East meets West

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I’ll be honest here – I’ve never put much faith in “alternative medicine” like traditional Chinese healing methods, preferring to cement my conviction in Western methods of rigorous medical training and the process of FDA pharmaceutical clinical trials.

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It probably doesn’t help that I’m a pharmaceutical aficionado and my sister is a cardiologist. My motto used to be “Better living through chemistry…for every problem, a chemical solution!”

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Thus, I was (more than) a little skeptical when I took this health check based on some form of non-invasive acupuncture. It was at a PRUhealth event and the health check session started with some rather personal questions.

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Straight off the bat, I was grilled about my bowel movements, the olfactory offensiveness of the fecal matter and whether said poop sticks to the bowl or slides right down as slick as…er, shit.

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I answered honestly, and gave them an almost-complete medical history, including my damaged kidneys courtesy of a methamphetamine overdose. I used to IV unfiltered (“cold shake method”) crystal meth with disastrous results to my renal function and was in ICU for a week coz of that.

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Needless to say, I also disclosed my previous problems with substances. You should never lie with insurance…coz you won’t be able to claim if they find out. ;)

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Anyway, back to The Probes (TM) it involves taking readings from the left and right hands and feet, which explains this rather undignified photo:

undignified

I found out that I have hypertension (150/85) which is nothing new – I already know I have high blood pressure. Or maybe it was the hot chick touching me. I don’t know for sure. ;) However, I was more than a little surprised to learn that the device also managed to find fault with my liver, kidneys and blood cells.

I present to you, my blood test results:

english results

This is the results from the health check at the PRUhealth event:

chinese results

It’s remarkably similar, which should probably tell me something. I need to maintain a healthier lifestyle, or at the very least, get insured so the hospital bills won’t instantly Chapter 11 me the moment I get admitted (which is a matter of when rather than if). The last time I was in ICU, it cost a staggering RM 3,000+ per day. I was in there for a whole WEEK!

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I’ve always had problems getting health insurance since I was still actively using back then and no insurance company wanted to touch me with a 10 foot pole. However, I’ve been clean for three years after going through drug rehabilitation and PRUhealth will be one package I’ll be seriously looking into.

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Let me tell you the best part about this plan. Say you’re not as…er, unhealthy as me, and you don’t possess a lot of the vices (smoking, drinking) that I do. PRUhealth offers a revolutionary system that I’ve never heard of before- NO CLAIMS BONUS.

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Basically, if you don’t claim anything (if you don’t fall sick or get into shenanigans which require hospitalization) PRUhealth pays you back up to a maximum of RM 500 annually. You can even withdraw the bonus if you want to. It’s the only health insurance that offers something as ground-breaking as this – a plan that rewards you for being healthy!

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Thus, if you’re not living life to the max (and destroying your body in the process) like I am, you’ll be well pleased to know that you’ll be rewarded for it. I on the other hand, find solace in the fact that I won’t be penalized for it either. It’s a win-win situation!

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More about PRUhealth next week!

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Speaking of winning, I still think I should have snagged the Unhealthiest Blogger Award…I’m a bit miffed that I didn’t. How liddat? My street (blog?) cred gone dy. :p

RM 22.90 for a BUCKET?

HOW COME THINGS NOWADAYS SO EXPENSIVE ONE?

expensive bucket

It is housecleaning day and I went to stock up on a couple of essential supplies – mop, broom, bucket, the works. I didn’t exactly check the price for all the items so when I went to the cash register the amount shocked and awed me. I inventoried the items and found the offending article – this RM 22.90 bucket.

WHAT KIND OF BUCKET COSTS RM 22.90?

On a side note, I saw the same bucket being sold for a mere RM 4.90 at a nearby convenience store. Hmph!

Bust a move!

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You think you’ve got skillz?

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Those of us stuck in the rat race in the corporate world often forget what it’s like to do what you want, when you want, and express yourself publicly. We’re constantly too concerned about what others think of us and restrain ourselves, thinking its “right” and “mature” to do so. Nay, I say. Nay!

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Everyone should let loose once in a while – sing like no one is listening, write like no one is reading, and dance like no one is watching!

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Street dancing is a relatively new phenomenon over here but it seems to have taken off with a vengeance. I was surprised to see people busting a move at the local town square in Sibu. I love how they bring their own portable music players or blast beats from their car audio system. It embodies the very essence of freedom of expression.

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The F&N Freestylz “Show Ur Moves” competition is heading towards an explosive finale this Sunday. You probably missed the preliminaries but you can still go and check out the teams who managed to rise above the others and come up on top! 10 teams are heading into the finals at the Curve – Elecoldxhot, Wakaka Crew, N Crew, Project Elementz, Fresh Beat Rockers, Twister Randoms, Move, Enemy Style, Feasible Crew and Borneo Crew.

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The judging will be done by (L-R) Boojae (Malaysian artiste and b-boy), Fiona Jane Gomez (Talent Hub Principal) and Danny One (local artiste). The winner of the finals will not only get the honor of being crowned the best b-boys in Malaysia, but they’ll be flown to Korea to meet and train with Asia’s #1 b-boys, Gamblerz Crew!

Go and gawk at the teams – there are female street dancers too, so whether you’re a guy or a girl, there will not be a shortage of eye candy. ;)

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I was planning to go to Penang this weekend to attend a wedding but since I can’t due to work commitments, I’ll be there armed with my digicam! The F&N Freestylz 2009 final is going down at e@Curve on Sunday, August 16, 6 pm!

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Get reacquainted with your youth or just catch the best moves this side of town!

Diana and Keith's wedding!

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The return of the prodigal son! I flew back to Sibu after nearly a year of being in KL for one sole reason – to attend the wedding of a good friend and ex-classmate I’ve known since high school. Diana is currently living in Australia and came back for the home leg of her wedding reception.

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I know her sisters Daphne and Doreen too – we’re all from the same high school. I haven’t seen them for ages and it was fun sitting on the same table together – kinda like old times back in 2005. Diana is the last of the sisters to get married. I’m her age and most of my friends are already hitched. Jesus, either I’m late or they’re early. Hmm…

diana ting family

Back to the wedding, let me produce a montage of images to best represent the night:

diana wedding montage

Congratulations to Diana and Keith!

diana keith

Hmm…does this mean I have to call you Mrs. Towsey now? ;)

A rather tragic weekend

tragic weekend fun

I went out drinking with Jan, Sam and Shawn on Saturday night after dinner at Bubba Gump. During the course of the night, I consumed enough ethanol to kill a small horse but somehow managed to maintain my sobriety.

tragic weekend absinthe

It was a night of Bloody Mary’s, absinthe, frozen martinis, shooters, Flaming Lamborghinis and various other cocktails and at the end of the session (and after racking up a staggering RM 566.96 bill); Jan got rather inebriated and fell down while puking on my shoes.

The problem is she fell flat on her face into the tarmac outside Telawi Street Bistro.

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I tried to grab her, but missed and scraped my hand instead. Thus, I bundled her into my car sans seatbelt on the front seat while I drove back.

tragic weekend hand

Thank God, Allah, Buddha, Confucius, Gaia, Sol Invictus et al that I didn’t run into any road blocks that night.

tragic weekend end

I cannot imagine talking my way out of a failed breathalyzer test with a passed out girl in my car. I think it would be a catastrophe of epic proportions if I were stopped by the police. Since I didn’t get apprehended, the damage level has been downgraded to merely tragic. ;)

Saving the planet

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There has been a deluge of spoofs on the highly viral and successful Heineken Walk-In-Fridge commercial. One of the funnier ones I’ve seen is the Walking Fridge spoof and all the parody videos share two things in common…Heineken and The Scream (TM).

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No, not the painting by Edvard Munch.

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It’s the outrageous expression of joy red blooded males manifest by ecstatic screaming. I can’t remember how many spoofs I’ve seen, but if I had RM 1 for every time I’ve seen a parody of the video, I’ll probably be a Datuk by now. Datuk Evil. ;)

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I decided to make my very own spoof video, and enlisted the help of the Kamen over lunch at Chili’s one fine Saturday afternoon at MidValley. The script was scribbled on a piece of paper (kindly furnished by the waitress) and we discussed it over drinks (the final scene is actually in Chili’s – a test run of sorts).

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I tucked the script (the technical term for this is “piece of paper with my scribbles”) into my front pocket for safekeeping and we proceeded to purchase several bottles of Heineken before getting my car. Thus armed, we drove outside MidValley coz I wanted the mall as the backdrop – Dr, I mean Datuk Evil’s lair of operations, where nefarious activities and ridiculously low demands of ransom in lieu of totally annihilation are conducted.

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I parked in front of The Gardens, hoping that we’ll have time to film the entire take without mall security shooing us away. I didn’t have a nifty red button to open up a trapdoor to send unwelcome mall cops into the fiery depths of my basement so it’s a good thing that we wrapped everything up with no unwanted attention. ;)

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Except for this dude who was washing the windows of The Garden’s office block…he actually offered to let me go up on his contraption for filming and I would have agreed if not for this:

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I was parked in front of a no parking sign and would have to beat a hasty retreat if asked.

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It was really fun, Kamen came dressed to the nines coz she just came from a law debate so I cast her as a combination of Number 2 and Frau Farbissina. We actually took turns filming each other, passing the digicam back and forth for each scene and I must say that the end result turned out surprisingly well.

Check it out for yourself:

Heineken: RM 7:49 x 4
Bottle opener: RM 10.40
Saving the planet: PRICELESS

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Heineken – SERVING SAVING THE PLANET

It’s surprising how good ideas come in little scraps of paper. :)

The Long Search

The first time I’ve been exposed to local music was through the song Isabella by Search. It was quite popular during my time (was in primary school then) and it was the first Malay song I listened to and could sing snippets of. The chorus at least…

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I don’t play the guitar and I’ve gotten most of the lyrics but I shall attempt to recreate the song here anyway:

Okay, perhaps I shouldn’t quit my day job.

Nevertheless, local music has grown by leaps and bounds since then. I’ve started listening to local bands like OAG and more recently Zee Avi.

airwaves evil

I grabbed a guitar from the office and just like buttered bread always lands on the buttered side, my Senior Manager (of all people) walked down, heard the pandemonium that was me trying to hit a High C and failing terribly, and glared at me.

Just look at how paranoid I was in the video!  True, you don’t get any prizes for voting for your favorite bands, but hey, the world would be a much better place if everyone tones down the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) mentality.
 

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Just surf over to Channel X MTV World Stage and vote for your favorite indie bands by downloading their Call Me Tones. The top 3 indie bands with the highest download will get a chance to perform at the MTV World Stage Pre-Show at 4.30pm, 15 August at Sunway Lagoon Surf Beach. The voting ends 14 August so get cracking!

Just follow these simple steps to download the Call Me Tones:
1. Type CMT<space><Song Code>
2. Send to 22990

And to subscribe to Call Me Tones:
1. Type ON CMT
2. Send to 22990

Give them a chance to perform at the MTV World Stage. The All-American Rejects, Hoobastank, Boys Like Girls, Pixie Lott, Raygun, Estranged and Kasabian will all be there!

Don’t tell me that indie rock is dead…

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Support your local indie bands!

I love my dad

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I guess a lot of people would consider it a less-than-masculine trait to express feelings of affection towards someone as “uncool” as a parent. I don’t really care though – my dad is my greatest inspiration in life. He embodies agape – unconditional love. He lives his life with very solid moral principles.

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My dad came from an underprivileged family. He didn’t have much to work with but managed to put himself through university by working hard for two years. He believed in education – so much so that he was the first Chinese to graduate with honors in Chemistry from UM (University Malaya – it was quite prestigious back in the days).

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He got job offers from Shell as soon as he graduated, but he turned down the high paycheck coz he wanted to make a difference. He wanted to educate. He enrolled in a teaching college and worked his way up, rank and file, to become a principal of the biggest high school in Sibu.

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I remember travelling with him when I was a kid. He made it a point to save up for at least one annual family vacation on his meager teacher’s salary. He believed in sacrifice – I cannot imagine how hard it must have been for him to put two (2) of his kids through university. He just wanted the best for me and my sister.

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I was shipped off to Christchurch, New Zealand when I was 15, together with my sister (she’s 2 years older – I only have one sibling) for high school and despite that disastrous incident, he still held on to one thing…he had faith in me and believes that I am a good person and would make the right choices in life.

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Let me elaborate…I fell in with a gang in NZ and had to beat a hasty retreat after an unfortunate incident where one person was seriously injured during a home invasion. It wasn’t a robbery, it was a gang related attack which I was privy to (and participated in). Unfortunately, I didn’t know that the goal was to actually attempt to take the life of the other party.

To cut a long story short, the person whom we attacked nearly died and we got a text message the next day from the leader to lay low. Several of us decided to fly back home. I was one of the lucky ones…we made it out. The rest were arrested and sentenced from 2-20 years in jail for assault.

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My dad knew I was in some kind of trouble since I didn’t want to go back to NZ so he arranged a path for me to go to Australia instead. He never pushed me for details; he never pried into my private life. He knew I a drug user and despite that, loved me the best that he can.

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There is one incident that stands out in my mind. I was just a teenager and on IRC (remember that?) and since he’s the principal of the biggest school in Sibu, some dudes started thrash talking about him.

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I got sooooo pissed off that I grabbed a parang from the back of my house and drove straight out with a challenge for that gang to meet me at Pedada. My dad actually woke up and he wondered what I was doing. I told him I was out to meet some friends. This was at 2 am mind, so I don’t think he believed me…but I went alone, with my edged weapon, ready to take on any amount of people who defiled his name.

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They never showed up. >.<

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I also remember the time when I attempted to kill myself, and the psychiatrist subdued me with an unknown substance (it’s not a benzodiazepine – I’m seriously super tolerant so it’s gotta be something else, something much stronger) so much that I fell asleep on the wheel chair from ICU to SGH (where they intended to bring me to the famous psychiatrist hospital dubbed 7th Mile by Kuching people).

You know, I was so groggy that I couldn’t answer their questions and slept the entire night.

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When I woke up at 7 am on suicide watch, my dad and my mom waltzed into the hospital ICU with a look of concern on their faces. I felt sad, nay, devastated at the grief I had caused them. My dad didn’t say anything, he didn’t judge, he didn’t lecture.

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He just pulled me into a bear hug and said:

I’m glad you’re alive. I don’t know what I would have done without you.

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Yes, he is balding. Yes, he lacks height. However, he is MY BIOLOGICAL FATHER and I would give my life for him.

He’ll do the same for me, without even a nanosecond to think.

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…and that’s why I’m nominating him instead of someone I barely know.

Do you know someone who stands up to challenges in life against all odds? Nominate the unsung heroes at Honda – Our Challenging Spirit.

Dinner with an unexpected guest

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I have preached again and again about the importance of having a digicam with you at all times. Unfortunately, I am not exactly known for practicing what I preach, often with disastrous results. A friend of mine called me out for dinner but he was struck down by a bout of food poisoning so it was just Jojo, Stephanie and me.

Jojo Struys 2

I didn’t know which Jojo it was until I arrived and nearly drove the 23 km back to grab my dSLR. It was Jojo Struys and Stephanie Chai! Alas, armed with only my crappy cell phone camera, I couldn’t really take good photos but Jojo was kind enough to use her Blackberry to take photos and email it to me.

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This is why you should lug your dSLR everywhere you go. You just never know who you’re going to meet.

Thanks for buying me dinner Jojo! :)

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