longer be sold freely since some people are making amphetamines from it. And he asked me, "Do you know what is amphetamin?"

I said, "Panadol isn't it?"

And he FROWNED....

"Oh sorry! Panadol is ACETAMINOPHEN, not AMPHETAMINE. I got them confused. Sorry sorry, amphetamine is a drug that can stimulate our central nervous system", I quickly corrected myself.

And he gave out a BIG relieved sigh. I am not that ignorant after all.

So, that's pretty much my experience being in a GP clinic, observing a GP's field of work.
One thing I can say for sure, I am glad it is only a week.
I had fun though.

Going back to what I think of GPs, in my last post I mentioned that GPs love to go to the easiest diagnosis and tell the patients to come back to them after a few days if the symptoms remain. But at that point of time, I forgot one most important fact. The commonest reason of a doctor visit is indeed, these easiest diagnoses; cough, flu, fever and abdominal pain. And these diseases are, I would say self-limited but some people preferred to consult a doctor than drinking a lot of water and eat more nutritious food.

And I am proud to say too that, this doctor actually palpated the abdomen of all the patients who came complaining of vomiting, abdominal cramp, or diarrhoea. He tried to exclude all other causes of those symptoms and not directly jump to the diagnosis of food-poisoining. I can't remember seeing many GPs who are willing to get up from their seats, walk to the couch and palpate tens of patients' abdomens a day.

Monday, January 3, 2011

But Why Medicine?

This question was posed to me many times, but funnily even though it should have been that way, this question was not asked to me during the interview for admission into IMU. I believe after having interviewed many students before me from various background, the interviewers know that that question is by far the commonest question and the one that students can create all sort of i-see-my-grandma-suffer-everyday-so-I-want-to-be-a-doctor kinds of answer.

Early in the course, I did not give the question a proper thought, and thus I do not know the exact reason why I took medicine. And sometime middle of last year, someone asked me this question in front of my friends. By then, I have already established a sincere answer in my head.

I chose medicine because my parents wanted me too. That answer shocked the questioner. Perhaps she was anticipating a doctor-had-been-my-dream-job-since-I-was-6 kinds of answer. In fact, I told her that my parents have been wanting to have at least one of their children to be a doctor, and since I am the eldest, and I did not know what course to go into, I chose to fulfill my parents' wish. Not only that, my siblings asked me to take up medicine too, then they will be freed from the responsibility.

There have been a lot of stories whereby the child do not have the interest to be a doctor being forced to study medicine by the parents. And they drop out either during the course, after the degree, or even after practising after many years! These stories are no stranger to us students, since we have been told different versions of them, making sure we are not wasting the money and time spent.

But so far I have enjoyed medicine. I am pretty sure not one of the posts I've written before this has portrayed my lack of interest towards the subject. In fact, if I do not admit it, I doubt anyone will even suspect I enrolled into medicine for the sake of my parents.


My View of A GP

My view of a GP, not my view AS a GP. :p

Before my enrollment into medical course, a GP was almost everything. I mean, whenever I say "doctor", I am imagining a GP. Whenever I ask anyone to seek treatment from a doctor, I meant seeing a GP.

But after almost 2 years being a medical student and exposed to the field (although I admit I've saw only the tip of the iceberg), I got to know that not everyone goes to a GP. A lot of people who have the capital, chose to go for a specialist instead. In fact, just for a vaccination, parents spent a lot to see a paediatrician! A specialist consultation fee is really not something I will willingly spend unnecessarily.

But, I also got to know that most GP choose the simplest disease as their first diagnosis. Thus, they will advise the patient to come again after a week if the patient do not get any better. And they will give the commonest medicine, Paracetamol, Loratadine and Benadryl for headaches, flu and cough respectively. After all, those three are the commonest causes of a doctor visit. Or else, come with a rash, they might give anti-fungal etc. The bottom line is, a GP treats easy cases, not the really complicated ones. Perhaps that's one of the reason 1Malaysia clinic, managed by a medical assistant and a nurse can be set up.

But, to get things straight, it is not fair for me to accuse all GPs like that. After all, they have underwent the 5 excruciating, sleep-lack, eye-bags years to get the degree, even more if they graduated from India, and went through the 2/3 yrs of compulsory housemanship with the government to be where they are now. To say they are not trustworthy and take patients' conditions lightly will be a form of cruelty too.

My mother is now suffering from reduced movement of her shoulder. One of her student's father who so happened to be an orthopaedician told her after some chat, that she is having a condition called "frozen shoulder". And I read some articles on the condition. It was written that an aspirin could give relieve since it is anti-inflammatory. Seeing her unable to move her hand freely upsets me, and I really wanted to ask her to go see a doctor but, her appointment with a government specialist has been set to be a few months from now. She will not be willing to spend to see a private specialist thus the only choice left is a private GP. And that got me into thinking, "what exactly can a GP do for her?". Of course, the GP can give aspirin, but that is only a temporary relief. What happens next?

I am writing this because I will be starting my GP posting tomorrow, Monday 3rd Jan 2011. I will be in a private clinic with a private GP, and observe his work and at the same time learn some skills. I hope I will be able to learn more about GP and perhaps give me a clearer idea of what they do. And thus perhaps, write a fairer article. This post is kinda unfair, as I am speaking for the perspective of a half-cooked doctor and a stingy patient.

Someone whom I know have been in the medical line for more than half of her life told me that a GP needs more communication skills, good rapport and sweet mouth rather than real knowledge.
Those are very frustrating to hear. Aren't they?

But a specialist is no angel either.
Another neurologist I know, is perhaps one of the wicked real life doctor (House is just another wicked but genius doctor) I've ever known.
She refuses to let her patients know the name of the medicine they are prescribed. All the medicines are put in the while plastic without any labeling of the medicine, just her clinic name, patient's name and instructions on how to take the medicine.
She wants her patient to come back to her for the medicine instead of buying the medicine at the pharmacy.
And when pressed for the medicine name, she even gave a different name! According to her own staff, she will give the name that pharmacist can't recognise.
And she really is living luxuriously now, with her husband pracitising medicine in another country.

I wonder, if she has been sincere all these time?

But whenever I tried to arise this matter of insincerity to some of the adults I know, I was accused to be naive, do-not-know-how-to-live-in-the-world yet, and have-not-seen-the-world-yet.

But anyway of course, we shall never do generalisation.
Not all GPs give the simplest diagnosis and medicine, and not all specialists are angel nor money-minded.
Most importantly, all doctors are human.
And I'm gonna pass out as a GP before going into any specialisation. So, I gotta have a good and happy view of my own future career, heh... Amin.


Monday, 3rd Jan 2011