Friday, December 28, 2007

it's a matter of life and death!

ironically, this one might just be one of them matters of life and death! :-)

there's this young boy who has AIDS, and we've started him on some anti-AIDS drugs (it's called HAART, google it), but he's not responding to the treatment despite us changing the regimes a few times.

we've decided to investigate him for a possible genetic resistance to HAART. the test involves sending a blood sample to UM, but the blood has to be frozen solid. the UM lab strongly suggested dry ice to ensure its frozen-solidness, before arrival on Thursday next week.

the hospital lab doesn't have dry ice, and in the whole wide town of Taiping, i'm unable to procure any dry ice at all. then someone suggested to me to go to the funeral parlor!

so i called up a number, and tell the guy my problem. he says he gets the dry ice from Ipoh, in bulk of 40lbs each, everytime he needs it, which is, well, what we doctors try to prevent in the first place.

sigh... so in short, that means that to save a 9-year-old kid, we have to hope that someone passes away (hopefully peacefully and painlessly and with all affairs in order) sometime on Wednesday next week.

this would be pretty funny ironic if it weren't so poignant, wouldn't it?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

counting lunch money

my mother's in the UK for three weeks, to visit my sister (who, for legal and professional purposes, has banned me from forever using her real name on my blog). this means that for three weeks i'm the Official Purchaser of Meals.

so i buy economy rice for my grandmother, because at age 93 you stop being gastronomically adventurous. i know what she likes at most times of the day, and buying lunch for her is sometimes an art.

in most Chinese restaurants, they'll sell steaming hot plain white rice with a multitude of dishes - eggs, tofu, all sorts of meat and vegetables all cooked in all imaginable varieties. they hand you a plate (or a lunch box) of rice, and you take whatever dishes you want, and then show it to the boss-man, who then calculates the price and informs you. you pays up and you eats the rice. and dishes.

i'm intrigued by the formula with which they reach The Final Figure. i go to a few places to buy economy rice, and they utilise different methods:

Method A: bring rice box up to eye level and just under the nose, look for any hidden items under all that spinach. grab a fork and poke around, and count EXACTLY how many pieces of chicken are there. ask "Did you add extra rice?". put lunch box down on table, look upwards as if in search of divine inspiration, mutter some unintelligible words, scribble on pad of paper, and announce, "RM4.50."

Method B: take one look, and announce, "RM4.50."

anal. he should've been an accountant (sorry, sister dear!)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

and while we're having Christmas

and then there's the story of a rotund, elderly man who is dressed up as Santa Claus in a mall in the States. he's just minding his own business, sitting kids on his lap and asking if they've been good that year, posing for pictures, smiling and saying "Ho Ho Ho!", nothing out of the ordinary in December.

whereupon a 35 year old woman comes up to him and asks for a picture on his lap. he's Father Christmas, so no way he'd say no. then she sits on him... and then allegedly groped him!

horrors! in Christmas! i know who WON'T be getting presents this year, she's top of The Naughty List!! (or maybe she's really nice, it's always a matter of perspective)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

NS trainee caught in elevator wearing ladie's underwear

that's the news i heard from the radio today. some National Service trainee in Singapore was caught wearing ladie's lingerie only, in an elevator in Singapore. and now he's being charged with "fraudulent possession of ladies' underwear" - which is singularly weird, because how do you prosecute him if he claims to have purchased it legally and is able to produce the receipts?

this has serious repercussions on generations of horny husbands who want to buy lingerie for their wives. what if i buy La Perla, but then is immediately arrested for "fraudulent possession" the moment i step out?

why can't Singapore just prosecute him for i dunno, public indecency? i think they should make him a role model of sorts, maybe even an opera - The Fraudulent Possessor of Ladies' Lingerie!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

i'm tempted to post this...

after taking out the trash tonight. i had to leave the trash bag on the ground, because the trash can was full. i felt bad, because the guy who comes every morning to take the trash then has to bend over tomorrow morning just to pick up that bag that i left on the road.

***

i'm guessing that if you're reading this you definitely have the internet. you've also definitely had secondary schooling, almost certainly tertiary education. you work decent hours and get paid decently, and you drive a car and go home to airconditioning. you drink Starbucks latte and watch movies at TGV, eat three good meals a day (skipping meals only because you think you're getting fat) and most likely have flown on a plane before, maybe to Miri, maybe to Monaco.

that guy who picks up your trash, the woman who sweeps the corridors of your plush office, the 60 year old who taps the rubber that makes the tyres of that Honda City you're driving - they've all got their own names and their own lives and their own stories, all of them worth listening to.

no matter how much we "eradicate" poverty, it will still be around, because it's a relative thing, not an absolute. there will always be a need for people to clean KLCC's windows and harvest the paddy.


***

there are only a few things we can do to improve their lot - give them money, or give them dignity. we give them dignity by being aware that "But for the grace of God, there goes I". be thankful for whatever we have, be gracious in accepting the blessings in our lives.

more tellingly, let's give them dignity by smiling at them, learning their names and how many children they have, and treating them like fellow humans, and not just sub-humans who are seen, not heard, and are there to do our bidding. we may be unconsciously degrading ourselves in so doing.

***

i'm going to pick up that bag of trash now and try to tie it to the trash can. i don't want anyone bending over on my behalf.