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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Problem with Govt Hospital

Accompanied Mum to SGH Eye Centre for her check-up. The appointment was for 2.35pm. We reached there at 2.25pm and finally left at 5.40pm.

First we waited for registration. This was the shortest wait approximately 10mins only.
Then we waited for some clinical technician to test her eyes.
After that waited for a nurse to put eye drops on her eyes.
This was followed by a half an hour wait for the eye drops to work its effect.
By then it was past 4pm after which we were asked to go to another room.
Waited outside there for another 10mins before another nurse told us to go to another room to see the doctor.
Thus another waiting session continues.
After the doctor it was to the cashier for another long wait.
Luckily I decided to concurrently queue for the medicine otherwise probably got to stay till after 6.

The only good thing about the whole experience. The medicine only cost $3.50 and the consultation $29.00. Was that worth the waste of 1 whole afternoon?

Friday, April 24, 2009

A for ????????

Many moons ago, a colleague 'tarpa' a packet of fried rice for me. It was one of the best I ever tried so some time later I went back myself to the stall on the ground floor of Amoy St Cooked Food Centre to buy a packet for lunch. That must have been more than a year ago. And I have never been back there anymore or eat anything from there again. Why? I am reminded of the reasons today at lunch. I was sitting near the stall and staring at the queue. It was a long queue and that made me wish I can try it again but..... After I had finished my lunch, I stood there for another 5 minutes observing him.

You see, the stall is a one man show. The guy frying the fried rice and fried hor fun is also the kitchen assistant and the cashier.  First he picked up some prawns (?) I think from a tray and throw them into the wok and continued frying. After he finished, he scooped up the noodles and ladled them onto a plate and handed it over to the customer who paid him. With the same hand that he picked up the prawn, he took the money and returned some change to him.  His other hand was perpetually holding the skillet or ladle.  And he wasn't wearing any disposable gloves. Not that I think it will help becuase he will probably wear it to death before he discard it. And then in between one of the frying, he wiped the counter top with a cloth. And he rinsed the cloth after that and then to wrap it up, he gave the counter another perfunctory wipe. And then he picked up some more ingredients from the tray and continued frying. Did I miss anything? Oh yeah, he didn't wash his hands after cleaning the counter. But he did wipe his hand on the apron after he picked up the ingredients with his bare hand so I supposed that counts as cleaning? 

And the best thing about this stall? It still got a A grading pasted proudly there! Makes me wonder how NEA gives the grading. And haven't those people queing up to buy his food heard of the Geylang Serai incident?

And I forgot to add, the things that turned me off the last time was he wiped his bare hands on his buttocks after he picked up the raw ingredients and then continued to fry the food.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Monday, April 20, 2009

Life and Death

For the 3rd weekend in a row, had to attend another funeral wake. 4th funeral in 3 weeks - 2 of which we were active participants in the ritual and not just visitors. Rather depressing weekends:(

Anyway, I am always bemused by the elaborate rituals of Chinese funerals, - the chanting, the folding of 'gold paper', the burning of the gigantic paper mache house, cars, servants, and nowadays credit cards, dvd player and even 'CD' of popular singers. Do the deceased family seriously think that all these paperworks will miracloulsy turn into solid gold/structure wherever the deceased is? However, to preserve the peace, I normally participate in these rituals. I don't really see any harm in sitting and listening to the chanting since I don't understand a single word of it or hold a joss stick in my hand although I know most of my Christian friends will freak out. To me, the act of holding a joss stick is more a form of paying respect for the deceased just like other religion lay flowers. 

Enough of death, apart from the 4 funerals (hopefully no more to come for a good long time), the past weekend also saw 2 babies' 1 month shower and 1 children birthday party so it wasn't that bad a weekend. Sort of balance out the death.

Friday, April 17, 2009

A Tourist in my own Country

I have not walked along Orchard Road for a long long time so tonight after catching a movie, instead of taking the train at the nearest station at Somerset, decided to take a slow stroll down Orchard Rd.

It was slightly afte 9pm. There are many people still walking around. Interestingly, a lot of young men were wearing hats, yea hats and not caps and some young ladies have scraves drapped over their shoulder and in long sleeve and long black stockings. for a moment, I thought I was in Hongkong except the stifling heat and humidity was a constant reminder of where we actually were. 

Speaking of heat and humidity, I really can't understand this craze of eating Al Fresco in Sg. It is so hot and so humid how does one need in comfort much less sit there for hours on end chitchatting the hours away?

Wanted to see what was the big improvement that the STB did but as far as I could see, from the stretch of road from Orchard Turn to the Orchard MRT, there didn't seem to be much changes. The most noticeable new things were the glass murals dotting the walkway. Other than that I didn't see any different (maybe the tiny strip of lights on the floor?)

Walking along the road, gawking at the hoardings, the people, and the buildings, I felt like a tourist in my own country. Which brings me to my next point. At 9.30pm, almost 90% of shops were closed or closing. By 10pm, all the little carts and stalls in the food level of the major stores were packed up and done for the day. I feel that it is a waste to close so early. And the retail shops are complaining of poor sale! They should follow the example of Hong Kong and have late night shoppings if not every night at least on Friday and Saturday.

Most time I am in and out of a shopping mall or hotel there in double quick time and do not go out to street level so despite the heat and grouses, I enjoyed that little walk. Now if only the govt can air con the whole stretch of Orchard Road. 

Monday, April 13, 2009

Getting Ready....

After the funeral on Tues, Mum asked us to follow her out on Friday morning. Where did she bring us to? The temple where she usually goes. Her purpose? To show us where she wants the wake to be held and the place for the ancestral tablet to be placed when her times come. Gross?

I guess the death of somebody who is her peer had rattled her much more than we realized. Should have known when after one visit to the wake, she refused to go again citing tiredness. Not like her.

Maybe it is better. At least when the time comes, we know what to do. (hands firmly on woodJ) but hopefully that will be a long long time in the future.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Miracle Breakthrough Service

For the first time in many many years, I stepped into a church, not for a wedding service but for service. But it was nearly not meant to be.

It was Good Friday and at the invitation of a good friend, M & I went to Lighthouse Evangelism at Tampines for their Good Friday Miracle Breakthrough service. Maybe I really have been out of the church scene for too long but things really have changed. We got there late as we had problem finding a parking lot and had to park much farther away. And when we finally reached the church, I was so surprised that it was full and people were milling outside because they couldn't go in and the usher refused to let anybody in. That was it! At that moment, I thought this wasn't meant to be M time to hear the Lord's message. But our friend, who had invited us came through in the end and she and her children gave up their seats for us so in the end we managed to go in. Thanks Mich but a church turning people away? That was something I certaininly had never expect to see.

And there was a second surprise for the evening. The hall we were in was on the first floor and the service was being conducted from the church at Woodland and broadcast live. That was something new to me. I have heard about this of course but somehow it wasn't the same looking at somebody on a video screen and singing along without a worship leader. And the thing is we were on one floor and there was another 2 floors of people looking at the same video broadcast. Which was really so unreal to me.

This wasn't a worship service. Rather as named, it was a Miracle Breakthrough, an evangelical and healing service for the non-believer and sick. The 3rd surprise was hearing the testimony of 2 Mediacorp artises, Rayson Tan and Chen Liping. I didn't know they were Christian. More surprising was that it was another Mediacorp artiste, Li Naxing who introduced them to Christ. The testimony was done interview style by Pastor Rony Tan and centres on their lifes before Christ and how they accepted Christ.

This was followed by a call for non-believers to stand up and accept Christ. Was M sufficiently touched by the testimony? Apparently not, caused she stayed put in her seat but in a way I am not sad. I could like it that should she one day choose to accept Christ, it will not because of some charismatic pastor and emotional feeling from the service or pressure from anybody but because she is ready and sure. Just like Chen Liping. In her sharing, she was the first one to felt the touch of the Spirit and the call of God but it was Rayson Tan, who was brought up in a traditional Taoist family and who was by their own accord very supersitious and religious who accepted Christ earlier while Chen Liping took some time to be 'ready'.

This segment was followed by a mass 'healing' session. Now while I accept that God can perform miracles and healing, I am always uncomfortable by mass session like this. Maybe I should just go to a traditional church although I think those are a dying breed judging by the number of flourishing 'modern' chuch. Even Lighthouse, when I was a student worshiping at Jubilee Church, Lighthouse which was actually a breakaway church from Jubilee had just a handful of members worshipping in a small rental shophouse at Holland V. Look at how it has grown! Anybody know of any traditional church to recommend?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

From Astroboy to ???

Some years ago, when the movie AI was out in the cinemas, a lot of my Christian friends were making a lot of 'noise' about it; their main objections to it being that only God can create humans and human cannot create life. The movie was of course set in a future world where human and robots live side by side and the robots are so life like and human in nature that they take the place of children. I laughed at their objections. After all, it was only a movie.

Now I guess fiction is fast becoming fact. Japanese scientist have moved on from creating robot dogs to creating a robot child, one that can touch, feel and response to stimuli. From the pictures published so far, this is by far the most human like robot ever created. In fact, this robot has been programmed to learn and develop social skill. Just like a real baby. More info can be found here and here.

So the Japs have move on from Astroboy to Robotboy. Will a world like that in AI become a reality? I think the answer is not yes or no but when and the unthinkable will it happen? Will robots take over the world.......

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Soo Jung Cho

Beautiful things should be shared and not hidden. Someone emailed me a link to her website (hope not a virus scam) which contained beautiful visuals created by the artist.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Right to die

Much has been said in the papers and debated hotly over the right to die. Most time, most people argued passionately about it and usually the pro camp are those who have been in a situation before whereas the against camp are those with strong religious beliefs and those who have not been in such situation before and do not fully comprehend the impact of the right to die.

Let me said that I am pro life but I am also pro right to die. My views like many people however applies only to myself – ie if I am so sick and suffering from an incurable disease, I rather be allowed to die with dignity than suffer for long period and in the process drag loved ones into misery. The pro life part of me said that life is precious, a gift from God and we should treasure and nurture it to the best of our ability and not destroy what God creates. So what happened when something like that occurs? 

I have never actually thought too much about it but yesterday at CGH, I found myself contemplating this as I visited a relative who has been warded there. She was already ‘brain dead’ and apparently being kept ‘alive’ for 2 to 3 more days. I am not too sure what are the reasons for keeping her alive. Is it that none of the children was willing to make the decision to pull the plug preferring to just let her go on her own or they can’t bear to be parted? Thank goodness, the call was not mine to make. But as I stared at her and looked at her children standing watch, I could feel the dilemma, the burden they carried as they struggled with the decision of when to let her go. And I wondered……..