Tuesday, October 30, 2007

MRSA? Poverty? The analogy

The news on MRSA or Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus suddenly gets very hot on the net. Every one in US is talking about the superbug as if it's a new species or alien just discovered. It strikes me as something very ironic. Staphylococcus aureus is in fact a very common bacteria found on the skins and 70% of the populations should have the bacteria ALL THE TIME inside their nostrils!! The "amazing" mutant of Staphylococcus aureus, the superbug - MRSA, has actually been a common cause of death by hospital infection since early 1960s!!!

There is absolutely nothing new about MRSA. The so called community strain has actually been in publications since late 1990s! So, what's the big deal? Well, MRSA is known to strike bed-ridden people to death but not a normally healthy teenagers. Ironic huh? Only when the long feared bug is striking near us that we take a notice and scream out "HELP!!" and requesting all those sort of practices that scientists have been advocating to no avail for YEARS!

We, human being, need to learn to care about people and event in the world, not just the surrounding. It really saddens me to draw this parallel. An analogy of MRSA case can easily be drawn to the plight of the Ethiopia, Congo residents, North Korean poor citizens, and even the lepers. The attention that normal folks, not affected by poverty, on those people are near to zero. Have we human degraded so far to a level that unless the event is affecting us, then we'll do something about it? Shame on us, shame on us!

It's really the time for people to realize that there are many things happening on earth. Things as simple as the dangerous permanent residence of hospital - MRSA - should have been understood by even the common folks and in specific, those that are to be admitted to hospitals. After all, the sick need to know that not being careful in the ward can easily get the inflicted by a bug that has 40% chance of causing them death. Lots of cases are noted where patient A goes into hospital for X diseases and then later died because of Y infection worsened by MRSA. Yet, despite the danger, there is no public dissemination of such risk.

Should we really wait for danger to strike at home before we observe hygiene carefully? Should we wait until our country has 99% poor people before we realize that the poor need help and the hungry people need to be fed?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Work ethics

I believe it's understood by all employees that a company can progress well only by having a highly productive and efficient + creative employees. Yet, it seems very difficult to get employees whose work ethics is at least reasonable.

People in general dilly-dally in order to get a few spare time for themselves. The dilly-dallying of people in a working chain further increases the lead time of product delivery. At times, we can't blame them anyway. It's not easy to find superiors who can sort out and provide equivalent work scope and job allocation to everyone. Ideally, every person has to be given a non-action packed time in order for them to rest or think about non-action related part of the job! A person who is madly trying to reach deadline and clear as many jobs as he/ she can is not going to be very creative or innovative! The less creative and innovative employees a company has, the less progression the company can make. This chain reaction is overlooked by many people.

Engaging both sides of the population is very important. Open discussion should be encouraged to level up the job. I believe it's very important for a company to purposely assign task force to look at business process improvements. However, there is a need to purposely allocating time for the task force. Doing so, the top management indicates to the entire office population that business improvements are indeed in the priority. Often, chasing deadlines induce dementia to the top management and office lives end up as rat race. I do think that this is partly the cause of many turn overs in lots of companies.

Strike the balance! Only happy employees will stay. Yet, not only happy, the retained employees must be those with willingness to improve themselves and the company!

Singlish: a culture

In the airport today, I heard a girl, around 3 years old, saying to her mom "the MRT is long long what...". Wow, the girl is speaking Singlish!! Her mom doesn't seem perturbed and why should she be perturbed? She is speaking Singlish as well anyway. I'd tend to think that a child can only learn to speak those language and phrases being spoken by people living around her. Hence, drawing conclusion from that idea, it could only mean that people around the young girl speak Singlish.

If the language called Singlish is indeed so prevalent and so accepted widely in the society, I think it should really be accepted as a Singapore culture. I find it rather ironic for the government of Singapore to cook, brew, and look for possible Singapore culture up and down while trying the best to bury Singlish, which arguably is the strongest Singapore culture at the moment. For the government, somehow Singlish is being treated like a plagued or perhaps unwanted children, owing to the fact that Singlish is perhaps thought as "broken English". It's rather apalling that people generally accepted and amazed by people who speak multiple languages while the chance to have Singaporeans having English as a second language seems like eating the forbidden fruit. Why is it so difficult to accept that Singlish is just another form of language and it's possible to accept Singlish and proper English spoken side by side as two different languages.

Even Bahasa Indonesia is formulated from Malay and improved over time. It should be possible to leverage Singlish and differentiate it from English further as well. Rather than seeking for inexistent culture, the government of Singapore should have just accepted the fact that Singlish is indeed a unique Singapore culture.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Lead in everything

According to Center for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) of USA, one should worry if 10 microgram or more leade was found in a tenth of a litre of blood. It is thought that even the content of lead at a lower level can hamper IQ development of a child. In adult, lead can result in various neural related disease. After all, the dementia of many Roman emperors was thought to be caused by the addition of lead in the wine and food product of that time.

The limit of airborne content of lead is apparently set at 50 microgram per cubic metre of air averaged over a period of 8 hours, according to OSHA office of USA. Apparently for adult, the lead limit in blood is set higher than kids, which is now at 40 microgram per 100g of blood, which roughly calculated to 4 times higher than the concentration limit in kids. Kids are generally thought as weaker and more susceptible to any kind of safety hazard. But hey, who to say that adult should tolerate more lead? Won't the final damage be the same?

The current lead limit in candy is 0.1 ppm. The USA government, arguing that it's hard to determine the lead content of candies for sure, has merely advised parents to prevent their children from chewing candy wrapper and disallow their children from eating too much imported candy. I wonder how difficult it is to control the import and just stop the producion.

Recently, the added scare is due to the findings of lead in lipsticks! Lipsticks are so popular and an almost must-have for career woman. I don't think there is any woman who has never licked their lips while they are wearing lipsticks. Hence, if the lipstick contains lead, the woman should have been ingesting lead. Now, I wonder why Revlon was said to have lipstick containing no detectable lead while, the more expensive L'Oreal can't be made without it. Is there any difference in the appearance of the lipsticks? Or are people paying more because the lipsticks contain lead? hahahaha...

Lead is toxic due to its ability to bind to molecules which normally bind Calcium, Iron, or Zinc. The three elements are of many utilities in our body. In addition, binding of lead doesn't allow the molecules to perform their normal function as when they bind to the three elements. After all, Calcium ion is involved in the synpatic transmission of our neuron. I wonder whether this is the link between lead poisoning and neural related disease.

One thing for sure, I have not found the information on the normal amount of lead in air, water , or food yet.

Fried chicken with cracker

Fried chicken with cracker

800g of chicken breast, unskinned
2 pcs of egg
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of sugar
dashes of white pepper
1 pack of Julie's Butter Cracker, mashed to small pieces

Cooking method:
1. Cut the chicken breast to small pieces (up to the size you want)
2. On a bowl, beat the egg and mix it with the salt, sugar, petter, and cracker
3. Dip the chicken to the mixture and fried it in hot oil. Be careful not to turn the fire too high since egg is easily burnt.
4. Enjoy it :)

The fried chicken has a lovely butter flavour. Niceeee

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Addiction to money

Money is very important, isn't it? Without money, we can't get a staying place, we can't get food, etc etc. We can even buy happiness, can't we? Yeah, to a certain level.

Many of us is caught in the race to earn money. Little did we realize that earning money is addictive. Yup, ADDICTIVE. Why is it so? It's because there is only a slim chance that we'd think that we have had enough money. You can see clearly that Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Murdoch, etc are still making money, don't they? Not that I think they are addicted to money, it's just that they are still earning money while they have had tonnes of it.

People are inspired by the rich, easily nowadays. So, we race to earn more and more money while thinking that our family needs the money. At first, perhaps the family is very supported. However, as we earn more, there is high tendency that we lost the first and foremost thought that we might have wanted to earn just enough money for our family. We end up earning money enough to feed the entire province in Indonesia, for example. Then, as we earn and look for money, we unwittingly distance ourselves from our family, slowly but sure. At the end, it's highly probable that we'd lost our family, at least mentally and spiritually.

Beware, myself and friends, that while money is needed, earning it need to take into account our family as well. We'd need money, but balance is very important. It's either we set the balance and purposely spend the time with our family or we'd just lose the balance.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Seabass and genetic engineering

So the story is out, Singapore is breeding "super sea bass". http://www.feedsyndicate.com/articles/7008730690

The sea bass is said to be hardier, bigger, and grow faster. The flip side is, according to some gourmet critic and chef, a less firm flesh. Apparently, the lay man theory is that the fast growth cuts the time needed for the muscle to strengthen the flesh.

Reading the theory, I wonder about what will happen to the genetically engineered food items that are to grow faster as well. Although the sea bass is arguably not genetically engineered but merely selectively bred, the flesh of the "normal" sea bass and the "super sea bass" is apparently different. Considering that there should be a maximum DNA replication speed that could be hard to surpass, there should be a theoretically highest possible cell growth rate. If the cell growth rate has been maximized by the genetic engineering, shouldn't it mean that harvesting the food stuff shorter than an optimum time might actually compromise the quality of the items?

It does makes sense for longer period of growth to produce firmer muscle in the fish. What about corn? genetically modified cow, etc? In the effort to produce food faster, it's not far fetched to think that perhaps the food items are not entirely the same as those wild type that grows naturally. I wonder what else changes in the fish and future genetically modified items besides less firm flesh.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Youtube for scientist

Wow, I came across this website

It's a youtube containing science-related information!! It's
launched last month by the US National Science Foundation and online journal publisher Public Library of Science.

Check it out and watch some science presentation today!

Btw, it even has video on how to do oral presentations and write grants :P

A water that cost $55

Fancy buying the most expensive bottled water?


A bottled water that costs $55 since it is in frosted bottle and studded with swarovski crystal hahaha.. now, do u buy the bottle for collection or do you buy the water that has been purified by at least 9 steps? :)

What about you? hehehe

Salt water as car fuel anyone

This is what I call geek science:

My goodness... Radio Frequency Generator (RFG) invented by Kranzius simply degrades the hydrogen bonding of salt to generate hydrogen molecules that is burned by the heat resulted from the radio frequency vibration. It's amazing. The heat is reported to reach 3,000 F.

Too bad that the efficiency is extremely low. Hahaha... it'll be still some time before we can use salt water as fuel :P

Sudden hope for peace

Wow, after 60 years of conflict, suddenly

There might be a chance to split Jerusalem under the sovereignty of two countries. Really, after fighting for the same city, same sites and claiming the lives of so many innocent, I can't think of a better resolution. I hope the idea does follow through and both states agreed upon a peaceful settlement.

I can only say, finally a light at the end of the darkest tunnel.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Time and Value

I'd like to write something about time and value (not time and money) :)

At times we'll meet people who really concerns about money. So when they are faced with a choice to save some dollars, they'll go all out to get that. Say, a shop somewhere in town is selling an item for 40 dollars, while a shop in the neighbourhood sells the same item for 50 dollars. Yet, to travel to town, one will need to spend a total of 1.5 hours in the journey. Still, some people will travel just to save that 10 dollars. Little did he/ she realize that he has lost that 1.5 hours of his precious time and little did he/ she realize that transports still cost something!!

One thing that normally slips the mind of such people that time has a value that far exceeds the monetary savings that he/ she might obtain. Referring to the paragraph above, that 1.5 hours of his/ hers could have been spent resting, be with his/ her family, doing some other hobbies, etc. Those time that was gone can never be turned back. The passing time can not be obtained again. Hence, the Value of time used wisely if priceless. Why should you save that "little" amount of time while sacrificing the time that could be used for something priceless?

Think about it. Use your time to be with your family or doing something you love rather than just merely thinking about saving some little sum of money. You can earn the money, but you can never earn time. :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Live simply

Got this forwarded to me:

There once was a woman who woke up one morning, looked in the mirror, and noticed she had only three hairs on her head.Well," she said, "I think I'll braid my hair today." So she did and she had a wonderful day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw that she had only two hairs on her head. "H-M-M," she said, "I think I'll part my hair down the middle today." So she did and she had a grand day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head. "Well," she said, "today I'm going to wear my hair in a pony tail." So she did and she had a fun, fun day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn't a single hair on her head. "YEA!" she exclaimed, "I don't have to fix my hair today!"

Attitude is everything. Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.Live simply, Love generously, Care deeply, Speak kindly....... Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...
It's about learning to dance in the rain.


Love the article so much. It's so true and yet seems so far away. We can always try harder and harder, can't we? To learn to dance in the rain and laugh at all the slips we have due to to wet terrain :) May each slip improve our steps more and more.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Statistics is always cited everywhere and it's always use to justify certain decision. Nevertheless, little did people realize the ease of which statistics can be used to "manipulate" or "design" the result portrayed to the public.

For an example, government tends to talk about the reduction of unemployment rate. However, I see more and more unfortunate people selling tissue paper and even plain begging, everywhere including in Orchard. My question to the statistical data posted by government is:
1. Does employment include those working part time?
2. Does employment include those working once in a month?
3. Does employment exclude those considered unwell to work (for whatever reason, including having one hand)? Or does a person including one hand but having a work is considered in the base but those without a work is excluded from the base?
4. Does employment include those proclaiming self-employed although they are without income? i.e. people who is without job, trying to be an insurance agent, jumping into the field and get out in 3 months. Is the person who quit jobs after the next 3 months is considered as having a job?

There are tonnes of ways to calculate many things. It really depends on the analyst to spin his/ her own side of story. Beware with whatever you read. I'd tend to think that we can formulate our own decision by our own perception on our own limited base. After all, we are in the population.

Yet, we tend to forget that even ourselves can make a difference. Whether our decision is for the better or for the worse, it all rests upon ourselves.