I've said many times & to many people that being an empty nester has been very liberating. However, that doesn't take away from the fact that I am missing Us, the Family Unit. Whether it is sitting at the dinner table, talking about stuff or watching a movie together then dissecting the storyline after, or just being in the same room while surfing the Internet, I do miss Us.
I don't consider myself religious. Spiritual, perhaps, but not religious. I used to think I was Christian back in my teenage years, but I blame that on youthful susceptibility to peer pressure (my close friends went to church, and so I did too). As I got older and was exposed to more & varied types of people, I became jaded by those who called themselves Christian but were not good in how they behaved towards others (ethically), and their attitude towards those who did not believe. Their evangelicalistic zeal (aka "Believe that Jesus is your Saviour or you will go to hell!!!" diatribes) turned me off from the religion.
But don't get me wrong, I still prayed to God although that has lapsed in the recent years. I guess my perception of religion & a superior being has evolved over the years. Whether that Being is called God, or Allah, or Buddha, or Yahweh, to me it doesn't matter. What matters to me is for people to NOT be hypocritical. Don't kill or behave badly or show disrespect or abuse others in the name of your religion & your God. The God that I believe in is not a cruel one who would ask us to kill or rape or maim or curse in His name.
I seldom talk about religion with my friends. I have friends who are Christian, Catholic, Buddhist, Muslim, atheists, agnostics. My true friends don't preach to me about their beliefs and I, in return, don't preach to them. I generally stay away from those who are overzealous in their religious fervor. I do not want to be told that I will go to hell if I don't believe. You see, I don't believe that I will go to hell. I am not even sure if I believe that there IS one. Perhaps our consciousness will pass on to another existential plane. I just don't know. For me, I just want to live this physical life the best I can. Be good (as good can be). Be kind (as much as possible). Do no harm.
The reason why I am writing this is because I prayed two days ago, after a lapse of God-only-knows how many years. I haven't prayed in a long time. I used to pray about exams, and about my personal life. But honestly, life has been good to me, so that is probably the reason why I haven't done so in so long. But I prayed two days ago, because a close relative of mine, who has been living with chronic myelogenous leukemia for several years, just took a turn for the worse. His blood work showed that it was turning into the blast phase with accompanying deterioration of his physical condition.
So I prayed.
Today I found out that his latest blood test shows that the blast count has dropped, his white count & platelets have also come up.
I AM the mother of a polyclinic doctor and would like to give a different perspective to Ms Evelyn Ong Foo Chou's letter ("So hard to consult a polyclinic doc"; Tuesday).
After waiting for hours, some patients are likely to be frustrated and angry when they enter the doctor's consultation room. They want to get a consultation worth their wait.
But how do you expect the doctor to give them more "eye-contact time" when he has to document the patient's medical history, conduct the medical examination, reach a diagnosis and write the prescription - all within a matter of minutes - given that he has to fulfil a minimum quota of 60 patients a day?
Some patients express their frustration through anti-social behaviour, such as stealing the doctor's mobile phone, using abusive language when they do not get the prescription or medical certificate they want, or crushing the queue slip and throwing it at the doctor.
Many polyclinic doctors do not even have time for a proper lunch and often eat junk food from the vending machine.
Which doctor would want to work in a polyclinic when locum jobs in the private sector pay three times more, with one-third the patient load?
If there were no bond in place for Singapore's medical graduates, more than half of them would have already left the service.
It's almost the end of my trip to Singapore. It's been a special trip filled with birthday celebrations & reunions, both family & friends.
Carpe Diem is my motto for my next century of life. I plan to hold my loved ones close, and appreciate them more as I realize that life is not that long, and especially when one lives far from one's family & friends, every moment spent together are treasured pearls.
I turn 50 this weekend – another milestone in this journey
called life. And what an adventure this
life has been! As I reflect upon half a
century of life on this Earth, I am thankful for all that I have: a family I
adore, a life so full of experiences that most people only read about, and friends…dear
We are made up of bits and pieces - the family we grew up
in, the friends we have had relationships with, the experiences we’ve had. I don’t say it enough, but I love my family:
my parents, obviously, for bringing me into this world, bringing me up, for the
sacrifices they’ve made to make sure that we were all provided for. It sounds clichéd but being a parent has made
me realize how tough & never-ending this “job” is - sleepless nights, tough
decisions made, sacrifice, anxiety, elation, mistakes and love, so much love.
I am thankful for friends who have remained steadfast
through the years no matter how long or far apart we have stayed, they are the ones
with whom I can pick up where we left off as if I was never gone. I am thankful for the new friends I’ve made
in our semi-nomadic life, living in four different countries in the last few
decades. I have learnt that a) you’re
never too old to make good friends, b) friends come in many shapes, sizes,
colors & backgrounds, and c) no matter who or where we are & where we
come from, fundamentally, deep down inside, we all want the same things in
life: love, & good health for our
families & ourselves.
I am even thankful for those used-to-be good friends who
have since drifted away; whether due to family or work commitments or just the
fact that priorities change as life situations change, I want to say thank you
for your friendship in the past.
Many people ask if I have any regrets in taking the path I
have taken. I can’t say that I
have. If I had known then what I know
now, I probably would have chosen a different field of study, or made different
decisions or taken different actions.
But as they say, hindsight is always 20-20, and I DIDN’T know then what
I know now. So whatever paths taken
& forks in the path chosen were done so for the right reasons at the
time. So, no… no regrets.
Because my family & friends are scattered throughout the
globe, I have decided to celebrate not my 50th birthday, but my 50th
year - a series of celebrations with
loved ones whenever the opportunity arises in whichever country I happen to be
in. 50.1 & 50.2 have already taken
place in the USA. I look forward to the