Thursday, April 10, 2014


I wonder what the response will be from the Ministry of Health to this mother's letter in the Straits Times....

Polyclinic doctors don't have it easy

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.
Chew Ghim Lian (Ms)

Saturday, April 05, 2014


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.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Birthday Reflection

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 friends.

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 clich├ęd 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 rest! 

Thursday, February 13, 2014


I have been watching this program on TV, which makes me wonder how different (and more fulfilling, perhaps?) my professional life would have been if I had had the opportunity to follow my passion?

(Not a regret, but one cannot help but wonder).

Thursday, February 06, 2014


I wonder why movie theaters crank up the volume so high?

A & I watched "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" on Lunar New Year's Day (oh so festive of us) and during the scenes with car chases/bombs exploding/guns shooting, the decibel levels were high enough to hurt my ear drums.

I resorted to putting in ear plugs which I always carry in my purse (a habit I developed thanks to the various very loud rock gigs I attended when my boys were performing in high school).  Even with ear plugs on, the volume was high enough that I could still hear the dialog being spoken in the movie.


Friday, January 24, 2014


So in the last few days, this guy has been in the news in Singapore for making disparaging remarks about Singapore/Singaporeans on the social media.  He has received death threats & Singaporeans have been up in arms & demanding for his deportation.

I am not defending this fellow.  He sounds like an obnoxious pr*** with a holier-than-thou attitude towards the country that is his cash cow.  I feel sorry for his wife & son.  They did not deserve receiving threats due to his stupidity.    I am pretty sure that many foreigners working in Singapore are there basically, just to make a living.  They may not like the behavior or attitudes of the local folks, or may not like the public transport; comparisons with their home countries are inevitable, and they may even share the same sentiments as Mr Casey.  As someone who has lived overseas, I can certainly understand & empathize (although I don't agree with the mean-ness of his remarks).

But has he broken any laws?  The way I see it, what he is guilty of is sheer stupidity.  Why put these insults on the Internet for all to see?  He obviously did not see how this would affect not just himself, possibly his career, but also his family.  Even high school kids are warned about putting dubious comments & diatribes on the social media, as these sorts of things can be seen by potential colleges & future employers.

I ask this of people who are demanding deportation: reflect on your own attitudes & even comments made in the past.  Have you ever made a remark about a particular group of people or a particular country which may be insulting to them?  Really.   Think hard.  I know I have, & I'm not proud of it.  It may not have been as blatantly obnoxious as what Mr Casey has said, but still, not pleasant, and usually said in the height of annoyance.

Does he deserve deportation?  No.  I don't think such a drastic measure is needed.  He may face punitive actions from his employer, and possibly even be fired.   He should be made to do some kind of community service to learn what it is like to be "poor" in Singapore.  Perhaps then, he will learn his lesson, and hopefully impart some good values to his son.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Call me a Scrooge or just plain lazy but our home was devoid of Christmas decorations this year.  A big reason why is because 99% of our Christmas decorations are in storage.  And who has room for a tree anyway?

I saw the malls & shops all decked out in Christmas decorations but somehow did not feel the Christmas spirit; it just felt so commercial.  Hong Kong &, I think, Singapore as well, "celebrate" American holidays like Easter (chocolate bunnies & Easter egg hunts, which, the way I see it, has nothing to do with the resurrection of Christ), and Halloween (this was something I only read about or watched on TV when I was growing up).  Retailers do a whopping business marketing Christmas presents, & Easter/Halloween candies, and fancy dress costumes for trick-or-treating (or in the case of adults, partying).

Now, Chinese New Year is coming and the decorations started going up as soon as Christmas was over.  It will be another quiet one for us this year, just A & I.  I asked him: "I'm trying to decide whether to put up CNY decorations or not.  Should I?"
His answer: "Why?  We would just need to take them down again."

I guess I'm not the only Scrooge in the family.

Happy Year of the Horse everyone.