Saturday, January 29, 2011

Year of the Rabbit

It's been 3 years since we've spent Chinese New Year with my extended family. We head to Singapore tomorrow to do so with family members still remaining there.

Over the years, uncles, aunties, cousins have all moved away to various parts of the globe. I have just realized that once upon a time, I was, what one may consider, "foreign talent" in the Lion City, where being such may not mean a warm welcome. I have also realized that my family's roots have not grown as deep as some of my friends, whose extended families have been in Singapore for at least 2 generations.

On tracing back my genealogy over the last 100 years or so, it has dawned upon me that my ancestors have lived in 3 different countries in 4 generations. Is it any wonder then that I find it hard to feel a deep connection to the country in which I grew up? Is it possible for this wanderlust to be passed down through the generations?

These questions arise now when I try to think about where we will be when I am an empty nester, which is looming closer. Z & W would both have spent their lives in 3 different countries. Will they, too, be global nomads in their adult lives?

I would like to have a place to call Home; a place where both our boys can go to when they are on vacation; a place where we can put our furniture & hang up our pictures and not have to worry about uprooting all our possessions every two years.

Our next move will be in less than 2 years. When the time comes, I hope that we will have a place to call Home, finally.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Manage 'managed care'

THE Jan 6 report ("Docs may face changes in ethics rules") highlighted the three ethical issues which the Singapore Medical Council (SMC) is grappling with, namely, organ donation under suspicious circumstances, overcharging by doctors and the possibilities for manipulation by managed-care companies.

The American Medical Association recently revealed that two-thirds of 200 doctors polled in the United States said they would misstate the reason for a diagnostic test for Medicare insurance reasons.

A recent survey revealed that most American doctors support a "single payer" plan that will eliminate the central role of private insurers.

Doctors in many countries are resenting the iron hand of large companies as they are held to ransom by insurers and large hospital chains. The corporatisation of health care is producing a seismic shift in the way doctors look at public health care.

They are experiencing a sudden loss of control at the hands of the insurers and hospital networks, while being snowed under by paperwork and bureaucratic battles with insurance companies over authorisation and payments.

The SMC should consider these global trends and tread carefully lest our health-care system is hijacked by the insurance companies.

Heng Cho Choon

Perhaps unbeknownst to the author, this has already started to happen in Singapore....

Sunday, January 09, 2011


Read this article about parenting - Chinese style, in the Wall Street Journal online edition. I couldn't believe that the author would actually advocate this!

My parenting style is the direct opposite of what she describes, and yet, I have one child going to Engineering school (one of the desired outcomes of the stereotypical Asian parent, although in his case, it was entirely his choice altogether), and I have another child who is immensely talented musically, though not classically trained in either violin or piano.

I know of people who have grown up with the sort of parenting style that Ms Chua describes. And oh my goodness, what a dysfunctional lot they have become, with neuroses & baggage galore.

No thank you, Ms Chua. I will treat my children with respect, teach them how to be good, civilized human beings and allow them the freedom to choose who & what they want to be.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011



I am hooked on to this "Outlander" series of books by Diana Gabaldon! I can't stop myself from wanting to read more & more about the relationship between a time-traveling surgeon (Claire Randall) & the Scottish Highlander (Jaime Fraser). Not the typical romance, this epic (and I mean EPIC! Each book ranges from 600+ to 1000+ pages!!) has love, fantasy, mysticism, history, science fiction, and a bit of medicine all rolled into one.

I just finished the 4th book, The Drums of Autumn, and can't wait to start on the 5th one soon.

I love my e-reader :) .

Tuesday, January 04, 2011


I think the older one gets, the faster time flies....or at least, the perception of time does anyway.

It's already the 4th day of 2011. Z's 3 weeks here will be almost over - he leaves in 4 days :(, to return to college.

School starts next Monday. W. will start the second half of 11th grade & before you know it, will be a senior. Then comes the college application process (sigh) & in the blink of an eye, my baby will be off to college. Argh.

I remember, as an adolescent & then as a medical student, how daunting the "many" (again, perception) years of impending study looked. First the PSLE*, then 'O' levels, then 'A' levels. And in medical school, the pre-clinical years seemed to stretch on forever & the final MBBS exam looked like a distant unreachable target.

But once out of university, time started to speed up, from one rotation to the next; and on a personal level, when the children came, time again seemed to just fly by... infancy, toddlerhood, elementary, middle then high school, and now college.

With an impending empty nest, I have already started thinking about how I will use my time. I must admit that a part of me is excited & am anticipating this new found freedom with relish. That is not to say that I will not miss having my boys around. But it's part of growing up & getting older, one of those milestones that every one of us have to encounter eventually.