Saturday, March 22, 2008

Giving 100%

When I found out that I was recruited to National Service, and I’m going to be sent across the South China Sea in order to report myself in one of the NS camps in Sarawak, I have two choices. I’m going or I’m not. Two tough choices I must say.

If I’m not going, then I’ll break the law. If I’m going, then I’ll spend over two months of my precious time just to do things as I’m told to? I mean those time could be used to collect money, to gain work experiences, and to get my driving licence.

Anyway, I’ve made my choice. I choose to go (or they said to serve my country, whatever). And I left the comfort of my home with one objective- this is not going to be just a waste of time.

The first week is killing me. Boring….. And I don’t know the people. I kept thinking of how am I going to make friends? I still remember our Vice Commandant of Training (TKL) gave us a welcome speech. She said that they (the management and trainers) are going to give us many chances, but it’s up to us (the trainees) to grab those chances. We won’t get anything unless we choose to involve a 100%.

Initially, everyone (trainers and some trainees) always use that phrase. “Are you going to let yourself involve 100% or not?” they kept saying, whenever someone refuse to do things as they were told to do. At first, I couldn’t understand. What’s up with a 100% involvement? Yeah, I admit that sometimes I can be a bit na├»ve and clueless.

So, I try to keep myself low-profile. I try to avoid disciplinary problem. And the result is not only I’m miserable, but I’m lonely.

Towards the end of the training programme, I finally took the TKL’s advice. I don’t care of what others are thinking. I want to do things not because I’m told to, but I want to do it for myself. That is the true meaning of involving by 100%. So, I joined the basketball team knowing that I’m nothing like the Chinese players. I represented my company in chess because I know that I can do this. I joined rafting team even though it is my first time. I speak up my opinion even though I’m going to hurt others. I tried ‘flying fox’ despite the fact that I’m scared of height. And only by that point, I’m happy to join NS. And of course, this is definitely not a waste of time.

Additional Links

Program Latihan Khidmat Negara

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Have a heart

This is a community service message delivered by ME to anyone who cares…

Years ago, someone I love suffered from slipped disc. I have no intention to explain the disease in detail because it is a boring subject, but I’ll give you some idea.

A slipped disc is when the soft part of the disc (cartilage, which made up the vertebrae in our spinal cord) swells through the circle of connective tissue. However, 20 per cent of the population have slipped disc without experiencing any noticeable symptoms.

So, the story of my beloved begins with pain at her knee. Each time she seeks doctor, the answer is always the same. You’re old, and the fluid that acts as lubricants may have running out. And each and every time, the doctor will give her an injection, to make the pain go away.

This has been going on for years until one day, my beloved paid a visit to a Chinese who practices traditional medicine. And without any help of x-ray or MRI machine or CT scan, but just to have a look at my beloved, the Chinese old man knew, the problem is not in the knee, but in the spinal cord.

Although now we know what cause the problem, we still can’t solve it. My beloved almost lost hope until yet another doctor suggests her to do an operation. Guess what! It not only has failed (due to infection), but it has made my beloved’s condition become worse.

And since then, my beloved has taken numerous medications. And none of them have any noticeable positive changes.

Hope. I guess my beloved’s hope to get well soon, has reversed impact. For a few months, we can see some changes. She got rounded face and increased fat around the neck. Purplish pink stretch marks can be seen on some part of her body. Her backaches even become more often. And what is weirder is that she had excess hair growth on her face!

Luckily, we got her into the hospital on time. Doctors said that she could be dead if it is too late. She suffered from Cushing’s syndrome where the patient’s body produce a high level of hormone cortisol. Our body won’t do that unless there is something wrong with hypothalamus (a part in our brain). So what cause this? Well, it is because of one of the pills prescribed by the doctor. No, the pills do not damaged my beloved’s brain, but it contains too much steroid. So, basically my beloved is overdose of steroid, which in turn increases the level of cortisol in her body.

If you are wondering why I am writing all about this, then I’ll tell you. Before that, please bear in mind that the doctors involve in this story is not one, or two, or three, but much more than that.

The message is if you are a patient, or your family member is ill, you need to be a little smarter. Seek second, or third (or fourth if you like) opinion before you make any decision. Your life is at stakes!

And if you are a doctor, or you plan to be one, please be responsible of whatever you do to your patient. Have a heart (not literally because we all know you do have one). Show an act of concern, not just thinking of how much profit you could make by scamming desperate people. It won't kill you to run a few test and think harder to figure out what is wrong with your patient.