Awal Muharram

Today is Awal Muharram , a public holiday in Malaysia. So I decided it fitting to know what it is all about. I quote from


Celebrated by Muslims as the day symbolises two happy event in a Muslim’s life. The start of Muslim year or calendar, Muharram, coincides with Prophet Muhammad’s journey from Mecca to Medina on the first of Muharram in 622AD. To signify this occasion, Muslims attend to various religious activities, spiritual singing, religious meeting throughout the country.

Enjoy the holidays!

CAP & Stem Cell Research

Comsumer Association of Penang’s president, SM Mohammad Idris, has been getting of everyone’s nerves. He has reshaped himself to champion the rights of patients and has repeatedly unjustifiably attacked the integrity of doctors. He even recently tried to lecture doctors in medicine in particular gender-based issues. This comes from someone with no medical background who probably does not understand much about what he is saying. A little knowledge for him is certainly a dangerous thing. Why is he doing this? For popularity perhaps? I guess the best strategy is to ignore such fools.

Stem cell research has been growing in popularity. It could be the next medical breakthrough for diseases incurable before this, for example, diabetes, parkinson’s, heart disease etc… Although it will take further research, i am sure one fine day the breakthrough will be achieved.

Stem Cell Information, National Institute of Health

Singapore is now wooing our students to their universities. Looks like the brain drain will worsen. Local universities should buck up and be more competitive. Stop resting on your laurels. Do not be like Proton and expect to be protected. Local universities have to fight for their share of brilliant students and staff alike. The process of meritocracy is the foundation of a good university and should be practised. Meritocracy in Malaysia is like its democracy. It is only practised partially with the racial divide still pretty obvious.

The condition of the civil service is not any better than its education counterparts. It is sluggish, inefficient, lazy, corrupted and grossly incompetent. How are we to improve such services? Low pay remains the main obstacle. Even the process of promotion is shrouded in secrecy with no transparency. Good workers are not adequately rewarded but instead incompetent chronic workers are given their “long-awaited” promotions despite a poor working record. Due to its low pay, good workers shy away and all the civil service ends up with are the second hand goods. Many civil servants feel that it is a safe haven where disciplinary actions are rare and obstructed by a bureaucratic process. Dismissals are almost non-existent.

The civil service is indeed in bad shape. The recent anti-corruption drive is much welcomed. It is only hoped that it will be an on-going process and not a political ploy sacrifising unimportant pawns. The success of a nation lies in the government and its civil service. Thus its problem should be rectified first.

Mariah Carey is in town for her concert tonight. Still awaiting Celine Dion’s arrival!

More hospitals are being built! Today’s paper mentioned 14 in all. Unfortunately, the staffing remains inadequate. Are additional hospitals really needed? All this when existing hospitals remain poorly staffed and ill equipped? Are we putting our chips in the right places? More doctors are certainly needed but mass production with little regard to quality is becoming an increasing problem today. Rumours are rife that even doctors that fail their Masters programme are offered positions as trainee lecturers. Are our universities diluting their already sour reputations? What about our future doctors?

It struck me today as well that obesity is certainly on the rise. We use to blame Westernisation of our diets and lifestyle as the culprit. Unfortunately local diets with all the santan and deep fried delicacies is actually the main cause. Even rural folks are not sparred. They definitely do not have McDonalds or Kentucky. If left unchecked, co-morbidities including diabetes and cardiovascular diseases will rise in incidence. What should we do? How are we to tackle this problem?

American Obesity Association

Weight Management Information Centre, Malaysia

Malaysian Association for the Study of Obesity

c/o Dept of Nutrition a Dietetics, Faculty of Allied

Health Sciences, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia

Jalan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz, 50300 Kuala Lumpur

Tel:03-4040 5622/5465 Fax:03-2694 1296/2694 7621