"I believe in a country where hard work and merit, not privilege or background, determines success."
Tony Blair 2005

Monday, July 06, 2009

Nuclear danger

It still puzzles me that Malaysia is still entertaining the use of nuclear power. Have we truly exhausted all other possibilities? We are often fed with the notion that nuclear power is clean but that is certainly a misdirection.

Mankind has still not figuredhow to dispose of nuclear waste. It is currently being stored in special containment areas which are expensive to run as these waste stays active for years. So the cost is not ony to maintain the nuclear power plant but its deadly waste as well.

In the era of terrorism and piracy which is so rampant in South East Asia, radioactive materials will be juicy target. The consequences of such materials falling into the wrong hands is unimaginable.

I suggest that Malaysia invests the money in researching other more environmentally friendly energy sources. Solar power or other replenishable organic sources could be further explored.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Tower of Babel

Ward rounds can be challenging, not just on the diagnostic and treatment front but increasingly on the communication aspect as well. Increasing number of foreign individuals that originate from a different culture and language are appearing in our local hospitals. Sadly, even many Malaysians cannot hold a conversation in our national language. As the number of patients speaking a foreign language increases, how best can we tackle the ensuing gap in communication?

Poor understanding of what a patient is complaining about can lead to a wrong diagnosis. Furthermore, explaining to the patient about his/her disease can then be an arduous and sometimes impossible task. Translators in our local hospitals are lacking. Despite most doctors speaking more than one language, the heterogeneity of our patient population makes learning all languages impossible.

With an expanding foreign labour force in Malaysia, it may be apt for local hospital authorities to put in place a translator service with help from foreign embassies. This will ensure a good delivery of healthcare to our foreign-speaking patients.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

A sordid experience

A decent into a calamitous ward, which was thought extinct after years of progress. Beds stacked beside each other like sardines in a can, where the stench of sweat from one patient could make the other puke. A place where nurses and medical officers scramble to ensure a decent level of service in a land that prides itself with its majestic twin towers. A hospital which is supposedly one that will treat its royals.

But surely the royals will never ever see the dehumanising condition that its subjects are dealing with. No, there is a plush haven for them, tucked into a quiet corner, where even the decor has been meticulously chosen. Its residents are always afforded personal attention by the higher echelon, ensuring a quick delivery of service.

Sadly, those not lucky enough to be born with a silver spoon, will have to make do with decrepit conditions prevailing in normal class wards. A daily statistic that clearly proves that they are functioning over its maximal capacity. Compounded by shrinking budgets, the direction of progress is sadly in the reverse. Administrators appear contented and solutions are extinct.

Alas, a new leader but an old face. A machinery that looks weary after decades of underperformance. An energetic display that is likely to fizzle out as we battle the economic storm.

The reality remains as I step into a 'battlezone' where lives are saved and lost, where the camaraderie of patients are respected, and young comrades are thrust into a surreal reality of our medical wards.

God help us all.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dirty Politics

Prying into one's private life and exposing it in such a heinous way is despicable. There should be a concerted effort in condemning such a trend in the strongest way possible. Publishing private photographs without prior permission is punishable under the law and is illegal. But who cares about being legal these days?

The takeover of Perak was clearly against the constitution. Sultan Azlan Shah showed little wisdom befitting that of a former Lord President. There was clearly no majority for either Barisan or Pakatan. Independants are just that .. independants. Verbal assurances of loyalty is definitely not legally binding. Their allegiance to Barisan should have been tested in a vote of no confidence in the State Assembly. To cut the story short, the takeover was more incorrect than correct.

The perpetrator who pictured Elizabeth Wong and distributing her photographs without her consent should be named and prosecuted. No politician should support and endorse such political blackmail. Those who do, are unfortunately, shallow minded thinking only of their political survival, even if it means sinking to pathetic depths.

To Elizabeth, such unwelcomed humiliation has raped your political character to the very core. Be strong and fight the urge to scurry to your corner in self pity. Instead display and flaunt your substance and show Malaysians the reason why Pakatan can take over the Federal Government come the next General Election.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Better Road Safety

It is commendable that the Government is enforcing back seat passengers into belting up. Such a move may seem an inconvenience but it will certainly safe someone's life in the long run. There is more that can be done.

Compulsory installation of airbags should be strictly enforced in all vehicles. Local manufacturers have been exempted from installing this safety feature purportedly to keep the cost of the vehicle down. Many more lives can be saved by having airbags installed.

Minimum safety standards should be set before a vehicle is allowed on Malaysian roads. Results from crash tests should be scrutinised and safety recommendations be seriously considered. We know that many vehicles on our roads are death traps with poor design and inadequate safety features. Exported models are fitted with better safety mechanisms to fulfill international standards but unfortunately, local car manufacturers believe that Malaysians can live with a lower standard. Such nonsense should stop immediately.

Road conditions are paramount to safety. Pot holes and poorly maintained roads and signages can contribute to accidents. Better traffic systems should also be studied to improve traffic flow and avoid unnecessary bottlenecks and crisscrossing of vehicles.

If the Government is serious about car safety to the extent that inflated summons are issued to any violations, then they should look into other aspects of car safety as well. Let not the effort stop at just rear passenger seat belts.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Charging a minor for attempted suicide?

From NST,
16-year-old girl charged with attempted suicide
11 Dec 2008
Sean Augustin

KUALA TERENGGANU: A 16-year-old girl was charged yesterday in the Court for Children with attempting to commit suicide.
The teenager was alleged to have committed the offence at the YT Midtown Hotel rooftop on Nov 21 by attempting to jump off the building.

Prosecution was handled by Nelson Ensit. The girl, accompanied by her mother, was unrepresented. Court registrar Kahirul Anuar set bail at RM2,500 in one surety and set Jan 22 for mention. It was reported on Nov 22 that the teenager threatened to jump off the ledge of the 10-storey hotel following a quarrel with her boyfriend. This is the first in many years that anyone has been charged with attempted suicide.

The measure is being taken after a spate of suicides and attempted suicides in recent weeks prompted Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ismail Omar to tell the New Straits Times that police were considering enforcing the law.

Will charging young individuals for attempted suicide reduce the number of cases in the future? I guess not. This puts the police in a very bad light as I fail to see the benefits of such a move.

Mentally disturbed or distressed individuals should be rehabilitated so as he/she can cope with similar stresses in future. Counselling or perhaps even medications can help individuals to recover from the traumatic circumstances in his/her life. Councillors in schools should be more proactive in advocating activities that can help identify individuals in dire need of help. They can also educate young minds on how best to cope with common stresses especially relationship failures.

Charging an individual in court because she attempted suicide only serves to increase the stress level for this individual who may eventually succeed in taking her own life. It is hardly an effective deterrent sentence. Similarly, many young individuals present themselves to the emergency department for drug overdoses, usually after a quarrel with their partners. Should we then charge them in court for causing unnecessary mayhem?

I suggest that the police should relook into their current mindset. Understanding the minds of such young individuals is paramount to battle rising cases of attempted suicide. Certainly charging one individual will not serve as a deterrent to future cases.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Meteor streaks across Canadian sky

It appears a metoer has streaked across the Canadian sky and the size of the fireball as described indicates that it was of a considerable size. So how did we miss this? Scientists may be wondering how on earth did we miss this meteor as it travelled towards Earth? Had it slammed into the ocean it could potentially have caused another tsunami or perhaps it could have hit a populated city. Could our surveillance have been better? Or is the sky just too large for Man to monitor every inch in detail?

Yahoo News(with video)

Liberalise young minds

I read Marina Mahathir's article in The Star with great interest. Her belief that teaching young minds about new ideas should begin at an early stage of their education. Leaving it to the university will probably be way too late. But late is better than never I suppose.

Those that have been through the local education system will attest to the fact that freedom of ideas and expression is not always welcomed. Any deviation from the syllabus will be deemed as recalcitrant inviting demerit points. One is taught what the Government or some powers-that-might-be, feels is the right thing. Stifling fresh ideas or renewed ideology is the task of administrators and academicians, backed by political forces.

Unfortunately when one goes into the real world, unfamiliar territory strikes fear and maladaptibility has resulted in poor performance with many fresh graduates failing to make themselves marketable. Marina's point that English will be the forte for marketability invites fresh debate about the quality of English among graduates. When some top academicians in our local varsities cannot hold a full conversation in proper English, one wonders if this is reflective of the graduates as well.

For local universities to shine, acedemicians and university administrators should never stifle ideas be it critical or otherwise. Debating sensitive ideas with maturity marks the arrival of an era of a developed nation. Resorting to school-day tactics of silencing critics will delay the march towards progress.

Despite the presence of an august parliament, many debates are not fought with decorum. Issues deemed sensitive are shoved aside and the debates that do happen are fraught with profanities and unsolicited interferences. Debating with professionalism backed by sound knowledge of the topic at hand should be the intended achievement. Sadly, many elected members lack simple insight and are elected based on a loose criteria, giving the electorate little choices.

I do not place much hope on the current generation of politicians but there is renewed energy emanating from the young, where public debates are being slowly embraced. Anwar Ibrahim vs Shabery or Guan Eng vs Tsu Koon, these are fruitful debates that not only allows the public to gain insightful impressions about their leaders but will certainly help them judge their performances as vocally imprinted.

Written media is not much help in terms of fair reporting. Even the blogosphere can be sometimes deceptively biased. But there is more choices now, thanks to the era of the internet, where ideas are abundant. This has hastened globalisation.

Malaysia needs to compete with countries and therefore repealing repressive laws, thus liberalising the minds of our citizens is paramount to nurturing a powerful nation. A nation that is not bound by fear but the thought that their potential can unearth limitless power.

It certainly begins with how we educate our young.
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