Saturday, January 30, 2010


When it comes to making medical decisions, things are rarely black and white. There are laws regulating actions and also people's opinion to be considered before anything is done.

When I first read about baby Isaiah May, I was thinking: perhaps pulling the plug on a child who has permanent brain damage isn't a bad thing. But you gotta consider the parents; you may say that they are young and could have other children, but this is their child one is considering to allow to die. How many parents can make the decision to end their offspring this way when the baby has shown so much in the face of negativity?

Then there will be voices saying, "Who'll be footing the bill for the baby to be placed on ventilation? Should you spend precious resources on a child who may not survive his first year or on another baby who has got a better fighting chance?" It appears that the young parents are not financially well-off; most likely the government is paying for the treatment. Does this mean that children of poor people have less value than the children of those who can afford the care?

Decisions, decisions. I wouldn't want to be the hospital administrator in this issue.

However, I was appalled that the doctors allowed the mother to suffer 40 freakin' hours of labour . It's a miracle she still had the energy to push. Which also brings to mind, why on earth wasn't the foetus monitored for distress? Surely the foetus would have exhibited some kind of distress with the umbilical cord strangling him while he's trying to make way for the exit? When my sister was in labour for barely 4 hours, they monitored the foetus constantly and when the foetus showed signs of distress, she was immediately whisked into the operation theatre for a Caesarean procedure.

On top of that, isn't it common procedure for the foetus to be extracted via C-section when the labour is prolonged? Surely one of the biggest reason the labour took so long is because the baby is choking on the cord and couldn't get out. Is anyone looking at this hideous oversight / poor policy in the labour ward that caused the poor child and his parents so much suffering?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Why can't we have it all?

The happy fog induced by marijuana is nothing but a fond memory if Sanofi-Aventis has their way. They are working on an endocannabinoid receptor blocker that has shown interesting result in reducing the blood sugar of diabetics who have poor sugar control. The numbers look really good; it also helps that the drug also improves the patient's lipid profile (better triglyceride, HDL, LDL levels) and most importantly: reduces the waistline.

Unfortunately, if you are depressed to begin with, you may feel suicidal.

So yeah, trimmer waistline may correspond with a greater need for Xanax.

I'll watch American Idol if ...

... this is true.

Breaking News - New judge to replace Paula Abdul on Idol
see more Lol Celebs

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Who needs enemies when ...

Got anyone in your life that makes you feel this way?

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Numb3rs in life

Maths is the language of the universe. All digits are the same regardless whether you are in Tirana, Timur Leste, Timbuktu, Tasmania, or Tenochtitlan. They tell the same stories, uniting facts and figures, giving intrinsic value to things and data.

But like any language, some things get lost in translation. This usually happens, thanks to the spuriousness of the science called statistics where standard deviations may be deviants of the worst degree.

And the next thing we know, shit like subprime mortgage hits the fan. Why? Because the statisticians made the numbers look good.

Where is Charlie Eppes when you need him?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Jaw dropper

Cowboys don't really do it for me. But these guys?



If these guys ever make it to our shores, Ima empty the piggy bank to go and watch.

*licks lips*

And no Brokeback quips, ok? Let me have some fantasy of straight men who can move.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Take a chance on me ...

This short film was screened at Cannes and won last year. I love how much was told in such a short period and how creatively it was done.

Sweet and lovely.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Who's your daddy?

Depending on your intonation and inflection, the phrase above could be either:

a) an innocent inquiry, or
b) an invitation to violence, or
c) taunting someone after pwning to the nth degree.

In the common parlance, (c) is commonly the favoured answer. But option (a) can be quite the booby trap, snapping steel-trap jaws on the unwary.

Sperm donation has made possible many infertile couples to have children. It has also allowed single women to have biological children as well. Once upon a time, sperm donations were relatively anonymous: all a donor had to do is fill up a questionnaire regarding his health and education and off he goes produce the desired fluid in privacy (with the help of a handy visual aid or two). Most fertility centre pay these men for their time (and specimen!), making it particularly an attractive way for college-age men to afford the weekend beer.

As more awareness of the ethical considerations of this issue surface, more stringent regulations are put into place to control assisted reproduction technology. Many countries, particularly in Europe and United States are no longer allowing anonymous donation, driving down the number of sperm donors. Lack of anonymity renders them vulnerable to unwanted contact with their offspring and even potential financial assistance demand. There are a number of donors who are categorised as open donors; i.e. they are alright to being approached by their offspring after they reached 18. However, their numbers are relatively small.

So what is your obligation to your gamete? Your donation has made a child, a person of his/her own right. Someone who is genetically linked to you. Whether or not you have any kind of relationship with the mother, or even know who she is, the child is half yours; 50% of the child's chromosomes come from you. That in itself means that you have a moral obligation to play a role in the child's life.

Women who get pregnant (either planned pregnancy or otherwise) are expected to want their children and to take care of them until they mature. Therefore women are expected to bear the burden of their fecundity by default. So why is it women who opted to terminate their pregnancy (without it being a health risk) are pilloried? Why are men exempted from this?

Many religions frown upon gamete donation. In muddies the relationship and lineage of inheritance. A number of people conceived via gamete donation has decided to look for their biological parent, hoping to fulfill some kind of emptiness from the lack of knowledge of their familial history. And as more women donate their eggs, there is the possibility that one day we will hear of people looking for their donor mothers.

By the way, if you think that sperm donation is only for the heathenish West, think again. We also have them in Malaysia. *snicker*

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Of veiling kathoeys and bearded bois

What comes to mind when one says, Iran?

Nuclear warheads pointing westward? Bare-chested bearded men flagellating themselves down the avenue a la the best Folsom Street tradition? Xerxes and his funky curls?

I was privileged to experience first hand the beauty of the country and marvel at their historical monuments. The food is marvellous and travelling there can be pretty cheap. You get the pleasures of the four season and easy food (for Muslims).

But do many people realise that Iran is actually transsexual friendly? Apparently they lag second behind Thailand for the number of sex-change operation conducted annually. Yup, that means chopping off the family jewels and constructing a new plumbing system. Or creating new package where there wasn't any. If you want the gory details, go google it yourself.

Now, you may think ... nah ...

But seriously, the Shiite clerics are pretty enlightened about a number of things. The late Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa to allow a trans-woman to undergo surgery, after asking his physicians to explain to him the difference between a hermaphrodite and a transgendered person. He believed that a good Muslim need to have a proper gender identity in order to fulfill his/her spiritual obligations and if that means going under the knife ... then so be it. Once they are the gender of preference, they are obligated to adhere to the conventions pertaining to their gender; e.g. veiling for women and beards for men.

This however, does not mean homosexuality is legal. They adhere to the strict interpretation of the Shariah law whereby men who have same-sex relations (the biblical knowing, okay?) can be sentenced to death. But a woman can marry a man who was born a woman (and vice versa).

The Government also issues a new set of documents to people who had undergone gender reassignment surgery for their new identity. So no getting flagged at the airport because the passport picture doesn't match. Isn't that wonderful?

So Fatine, hie yourself to Tehran, pronto!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Aurgasm and competition

There was a time in my life that I was disenchanted by the Anugerah Juara Lagu award; all the songs were blah and the singers ... don't let me go on and on. This was the time when Siti Nurhaliza bagged all the awards annually since everyone else sucks out loud so much, it was like the sink plug of the universe had popped out.

But two years ago, I started to watch the AJL again, thanks to bands like Hujan, Meet Uncle Hussain and Estranged. They renewed my faith in local talents to write music that are not just ear candy, but also songs that resonate with one's spirit and emotion (wow! how emo!).

Last night was the 24th AJL; the line up of the finalists is very impressive. Most of them are young singer-songwriters (either solo or band) like Yuna, Aizat and of course, the darling Hujan. What made this year's competition really interesting is that they got rid of all the categories shit and left it to just the best songs that made the grade. The competition was really stiff; everyone pulled out all stops to give their best performance and they rocked the stadium down. It was wonderful to watch, although I could do with less of the ultra lame presenters.

Hujan gave a whole different breath to Aku Scandal by jazzing up the intro and dressing up like a swing band. Their performance was livened up by the Raingers cutting up the rug just below the main stage. Wonderfully energetic and Noh was in his element after 20 seconds into the song. I suppose performing in such a huge venue that was darn near sold out diluted some of his vinegar. Thankfully, it didn't take him long to get into the swing of things.

Yuna was in her trademark colourful outfit and guitar. Her delicious vocal dominated the arena without shrieking and throat convulsions. Ziana Zain and Jaclyn Victor, take note.

However, Hujan did not win. Aizat won the best song, the one written by Pete Teo for the movie Talentime. Not surprising as it encompasses the plethora of Malaysian heritage, what with the classical Indian female vocalist intro, the er hu accompaniment (played by a Malay musician, no less) with the screen showing tributes to various notable Malaysians such as Tun Tan Cheng Lock, Yasmin Ahmad, Mokhtar Dahari and so on. Yuna won the runner up and the third went to the Superman-freak, Michael Jackson wannabe Faizal Tahir (is it obvious that I don't like this guy?).

Anyway, them's the breaks. Here's to a more wonderfully colourful Malaysian music scene this year and beyond.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Eau de body

I am sure many of you have had the experience of encountering someone who makes skunks smell heavenly. But do you know that body odour can be used against you in the court of law? Thanks to science, your body odour can be used as material evidence to implicate you in a crime.

The lesson of the day: use deodorant.