Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Random thoughts: superstitions and religion

During my mum's funeral, there are some rituals to follow. My siblings are Buddhists, I am a free thinker although I do tend to lean more and more towards Buddhism.

There is chanting, some way of paying respect Etc. Then my "distant relatives" start asking me if we have done this or that, or should not have done this or that.  

The distinction is clear. Superstitions is selfish. They are there to enrich oneself ( keeping the deceased's last worn clothes are supposed to enrich the person who has possession of it) or to avoid bad luck (wash with pomelo waters before stepping back into the house, and that my dad should not send my mum off because it is supposed to have a negative effect on his fortunes)

Religion ritual are compassionate with others in mind. Eat vegetarian for a period of time to accumulate good karma for the decreased. Chanting to allow the decreased to go to western paradise.

I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to talk to the monk who I feel is very kind and compassionate and got to ask a lot of questions I have in mind. 

The answers he gave, are the same as those I have in mind. It is not necessary for my dad to send my mum off, since it is usually the job of her offsprings, and that my father's legs are weak, he should rest more. I said, but if he wanted to, is there any conflicts. "Why not, in Buddhism we talk about compassion, it is a companion for a lifetime, what is wrong with sending her off" was the monk's reply.

On another occasion,he asked if I was vegetarian. I said twice in a month, but I was hoping to keep it for a lifetime since I have not been touching meat for almost 2 weeks and intent to keep it that way. I told him I still have craving though. He said there is no need to 执着(stubborn) the important thing is having the compassion about animals. If we need food/ meat to sustain our life, so be it. He said he never have that problem since he is a vegetarian since young.

I took the opportunity to ask again. ( I told my wife, pure vegetarian is a business concept, we just need to abstain from meat so that we do not kill). I ask if my concept is sound. He said the concept  of vegetarian comes from the period of 5 dynasties under Emperor 梁武帝,in the past, there is no such thing as vegetarian food.

Go for the principle in pursuit of truth, not the ritual. 

I have quite a peaceful period reading some sculptures and thinking. I wonder if I can get used to it if I convert formally.

While I never tell the monk (shifu), my thoughts, our conversation lead to some unwholesome practices at the temples,so I thought I will continue to 修行in my own ways. 

Be kind. Loving others and loving yourself is not mutually exclusive 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Random thoughts: A cruel son?

My mum passed away peacefully yesterday. I was happy for her, since she need not suffer anymore, and she got her wish to die in her sleep (coma). All her children were at her death bed, and I noticed the change in breathing and told my siblings that she is going. We hurdle around her and my sister reassured her to go without worries, she actually teared in the "coma" state, and left. I think she look real peaceful when she left. 

Deep down inside, I know the relief is mutual, both for her and myself. Not just financially but also the strain in time and efforts in caregiving. 

At her wake today, both my sister and I who were the "main caregivers", seem relieved with  a load off our shoulders. 

The last 2 weeks (slightly less) is a crazy juggling act. Her conditions deteriorate very quickly. One day we were just "practicing" the changing of adult diaper pants with her standing and leaning towards me, the next day, she can't stand.

When the nurse told us she have only hours left, we start to Chant for her (my sis is Buddhist). As I chant, I search for my memories with her.  Beside the fun we had when I was a little kid, I remembered nothing really. The more recent Mermory made me feel bad showing my fustration and raising my voice at her when she soiled the sofa when I was removing her diapers. (Not actually her fault). 

My mum did her best for us, she did what was necessary, and we in return, did our best for her, and whatever was necessary. The "love"'however was missing in my heart. I reminded myself raising a child is never just about the "hardware upgrades"

Her "coma" stage (cannot be awaken), lasted rather long. We were told she can hear us, but I doubt it. I think she is waiting for her grandson, which is the only regret I had. I brought him to see her just days ago when she is still alert, but I have this nagging thought her long "wait" is to hear her grandson again. 

When I wept silently, I thought I heard her breathing got deeper and louder. I thought it was just my imaginations, but when I saw her tears before she go, I knew she is aware. She did not get to hear his grandson. My only regret in the whole short episode of caregiving. 

My mum surprising left some gold for me and my son. She also left some
Old $1 notes and $20 notes for
Me. I recalled very innocently telling her when I was a child, to keep those notes and they will be worth more when I grow up. What I said in half jest, she remembers and kept it. 

It was the second time I felt like crying in front of her presence. Regular readers would remember I always worry about her medical expenses. According to my dad, she left 10k for each of us. That is 30K. It might not be a lot of money for a lot of financial bloggers but I know it's not easy feat with her circumstances. 

I hope to leave behind both money and memories for my son. 

Mother, while I might not feel much love about you, you have been a responsible mother, I know you love me, but sadly, that feeling is not mutually proportional. 

Have a good journey. I know you are in western paradise because you deserve to be there. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Random thoughts: Acceptance

It was a roller coaster ride.

My mum had a fall, and was hospitalized. The fall was triggered by her cancer as it had spread to the brains too. It made her a lot weaker, walking is out now.

It was an hectic weekend, we managed to get part time respite nurse to care for her, and it was an unusual high season at work. I slept less than 4 hours in hospital as I worked and watch over my mum, but still can't finish my work 

Just when I was thinking things can only get better.

My wife's sister who is the same age as me, got a stroke. 

She had her successful operations but still in coma. Needlessly to say, it's another crazy running around to "care" and help, while I wonder how "effective" my care is since I felt nothing- no sorrow or sympathy. Perhaps I was too tired. 

I actually whin at a fellow blogger as I try to let off some steam. while I was very measured when my colleagues ask how are things, I am actually crying out to them to "hug me".

I have now accepted things. While the days ahead might be tough. I am not vulnerable like 2-3 days ago.

If you are down on luck, struck with unfortunate events, remember:

1) the initial flux is due to lack of acceptance of new routines that come with the circumstances. 

2) I look back, I have ease into the routine of more time with me my maiden family, now my routines is bound to change again with the caregiving of my wife's sis. While I am damn scared 2 days ago, now I accepted and is ready for the change 

3) see the silver lining. As I went about settling the maid, the respite nurse, childcare arrangements. A thought dwell on me: how the hell would poor people handle all these, without money as a support. Luckily I put a bigger emergency fund. This year or 2 would not be a problem unlike the previous time when my mum is diagnose with cancer.

4) understand the we as part of bigger forces of karma, are there for a reason. I believe my wife and I, are the best people , both in terms of willingness and money, help the family tide over this difficult period. 

5) while work is where all the stress built-up, it is also where I find solace. Time off and also looking at hope (children)

6) fighting Mr life makes fighting Mr market a joke. 阿弥陀佛

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Random thoughts: before I go...

Before I go, I hope to be strong,
to be able to hug you,
If u are still willing to hug me.

Before I go, I hope u are strong,
To be able to stand on your own,
If u are still willing, provide me with some comfort.

Before I go, I won't cry.
I hope u won't too, before I go. 
After I go, please cry, and let go.
If you wish to laugh, your laughter will be my sorrows, of a life untold.

Before I go, I wonder,
If there is a better way to die, 
For I see your fatigue, and your crooked smile. 

Before I go, let me know,
You wish that I will die,
Not because you don't love me, 
But u wish I need not suffer so much.

Before I go, let me be clear in my mind,
If not in my soul.
Let me look at my life and know that I didn't live in vain. 

Before I go, 
Let me cry, and let all the unhappiness out. 
I am strong, but my legs are weak. 
I am contented, but I wish for more. 

Before I go, let me dry my tears on my own. 
Let no one see I cried. 
Let all things go to dust
Let time heal the wounds.
Let me go.

I am tired, I am in pain.

If I can't go in my sleep. 
If I can't go in a fall.
If I can't go.

I am but a empty shell. 

I know I have tried my best, I have my Devils. Before I go,
Let me know Angels will come, and all is forgiven.

Before I go...
Which will go before me?
My appetite ...
My will ...
My loved ones' patience ...

Before I go,
Let me go, let me go

Monday, April 4, 2016

Private and Public hospitalization care

I have the unfortunate experince of sending both my parents and myself to hospital. My dad went to a government restructured hospital and my mum went Mount Alvernia. I, myself and sister also admitted to hospital (mount Alvernia) 

Within a short span of 4 months, I been to hospitals 4 times. Excluding post admission treatment or follow up. I think it's timely, with the Rush of IP plans people consider carefully what plan to get for themselves. 

No brainer. Cost is 5-6 times higher in private care. An sterilized bandage (cannot remembered the actual name) cost 20 over bucks in mount Alvernia but cost less than $4 in TTSH.

A PET scan cost $2700 under private arrangement. My dad did 2 x-rays, 2 MRI scan, hospitalized for 4 days and the total bill is around 2K. 

My mum's surgery itself, excluding the prior scan and consultation is about 16K

No brainer too. TTSH is flooded. When my dad fall, the holding area is packed like sardines. Cross infection is not a stretch if u ask me. He was there for hours. 

The food is really horrible. Plain and quantity insufficient. My dad complained about cold. 

Attentiveness of nurses surprising are about the same. Think given the no. Of patients in govt hospital, the wait time for attention is really good, although of course you still cannot compare it with private care. 

Choice of Doctor 
I still think private is more systemic. During my dad stay, I remembered different doctors asking the same questions and when I said the questions were asked by the previous Doctor, the doctor was visually displeased. 

They could not pinpoint the cause of my father's fall and numbness, after PET scan and x-Ray and asking tons of questions by 2 doctors. They suspected stroke, but was verified by doctors as not the case. Only after a chat with my dad that I told a third Doctor that my dad complained about backache, maybe you guys should look into that. 

He was brought to do further tests and was verified by doctors that he had spinal compression. 

To the doctors' credit, after 2 more days, they said the numbness is not due to compression but the nerve at the spinal cord. 

But the communication part is really horrible. They doctors told my dad he needed surgery. My dad was upset and I wondered why they never communicate with me. I call back and the doctor told me they are still studying the case and have not decide anything. (Then what the fuck did they have to tell my dad that, my dad was very worried and keep harping that he wanted no surgery.) 

Beside having multiple doctors, the quality of care do not seem to be really worse. 

My mum is getting weaker and weaker, and my sis sent her to the same Doctor again. I asked about the opening hours and wondered aloud what I should do when during dinner, my mum's conditions take a turn for the worse. My sister told me rush to A&E and ask for Dr Goh. Didn't know A and E can ask for Doctor too

The appointments come fast and furious after the admission. There is one appointment that has the test after the consultation. It had to be reshuffle.

There is also case whereby appointment was made but when we went, the nurses said there no appointment.

From what I wrote, it is obvious I am biased towards private care if one can afford it. 

But when my sister keep complaining about the care my dad received, I told her there is a place for everything. 

I not selling anything. Just make sure you know what you are getting. 

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Kaypo: Change Of PSLE Scoring system is magic bullet?

I read with high dose of cycnism the ST article of the possible change of PSLE grading format.

I support the change in format, it is a cooling measure to prevent over heating in our pressure cooker and might be a good signal that we shall not indulge in bubble chasing. 

But as I read the article, I wondered if I am reading advertorial or a commentary.

A parent said something like "definitely take some pressure off pupils and parents"

Really? Oh I didn't know 'O' and 'A' level pupils are having a less stressful testing environment. Do u think the band for A will be still about the range of "75-90" (subjected to bell-curve effect). There is lesser need to chase after the last mark.
What does chasing after the last mark and the next band any difference unless you are scoring perhaps 97-100. If u are scoring 92, you won't be afraid that u might fall down to the next band? 

"We can now give more time to holistic education?" OMG, If resources and attention given to Holistic is dependable on PSLE exam format, how holistic is it anyway. To stretch it, that statement is akin to "it's no longer black, it's white" hello, I like yellow. My surname sound like that. 

Then we have an expert saying it's better to grade a pupil not relative to its peers but to the paper. Really huh? There is not bell curve effect in "O" levels? Oh, now the ministry is really going to stick it's ground and say 75 is An "A", no more bell curve. Whoa! What is that howling at the background! What this year paper is more difficult than last year? Huh, ask me to look at qn 5-7. Shall I bring back the bell? 

Let's call a spade an spade

Friday, April 1, 2016