Taking a break

Dear readers, I will not be able to post any articles for the next few days as I am travelling..

I have to put on moderation mode since I wont be able to access internet .


Malaysia may reverse its role

There is an interesting letter in Malaysiakini today. What attracted me to read the letter was the title:  Malaysia may one day supply maids to Indonesia.

The writer pointed out that Malaysia is not in the G20 nations which discuss periodically the world’s financial system and map out strategy and cooperation among these nations to deal with world financial problems.

The writer also pointed out that Malaysia is not in the N11, the so called Next 11 countries, which are countries that are supposed to be the next in line to become world economic powerhouse..

For your infomation, G20 consists of the following countries:

 Saudi Arabia
 South Africa
 South Korea
 United Kingdom
 United States
 European Union

While Indonesia is in the list of G20, Malaysia is not..Of course, we can argue that Singapore is also not in the G20, but do not forget, Singapore is one of the 4 tigers or dragons.

The Next 11 consist of these countries: Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea, Turkey, and Vietnam . NOte that most of  these countries are below Malaysia in GDP per capita(except South Korea). BUt please also note that once upon a time, actually not so long ago in the early 80s, Taiwan  and SOuth Korea were also behind us and now they are far ahead of us.

So the contention here is that if we do not buck up, Malaysia is going to be overtaken by all these N11( south korea is already far ahead), and that while our neighbours are becoming richer than us in the future, Malaysians may have to go to these neighbouring countries to work as construction workers and maids.

It would really be unthinkable for our future generations to work as maids in the neighbouring countries.. But it could really happen, since if Malaysia does not buck up, we will very well be marginalised… pls read my article in 2006 ” will Malaysia be marginalised” which was quite widely reposted in many sites at that time.

At the present moment, so many Malaysians are already working overseas, but mainly in the top echelons of their professions, such as professors, scientists, doctors, engineers, nurses, businessmen, entrepreneurs etc…. This is because of brain drain, but as the country becomes more backward relative to our neighbours, the situation may change to that of us supplying others with low cost labours, such as maids, and construction workers..

Our politicians may not be immue to these, as wealth that are gathered easily can disappear easily, seldom more than 3 generations. So do not be surprised to see their future generations work as maids in Indonesia… That day could well arrive in this century… 🙂

Swine Flu and prevention

In 2003, during the height of the SARS alert, I had to travel to Torornto for my eldest son’s convocation. I flew to Singapore from where I took a NorthWest Orient flight to Detroit, and from Detroit to Canada.

I sat at he Bulkhead row, (the first row from the partition seperating business class and economy.. I always booked either bulkhead or the emergency row to have longer leg space since i am a six footer), where normally it would be fully occupied by children and baby cots.. The whole row then was occupied by only 2 persons, myself included, and the whole economy section could not have more than 30 persons, despite it being a jumbo plane…All of us , despite being economy class pasengers, were able to lie down and sleep comfortably across few seats for the long flight. And of course, we had extra attention from the crew, and were really pampered with drinks and titbits…

That was the impact of SARS on travelling and tourism..The whole world economy was affected despite the epidemic being confined to a few thousand cases at most, which was like a drop in the ocean, bearing in mind that the world population is 6 billions.

This time around, the swine flu would hit the travel and tour business hard again. Coming at a time when the whole world is in recession, it is indeed like what the CHinese say ” a continous storm at a time when the roof is leaking”.

Actually, at the present moment, the number of swine flu cases are in the hundreds, and chances of any traveller contacting the virus is remote and probably the odds are little. However, that is not to say that we should not take precaution. Flu has a way of spreading very fast, just like the common colds that we get from our colleagues .. Often, when one guy is sick, the whole office is down with cough and cold, although with varying severity , depending on individual resistance and response.

We have to be vigilant at the ports of entry. Anyone who is detected to have a fever coming into the country must be screened. If there is a possibility of someone being an infected swine flu cases, he or she must be quarantined. However,there is a catch in this.  In the early stages, when the virus is in incubation stage, there might not be any symptoms. It takes only one visitor to carry the virus into the country to start the chain of infection.

Still, vigilance at the ports of entry is of utmost importance in reducing the chances of swine flu cases coming into the country. The Health department actually did a very good job during the SARS outbreak, where suspected persons were quarantined in rooms with negative pressure (where air from the room is sucked out or blown out in a certain direction, and medical staff would be in areas where the flow of air would not carry any viruses to them). and strict barrier nursing were practised.  This would cut down the chance sof spread since the medical team is the one in contact with the suspected cases,and they could become the media of carriers to the public if such practises are not observed.

One thing i find it strange. During SARS outbreak, we have several thermo scans scanning visitors coming into the country. In fact, on my way back from the Canada in 2003, I passed through one of those scans. But the pictures  in newspapers today showed that nurses at KLIA are taking temperature manually… Where are those thermal scanners?

Well, boost up your own resistnace by having adequate rest, sufficient exercises, adequate fluid intake, avoid those who are coughing and sneezing, open your house windows to allow free flow of air, and most important disease prevention technique: wash your hands always and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands ( these areas are covered by mucous membranes, which the virus can easily get through, unlike our skin). The correct way of hand washing is very  important… Pls refer to the link to my article on SARS in Star in 2003, which is available in the comment section of the last post.

Of course, when there is really no choice, there is a prevention drug to take. This is Tamiflu, from roche, which if taken within 48 hours of developing first signs of flu, or after contact with flu cases, can mitigate the effects and hasten recovery. This drug acts by inhibiting multiplication of the virus within our body. But it is not so effective once the flu is past the initial stage.

Tamiflu is available in malaysia. For treamtment, it is a course of 10 capsules, taken twice a day for 5 days. For prevention, the course is one capsule  daily for 10 days. It is not cheap since this is a patented drug, per capsule is in the region of around RM 15, and the whole course is about 150…. Plenty of profit for Roche.. I am sure the shares will shoot up sky high now..

A word of caution.. Do not rush out and buy the drugs.. So far the cases in most countries are not serious, so it is best to wait for more info..



(FYI, i do not have any shares or interest in roche; this is purely for infomation purposes..)

Why is the swine flu more deadly in Mexico??

A new swine flu virus has surfaced, first in Mexica, then the States,  Canada and New Zealand .

Flu viruses mutate  and new strains appear continously and every epidemic in one area has the potential of becoming world wide epidemic , because of  the tremendous number of people travel by planes and moving across countries and continents nowadays.

In any influenza epidemic, many will die but most will recover. The groups with the highest mortality were usualy the very old and the very young, and those with compromised immunity, like those on immunosuppreesive drugs, cance rpateints, reanl dialysis cases etc.

BUt in this case, something baffling is occuring.  In mexico, most that died were between 20 to 40, a group that normally do not succumb to mortality as easily as  the older and the younger groups..

I find it strange that cases in US involving younger and older patients suffered much milder disease than those in Mexico, which defies all the conventional medical wisdom really.

Are there 2 different strains of this virus? are there 2 epicenters? well, we need to have more info before making any conclusion.

I will post part of an AP  news article here:

ATLANTA – Why has the swine flu engulfing Mexico been deadly there, but not in the United States?

Nearly all those who died in Mexico were between 20 and 40 years old, and they died of severe pneumonia from a flu-like illness believed caused by a unique swine flu virus.

The 11 U.S. victims cover a wider age range, as young as 9 to over 50. All those people either recovered or are recovering; at least two were hospitalized.

“So far we have been quite fortunate,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Saturday, just hours before three new U.S. cases were confirmed.

Health experts worry about a flu that kills healthy young adults — a hallmark of the worst global flu epidemics. Deaths from most ordinary flu outbreaks occur among the very young and very old.

Why the two countries are experiencing the illness differently is puzzling public health experts, who say they frankly just don’t know.

It may be that the bug only seems more deadly in Mexico.

And while experts believe Mexico is the epicenter of the outbreak, they’re not certain if new cases are occurring or if the situation is getting worse. They also don’t know if another virus might be circulating in Mexico that could be compounding the problem.

A big question is, Just how deadly is the virus in Mexico?

The seasonal flu tends to kill just a fraction of 1 percent of those infected.

In Mexico, about 70 deaths out of roughly 1,000 cases represents a fatality rate of about 7 percent. The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-19, which killed an estimated 40 million worldwide, had a fatality rate of about 2.5 percent.

The Mexican rate sounds terrifying. But it’s possible that far more than 1,000 people have been infected with the virus and that many had few if any symptoms, said Dr. Michael Osterholm, a prominent pandemic expert at the University of Minnesota.

Who says leopard cannot change its spots?

There is a saying that leopards do not change their spots. I have no way of confirming this, since I do not rear any leopards, but i believe this since this is the observations made by many wise people over the centuries.

Can a person change? or more specifically, can a person’s character change? Again, there is a Chinese saying that ” it is easier to change the mountains and rivers, than to change a person’s original character”. This is again a wisdom passed down from generations to generations.

Having siad all these,  I do believe that our views do change even if our characters do not. Our views are shaped by learning, seeing, experience over the years, and our peers’s views.

Bt this change is normally a slow and subtle process.. There is rarely a 180 degree change…You do not become a dog lover from a dog hater over the night, nor a greedy person can change into a non-greedy person overnight.

This morning, I check my calender twice. No, it is April  25th not April Fool Day. No, Malaysian insider is not playing any tricks. The interview, as reported in today MI,  must be true.  I refer to the MI’s interview with the former Dentist MB of a State which is now under the Pakatan rule.

I will paraphrase some of the paragraphs of the article here:

from MI:

—Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo, who is known to be a champion of the “Malay unity” cause, is now urging the government to open up more of the economy to non-Malays.

The Selangor opposition leader, who had been critical of the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) for appointing a non-Bumiputera to head PKNS last year, also wants more government jobs to be given to non-Malays.

Well, I hope this is one leopard that can change its spots ( maybe due to vote loss or trying to gain back power genetic engineering.) … for the sake of Malaysian unity and our posterity, i really hope that this leopard can change its spots… I also hope that other leopards can  defy nature and change their spots , too, for the sake of Malaysians… I really hope that this change in spots is not due to plastic surgery artificial made-over with paints or new technology like photoshops…

They still have not got it yet!

First,  we have the announcement that a certain assemblyman, a deputy head of a state, is under investigation for corruption.

The media played it up, and the notion that a person is innocent until proven guilty is conveniently forgotten in this case. The impression given was that he is really guilty.

The assemblyman resigned. A byelection is going to be called, as in accordance to election law of the country.

Then, we have  the side opposite to this assemblyman suddenly saying that they will give this by election a miss, so as not to ‘waste public fund”.. How grand sounding and how convenient, bearing in mind that this waste is nothing if we compare it to the commission of many hundred millions…

Of course, if the intention is really to save fund and reduce politicking , then I support it… But looking at the whole thing, it may not be as simple as it appears.. A bigger reason, which has been mentioned in many blogs, is that it fears losing again.

Then the Old Horse started saying that there must be a contest. The new Head on the helm is now caught in a difficult position.

To go for contest would give a perception that the Old Horse is still in control. To give a walkover , like the initial intention,  would alienate those allied to the Old Horse. The new Head has seen how the Old Horse has pushed the Old Head down the ravine, even the Old Head’s SIL cannot get a post despite winning the Youth position.

Suddenly, the sky is clear..The heave of relief is heard..  The investigating authority suddenly said that there is no case for the corruption.. after all the hoo haa , the assemblyman is not corrupt after all.

How convenient this has come.. The timing is just right..

 Now, the assemblyman can retract his letter of resignation, there will be no more byelection as wished by the new Head,  the dilemma whether to contest or not is now over, the potential confrontation with the old Horse is again over…….Everyone is a winner… A win win situation really..

What is left is of course the perception that everything in this Bolehland is under manipulation…. They still have not got it yet after many  defeats.

A matter of conversion 2

This is an extension of my yesterday’s post, A matter of conversion, in which I discussed the case of Indira Gandhi and the forced conversion of her children.

I welcome the cabinet decision as reported in Malaysian Insidertoday that children should be raised in the faith of the parents at the time of the parents’ marriage, even if one of the spouses has converted to Islam.

Attorney General has been tasked to look into amending existing laws to allow for this provision.

I think this is an excellent move and this should resolve a lot of uncertainties arsing from this type of conversion.

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