Monday, 31 December 2007

Happy New Year! Happy 2008!...




It's the New Year! You can be as naughty as you wish! =)




Hey-Ho!



It's 2008 already, and I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of you and your loved ones a wonderful New Year, and to wish all of you the very best of the coming year...May you be blessed with love, health, peace, faith, trust, success, prosperity and wealth...



I will be taking an indefinite leave (short one) from the blogging world to see to some personal matters...

I hope to come back soon...Don't worry, I will 'announce' my return by visiting your blogs (Haha!)...Till then, take care, and Happy New Year to one and all!






Note: If you need to contact me on urgent business (or if you just happen to miss the sound of my voice!), do drop me an sms or give me a call...Emails are fine too, but I will take a while to reply...=)



Friday, 28 December 2007

Boys, Guys, Men: You There?...



Today I wanted to share two experiences in the hospital which I was a part of...




First Case:-


The first one was when I was called up by one the pediatrician's and told about a boy about the age of 17, who was suffering from depression...



Dr *Susan stopped me one day on my way to Chee Keong's bed and asked if I was willing to work with a teenager, instead of a child...She said she understood if I said no, and I wasn't obliged to take up the case...


I said I was willing to hear her out...



Dr Susan told me about this 17 year-old boy, who was very depressed and who frequently entertained suicidal thoughts...He has even attempted to take his own life before...

Dr Susan said that despite her and the other doctors' attempts at breaking the ice with him, and reaching out to him, they have all failed...



She asked if I was willing to try and work my so-called 'magic', since I have suceeded in bonding with Chee Keong...



Dr Susan also told me that this 17 year-old boy was very clingy by nature, and that he was prone to become very dependent on a person, should he like the person and trust him/her



Dr Susan said to me: "You have to tell him that you set the rules of the meetings with him, and that he is to know that in any time you feel uncomfortable, or you feel there might be any damage to any side, you have the right to terminate the relationship. And most importantly, don't give him your contact number, and don't let him blackmail you into staying with him or doing things for him."...


She added: "All meetings will be official and documented, and you will meet in the Counselling Room in the Pediatric Ward. We will be near by so you can always call if you need help"...




I asked for some time to think about it, and came home to discuss it with my mother, and later with my 'boss' at the Medical Social Work Department, Mrs D...

After some thinking, I turned Dr Susan down...



I felt bad, but I realised I needed to take this step (to which both my mum and Mrs D agreed)...


You see, I was about 20 years old, and most obviously a girl (although yes, I don't always behave or look like one!)...

I was worried what might happen if this boy actually trusted me enough to confide in me...There was the problem that Dr Susan herself said might happen, and that he might actually become dependent on me...



I also was worried he might mistake my concern and care as love...After all, he was a depressed young man...If a young lady about the same age as him suddenly starts paying him all the attention he has not got, won't it be easy to mistake the concern as 'she likes me'? Or worse, what if he transfers his needs and clingy-ness into an 'I like her'?




That was when the emotional blackmail would come in...And I didn't think I could deal with that, on top of a baby whose daily needs had to be seen to!


Dr Susan respected my decision, and she thanked me for considering her request, which I was most grateful for...I was, of course, most grateful she even thought about me in trying to reach out to this boy...



*Note: Name has been changed...


***



Case Two:-


I was called by Mrs D one day, and she told me of CW, this 15 year-old boy in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) who was suffering from Osteosarcoma of the Sternum...Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer...


CW's mother had just come down to her office and cried, lamenting about how lonely and sad CW was...


Mrs D asked if I could keep CW company, as he was lonely, and very down...




CW, was from a Chinese School in Ipoh, and he was due to sit for his PMR later in the year...Although he was undergoing chemotherapy and had just had a part of the bone in his rib cage removed, he was determined to sit for his PMR, something which I really admire...

I suppose that was one part of his life which he had control of, and he wanted to have as much normalcy in his life as possible....



As he was very prone to infection, I had to wear a gown and a mask just to be able to see him (he was in the Isolation Room in the PICU)...


He was, unfortunately, very shy...He refused to talk much, refused to look me in the eye and even had problem calling me by name...Finally, I asked if he would like to call me Jie-Jie, and he nodded...

It was kinda weird, cos, well, I was only about 4-5 years older than him!




I was sent to keep CW company, and to be his friend...I think, at the end of the day, I made friends with his parents instead...


They kept saying thank you for coming to see their son, and told me the whole story of his (and their family's) journey through cancer, and what the doctors now had in mind for CW...They also told me CW was very shy around girls...



I could not do much for him or his family, because it turned out that CW was to be transfered to University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) the next day for further treatment...


I did what I could for that day, like helping them buy lunch, helped CW with some of his homework, stuff like that...The thing I did most was listen as they talked...And I think that was what they needed most...



The sad thing is, although I remember the details of that day very well, honestly, I cannot remember CW's actual name...I guess I meet so many children, that is is impossible to remember each and every one (although that should not be an excuse)...



***



The reason why I share these two stories is because I wanted to highlight one thing...


Although you mean well, sometimes the very simple basis of your sex stands in the way...You want to do certain things, but you can't risk the new friend you just met feel uncomfortable...




This is one of the reasons why I moved away from working in the Palliative Ward (Terminal Cancer)...



First of all, it is very depressing, and I used to come home every day very down and sad, because the new friend I just met, was in pain, and was going to die soon...

Secondly, it was very limiting in the sense that I could not work with male patients...At first, I was a little segan myself, but after a while, I got used to it...


Nevertheless, the male patients were still embarrassed...



Working in the Palliative Ward requires you to do the same thing for most patients...Encourage them to eat (sometimes, feed them), keep them company, talk and listen to them, give them gentle massages, help out with everyday 'chores' like cutting their nails, combing their hair etc, and also clean and bathe them...



I could not exactly bathe, clean and massage the male patients, could I?


So, I moved, to the babies and children's ward!



But, with (male) teenagers, I had my limitations, because they already know how to feel segan...



Which is why, we need a balance of female as well as male volunteers...Which is why I am hoping that people reading this might consider reaching out too!



Tuesday, 25 December 2007

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not...



Ok, I am sure you have experienced many forms of 'love issues' in your life...Whether vicariously, through a friend who never seems to be free of love troubles, or through your own messed-up love life...

So, I wonder if maybe all you older and more experienced folks out there could help me out here...



I always have one friend or another who has troubles, and after a while, I myself don't know what to do, and what to say...And really, sometimes I myself wonder what I would do if I was in that situation...


And this being X-Mas where everything is all lovey-dovey, I suddenly need to have these questions answered...Oh well, you get the picture, right?


So, let's play 'Dear Ding-Dong' (You're Ding-Dong!) today, ok? *Ding Dong is affectionate!*

Who knows? I might like your answer enough to give it as advice! Or use it...Whichever applicable...;)



Read below, situations which every girl/guy (change the sex accordingly) will face or hear their friends groan about...


What will you do, and/or advise your friend to do?



Situation One:-


You and your friend are in love with the same guy, she more than you...He doesn't know...And frankly, you think he likes you more...=) But your friend's heart is more likely to be crushed...



Situation Two:-


You like a friend, who is like two ends of a pole...One minute, he behaves like you are the centre of his universe, and another minute, he totally shuns you...He loves to tease you about well, you and you enjoy teasing him back...But when he is with other guys, he starts to gang up with them to bantai you...

He claims he has never looked at you out of the ordinary, but he'll be the first to notice if you cut your hair an inch, or if you're wearing a new pair of jeans, or even, hey! a new bra...

*But then again, I've been told that breasts are men's forte, and they always know*


He will never initiate an MSN conversation or sms, but when you start it, he never wants to end!



Situation Three:-


Your friend is lusting after you, because he feels you are hot...But that's the only thing (come on, you know what right?) he wants...



Situation Four:-


Ok...To me, friends of the opposite sex with partners are 'safe' friends (they're out of bounds), so long as their partner knows your stand...I for one, will always inform my friend if I am taking a lift from her boyfriend, or something...So, there won't be any misunderstanding...


But...Is it really safe? Just because you are sure of your stand, doesn't mean he is, right?

So, how close will you allow your friend of the opposite sex to be (he/she has a partner), before your 'Uh-Oh' siren comes on?



Situation Five:-


You like a friend, he likes you, but really both of your don't dare to open that gold mouth of yours, because you're not really sure if you read the signals right...But then one day, you went to say, a movie, and in the heat of the moment, make out, but both felt guilty because you're supposed to be 'just friends'...

Morover, you both don't really know anything about each other besides the fact that you both liked kissing (the other)...

Is that lust, infatuation, or is it worth taking a step further?



Situation Six:-


Oh My God! You're both about 15 (or 20) years apart! But hell, he follows you like a little puppy, and really, you find him quite interesting...



Situation Seven:-


What does a kiss on the cheek mean (between members of the opposite sex)? In Malaysian society, that is...I don't mean the air kiss...I mean, an actual kiss, one that is given deliberately...What do you mean when you give one, and what do you feel/think when another person gives it to you?

When would you give one?



Situation Eight:-


Do long distance relationships work?



***


Hehe...See, love is in the air...=)


Anyway, my stand is, if you like someone, tell him (I am quite a direct person lar), because chances are, if you like him, someone else out there might like him too...And if that someone tells him, you might lose the chance to be that someone special, all because you scared to lose your 'water face'...

But really, quite easier said than done, right?



And really (again), this advice of 'evaluating how important your friendship is first' is really quite stale already...So is 'you've got nothing to lose, so just tell him'...




Disclaimer: Any similarities to any person, in any of the given situations, are purely coincidental...Read: I am not hinting at any one out there...=)


Sunday, 23 December 2007

"The Best Presents Don't Come in Boxes"...




Dear all,


The owner of this blog will like to wish all readers, bloggers, their families and friends a very Merry Christmas, and a wonderful Happy New Year!

That's my Christmas hat from some kid's hospital-do last year!



Anyway, wanted to share some strips from dear Calvin & Hobbes, and both really made me teary-eyed, and want to give both of them a big hug...



"You Squeeze My Tears Out"...






"The Best Presents Don't Come in Boxes"...






Have a great year ahead, guys! And thank you for the wonderful friendship thus far...After all, to echo dear Hobbes: "The Best Presents Don't Come in Boxes"...


*Hugs*...



Thursday, 20 December 2007

Of Coffee, Midvalley, Kerpie, Mobbie, Yean Mei, and Me...



Phew...Sorry for going missing for a while...

I just got back from Penang and KL, and my body seems to think it has not slept for a few months!






The X-Mas decorations at MidValley MegaMall were cool! I was actually tempted to go and pose for pictures with the Santa Clauses and Elves! *Shy*




My best friend, Yean Mei and I went down to KL to get some stuff done...We stayed over at Cititel MidValley, and darn it, those people in the hotel need to learn a thing or two about being friendly...


They used to be better, you know! But nowadays, they seem to be quite an arrogant bunch of people (the housekeepers and bellboys were nice, friendly and polite, though)...

The room was satisfactory and up to mark, although the toilet gave me quite a shock when it regurgitated something that looked like Japanese Tofu (it didn't come from me!)...





Danny @ Kerp, and a smiling Chris @ Mob...




Anyway, met up with two bloggers, Kerp (Ph.D) (Danny) and Mob1900 (Chris) for dinner...

It was great getting to finally meet Danny, after only having had the chance to chat with him online...I had already met Mob, the Poster Master, during the BUM gathering, but this time, I got pictures!



Let it be known that getting Mob's picture (or so me and Danny think) in full is an achievement on its own! Muahaha...

In fact, to get him to smile, also have to 'threaten'...





Danny and Me! Check out the stowaway StarBucks (white) cup...




We went to Starbucks, where these two ding-dongs insisted we sit outside, where Yean Mei and I had a chance to experience dinner in excellent KL ambience...I was facing a huge construction site...There were a lot of sparks, there was a lot of noise (Drill...drill...drill, Dong...dong...dong), there was smoke, and we could hardly hear each other...



After a while, we gave up and retreated to Coffee Bean, where, we could finally hear each other! While the two guys chugged down 2 huge cups of iced coffee/tea/chocolate from StarBucks and Coffee Bean, I brought my first cup of Soy-Cappucinno into CB, where they threatened to report me for being a 'traitor'...*Grrr*






Chris and his mole (he loves it!), and me!




After a big hug, Danny left at about 10 pm with his cousin Imran, while Chris stayed on...

We chatted into the night (that would be 10.30pm...Haha!) where we were kinda 'shooed' home because the people turned off the central air-conditioning!






Clockwise from left: Imran (Darn, he's tall!), Yean Mei, Me and Danny in his Yellow Wheels...




The next day, Yean Mei and I met a nice cab driver on our way to Menara Tan & Tan, near KLCC...We went there to get some forms from the Canadian High Commission...Security was high, and we even had to surrender our phones!


We then decided to walk to KLCC (walk straight, right, left, right, left, go round)...




We also joked about getting into the fountain outside the Twin Towers and shouting "We want to meet Tun Dr Mahathir and we're not getting out till he says ok!", but we knew we won't actually gain anything except some stares, some glares, some people taking photographs of these two psychos, and some security guards who will drag us out...




Anyway, I'll leave the rest of our trip out...The traffic on the way back home was a complete killer though...Crawl, crawl, it went...In fact we took about four-and-a-half hours for an otherwise two-and-a-half hour journey...

Whatever it is, it was great getting to spend time with Yean Mei after soooo long!







Wednesday, 12 December 2007

"My Momma Always Said: Life Is Like a Box of Chocolates..."




Forrest Gump: "I'm not a smart man... but I know what love is".




You know, I have been watching a few Malaysian shows lately...And among the few shows I have watched (sorry, I don't keep track of these titles), a few featured Orang Kurang Upaya's (OKU)...



The first one I watched, featured a child with Down Syndrome...

The second one had a teenager who was mentally slow...

And the third one, had a child of about 8 years, who by the looks of it (I don't know for sure), had Cerebral Palsy (CP)...




What struck me was this:-

All the children/teenager portrayed in the shows had one thing in common...





They were all portrayed by people who were 'normal', and who all portrayed their characters as complete idiots...They reminded me of someone who is trying to mock Aznil Nawawi, by exaggerating all his antics and jokes...



It is quite obvious the people who portrayed these characters never bothered to study the people they were portraying, and equally obvious the director of the show had no idea about the character he/she was directing...



Because if you really look at it, these special people are not idiots...They may behave differently and communicate differently, but hell, they are not idiots who go about crying, screaming, making messes everywhere, and creating havoc! And worse, these special people are not all mentally mad, who talk to themselves and laugh hysterically and pull their hair!

And to think that all (the characters) were portrayed as a shame on their family...



Each special condition has a different way of presenting themselves...How can it be that all the special people portrayed had the same way of behaving (terribly)?




I have met kids with Down Syndrome, who with proper intervention, are doing very well...I have also met kids with Down Syndrome who did not get proper intervention, but who despite that, don't go about creating havoc and being a general nuisance and embarrassment...


Just last week, my mother and I saw a young lady with Down Syndrome shopping in the mall...alone! She was properly dressed and she went about on her own, and never made a nuisance!




As for mentally slow/retarded, it does not equate embarrassment, idiot or nuisance!




And for Cerebral Palsy, well, they aren't pain-in-the-necks either...Chee Keong had CP, and he was terrily spastic on the limbs, with a whole host of other problems, and was mentally slower than children his age...But he could communicate his likes/dislikes, and he could understand instructions...And he was very lovable!



There are many types of Cerebral Palsy and different levels of severity...Some are affected mentally, while others are not...But these children are lovable ones...Some don't talk at all (they can't), some only smile or giggle, some are only comfortable with their parents and family, while some can't communicate at all (except, say, show pain) because of severe damage in their brains...




But, they aren't pain-in-the-butts like those portrayed...They are not a hybrid of Aznil Nawawi+Jim Carrey+Eddie Murphy gone horribly wrong!

*Note: I have nothing against these 3 people*





If a person on the street describes people with disabilities as an idiot, that I can understand...Not everyone is lucky enough to meet these special people and communicate with them...Not everyone reads...(Of course, ignorance is not an excuse)...



But I would think that if you are a director/film producer/actor/actress etc portraying a character who has disabilities, it is your duty to do some homework, and come up with something befitting and respectful...I think you owe it to the community who watches your shows to paint the correct picture...




Has anyone here ever watched the movie 'Riding the Bus With My Sister' or even 'Forrest Gump'? I think Rosie O'Donnell and Tom Hanks showed us all the side of these special people we need to remember and teach the young children about...


That underneath all their disabilities, there is a person underneath...A person with feelings, who is capable of being hurt. who is capable of loving, who is capable of being independent, and who deserves our time, love and respect...But more importantly, they are people who can teach us a lot...




And they deserve movies portraying them that is not making a joke out of the whole thing...It might be a comedy, but that does not mean mocking is acceptable, or even funny...



Sunday, 9 December 2007

And You Thought You Knew Me?...





Somebody wrote to me yesterday and challenged me to share some stuff about myself that the readers of my blog might not know (unless they're really close friends)...

I thought I'd take up the challenge...Sounds interesting!




10 Weird Things You Probably Didn't Know About Me:-



1) After my STPM, I died my hair purple...Three times...=)

My mum freaked when I told her over the phone...I always talked about wanting to do it, but she thought I was joking!

When I walked in the door, she was ready to freak, and then she had a good look and said: "Nice...Very Nice..."

Incidentally, a month back, she suddenly suggested I dye my hair a dark blue...Maybe I would take that up!




2) I once babysitted a few pythons in a row...The first one tried to strangle me, and I later found out that it was changing its skin...Snakes are more sensitive when changing skins, and they prefer their handlers during these times...

The snake-handler should have told me before he passed me the snake, no?




3) When volunteering and travelling in India, I received a total of 32 marriage proposals!

first day I was there, a guy stopped me on the road and asked me where I was from...Startled, I answered: "Singapore"...

And bolted...

5 weeks later, I went back to the area, and suddenly, this guy comes up to me and says: "Ms Singapore, you came back!"

I said: "Huh?"




4) Which brings me to the next point: I make a terrible liar...Because I have a horrible memory...

I don't remember who I told what to, so the best thing is to stick to the truth...

I also have a terrible conscience...Which is why when I do something bad, I will be the first person to rat on myself...*Darn*




5) My Left Foot is bigger than my Right Foot by about an inch...Seriously...One lady once told me: "God! You'll never get a husband with such big feet!"...

Enough said!




6) Quite a few people who meet me for the first time think I am of mix-blood-parentage...I have had quite a few people come up to me asking if I am Korean, or Japanese (small eyes wor!)...Some think I am half Indian, because I supposedly role my tongue...

I speak Kedahan Malay, so many Malay people (especially those gerai people) ask me if "Mak Melayu, ke?"...





I have since learned to Chinese-ify my Malay...


The real truth?

I am 1/8 Siamese...




7) I want a tattoo...Mum says: "You can get one...But only on the place where nobody ever sees it..."

That will leave my butt and my breast...


That's mum's way of saying: "No"...




8) I am essentially an introvert...Although many people would not believe me...

I prefer spending time alone, reading, then out partying with friends...I need my alone, time-out time everyday, otherwise I become grouchy...I would rather write in my journal then yakking on the phone...I would rather have a long talk with a friend over coffee, then meet up with say, 6 people...


I love interacting with people, but I have my limits...After my limit is hit, I need my time-out for a few hours...Otherwise, grouchy it is...




9) I broke my hand twice as a child...Same hand, same exact spot...Once when I was 4 years old, and again when I was 7...

Physiotherapy was very new at that time, so the doctors didn't tell my parents about it...


The result? My right arm is over-extended by 35 degress...While people have straight arms (180 degrees), mine is 215 degrees!

And my right arm can't reach behind my back...




10) I used to nurse sick fruit-bats at home...My school, a Convent, had many bats around...When we turned on the lights in the morning, they would become delirious, and would hit the fan, or the windows etc...I used to bring them home and wash their wounds with Acriflavin, and feed them Kiwi Fruits...=) Those who died in school, would be buried...

I also have been known to bring home sick kittens, injured birds, huge grasshoppers who lost a leg or two (once, my cat actually managed to ate the pair I brought home!), and a few other animals...



When I was 10, I even offered to babysit my primary school's pond-terrapin (about the size of a dinner plate) during the school holidays, to the immense chagrin of my horrified parents! They made me take it back! =(




Oh, and I have always wanted an iguana as a pet...Mum said: "No, and I am not discussing this..."

Dad said: "How about I catch a house lizard for you and spray it green?"


Yuck! I am terrified of the house lizards!







There you go...Some crazy stuff you probably didn't know about me...


What about you? Tell me weird, crazy stuff about yourself too!






Thursday, 6 December 2007

Siti Aisya: She Smiles!...



I think the smile from the little girl says it all...=) Photo taken during Aisya's 4th Birthday...




Dear everyone,

It has been about nine months since the Aisya Campaign, and I am very happy to tell everyone that things are doing great!





Somwhere around early September, there was a Karnival Bergerak for all the Usahawan Bimbingan MARA, and out of the showcased 138 stalls, the Shahidan's stall placed 7th, out of the Top 10! Mr Shahidan was even interviewed on RTM (Radio) Perak to promote his product...

The Shahidan's now have their own shop to process their products...The Shop has a signboard that says 'Usahawan Bimbingan Mara', and from what I hear, things are doing great! Unfortunately, I have not had the time to actually see the shop, so I can't tell you much or share pictures with you, and my apologies for that...




The hospital physiotherapist has told me that Aisya is doing great in terms of her weight...The milk and food that has been sponsored is clearly doing her very well! The hospital physiotherapist also told me they are now trying to teach Aisya to walk properly...

The campaign saw many people visiting the Shahidan's at their home, and that has done another good thing for dear Aisya...She is not so afraid of people anymore, and can actually sit with the visitors, on her parents' lap! A far cry from the child who would get terrified at the sound of unfamiliar voices and footsteps...




I also wanted to share another great piece of news...Aisya is scheduled to remove the tube which she breathes through...The doctors think she is ready to learn to breathe on her own, and eat too! The surgery was initially scheduled for this December, but they have postponed it indefinitely...BUT, it is still in the plans for Aisya...



Which means the dear little girl is on the road to a better life, and she won't need to be suctioned so much anymore...=) The 'she-will-need-less-suctioning' is great news in itself!


This is wonderful news guys...I was hoping to give you all good news at the end of one year, but it looks like good news is coming after 9 months!



Some people also contacted me to send the Shahidan's Raya gifts...=)


I wish to take this opportunity to thank all the bloggers, sponsors, blogger-readers and well-wishers who came to Aisya's aid...


In my humble opinion, I think it would be a great idea if all the bloggers who posted Aisya's plight when we started this campaign, could do a final posting on Aisya on their blogs...Those who didn't post last time, but would like to do so, go ahead!



After all, there are many people who donated, prayed, helped and wished Aisya well who are not on my email list (sorry guys), and I think it would be great if they could hear these good news too...This would not have been possible without everyone, after all!


Of course, it is just my humble suggestion...=) If you don't want, no worries...




*Note: Unless there are further changes in things, this will be my last update on Aisya... =)




PS: I am smiling too...;)




Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Sorry About The Blunder!...



Hey Everyone,

Sorry, I have just been alerted by Puteri that the picture in my template is too big...Ah...


Let me apologise, because I actually didn't realise I changed it! I changed the picture in my profile (because I was sick of it, and because the photo actually belongs to someone else), and while adding something else to my template, I must have accidentally edited the header as well...


Sorry guys...Have been using a different computer for a while, and it doesn't download headers for me to see! My deepest apologies for glaring right at your face without realising, yeah?


Hehe...

Monday, 3 December 2007

Of Breasts, Plunging Necklines and Taugehs...



Portable ladders?



Ok, I don't know about the rest of you, but I am vertically challenged...

Yeah, I am short...




My brother, who is only 16, stands at about a head taller than me, no kidding! No point fighting with him, cos he can pin me to the wall with just one hand =(


Again, I don't know about you, but being short has its disadvantages, you know...


First of all, let me tell you that I don't wear heels very often because of some problem in my foot, so anybody thinking of suggesting that I wear heels to boost my height isn't going to help, k?




Anyway, one thing about being short is, it makes talking to guys difficult, if you plan on wearing something a little more revealing than say, a round-neck t-shirt, or a completely buttoned-up shirt...

Don't get me wrong, I am no voluptuous woman with super-endowed breasts, and I don't wear push-up, Wonder Woman Bras to enhance the Valley-Between-The-Mountain effect...


But still...



You remember the BUM 2007 meet? Well, i was actually thinking of splurging on this super-nice black top which I found while shopping with my mum...It is completely black, and hugs the figure very nicely...It comes with a huge black bow that starts at the front, and which encircles to the back, to give it this corset-meets-kimono (the bow) effect...




But...


It had a plunging decolletage, and covers just enough to make it pass as decent...But still, there was no hiding the fact that all the attention was centred on the bust, on in my case, the lack of it lar...


But, it was hot...The dress, not me...


When I came out with it, the first question my mum asked was: "Are there more guys or girls in the event?"



Honestly, when she said that, the first few faces that popped up were:


1) Rocky
2) Jeff Ooi
3) Howsy



And I could not really name anyone else...

So I said: "Guys, I think"


To which mum said, while with this twinkle in her eye: "You do realise when guys talk to you, they have to look down right? And this top, although gorgeous, is going to give them quite a lot to see huh? But it is very nice"



I ditched the top...


I mean, not fair to the guys right, to put them in such an awkward position...After all, I want them to maintain eye-contact when they talk to me, and to look at my face, they do have to look down...I wouldn't want them to accidentally drop a shrimp down my chest too, you know (not purposely lar!)!

*Girls can never win this game*...





But then again, a male-friend of mine, while half-drunk (I suspect) told me: "It's always about the breasts...Even if you're all covered up, we look for the breasts...Either that, or the legs..."



Is that true? Anybody out there wanna agree or disagree? Come on, there is more to a girl than her breasts, you know...





Haih...The perils of being short!



Being short also means when you want to reach up to get something high up, you always need help...Either that, or risk your clothes riding way up as you reach for the stars...Again, I don't know about you, but it sucks when you always need to wait for some guy to show up to get things off high shelfs for you when there isn't a chair in sight!

Deng...







Ok, now picture that short red-shirt, fat man as me, a girl...




Being short also means some people can decide to make you their shoulder rest...I have had male friends who will rest their hands on my shoulder, and even my head, for support when they are tired! Just because they are tall...Sheesh...

Who am I going to rest my hands on, huh, you tell me?







I don't want this either...




I am not saying I want to be taller than the guys (because if so, when we meet, they would be staring directly at the chest!), but being slightly taller would give me less of a neckache when I have to keep cocking my head upwards...




I have friends who are so tall, I actually ask them to sit down when they talk to me, so I don't get that much of a neckache...

And when I want to look for my brother and dad in the crowd, it is easy, cos they tower quite some people...But for them to find me, sheesh!





You know what people say about eating loads of kacang panjang (long beans) and taugeh (bean sprouts), and you'd grow taller?

Bull lar...I come from Ipoh, Land of Taugeh, and I am still short...Unlike that brother of mine who doesn't like vegetables...



Oh well, guess I'd look on the bright side...At least I have legs! =)



Friday, 30 November 2007

Postnatal Depression: What Are We Doing?...




From the Anne Geddes Collection...I love her work (posters, photos, diaries, plush toys etc)...Anyone know of shops selling them in Malaysia, do inform me!




Today I want to share with you a story I learnt while volunteering in the Neonates Ward in the hospital...


During my two week break a while back, I went back to the hospital to volunteer...Somehow, being away, makes me miss those little kuti babies =)



In one of the nurseries, I saw two identical babies in cots side-by-side...Above their heads, their BHT's (Bed-Head-Ticket) were labelled 'Twin One' and 'Twin Two'...





Twins!



I was busy cooing at them when one of the twins put his tongue out at me, and broke into a grin...Now, from my very little experience, I knew this was definitely not a newborn, because newborns don't stick their tongue out at you, and they don't mimic facial expressions...



True enough, I checked and they were slightly over two months old...

So, why were they still in the nursery? After all, they were not jaundiced, and they were feeding well, and they looked like they were growing just fine! And both twins still in the hospital???


And then the nurses told me the story...



Their mother, a teacher, was a first-time mother...And she was suffering from postnatal-depression...



She refused to take the babies home, and she said (according to the nurses) she wanted to give her babies up because she can't cope...In the first few days, she even refused to touch her babies...



To be honest, I don't even remember what race they were...After all, I see so many babies and twins, and having no names yet, it is harder to remember them individually...Anyway, their race was immaterial...It was their story that caught my eye...



The nurses told me the pakar of the ward had stated she wasn't going to release the babies until the mother was ready...In the meantime, the mother was being given counselling, and the nurses were helping her to become more in-tuned with her maternal instincts...





Think all babies are like cartoon-figured who feed themselves? Nope! You gotta hold them properly, feed them, burp them...




Like teaching her how to cuddle her babies (twins are usually born much smaller than other babies), breastfeed them, clean them, dress them and teaching her how to communicate with them...


I came back and told my mum about the babies, and how their own mother said she did not want them...




In retrospect, I realised that postnatal depression is a very real thing...There are still many stigmas attached to it, but really, it can strike just about anyone, regardless of race or background...

Many people sometimes think it only affects those very young mothers, or those who are 'uneducated', or those who have babies out-of-wedlock, and the list goes on...




But the truth is, it can happen to anyone! This lady was a lady in her thirties, with a loving husband (or so I was told), and she was already financially secure...She is an educated lady, who taught Chemistry in High School (again, so I was told)...



*Note: When I returned to the hospital a month later, the babies had been discharged and last I heard, mum and babies are doing well!*




Anyway, imagine...

It's your first baby, and suddenly you realise you are getting two, instead of one! And suddenly, you realise you weren't all that ready to be a mother after all...






If you've never bathed a newborn before, it can be scary...




I learnt that we, as a society can do so much to help them...And maybe if we did, we wouldn't see so many babies being dumped and abandoned...Just because their mothers were probably not ready to raise little babies on their own!



But what happens when a baby gets dumped? We point fingers and we assume things (hey, I won't lie and be holy-moly...I've done it):-


Oh, not married lar!

Oh, not responsible lar!

Oh, no heart lar!




But did we think that maybe, just maybe, these mothers were suffering from depression? Maybe they were overwhelmed? Maybe they weren't getting the support they needed from their spouses, friends and family? Incidentally, don't their spouses share a portion of the 'blame'?!?



I am just thinking, if we only had doctors and nurses who took it upon themselves to help these mothers...If we only had (more) NGO's and volunteers who would reach out and help these mothers come to terms with the birth, the struggles that come with it, and to help these mothers look beyond their own short-comings, and embrace motherhood...



Motherhood is a very big journey...A simple thing like changing a diaper may be very difficult for someone who has never done so...Throw that in with the fact that some children are born so tiny, they are only a a kilo or two! How do you expect a lady to change her baby if she is not sure how to carry the child in the first place!






Aren't some babies tiny?




I can carry an premmie-infant as small as 1 kilo (about the size of my palm), and tiub-feed, change, dress and clean the little darling...

But I didn't always start out like that...I had to learn...I needed people to teach me, and to give me the assurance that I was doing the right thing...



Which is why we need more people who would do the right thing, and stop pointing fingers...The nurses and doctors of the neonatal ward are a shining example of compassionate human beings, and responsible ones too...*Clap Clap*

They could have said: "Pah! Your baby, your problem! We have newborns to worry about"...

But they didn't...



Maybe we can all do something too...


Doesn't have to be much...





We can offer to do baby's laundry!



For example, we could offer to show a neighbour who is a first-time mum how to bathe her child...We could give the new-mother a few hours of rest by offering to babysit for a while...We could help by helping the new-mother to do the laundry...At least, until she gets the 'hang' of it...=)


It is just to remind these mothers that they are not alone, and that help is available...



Of course, that is just me...

What do you think?




Note: All photos were taken from the web...No photography is allowed in the Neonate Wards, as children and infants have rights too!


Sunday, 25 November 2007

The Bloody Pressure...


An acquaintance I recently saw again said something the other day:-

"We have all been hearing about young people living with diabetes...But what about other supposedly 'old-people' diseases? Are there young people who live with it? What is it like getting these 'death sentences' early in life?"



I've been thinking about it...So, today, I'll tell you about something you don't read about often: An example of young people living with Hypertension...




Hypertension is called the silent killer for a reason...It is called the silent killer because there are often no symptoms, so most people don't realise they are suffering from it...By the time symptoms start to show, it might already be too late...





So what is sooo dangerous about hypertension? It is dangerous because it affects many vital organs (and systems) in the body, just like diabetes...Hypertension affects the heart, the kidneys, the eyes, the arteries, and the brain, just to name a few...



There are many people living with hypertension, and 90% of people suffering from hypertension have a condition known as Essential (or Idiopathic) Hypertension, which is a hypertension of unknown aetiology (reason)...But 10% of people suffer from something called Secondary Hypertension, which is a form of Hypertension caused by something else gone wrong...




Now back to the issue of young people living with hypertension...



Remember my friend S, who has a BMI of about 21, and was found to have a resting blood pressure of 150/105 at the age of 19? Well, till today, doctors don't know what is wrong with her...Some think it is Essential Hypertension manifesting as a fluke too early, too soon; Some think it is Secondary Hypertension...



The problem, is, which Secondary Hypertension?




She has been through the mill, from doctor to doctor, from clinic to clinic, from test to test...The only thing the doctors can agree on, is that there is something wrong, but they cannot agree on what that something is...




Do you know that today, at the fresh age of 22, S is on 3 different medications to fight her crazy blood pressure? And even then, the blood pressure is erratic, and has been known to fluctuate between a normal 110/70 to a high 160/115? When she is resting, mind you...




There are many things that S wants to do, but it is often not possible...



Why? Because a few things stand in the way...



For example, one of her medications, a Beta Blocker, make her tired too often, too soon...She can't run with her friends, or go to the gym, or go on a leisurely track up the hill...She wants to, but her body can't cope with the work...Because her medications cause her heart to slow down...

Which is the complete opposite of what is needed during exercise, right? When you exercise, you need you heart to pump faster to pump more blood to supply more oxygen, which would in turn give you more energy...But her medications do not allow her heart to pump as fast to cope with the increasing demand for oxygen...



It is sad, in a way...Young, and not able to join your friends when they decide to go say, bungee-jumping or something...Hey, even a hike up the hill is difficult...




Secondly, because her blood pressure is erratic, doctors have advised S against doing anything too strenous or out-of-the-ordinary, because they don't know how her body will be able to cope...So her parents are always worried if she might collapse...



S has to see the doctors every month, while they keep a hawk's eye over her blood pressure...The doctors have declared she will have to see them regularly for life...*Yucks*


She also has to take medication for life...She is already taking 3 now...I wonder how many she will take when she is, say, 50 years-old? *Shudder*


S also has to go for regular blood tests, and regular screening of certain body systems (like kidney and eyes) to make sure her blood pressure hasn't damaged them...


She also has to take her blood pressure regularly at home...Sometimes, when it is very high, she will be left with bruises on her arm from the deathly grip of the pressure cuff...


She is also firm friends with the ice-pack! Because headaches are also her friend (although this may not be directly related to the blood pressure)...




But I think the worst thing is this: How her blood pressure will affect her future chances of having a baby of her own?


After all, chronic hypertension increases your chances of getting preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced hypertension)...Her numerous medications also are of serious danger to a fetus in her womb, which means to safeguard the baby, she will need to stop her medications...


And stopping medications, will be detrimental to her...Doctors call people like S as people with high-risk pregnancies...





Hmmm...I don't know about you...But I never wondered what it must be like to have to watch your diet all the time (low salt, low fat, high rabbit-food), watch your weight all the time, worry about whether trying some new exercise/sport etc might make you collapse, or having to pop pills every morning like eating candy...


Quite yucky huh?



Here we have always read about how we should keep our blood pressure at around 120/80 to be healthy...Here we keep hearing about how if you have blood pressure that is higher than that continuously, you are at a higher risk of getting a/an aneurysm, stroke, heart attack or kidney failure...


Did you know that a perpetual increase of 20 mmHg Systolic (upper number) and/or 10 mmHg Distolic (lower number) doubles your chance of a heart attack?!?




Imagine what it must be like to be 22+, and know that you can't really control your blood pressure, and know that you are a big potential time-bomb for all the risk factors, and still have to do well in school, have a social life and still dream of a great future...




I guess we often take the simple but important things in life for granted, huh? We often do not appreciate these simple but important things until we don't have them anymore...

I mean, how many of us wake up in the morning and wonder whether our blood pressure will behave? We just take it for granted that, aiya, it's fine and working the way it is supposed to, isn't it? The same goes for the heart and the kidneys and the liver and the brain and the whole works...





Well, for some people, it doesn't...



But...Life goes on...

And, I am sure it will go on for S...