Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Can Passive Suffering be Fiery Ordeal Mentioned by Peter in 1 Peter 4:12?

Date: 13th December 2016

1 Peter 4: 12-13 "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on to you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may overjoyed when his glory is revealed."

As Christian, being tested and put into hot soup is not not uncommon. We always bragged that we could survive it because the strength we got from our Heavenly Father. In fact, the more we overcome the 'fiery ordeal' the more solid we were as Christians. We heard praises from Christian community and felt the pride that we were overcomers. Nothing right or wrong about it.

Today when I read this passage, I could not help by looking back into my life. The forming yesteryears were testimonies that life could be shitty and there were times in the past that I wished it did not happened. The foundation that was laid for me by my parents and God has helped me to find hope during those dark periods. I could recall incidences that were 'fiery ordeals' and the sadness and anger and all those negative emotions that rode along with it. I could still feel some of the stings when I thought about it sometimes.

But that is not the message that I got today. The time of reflection was just about a year ago. The turning point probably was the time I quit my job and worked independently on my own. Being blessed with a medical degree, I could still survive even at the downturn of economy. People still get sick and people still dies whether the economy thrive or when it is down. Looking back, dealing the nasty people was hard but God taught me to forgive. Not that easy when the fact that it was so personal. I said personal because I felt the pain and the consequences of nasty comments and also the feeling of being betrayed. How could it not be personal? Prayers somehow soothed the heart. Many times, I wanted to curse but what good it would do? I do not like seeing people suffers anyway.

But I think the hardest ordeal was when nothing was happening. So could you see the contrast? Suffering when too many bad things happening vs suffering when nothing was happening. Some may say it is active vs passive suffering. Is there such a thing?  Being actively attacked , you adopted a defensive mode. You prayed, you analysed and then you acted. So the constant activity of defending yourself make you feel you were 'doing' something. You felt useful , you sensed achievement when your enemy or their action were thrown down. Your prayers were answered because you had victory. The suffering diminished when you have the feeling of a winner.

But what was happening for the last month was even harder to swallow because nothing was happening! We assumed a passive role. You looked around you and nothing seems to be moving. Despite effort to get things moving, nothing seems to move! I spoke particularly in area of my work. The diminishing income became worrying. The lack of new business seems to hit where it hurt most - my pocket. And you did not what to do. Even prayers seems hard. You could not pray for more sick people to come to you because such prayers seems so wrong. So here you are, not knowing whether you could pay for your house or loan and you waited!

Could waiting be considered 'fiery ordeal' mentioned be Peter in 1 Peter 4:12? How fiery it is when there was nothing happening around you? But the fear and uncertainty was troubling. It was as strong and real when compared to the persecution by others. Doubt crept in sometimes to challenge your thoughts and prayers. The emotional component of waiting was not any lesser than the active persecution. In fact, it was worse because you could not pray for intervention, as intervention meant suffering of others. So I guess waiting and passive suffering could be equated to 'fiery ordeal'!

Verse 13 says "But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may overjoyed when his glory is revealed." Rejoice as you participate in the suffering of Christ. Rejoice was not easy when all you see was uncertainty. Rejoice was hard when things were just not happening. In order to feel the joy and to celebrate, there must be a reason for the celebration. But here Peter asked us to rejoice! I find it humanly hard. But then the verse continues to say rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the suffering in Christ. How could I even compare my suffering with Christ's. Jesus's suffering was so deep whereas mine was shallow. My Lord went to hell and mine did not even cause a scrape on my skin. And yet Peter said rejoice.

Rejoice as you participate in the sufferings. What I understood from this verse was participate in the suffering. How could that be? How could someone participate in the suffering? But when you felt a sense of hopelessness and experienced so much of uncertainty, Were you not participating in sufferings? Were you not in the midst of a very unpleasant situation? I guessed that was what he meant. I could be wrong. But at the end of it, could we still rejoice when we were in such a situation. Could we still find hope in hopelessness , could we find joy in suffering? I think we could. And the first step was acknowledgement. Acknowledging that passive suffering existed. We do not brush aside something that was real. Acknowledging it validated our emotions and thoughts. We were not dealing with some fiction but facts.

Then we could start experiencing hope. Then we could start to experience a better feeling.Perhaps  slight joy. When we could look forward, we could take the next step. I guess that was better than not moving at all. So today's reading has helped me to understand that we could suffer from being too still. But it is OK. Just rejoice in the process and still hope that this stillness would eventually find its momentum to move forward.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


“Let’s see…Already 3.37am? It’s going to be yet another long, long night. Sigh…”

Insomnia – my constant companion since I was 16 years old. I have been having trouble sleeping for the past 22 years. While this may not be a world record among chronic insomniacs, it has certainly been a big problem for me.

So, you ask, what is it like going to bed at 10pm but unable to fall asleep till 4am? Well, for one thing, before I am actually ‘rested’, I am awakened by my alarm at 6.30am to go to work. I have learned that if it is only for a day or two, it does not affect me much. However, when it goes beyond 5 days, then all hell breaks loose. You will see me walking, talking and screaming like a zombie!! Well, not sure if zombies scream, but I sure feel like doing just that!

Anyone unfortunate enough to be within my path will be the victim of my bad mood and behavior. My staff and nurses stay out of my way because I can be really nasty. I know this is not a good testimony, but what can be done? It is humanly impossible to smile when you feel like strangling anyone that annoys you that day. Thank God that this only happens periodically. Otherwise, my boss would probably already have me called in for ‘counselling’ or perhaps sent me off to anger management classes.

The Mayo Clinic defines insomnia as a disorder that can make it hard to fall asleep, hard to stay asleep, or both. With insomnia, you usually awaken feeling unrefreshed, which then takes a toll on your ability to function during the day. Insomnia can sap not only your energy level and mood, but also your health, work performance and quality of life. What a disorder! Oh boy…scientifically, my mind has gone cuckoo!!

Ever since I began having insomnia, I have been trying various methods, techniques, supplements, diets, and meditations to help me to sleep; you name it, from latest medical suggestions, to my ancestors-guaranteed-remedies, to whatever any random magazine suggests – but none of it worked. Thankfully, as my insomnia comes only periodically, I just try to live with it. Something like having a pimple scar; you have it, it is annoying, can’t get rid of it, so just got to live with it. It is  just as Job says in Job 3:26, “I have no peace, no quietness, I have no rest but only turmoil.” It is such a sad admission of defeat.

So what do we insomniacs do when we cannot sleep? For one thing, we try our very best to sleep! What do they try? Count sheep? There was once I counted to 2,000 and my sheep started a war in my head. Another suggestion is getting a hot shower before sleep. Well, I can do a spa treatment and still stay awake even after all my muscles are relaxed. It is not the problem of my body; it is all in my head! I can be so tired physically, but unless my mind shuts down, I cannot enjoy the pleasure of a good night’s rest.

Come, let’s get into the psyche of an insomniac. Some say that it is the worried mind, the subconscious dimension of our brain that keeps us awake. So even though we are not aware of it, we can be subconsciously worried, thus causing us to be restless and not able to sleep. Well, this theory does have some kind of scientific evidence, I guess. Some neurologists (brain doctors) have said that it is related to the brain discharging the signals all over the brain, thus no rest.

So was I having a worried mind? Sometimes, perhaps! If work begins to pile up or my family has issues, then I find that I will definitely experience problems sleeping during those periods. But then again, it is not so all the time. Sometimes it happens even when I have no worries (consciously) and am totally relaxed. It occasionally happens even after a good night out with family and friends, with lots of laughter and joy…and I will find that I still cannot fall asleep!

So what is it that goes through my mind when I cannot sleep? Nothing important. Nothing in particular. Nothing exciting unless I choose to make stories out of it. I remember once, I had actually concocted a full Cantonese drama, directed and acted out the full 32 episodes in my insomniac dreams. In hindsight, I should have written it all down – I might have become a famous movie director by now!

Another colleague suggested allowing my mind free rein to run as it pleased. “It will eventually get tired and you will be able to sleep and rest”, she told me. Well, the problem for me is that it ends just one or two hours before dawn. I even tried self-medication and pray and intercede for everything and every one I know of to fall asleep.

So I have this problem and no ‘one’ solution. How do I deal with the ‘monster’ that takes over my head? Maybe the Word of God holds the answer.

Psalm 4:4 says, “Tremble and do not sin: when you are on your beds, search your heart and be silent” (NIV). I especially like the translation from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) that says, “Tremble and do not sin: Meditate in your heart upon your bed and be still.” I guess the focus is to learn to be still. I always wonder how people can stay still. People like me are described as the archetypical Type A Personality (basically, a super-hyper person with a high level of stress, and always on the go), and we find it extremely difficult to be still. We multi-task at everything. To be honest, we probably do some work even when we visit the loo! Are you like me? I once sprained my ankle so badly that I was not able to walk and had to rely on crutches to get about. Despite that, I still managed to cook lunch and dinner, and later hopped into my car and drove out! So learning to be ‘still’ sounds almost impossible for me.

I guess the second focus is to learn to meditate. During one of my silent retreats, I remember I was taught to meditate on the word of God. It was so difficult and it took me days to even learn to stay still and begin to meditate. Needless to say, it was difficult to meditate for long.

But God never gave up on me! I learnt to medicate and focus, and sometimes, I manage to do just that. During those nights, I was actually able to sleep better. And I truly treasure those nights when the Word of God put me to sleep, literally. God promises to give us rest. In Exodus 33:14, God declares, “My Presence will go with you and I will give you rest”, and in Matthew 11:28, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”

Prayers work too. I remember there was a time when I was having a problem sleeping, and I sent an SOS to my cell group members asking them to pray for me. “Pray for sleep”, I told them. I was almost going nuts because it had been a full 2 weeks of interrupted sleep, and I was not getting enough rest. Physically I was tired and beginning to get ill (by the way, did you know that your body repairs itself during sleep and builds up the immune system?). The prayer SOS worked and I slept like a baby. On hindsight, I realised that I should have asked for prayer sooner!

So in the wee hours of the morning when my mind cannot stop working, I consciously will my mind to meditate on the Word that promises rest. I declare, as the psalmist declared, “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Well, if it does not work, there is always an SOS prayer call, and if that fails too, God help me – it’s back to the pills!

So for those of you who can sleep soundly every single night, do count your blessings because that is the healthiest and most wonderful gift you can ever have! God bless each and every one of you with a wonderful rest tonight!

Sleep tight and always remain thankful! J

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Why not ME???


 I  was feeling extremely excited! Just a couple of hours more and I would be healed. They said I just need to have faith. I just need to believe that Jesus Christ could heal me and I would be completely healed. My friends helped to push the people around to make way for me. There were thousands of people heading to the stage. I need to reach the stage. I need to reach the preacher. That was my chance to get complete healing and I would not give up.

All I could see were thousands of heads. People were moving slowly towards the stage in the centre the field. I heard prayers and crying. Some were laughing. It was like a carnival. In fact, it was because in this field, thousands had gathered to be healed. I could not even remember the preacher’s name but I heard many were healed by God through him.

My heart was racing. I was feeling dizzy. I was almost crying when I was moving towards the preacher. My friends lifted me up to the platform and as he walked towards me, I was so hopeful. “Please dear Lord, please heal my leg. I wanted to run. I wanted to dance. I wanted to walk beautifully. Not like a cripple where people stared. Not limping while people laughed. I believe! I believe in You! I have faith tonight and I will be healed,” I said a prayer. Then, that was the moment. “BE HEALED MY DAUGHTER! BELIEVE IN YOUR HEART THAT JESUS HAD HEALED YOU!!” I believe!

I stared at my leg. I prayed that it would have strength. And I waited. And waited. People around started to push me away. I was down the stage and still hoping. NOTHING! Perhaps later... I waited, a few hours, a day, few days, few weeks... Nothing! I was still limping. I was still walking ugly. I was still crippled! God did not heal me! God failed me?! Or have I failed God?! Don’t I have enough faith?! I must have had a lot of faith but now look at what happened. Nothing changed, not even a simple muscle twitch. It was gone...my leg...my faith.

Born as a normal child, I had poliomyelitis at the age of one. The virus bad damaged my nerve and thus my right leg was not able to grow. It has no strength. It hang from my body like a beaten rag doll. As far as I remembered, my parents were always  looking for a cure for my leg. Dad and Mom have never given up. They searched for different doctors – Western, Chinese traditional sensei, Malay bomoh, Indian sami – in fact anyone who could offer help, we rushed into their arms. My little heart  broken over and over again when none of them was able to make me walk properly.

I grew up hating the way I walk. I walked on the sideway because I hated the way people stared at me. I hated it when children called me ‘pai ka’ (the crippled). I hated to see my friends play sports while I stayed on the side to keep their belongings safe. I was wishful that some boys would ask me to dance, but always cried when no one does. I hated my leg. I hated myself.

So when I knew about Christ, it gave me hope. Perhaps
 when all failed, Jesus would triumph! He was my last
 chance to walk like a normal girl. Faith healing was my
 only hope. But that was not so. After the incident at the 
healing rally, my hope was gone. When my hope was
 crushed, I had no way to go. Jesus had ‘failed’ me? Jesus did
 not want me to be healed? How could He do that to me? I 
only have one little wish, to be able to walk without feeling
 ashamed. He made the blind see, He made the leper clean and He made the crippled walk. Why not me?

I was bitter for many years. I questioned God why He did not want me to be  normal? I lost faith along  way. A God who does not love me does not deserve my time and energy. I walked away from God. I do not want to relate to a God who does not love me. Over the years, I grew weary. I grew tired. There was just motion of Christianity in my life. Not much meaning. I perform my duty as doctor, daughter, sister, and a friend.

Yet, there was always a void. I heard from somewhere that God designed us in such a way that only He could fill this void. Eventually, the prodigal daughter returned home to her Heavenly Father. But there was a scar in her heart, the disbelief of faith healing. I never believed in faith healing for myself after that.
As I grew older, my faith grew a little every year. Here and there, some testimonies showed me that God does perform miracles. I saw broken people who were healed. Those who have lost hope, found hope in Him. Those without love, found love in Him. I found peace, love and hope again. The only thing that I lost was my faith on complete healing.

Do I trust God? Yes and no. I trust Him in certain things but not all things. I have never doubted that God provides. Not only He has given me a wonderful family, He gave the best of friends, career, and life. Asked if I have any problems that I cannot solve, I will tell you that I have God who would help me. But every time someone mentions that God heals diseases and symptoms, I shy away. I pray for healing for others. I pray for miracles for others.

I do not claim to understand why God left me with a broken leg. I stopped hoping my leg will ever be better. Do I still feel ashamed? Perhaps. I am still uncomfortable looking at mirrors when I walk. It seems like I am staring at a stranger. Although over the years, I have built my self-confidence yet there is always a part of me that is afraid of how people look at me. I am concerned how they would judge me because of how I walk.

Many reminded me that I am a special person. Despite having a broken leg, I am    a successful   I do
things others would have no guts to try. I did sky- diving, I am a certified scuba diver and a well known fund raiser. I party and enjoy my life. So what is my problem? Perhaps it is the disappointment how I did not get what I wanted from God. I did not get the healing I desired so much. Then again, instead of giving me what I want, God has given me more than I imagined. He has given me things I needed more than those I wanted.

Will I ever have the courage to go for altar call for faith healing? I am not able to answer this question now. Perhaps far, far in the future, I might. But in the meantime, I am only a witness to many who will be healed. Should I try? Perhaps one day when the Holy Spirit will soften my heart and prompt to me then, I will step forward in faith. And when that time comes, I pray that I will have the courage to do so.

As of now, I will keep praying for others. I will keep asking God to heal others. I will continue to seek God in my time of need and to share with Him my achievement and joy.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Day I Prayed For 'Someone' dear to die...

 “Dad!! Pleeeease dad, help me to help you...the tube is not going in...PLEASE!!!” I cried so much while holding on to the feeding tube. After six failed attempts, dad was crying too. “Oh God...I don’t want to do this...I cannot do this...please take this task away from me!!!” As I steeled myself to attempt for the last time, I could not stop my hands from shaking. I felt like my heart had been shattered into little pieces. Anyone who has ever thought that it is easy to be a doctor in the family has definitely not gone through our pain of feeling like a failure when    trying to treat our own family members.

Three weeks ago, dad had another stroke. It was his 9th stroke. My family put everything on hold to attend to him. We were so close to losing him. At one point, all of his children decided to let him go – we would have allowed our Lord Jesus to take him home because we just could not bear to see him suffer anymore. We thought that it was a selfless act. We believed it was the right thing to do. We said our goodbyes and we thanked him for being such a great dad to all of us. We thanked him for his sacrifices and love. Mom said goodbye to her dearest husband too.

But dad was a fighter. He fought on. On Christmas Day we brought him into the living room to see the Christmas tree. We sang songs and all the children called him. Although he was drowsy, we could see that the reason he fought on was to be with his family. With prayers and lots of love, my dad continued to fight on. Day by day, we could see changes that showed us that he was improving. At the end of nine days, he was stable enough that we all decided we could go back to resume our work and lives.

Many people might think that our story stops here with a happy ending. It was not so – nothing could be further than that. As we were all trying to catch up with our lives in Kuala Lumpur, mom and my maid were struggling at home. We received phone calls that informed us that dad was becoming more and more confused and disorientated. He needed to be restrained during his dialysis (dad’s kidneys had failed and he needs dialysis three times a week) because of his restlessness.

My family again made another trip home to see what we could do. As medical doctors, we decided to give dad some sedation but mom said no...she rather deal with the behavior change than to sedate him. So, as children, we listened. But after a month of waking everyone up every night, disturbing the neighbours, and making everyone’s life miserable, mom called for help again. This time we proceeded to give some medication to calm dad down and to help him to sleep. By now, we realised the painful truth that the stroke had destroyed his short-term memory, and he would not be able to remember anything he did. Only then did mom agree for us to give him some sedation.

Later on, a brain scan showed us just how bad his stroke had been. It had destroyed almost a quarter of his brain. What was more disturbing was that he could not retain short term memories because the part of his brain that controlled memory had been damaged by the stroke. Dad could recall past memories but was unable to retain any new things. So he could remember our names, but he would forget that he had just eaten.

Our friends kept calling to check on us. “How are you?”; “Pease take care.”; “We love you.”; “Let us know if you need anything!” These words of comfort helped carry me through this difficult time. Although we were all extremely tired physically and emotionally, we were also quite calm, or so I thought. I could clearly remember the previous time when dad had almost died, and how chaotic it all was. Everyone was just so restless and I could not remember feeling any peace.

Reflectively, I wondered what had changed. What was the difference between now and then that made such a great impact on how we reacted? Looking back, I realised that most of us trusted in the Lord and His Purposes completely. Although doubt still crept in sometimes, we surrendered to His will. And so we found His peace in those chaotic moments. We understood that dad was beyond what we could do as medical doctors or children. So we just allowed whatever would happen to happen, and we accepted it gracefully.

However, dad’s condition worsened. Finally, it came to a point where he was so confused, and in such suffering that I prayed that God would take him home to heaven soon. I could not bear to hear him scream or to see how he lost his dignity as a man when those symptoms struck. It grieved my heart to see him as someone who had almost lost his mind. So day and night I prayed, “Lord, take him home. He is suffering. Take him home!!!!” My heart was bleeding. Each time I uttered those terrible words, I broke down and cried. How could I say that??? How could I even dare to think of letting my own dad die??? How could I be so ungrateful??? But that was how I felt when I looked into his eyes. His pain was my pain and I just wanted to end it.

I cried unto the Lord, “Forgive me, Father, for being such a terrible person; for making such a terrible request.” What kind of animal was I to want my own father dead? Have you ever had such heartache that it felt like you had been stabbed in your chest? I felt like I was being stabbed again and again and again. The shame, anger, disappointment and a whole load of twisted emotions flooded into my mind. No wonder I could not sleep. It was so hard to pray. How could I pray when I did not have words anymore? Sometimes my prayers did not make any sense. Oftentimes, my prayers just tailed off and then I forgot what I was praying about. There were times when I started, but then never wanted to finish the prayer. Most times I just cried.

After exhausting all my words and tears, all I could do was wait. I was waiting for a miracle even though I did not know what miracle I was looking for – a miracle for dad? Or for me? The healing started when I was quiet; slowly, but yet I knew it was happening. I felt that I did not have to explain to God why I felt that miserable. He already knew! He always had. Once in a while, I sensed some hope. Once in a while I sensed His peace. Here and there I began to find some joy. Eventually all I wanted to do was to sing Him songs – songs of thanksgiving and praise. Did any Bible verses pop up? No. Did any miraculous sign happen? No. Then, why the transformation? The transformation happened when I understood my identity in God’s eyes. No matter how stupid, wicked and shameful that I saw myself, God sees me differently.

When I uttered those terrible words, God looked into my heart and saw that those words came from deep pain. When I asked Him to end my dad’s life, He saw that it was because I loved dad so much that it was too unbearable for me to witness his suffering. God did not judge me. He allowed me to cry my heart out and tell Him about my own suffering. In doing so, He allowed me to trust Him more deeply, and He embraced me with His ever-loving kindness. This experience has left me totally exhausted. It was a journey of faith – my parents’ faith, my siblings’ faith, and my own faith. We were all brought closer together by this catastrophe. Each of us experienced the pain differently. At the same time, we learned about God separately. In our suffering, we shared special moments together. We cried as a family and grieved as a family. When dad improved, we celebrated as a family. These events not only brought us closer as siblings, but also closer to God.

Do I wish that God could have chosen something milder to bring our family closer? Of course. I really would not want to go through those painful days again. But who am I to say? God’s ways are bigger than my ways, His thoughts are greater than my thoughts. I believe there is a season for everything. Perhaps this is a season of faith and trust and of allowing God to work His purposes. Thank you, Oh dear Lord, for Your grace and mercy towards my family.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

How I cried!!!

Today I can think of her without feeling a knife cut through my heart. It is only a week after my dearest nurse, Toh, passed away. The last few weeks was so full of grieve that I lost my smile and my joy. My mind keeps telling me that she is in a better place..but my heart still bleeds. I cannot remember when was the last time I shed tears in public but last few weeks, I was not able to control them at all. The thought of the suffering that Toh was going through, the thought of not seeing her again...these thoughts are unbearable. My dear dear Toh, it is so so hard to say good bye to you.

It was too sudden. In a short span of 10 days, you died because your body cannot cope with the disease. Many of us who worked with you felt it was too soon, too drastic..too much to bear. We began to mourn even before you left. The sight of your fragile body took our breath away. We yearned to give you a stronger body, a better lung...we wanted to share your pain...all we could do was to stay by you, holding and comforting you. 

But in all the suffering, I saw many goodness. I remembered the day we decided to kidnap you from the hospital. All of us were so pissed off with the hospital, you deserved better care. Ironically, boss, me and Mani ( a Mosleem, Hindu, Christian) decided to kidnap you ( a Buddhist). Looking back, it was beautiful wasn't it? We are so 1Malaysia in a way...no matter what our background is, no matter what we believe, we spoke the language of love....and that is all that matters. We came together to care for someone who meant so much to us. The other nurses are fantastic Toh, they came and offer to care for you...Mani, Lilien, Sharon, Siew Choo,Loi, Sya, Azim, Rachel, Farra, Eza...all of them love you so much. I know Emily and Idayu saw you before you came home.Jan, Mizah called from afar to find out about you. Dr Ednin, Dr Sylvia, Dr Zee Nee, Lynn and her family, other staffs in Hospis all wanted to reach out to you. Dr Loh, Dr Tan, Dr Lalitha..those from other hospices grieved as well. Toh, see the people you have touched over the years...see how much you are loved....you are special.

Your family finds it hard to take you home. There was still a tinge of regrets on the first day. Your poor son and sisters were worried they couln't care for you. They were so tired...exhausted from all that was going on..we reassured them we would help till the end..and they were grateful that they do not have to go though the dying by themselves.

You left me fond memories...the best were the times when we spoke like sisters when you were in the ward. You shared about your life, family..you shared about your fear and worries....one thing I had to remind you...you forgot to share about your achievement...you forgot what a great and wonderful and loving nurse you are...you were so humble....I had to remind you what a great person you were.

Can I pray for you I asked...yes please...I asked God to protect you, to take away your breathlessness and pain. To give you peace and angles to watch over you...you smile...I will miss those sweet sweet smiles...

The day of your memorial, I found it hard to look into your face. I wanted to say good bye but found that it was hard to do...looking into your sweet face resulted in a catch in my heart...it hurt so badly....Your family had invited me to say an eulogy for you...I had it all written down but just few minutes before that, I lost the paper...I spoke from my heart. I spoke of your love for others and our love for you...I guess it was meant to be....to say something from my heart instead of a planned speech....

Good bye my friend.....I believe I will see you again...somewhere. somehow...till then, I will always remember you and you compassion and your kindness....a hug and kiss for you...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

388????? Can turn an ugly duckling to a swan??? Like fairy tale...

As always, the story ( sad one OK! ) starts like that....Once upon a time, not so long ago, in a small humble home in Puchong Jaya, lived a duckling. I would not call her ugly,beauty-challenged is a more politically correct word...

This humble duckling was a very hard working and she was famously known as Dr Quack. Dr Quack was famous for her voice, she was also made famous by one of her favorite song. The children would sing, "Old MacDonald had a farm, eee iii, eee ii ooo. And and his farm he has a duck, eee iii, eee iii oooo. She quack quack here and quack quack there..." , you got the picture la..

Though Dr Quack possessed all the quality of a duck could ever have, her heart always wished that she could look better. For all the kindness, the quackiness, the jovial self, she could not get over the fact that she was not good looking. Although she kept telling herself that inner beauty is far more important than outer look, she couldn't help thinking that who was the #$%*@=# person who invented the saying, knowing well it was a cover up for self-inadequacy.

She tried Estee Lauder, Max, ICI paints but still she looked..hmmm....beauty-challenged. Finally some nice church- going friends ( wonder how they always managed to appear when things were rough), asked her to pray...

Kneeling down with a broken heart, she prayed out loud."Quack....quaaaaaccckkkk.....quak,quak,.......quaaack......qqqquuuaaaeeekkkkkk!!!!!" Translated version: " Dear God, please help me to look good for a day. I promise never to ask people to eat chicken anymore ( get the joke??? ). Pleaasseeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!". As she got tired, she went to bed.

In her dreams, an angel appeared before her. "Dr Quack..God send me to tell you these. He loves you and here are the clues for your wish- 388 and frogs". She asked," Can't He just tell me????" The angel replied, " Like that no fun...go and guess!! Wuahahahahahaha!!!"

Dr Q woke up and had a splitting headache. Waaaaa...a visit from an angel felt like bad hangover!!!! So, she kept thinking and thinking. 388? 4 Ekor? Kuda? Magnum? What does it mean??? 38- sam pat?? Who is so kepo??? Frogs somemore? Turn frog into prince charming? Tin Kai Jok ( frog porridge)?? What??? What???


Then it clicked!! Or should I say, she started to click on internet? She went to the search engine and type: 388+frog.....and walau eh...something did turn up. It was a RM388 promotional photoshoot by fingeronshutter.com.!!!! She could not believe her big big eyes...

So she went into their website and click somemore...geng!!! They could turn people into beautiful things...walau eh...could make women look like movie stars....but sometimes vertically-challenged people still remain a challenged lo...but then in her heart, she felt a glow, a warmth..and immediately she knew she has hope!!!

She wrote to the author, who turns out to be a frog and pleaded with him. Please make me beautiful for a day..And kamkuey said, hmmm...hmmm.....hmm.....how to turn duckling into swan??? Soft lens ?? Still can see the ugly ( ooppss beauty-challenged) beak. Only shoot the feet?? Wa...web feet somemore....but then, a sprinkle from heaven ( it was actually the saliva from Dr Quack) woken him up...This is charity....must help her. Although I did not turn out to be prince charming, I can help this poor duckling turn into a swan.

He called his gang...the hair dresser with powderful iron cast (from besi buruk), the make-up artist with plenty of ICI paints ( sponsored by Jusco), the fashion designer from Ikea curtain session and of course the photographer who agreed to break few lens ( purposely one to make the 'crack effect' )and arranged for a RM388 complimentary photoshoot....

At last...as the stories end, the beauty-challanged duckling , for a day in her quacky life, turn into swan....Thank you fingeronshutter.com....thank you for making a dream come true.....

"Qauuckkkk....qeuuukkkk, qquuaaackkkk...." Translated version: "Thank you, God Bless!!"

p.s: Dr Quack was shot shortly after that....someone needed new cloths for OSCAR...

                                                         THE END

For more information go in to : http://www.fingeronshutter.com/blog/?p=540

Friday, September 17, 2010

How to tell a friend he is dying?

My heart was troubled by the news. A call to tell me that my dear friend’s condition was getting worse and his doctor did not tell him. I felt to mad. How could he not tell? What if he needs to sort out stuffs? What if he dies here? He is not from here and his family is far away. What if he did not get the chance to go home to his family? Does his doctor lack the courage to tell him that he is dying? All this thoughts kept flying in my head and I had a sleepless night.

Should I then let him know? His other friends wanted to do so but none could do it. Tough decision…how to tell a friend that he is dying? It is the hardest when they are closest. I had told hundreds and hundreds of patients and families that their time is short. But when it’s time to tell a friend, it is freaking hard!! But my experiences had taught me many opportunities for good byes are lost. Some with regrets, some are lost.

He was looking better. He seemed to be cheerful. His friends said he was eating better. But the blood results and scan showed he was in a bad shape. I was troubled again…he was getting better, hopeful …should I talk to him about his plan….what if I don’t get the chance again? His friends were worried that we would crush his hope and yet they were worried he would drop dead and no one knows what he wanted. All eyes fell upon me. To be honest I don’t have the heart to have that kind of conversation at that point of time. Maybe next time? But the thought of maybe there isn’t much time kept haunting me. To tell or not to tell…I prayed and prayed. God, tell me what to do. Open an opportunity for me to say what I needed to say…

‘Can we have 5 minutes?’. He was puffing and puffing away. Bad heart. Poor lung. Swollen up ..legs looked like it’s gonna burst anytime. He looked at me. Taking a long deep breath, I started. I asked him about his understanding of his illness. He kept saying, his doctor thought his condition would improve. He was looking forward to do stuffs. Damn that doctor…how to proceed now? Fine..what if you have another heart attack? What if that’s the time you can’t make decision? Trying so hard to slip in the message as gently as possible. No, no, no…doctor said he was gonna be fine. I was getting nowhere. He was not ready to hold this conversation. I tried but failed. Not the time yet. Perhaps never again.

Was he in denial? Initially I thought he was. But then again, in his condition, death probably had visited a couple of times. Was he still having a wishful thinking? I don’t know. Sometimes people are not ready to deal with death even when death is staring at them. He seems afraid but I don’t think he is frightened of death. I think he is more frightened of dying alone. Postponing of end-of-life issue probably is the only way he can cope now. I learned to respect that. As someone who deals with dying all the time, I have my own set of idea what is a good death. Good death means surrounded by family and friends. Good death means having opportunities to say good-byes and settling unfinished business. Good death means able to accept that time is short and knowing it is ok to let go. Good death means free of pain, breathing problem, looking good and good death means finding peace with oneself, loved ones and God. Perhaps that’s what I wanted when I am dying. My own definition of good death. Maybe it is not he wants. Maybe it is not many people wanted. I need to learn that people do die without sorting out many things. Long way to learn,hard to accept people choose to lie to themselves until they die. Hard but something that I need to learn…the heart-breaking way.

Pray for me. I love the way you pray. I asked God to protect and bless him. To love and comfort him. I asked God to give courage and strength to those who are caring for him. I asked God to take away all the discomfort he was experiencing. Finally I asked God to send His angels to watch over him. Good night dear friend..will see you again. Smiling ..yup see ya