Sunday, April 30, 2006

Religious Fervour

I read in the papers a few days ago that the National Council of Churches is protesting the release of “The Da Vinci Code” movie locally. Their reason is that they are afraid that the movie will spread misconceptions of Christianity.

It’s fiction, people!!! These are probably the same folks who stop the kids from reading the Harry Potter books. As far as I know, religion is about faith. No matter what you read or watch or see, the bottom line is still FAITH. I don’t think a movie or a book with its own interpretation of the history of Christianity will shake the beliefs of those who are truly Christians.

I am not anti-religion. Matter of fact, at one point of time, during the turbulent years of adolescence, I found some peace in attending church services & reading the gospels. I never had a dramatic moment of revelation in which I “found” Christ (or any other religious icon, for that matter). Contrary to that, I was turned off by fanatical evangelists who try to convert you every which way you turn, telling you that you will burn in hell if you don’t accept Christ as your Saviour THAT VERY SECOND!!!

To me, religion is a very personal decision. It cannot be forced on a person. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe in religion; it gives peace of mind to those who are troubled, & oftentimes, is the only thing that helps a person go through a time of bereavement. But when people become fanatical about it, the alarm bells start to go off.

One can be spiritual without being religious. I believe in the human spirit. I believe in miracles & the existence of things beyond our understanding. How else do you explain the world as it is? There has to be a greater Power at work. But religion & the rituals that go hand in hand with it, are things that are man-made, created to help society endure difficult times. Carry on, I say. Just don't force it down my, or any other person's, throat.

Ultimately, I believe that no matter how pious a person may outwardly seem, what is important is the goodness (or evil) in that person’s soul…I am sure that the Powers, whoever he/she/they may be, would know.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

My Baby

My little cherub graduates from Middle School in a few weeks.

This picture was taken almost 14 years ago. He is now a strapping young man who has outgrown both my husband & me (in size), & probably knows more about IT related stuff than I do.

This may seem like a minor achievement to all you non-parents out there, but for parents (well, for me anyway), every step they take, no matter how small, is a milestone. Each milestone marks the end of one phase of your child’s life, & heralds the beginning of a new one. My son goes into high school come August & I know that the 4 years will fly by in the blink of an eye & off to college he will then go. Each milestone brings the child closer to the day when he (or she) leaves home, which I know will suddenly feel incomplete without my baby (& eventually my babies) there.

Once, my younger son said to me, “I’m NOT a baby” in response to something we were discussing regarding childish behaviour (I forget the details ... age, you know.). My response to him was: “You may not be A baby, but you & your brother will always be MY babies no matter how old you are.” That pretty much silenced him!

My message to the mothers out there: cherish the time you have with your little ones now…because time DOES fly & you will need to let them go sooner than you think.

Great Expectations

Watched "West Side Story" (the musical play, not the movie adaptation) over the weekend. I don't know....maybe I expected something more magical, more stunning...but it didn't really move me the way I thought that it would.

The vocals were good, as was the dancing; however, perhaps because I couldn't really identify with the story, or maybe the accents were sometimes a bit hard to catch (I think the actors were trying a bit too hard to put on a Puerto Rican/New York accent), I just didn't feel as caught up in it as I did with other plays I've seen like Chicago or Mama Mia or Grease or even Cats!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Art imitating Life

I wrote about colors in my life last Sunday. On Wednesday, I had my Art lesson, the theme being "Abstract" Art. To help us along, to challenge our brains, and to get our creative jucies going, my art teacher gave each of us a card with artwork & sayings about life created by an artist.

She walked from student to student, holding out the cards for us to pick. When I picked my card out of her stack, mine said: "Living a Life Full of Color."

Almost gave me weird is that? Someone somewhere out there is trying to tell me something...

Thursday, April 20, 2006


Abstract art is tough to do! That was the theme for today's Art lesson. We were supposed to clear our minds of images, & draw from our emotions & translate them on to our canvases.

How many of us have, while wandering through an Art museum or exhibit, exclaimed, "Even I can do that." over a seemingly simple piece of abstract art? I plead guilty to having done so before. It's not that easy, I realise now.

First of all, it was difficult for me to "visualise" my feelings & translate them into a painting. I am too used looking at things "just as they are". Everything looks like Still Life to me. My right brain hasn't been exercised enough.

I ended up taking home an incomplete piece of Art (I hesitate to use this word to describe it :)). I am hoping that I will feel inspired to finish it at home - not sure how long that will take...keeping fingers crossed...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Coloring Outside the Lines

My foray into the art world, taking painting lessons, has really taught me a lot about myself. It's strange how art reflects the artist's personality, background, & even upbringing.

In my first class, I tried to paint "within the lines"; I kept my brush strokes as even as possible; it was hard for me to let go of what I had previously been taught since toddlerhood. Remember the coloring books we used to have as kids, & how our teachers & parents would tell us to color within the lines? I realise now that that has how I have been living my life. Always coloring within the lines. Not making a "wrong move". Doing what is conventional & expected. Not upsetting the balance of the universe.

My art teacher told us to forget all that we have been told about what art should look like. It's OK to have uneven brush strokes. You don't have to color within the lines. The sky doesn't have to be blue or the grass green.

It's still an uphill battle for me to use my right brain, and to try to perceive of the world around me in a totally different way than I am used to. I have been so used to seeing the world in black & white & gray, that I had forgotten about the other colors in the spectrum.

With Art, I am starting to open my eyes, & to stimulate previously slumbering neurons in that area of my brain that has been left idle too long. I see a long journey ahead, but one which I look forward to with relish.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Random Thoughts on...

AI - ...and he's finally out! Never quite enjoyed Bucky as much as the other finalists. He always seemed uncomfortable performing on stage. Katie McPhee needs to go next...she likes to shout her songs.

Rumsfeldt - about the comments & opinions made by retired Generals from the US military who say that Rumfeldt needs to go...makes sense to me...if you don't have experience in the field, how can you, with good conscience, make decisions that will affect thousands of troops?

LKY - ...our esteemed Minister Mentor is getting old...I saw him speak at my kids' school during a special ceremony celebrating the diamond anniversary of the school. He seemed more frail & his voice was softer & less forceful than I expected, & his speech seemed rather rambling, like he was trying real hard to stay on track but not terribly successfully.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Good Grief

"I am amazed that men of higher education can commit such stupid crimes."
Lt. Mac Taylor to a doctor who conspired with his medical colleague to commit insurance fraud in last night's episode of CSI:NY

I ask myself the same question after the recent weeks' very public revelation of cheating, perverted, drug trafficking doctors. WHY???

Oy vey.

Monday, April 10, 2006


Today's letter in the newspaper from a patient requesting a waiver for the need of a chaperone for her acupuncturist during treatment, triggered memories of certain kinds of patients which left me (& my female colleagues) rather uncomfortable.

The need for a chaperone when a male doctor does an examination on a female patient is pretty much standard practice, not only to protect the patient, but also to protect the doctor from allegations of inappropriate behaviour. However, when it comes to chaperoning a female doctor examining a male patient (specifically if said patient has a complaint related to his genitals), there hasn't been much discussion over this issue.

Usually a male patient who has a complaint like urethral discharge, or penile rash or testicular swelling would request to see a male doctor, especially in the local context where Asian sensibilities tend to be more conservative. Hence, when I get a male patient who specifically asks for a FEMALE doctor to examine him for such complaints, alarm bells start to go off! Fortunately, such encounters are rare. But my female colleagues & I have compared notes & each of us had our own "Penis Guy" (different patients but similar complaints, each time requesting to see us specifically)who would come in complaining of a rash or some other malady that has affected his organ. And when you examine the affected area, there really is nothing obviously wrong with it. When the same guy comes in repeatedly for the same problem, we would try to redirect them to our male colleague to handle. This usually would put a stop to further unneccessary consultations for non-existent problems.

We have been fortunate that these patients did not exhibit any drastically inappropriate behavior during our non-chaperoned consults (although there was a case that was publicised fairly recently about a male patient who masturbated in the presence of the female doctor while consulting her for a supposed traumatic injury to his groin). Worst that ever happened to me was my Penis Guy trying to invite me out to dinner DESPITE the fact that I was wearing my wedding ring, & did not give him any indication whatsoever that I would even remotely be interested! The gall of some people...

Thursday, April 06, 2006



James Blunt was on Oprah yesterday. This young man impressed me with his talent (he performed 'You're Beautiful' & 'Goodbye My Love' on the show) & his self-deprecating humor. Before his current gig, he was a soldier in the British army & brought his guitar with him (strapped to the side of his tank) on his rotation through Kosovo. He has also served as one of the Queen's guards, & include "prancing on a horse for Japanese tourists to take pictures of him" on his resume.

When he sings, look into his eyes & you can see that the music & words truly comes from his soul. My husband bought his CD a few months ago, & I never really listened to all the tracks. I will now...


Country music was the theme yesterday. I can't say that I am a huge country music fan. Apart from Shania Twain & Faith Hill, I can't think of any other country performers that I would listen to on a regular basis.

The final 9 gave a rather lacklustre performance; even my favorite, Taylor Hicks, singing Take Me Home Country Road, sounded like he was (to use a Simon Cowell-ish analogy) at a campfire trying to get people to join him in the song. The two idols who are supposedly the most comfortable in this genre, Kelly Pickler & Bucky Covington (question: what reason on this good earth would a parent have to name their twins Bucky & Rocky???!!!) failed to impress me - they just didn't seem very comfortable on stage.

And Kenny Rogers - gosh, I didn't recognise him without the full beard that he used to have....he should have kept it...

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Hats Off

I salute this bunch of doctors for what they are doing.

I can honestly say that I don't think I could do what they do, mojo or no mojo...

Monday, April 03, 2006

Room with a View

This is the view from the balcony of our cabin on a cruise to nowhere last weekend, a much appreciated birthday gift from my mom (thanks, mom!).

Why go nowhere, some may ask. For the uninitiated, these cruises cater to the casino goers. Singapore has no casino (I should use the politically correct term coined by the government: Integrated Resort, or IR) yet. For some reason, Chinese people like to gamble (not being racist, but based on observation). So the cruise ship is a convenient & comfortable way of doing so without the hassle of having to go all the way up to Genting Highlands in Malaysia or flying to casinos in Australia/Europe/USA.

I am curious to see how the IR wil turn out. I hope it won't be seedy like Reno, or tacky like Atlantic City. I'm actually hoping that it can capture some of the glitz & glamour of Las Vegas, with top-class entertainers (in the calibre of Elton John, Cirque Du Soleil, David Copperfield)& family-friendly venues (think MGM's theme park, or Venetian's indoor water canals & gondolas, or New York New York's roller coaster that goes through & on top of the hotel!). It'll be tough bringing in those stretch- & super-stretch-limos though, seeing the limited space available for parking here.

Did I win any money on the cruise? No, because I don't enjoy gambling. I enjoyed the cruise, though, because the sea calms me - the sound of the waves & the soothing breeze makes me forget all my troubles & stressors. I love sitting by the ocean with a good book & can spend hours doing just that. Forget about the casino, & the multitude of activities planned by the cruise director. I am happy with just my book, thank you very much.

Pride & Prejudice (again)

OK. I am officially a Jane Austen(more specifically, Pride & Prejudice) groupie.

I bought the Pride & Prejudice DVD, watched the movie again (which makes it a total of 3 times within a span of 4 months), watched all the bonus bits (even the tour of the homes used in the movie shoot), swooned over Mr Darcy (again), now wish that the men of today still stand up & bow when ladies walk into the room and that a man dressed in a cravat, coat, breeches & riding boots can be sexy (especially if he is Matthew Macfadyen).