Thursday, February 25, 2010

Impressions from China - Pea Soup

I woke up this morning to the worst haze/fog/mist I have ever seen since arriving in Beijing.

Look at this...
That tree is less than 20 meters away, and just adjacent to it is this small street...

...and there is a grocery store just next to the street which is invisible.

And check this out. No, I didn't accidentally cover the lenses with something. It's the road leading in from the main gate of our compound.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bugs, Bugs, and more Bugs

This has been a brutal Winter, health-wise. Our family has been attacked left, right & center by various viruses (in all likelihood including the swine variety) since October, with sniffling, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, fever, copious mucoid production, congestion (not necessarily in that order) affecting one or more of us almost consecutively.

My usually ample supply of meds ( I keep a good stock of pharmaceuticals at home as I find it a pain to go to the local clinic where they charge exorbitant rates for consultation & end up giving medication which I could very well have prescribed myself) has been almost depleted & I will need to replenish it on my next trip to Singapore next month.

We all had the flu shots (the regular one, not the H1N1) - whether or not it helped, who knows. For some reason, I seem to be the least affected one of the lot. Yes I still get the symptoms but to a milder degree than the rest of the family. Maybe it's because of my previous abundant exposure to all the URTI patients that I had had to see in the polyclinics/general practice that has fortified my immune system so that I have the immunological memory of literally, a thousand & one types of antibodies . I guess some good came out of that. :)

Now if only my brain memory was that great...

Friday, February 19, 2010


Do more to lower GP charges (ST Forum, February 19, 2010)

Another example of how the average Singaporean perceives a GP's work & his worth.

I wonder if he knows that even with the guidelines in place, GP's were still charging lower than recommended rates for consultation?

I wonder what his definition of "reasonable" is?

I wonder if he knows that the GP needs to pay rent for the clinic space, & that more often than not, this rent is exorbitantly high?

I wonder if he knows that the GP also needs to pay the salary of his clinic assistants and/or nurses?

I wonder if he knows that most GP's have to work day & night & weekends in order to support himself & his family?

I wonder if he thinks that the GP should aspire for a good life & standard of living for his family?

I really wonder....

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tiger Year

Belated gong xi fa cai to everyone! We spent the first few days of the new year of the Tiger in Hong Kong with what seems like half the population of China! Seems that every year around this time, there is a mass exodus of mainland Chinese to the shopping paradise that is Hong Kong.

Armed with loads of RMB cash, they descend upon the malls of Hong Kong & Kowloon, showing the world that they are truly an economic force to be reckoned with. Lines formed outside designer boutiques like Gucci & Louis Vitton (LONG lines outside the latter!) on the second day of the new year, waiting to get in there to shop like there is no tomorrow.

The streets were massively crowded with shoppers, & everywhere I turned, I heard the familiar sounds of putonghua.

Despite the crowd, we had a good time, enjoying the "warm" weather (relative to Beijing, of course), the great food & vast shopping choices. I miss the variety of imported goods that we cannot find here in China :(.

May this new year be filled with good health, prosperity & success for all!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


Researching universities as I help my son(s) with the college application process, I can't help but occasionally feel a twinge of envy as I see the infinite possibilities that lay before him. The choices he has & the myriad of opportunities is way more than I could ever have dreamed of when I was his age.

I find myself wishing that I, too, can go back to college, this time not to study Medicine, but to take courses like Film Studies, or Film Production, or Art classes to help me flex the rather atrophic creative muscles (if any!) in me.

Oh, don't get me wrong...I have good memories of Med School (apart from the studying. And the lectures. And clerking patients. And exams. :) ). I look back fondly on times spent in the college hostel, participating in inter-faculty sports and especially of being a part of putting plays together (which was probably my favorite extra-curricular activities - a sign that I perhaps went into the wrong field, hmm?).

I loved the camaraderie of working together with the cast & crew of each & every production I was involved with & the adrenaline rush one felt on opening night, and the exhilaration one felt after the final curtain call of a job well done.

Aaahhhh....those were the days....