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Thursday, August 28, 2008

BUDGET 2009 or No Budget for 2009?

It would be great to hear of what goodies new families like ours would get from the Budget 2009. Most of my friends and clients feel that the Budget 2009 may be too late to save us from rising inflation and cost of living. We would probably need to continue to institute measures to curb spending. In otherwards, life will not longer be the same since the first half of 2008.

Here are some of the measures we have taken as part of the practical steps:-

1. Eat at home and pack food for work
2. Drink filtered water instead of teh-tarik (not to mention that it is usually too sweet and prepared from low quality tea dust)
3. Plan the route of my daily travel
4. Cycle for exercise and may use the gymnasium in the condominium instead
5. Use my post-paid package from Celcom and make phone calls only when necessary
6. Avoid supper at the mamak and make my own supper
7. Less elaborate birthday celebrations
8. Local travels and tours for the family
9. Look for a better paying job or overtime
10. Get the whole family to use water and electricity wisely
11. Pay off more of the housing loan with EPF
12. Go for movies only when there is a blockbuster
13. Get a cheaper and more efficient Broadband Internet Provider
14. Read more off the internet than buying books
15. Consider replacing my car with a more fuel efficient car
16. Pray that things will change for the better

Does it really sound like effective measures? I suppose we would need to spend some money to spur growth in the economy but it would be rather tricky to tell the man in the street to do so.

Useful links:-
1. The Star: Budget 2009
2. Budget 2009 Text
3. Economy Report 2008/9
4. Live Telecast
5. Recorded Telecast

Fighting over hair accessories?

If you have two girls aged 5 yrs (Clarissa) and 3 yrs old (Christa) and Mommy has bought some new hair accessories (e.g. hair band, clips, tie, etc), what would you get? A girl fight and lots of yelling!

Mommy and I would have to separate the two girls as they would try to lay their hands on the accessories before Mommy opens the plastic wrapper. As it happened, Clarissa was in tears as Christa had tried the hairband and wasn't going to hand it over to her to try on. Mommy then took out some hair clips. When she caught a glimpse of the colourful hairclips, Christa took off the hairband instantly and sat on Mommy's lap. Once the first hairclip went into Christa's hair, Clarissa didn't want the hairband anymore and demanded for the hairclips.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wholemeal Fish Fillet Sandwich

I had a pleasant surprise this morning when I found a 1 footer wholemeal bread at the table ready for me to take along to work. The contents were pretty simple. A few slices of fresh lettuce, freshly prepared fish fillet and a few sprinkles of table salt (look no mayonaise). Looks like my plan to loose a few more kilograms would work now that the diet is well organised. Thank you, Mommy!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Lumut Town and Teluk Batik

I had the opportunity to visit Lumut town for 4 days recently and found that it is still a good quiet place to visit for a few days with the family. Besides the pleasant beach and lots of greenery, I have found that good food is a constant feature during my stay thanks to the kind hospitality of my relatives. I will walk down Teluk Batik at dawn tomorrow to catch the sunrise and pandan coconut water. My stay at the Orchard Inn has been pleasant although it doesn't have a lot of fancy features to offer. I made sure that I bought some Satay fish and got some 'Kong Piah' from my relatives to bring home.

I took a few photos of the town and uploaded the photos on my blog at McDonald's. I have finally found it convenient to surf broadband outside my home or office. But I insist on having a relatively quiet environment where I can write without any interruption. The special brewed coffee and Beijing Olympics live coverage (Astro) was also useful to keep me occupied.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Hand Foot and Mouth Disease: Preventable Potentially Fatal Disease

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease (HFMD) caught my attention last year when an adult caught the infection from his two little girls who were attending kindergarden in USJ. The viral disease hit our home the second time after 1 year but this time it was through a friend of Clarissa at a different Montessori. Clarissa told me that her friend had mouth pain (ulcers) for several days and finally was away from school sick. Apparently her friend's sibling who was attending a Nursery caught it first and passed it to her and the Nursery was closed for a week due to HFMD. I was shocked that the health authorities did not advice the Nursery or Montessori earlier and parents were not advised of the possibility of the disease spreading to the other siblings or family members. After 3 days of fever and mouth ulcers, Clarissa developed red spots and blisters on her hands (palm) and feet (sole). Christa just started developing mouth ulcers.

Although HFMD is rarely fatal, it is moderately contagious and proven so since Clarissa and Christa have caught the disease twice from different Montessoris. Every parent who has a child infected probably has to take care of the child at home for a week to prevent the disease from spreading to others. (Some parents find it impossible to care for a contagious child for 1 week). The viral infection usually causes mild symptoms like fever, mouth ulcers, skin rash and blisters, sore throat, malaise, fatigue, loss of appetite and diarrhoea. Potentially fatal complications to the brain, lung and heart may occur with infection from certain viral strains (EV71). Treatment is only to reduce the symptoms.

Here are some of the scary and gory details for those who still find it hard to believe that the disease needs to be given more attention and exposure:-
United States 2007
Taiwan 1998
China 2008
Vietnam 2008
Mongolia 2008
Singapore 2008
Malaysia 2008 and here
Malaysia 2006
Sarawak 2008 and here

HFMD is preventable if parents and teachers are careful to undertake these measures:-
*Maintain good ventilation.
*Wash hands before meals, and after going to toilet or handling stool soiled
*Keep hands clean and wash hand properly.
*Wash hands when they are dirtied by respiratory secretion e.g. after
*Cover nose and mouth while sneezing and coughing; and dispose of
mouth and nasal discharge properly.
*Clean children’s toys and other objects thoroughly and frequently.
*Children who are ill should be kept out of school until their fever and rash
have subsided and all the vesicles have dried and crusted.
*Avoid going to overcrowded places

I urge all parents to check your children for symptoms daily while encouraging good hand washing practice to avoid contracting HFMD. I also urge the health authorities to expedite the action required to advise kindergardens and schools with HFMD cases.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

X-files: I want to believe

I thought it would be a great idea to find out what happened to Special Agent Fox Mulder and Special Agent Dana Scully after the last movie.

In this movie "I want to believe", Agent Scully is a doctor in a Missionary hospital treating children after leaving FBI and her ex-partner, Mulder is a wanted man in hiding from FBI. She was visited by a Special Agent who wanted her to trace Mulder who is to assist the FBI to find a missing FBI agent.

Upon convincing Agent Mulder to help, he starts working with a convicted paedophile priest called Father Joe who had visions of the kidnapping of the missing agent. Agent Scully was sceptical that Father Joe's visions was true and refused to assist. As the time passes, more victims have been kidnapped and more body parts were 'found' by his visions. They noticed that the body parts contained traces of an animal tranquiliser.

Agent Scully resumes work at her hospital and decides to start stem cell therapy for a boy with terminal illness. FBI reported that a suspect of Russian origin was found to be in possession of human organs for transplant but they released him after interrogation. While hot on the heel of a suspect, Agent Mulder was run off the icy roads down a cliff in Agent Scully's car. He manages to escape with a few bruises and continued to search in darkness for the modified truck which hit the car. Upon finding the truck and entering the animal laboratory, he gets caught and is tranquilised. As Agent Scully was reviewing the data search from internet, she found out that a Russian scientist was doing illegal transplant operations on anumals (dogs).

You need to watch the movie to find out more about it. Those of you who love thrillers and gory details of anatomy (being butchered) may find it very satisfying. Mommy loved it but Clarissa, Christa and I preferred comedy anytime.