Sunday, February 28, 2010

KK City Tourism Hunt 2010

What a day! Shortly after my team members assembled at my home in the ungodly hours of the morning, we started out to Nexus Karambunai Resort at about 5:35am to beat the queue for the KK City Tourism Hunt 2010. We arrived there shortly before 6am. And then my brother, Harry, and his team, Cili Padi, arrived just a minute later. We spent the next several minutes pasting on the numerous stickers of the sponsors in the dark. Then we walked the short distance to the lobby to register our team.

It was not after a good hour later when the usual warming up session began in the banquet hall with the dances for about 15 minutes or so. Having done my 21km run yesterday morning, I decided to opt out. After the warm up, Dominic spent the next few minutes to give us hunters a final briefing. Teams were soon flagged off.

Mia was unable to join us this time, as she wanted to spend the time supervising JJ with her revisions for her exams. I brought Vivian into my team. She has hunted with us in the Palliative Care Hunt last year which we won.

As a common feature of the KK City Hunt, it was mainly a case of organizing the team to complete many tasks including the so-called passport challenge, a walk-hunt, motorised hunt, and of course the annoying games.

As soon as we were flagged off, the first thing we did was to read all the instructions—all the tasks to be carried out, the challenges, the respective time windows etc. We quickly realised that we had insufficient time to perform all the tasks unless we split up the team members. Since Vivian and I are the strongest in the cryptic sense, Edward and Dennis dropped us off at the first walk-hunt sector at Gaya Street.

Those of you who know Gaya Street would know that we have the Street Market every Sunday morning. I don't know about the other hunters, but I simply loathe that sector for hunting. Apart from the thousand of people rubbing shoulders with each other, today was exceptionally annoying because there were also a lot of those lion troupes going around for their last bid to earn money. It was such a stressful experience—the noise from the drums, the many huge umbrellas which blocked the views and so many other distractions.

Viv and I spent quite a long time there looking for the location of a picture clue. It was very, very frustrating, but in the end we had no choice but to give up. In hindsight, I don't know if we could've found the answer had we lingered on a little longer. But I think it's certain that that question cost us dearly in the end.

At more or less the same time as we had abandoned our search of the answer to that picture clue, I received a call from Dennis, saying that they're done with the passport challenge. It was basically a joyride mission to go around several locations in the city to collect stamps. We walked the short distance to Maybank Jalan Pantai for a rendezvous with Edward and Dennis. From there, we were sent off to the Waterfront for the other sector of the walk-hunt. Then they were off again to secure Treasure 1 and a challenge which was to make and fly a kite at a seaside.

Although the questions at the Waterfront were mostly easy ones, there was one which Dominic designed to torture the strong hunters:

Q10) Neighbours indeed. Just like how some refer to the first lady.

There is something I'd like to comment about this particular question, which Dominic said was intended to be the hardest of this hunt, but I will do that in a separate post later. Suffice to say that I did get the right idea how to solve this question, but alas, I was unable to spot the answer. The clue was inaccurate, of course, but I will get to that later. It was a small sign, you see.

Having spent a good half an hour in this sector, I became somewhat desperate to just make a wild guess and then move on with the rest of the hunt. Of course I couldn't be sure of which sign to take. In fact the only thing I was sure then was that my urine bladder was at the verge of bursting. But one sign appeared at least a possibility—as remote as it was! There was a mention of "reference to the first lady", so the word "bull" seemed very appealing. But of course I couldn't account for "cock". Perhaps I would've been happier had there been a mention of the husband of that first lady too. Maybe in that case I would've been more willing to force-fit the word "cock", I don't know.

In the end, we made a wild guess and decided to proceed to the DBKK office for another challenge, which was to pick soya beans with a pair of chopsticks from among red beans within 60 seconds. It wasn't a particularly difficult task except for the time limit. I'm a bit ashamed to say that I only managed 12 beans.

By the time we finished with that challenge, Dennis and Edward had also completed the kite making/flying challenge. We then submitted our answers for Leg 1 and embarked on Leg 2 of the hunt. Leg 2 was basically a motorised hunt, except for a short stop at the Monsopiad Cultural Village for the blowpipe challenge and walking on coconut shells. I thought those were decent challenges. However, the darts for the blowpipe were made smaller so that when blown, the air would escape from the sides, causing the darts to emerge with very little force on the other side. I think this was deliberately done by the organiser. What eventually happened was that most of the darts couldn't even reach the target which was a mere 6ft or 8ft away. Anyway, to make the long story not so short, I was the fool who volunteered to handle the blowpipe challenge and ended up with nothing to show! And the moment I failed in that challenge, I knew that we've lost the top 5 finish. From then on, it was a mere struggle to stay in the top 10 finishers. In hunts of this sort, any experience hunter will tell you that a silly mistake on the question or a poor performance in the games, however small, can completely wipe off any chance of winning!

After those challenges at Monsopiad, it was a matter of finishing the motorised hunt, with a short stop at CKS to buy the remaining 2 treasures which we solved since first thing in the morning. And then later on, we realised that we had a lot of time to spare when approaching the finish line. We turned back to check out an answer which I wasn't happy about, as I felt our answer did not fit perfectly. It was possible that that answer was a red herring, which turned out to be indeed a red herring in the end. But unfortunately, we did not spot the intended answer. I think this riddle would have been a masterpiece by the CoC, except that I was a bit disappointed that the clue was again imperfect in the technical sense. This obviously deserves a further discussion in a separate post later.

There isn't much more to tell. We arrived at the finish station, submitted our answers and had to wait several hours before the answer and prize presentations. And of course during that long wait we had plenty of opportunities to mingle around with the other strong hunters for the "denial routine". It is almost a ritual in most hunts that the strong teams would try their best to tell the other teams that their teams did worse. Even if they did good, they will say that the did badly one way or another (smile.) I did the same too, but of course I was telling the truth this time! In the end, we managed to sneak in to 7th place.

The Result:

1. KK Chai, Margaret Sha, Claire Chin, Sin Y L (109)

2. Tan Cher Kian, Teo Chen Lung, Leslie Yew, Frederick Samson (106)

3. Allister Kong, Chong Voon Kiat, Jeremy Pinso, Benjamin Liew (105)

4. Ellen Yee, Dr Liaw Yun Haw, Shirley Lim, Mary Lokupi (105)

5. Sallehuddin Yusof, Kheirul Nazib, Johan Salul, Dr Ben Lau (103)

6. Bernard Liew, Alvin Wong, Christine Netto, Audrey Chin (102)

7. Cornelius Koh, Vivian Cham, Dennis Koh, Edward Baki (101)

8. Claire Andrew, Grace J Chin, Christie Kong, Saidah Sahid (?)

9. Francis Omamalin, Eileen Yeoh, Lee Tse Jim, Moina Liew (?)

10. Gan Po Tiau, Davin Wan, Winnie Chee, Shirley Chai (?)

11. Benedict Bisoni, Oliver Bryan, Morris Bisoni, Sharon Antius (96)

12. Ag Ahmad, Ag Sarpudin Ag Kassim, Masri Khan, Zurinah Hanafiah (?)

13. Dunstan Lojitan, John Binggiap, Miklin Ationg, Gerry K Chandran (95)

14. Noraimy Jawahir, Ahmad Rijaluddin, Roslina Abu Hassan, Betty Wong (?)

15. Wee Pei Ling, David Wong, Alan Tan, Patricia (92)

16. Harry Koh, Buddy Jiliun, Lai Mui Chan, Frinkley Lian Chin (90)

17. Julia Chan, Jaco Swanepoel, Paul Callaghan, Mior Azman Musa (?)

18. Robinetta J Malangkig, Talissa Kiandee, Malcolm Abidin, Andrea Abidin (89)

19. Noorainee Jamal, Siti Moira Jamal, Mohd Norif Paival Yahya, Retty F Simok (89)

20. Denny Lajitan, Jeffrey Ismail, Shamsul Alfian, Mervyn Tham (88)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Chance of a Lifetime

Previously in this blog, I have posted something on lottery tickets. Some people can't live through a week without buying at least a few bucks' worth of lottery tickets.

I should know, because my parents are very good examples of hardcore gamblers who would sell all their lives' worth for that shot of striking it big. My step-mother buys religiously practically every draw, perhaps with the ambition of divorcing my dad if she does strike anything decent. My dad, on the other hand, also buys without fail practically every draw, if he can somehow squeeze some hard-earned money from us children, perhaps for the sake of luring another woman if he can win a handsome payout.

I myself am not an expert when it comes to lotteries, but I'd like to claim that I know enough of the basic ideas of the games. In Sabah, if I am not much mistaken, we have 3 different companies dealing with lotteries. We have the Sandakan Turf Club (STC), Sports TOTO and Diriwan 88. Magnum is illegal in Sabah, but of course business is very much alive through the black marketeers. We also have the sweepstakes of Da Ma Cai.

Of the 3 main companies in Sabah, there are basically 2 types of games. The 3D (3 digits), i.e. players buy any combination of 3-digit number. The 4D, i.e. any combination of 4-digit number. 5D and 6D respectively. Then there's the second type of which players buy 4 out of 42 numbers (from 1 to 42); or 6/49 (choosing 6 out of 49 numbers from 1 to 49) and so on and so forth.

The most famous, I think, is the 4D game which has been around for the longest. And that's as good as the bread and butter for my parents. Of course dad's heart is performing at a rate of only 28% after his quadrupple bypass surgery, and his legs are quite week to walk downhill from the house (then uphill on the return leg). I mean, he may just collapse due to the stress on his heart. But come rain or shine, he will brave the physical stress to walk the distance to the shop the get the draw results.

However, although the 4D is very easy to understand, these days it's the second type which is fast catching on. The lotto games are more attractive because unlike the 4D, which has a fixed winning purse, the lotto payout can snowball into the millions for as long as no one wins.

And so at around noon yesterday, my brother, Harry, came to my office to say that he's pulling in the resources of a number of them in the office to bet on the Mega 6/52 because the prize money has snowballed up to over RM9M! Quite frankly, I don't really understand how it works, but I decided to join in the fun.

Now the simplest way to bet is of course by choosing 6 numbers out of 1 to 52. If all those chosen numbers are correctly drawn, then we would have won the jackpot. However, as anyone would know, to strike 6 numbers out of 52 is quite a long shot. So there is an option to choose additional numbers to increase the winning chances. For example, one may choose 8 numbers out of 52, but he needs to strike only 6 of them. But those extra winning chances don't come for free. The more numbers you choose, the more expensive is the ticket. I was given to understand that one can buy up to 15 numbers out of 52 in a single ticket, but needs to strike only 6 of those. Obviously the chances would be much higher to strike, but such tickets cost over RM5,000 each! You get the idea?

Anyway, the fellows in the office decided to bet on 10 numbers out of 52 (but again, only need to strike 6) But the price of the ticket is slightly over RM200. So to spread the cost a bit thinner, they decided to make a pool of "investors" to raise that RM200. Well, the idea was met with unexpected success—in the end 19 of us decided to invest for that chance of a lifetime! I don't how they calculated the prize money, but I was told that if we could strike the top prize, each of us would be about RM500,000 richer!

And now the method of choosing the numbers. All the numbers, 1 to 52, were written on small pieces of paper. And some of us "investors" drew 10 of them. And during the lunch break, Harry went to buy the ticket.

After acquiring the ticket, photocopies of it were made and duly distributed to the many "investors" for their record. The original ticket was passed on to me for safe-keeping. For a split second, it did cross my mind to disappear to a nice tropical country with the prize money for a nice retirement. I saw myself sun-bathing at a beach resort sipping one of those fruit juices—y'know, those decorated with small umbrellas and a slice of lemon at the edge of the glass? But I quickly abandoned that idea, because I couldn't bear the thought of exposing my chest which has become an ugly sight because of the breasts which I've developed over the years.

The rest of that afternoon, the topic of our winning lottery ticket was quite hot. Jimmy was already contemplating how best to write his resignation letter after getting his share of the prize money. Harry was busy scanning the ads to buy his dream house. Joanna went through quite some deep thinking of how best to invest the money which was obviously forthcoming. Sinorita—she's a Sarawakian—was already day-dreaming of "naik belon pulang kampung."

By the time our office closed at 5pm, everyone was at the point of dying to wait for the results of the draw at about 7pm at night. We were all thinking which 6 of the 10 numbers we bought would be the ones that would deliver the RM9M into our hands.

By 6pm the wait was becoming quite unbearable. However, I still did not neglect my scheduled 10km run at the Likas track. Which was probably good for me. For I was able to shift my focus to running for a bit.

After my run, I arrived home and rushed to my computer to check the results online. And wow! you wouldn't believe our achievement with our ticket! All my life, I do not consider myself lucky as far as lotteries are concerned. And I thought even buying 10 numbers out of 52, and we only had to strike 6 of them, it was still a very long shot. I mean, I've bought 6 numbers (as opposed to 10 numbers) before this, and I could only get 2 or 3 numbers correct at most. But this time, we as a group, made history for this chance of a lifetime.

In my excitement, I sent out text messages to all my fellow "investors":

Wow! we juz made history wif our ticket!

And that triggered immediate responses from some of them. But of all of those responses, I quote here the one I received from Vivian:

Wat history? How many numbers did we get wrong? :p

So now would any of you like to guess what's my answer to Vivian's question.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Survival Instinct & Mattresses

It must have been around 3:30pm yesterday when one of my staff, Edward, came to my door to say that someone's about to jump from a nearby building. There was already a commotion on the other side of the general office where we had a window with a clear view of the poor fellow. I rushed to the window, and true enough, there he was, a bald-headed old man, standing on the ledge of Wisma Jubilee, which is just a stone's throw away from our Menara MBf.

I don't know what's his problem, this guy—maybe he lost heavily in Gin Rummy or Chap Gee Kee over the Chinese New Year holidays; maybe he lost his winning ticket for a lotto 6/49 jackpot; or maybe his wife has been depriving him of sex for far too long, and he's just so tired of having sex with himself. But, well, he decided to bid adieu from the 11th floor of Wisma Jubilee.

Of course within no time at all, the crowd of onlookers was quickly building up on the ground. I mean, it's not always one gets to see such a real-life scene. As the drama unfolded, a good samaritan was seen at a closeby window, apparently trying to pacify the fellow. Maybe he was telling him that the winning lotto ticket was not worth it (It's worth only a few million bucks; it's just money, you see); maybe he was telling him that the wife was not worth it, because she's fit to be The Biggest Loser participant. But anyway, the fellow on the ledge was not biting. He was adamant that life's no longer worth living.

So there he was, wiping his face and seemingly trying to muster all the courage he could to make that big plunge. He appeared to be counting one, two, three... as his body rocked to and fro. And everyone held his breath. But each time he seemed to have made up his mind to leap, he pulled himself back again.

When all else fails, and everything seems to come to a climax, there is always that inbuilt survival instinct somewhere in the human brain that will prevent one from taking his own life. And so as he kept wiping his face and swayed forward over and over again, the onlookers were biting their finger nails.

There's something about looking at someone standing on a ledge of the 11th floor without any safety net at the bottom. This was not a scene from a James Cameron's thriller. This was the real thing, I tell you! And seeing the fellow moving on that ledge made me feel unsteady. My knees became soft like jelly. I actually felt the hair at the back of my neck rising one by one, even though I just had a haircut the day before, and I had all of the hair there duly shaved. I heard myself saying, "Oh for Pete's sake, just jump and get it over with!"

Someone came up with the original idea of placing a mattress on the ground where the man would land if he had jumped. A mattress? To cushion the impact of a man falling from the 11th floor? Yeah right, I'm sure that's a brilliant idea—talk about dealing with emergencies! Bah! Where are these creatures from? They absolutely drive me up the wall, you know.

And then, after what seemed like eternity, we heard the siren of a police car approaching. From it emerged some personnel in neatly ironed uniforms, and perhaps some newly applied make-up for the cameras. Not to forget a bunch of firemen in full uniform and big boots, all rushed into the lift—I fancy that they got stuck for a moment at the door of the lift—and soon found their way to the window of the 11th floor where the man was still deciding whether to kill himself or his wife.

A bit of conversation took place. But it still did not seem to work. And then suddenly one of those uniformed men reached out to grab the man's shirt. The latter was startled and tried to jump. But by then another pair of hands reached out to grab his hand. He jumped anyway, but because of the strong grip from those men in the window, he did not quite leave the ledge. Instead, only his legs ended up dangling from the edge. And that just set a chorus of "aaahhh!" and "ooohh!" from the crowd on the ground. Within a split second, one of the glass windows was broken and yet another pair of hands stuck out to grab the dangling man. And by the way—no, there was no mattress placed on the ground floor below the window.

Well, he was eventually pulled in, and the crowd was ecstatic. They gave a huge round of applause as if seeing an elephant successfully picking out number 7 from a set of 12 numbers arranged in a circle in a circus show (How do they train the elephants to do that anyway?)

After the man was safely in the building again, a policeman emerged from the window and showed what I think was a thumb's up to the crowd below. Or was it the middle finger?... I couldn't tell as it was quite high and far from where I stood.

Moments later, the bald-headed man emerged from the main entrance of the building on the ground floor, restrained by the policemen, and all the cameras went clicking frantically. It's also noted that by then the man had no shirt on. It could have been torn during the struggle, or maybe one of those policemen kept it for souvenir, I don't know. He was pushed into the police car and the crowd began to disperse.

So now my mind is clear to investigate who was the person who suggested to use a mattress on the ground floor. I really need to ask him or her if it should be a single bed or king-size mattress.

Lion Dances & Traditions

It's quite amazing when I come to think of it, but I haven't been checking on my blog for over a week! Since the Chinese New Year Eve, I've been having sleepless nights at the mahjong table. And I'm a bit ashamed to admit that I've been neglecting my marathon training. Last week, I only did a 20km run on Monday morning, and a 28km on Sunday morning—nothing in between! Lots of junkfood and high calorie soft drinks which eventually added back 3lbs around my waistline!

This morning I saw mom off at the airport, after almost 3 months since she arrived last December. She's got a very long journey ahead—over 3 hours' flight to Hong Kong, and then after a 45-minute break, another 14 hours to Vancouver. There is, of course, more to tell after the typhoon has passed. But that deserves a post of its own. As for now, suffice to say that my nieces, Mona and Isha, had mistaken mom's panties for a parachute. To be quite honest, I did not find that funny in the least when I heard it for the first time at the dining table at Bridget's. But it just so happened that during the mahjong break when I was mung, I decided to have a quick shower. And there, in the bathroom, was mom's panties, occupying almost the entire width of the towel railing. I know it's silly, but I struggled like hell to suppress my laughter in the bathroom alone. More on the family affairs later.

Now each year, during the Chinese New Year celebration, we have quite a number of associations performing the lion dances. They usually go from door to door throughout the city in the hope of collecting angpows. I'm not sure how much money they can make during the 2 weeks period between the New Year day and Chap Goh Mei, but judging from the number of lion dancers around, I dare say it must be a very lucrative business!

These days I'm no longer keen to watch the lion dances, especially those going from door to door. But occasionally there are specially ordered performances. These latter ones are more interesting because there're more acrobatic stunts included in the performances—for a higher price, of course. Usually, there will be a lion dance competition amongst the many associations at the close of the celebration on Chap Goh Mei.

Lion dances are of course a Chinese tradition. I'm sure there's a history behind it. I've heard of several versions from old folks, but I can't say which is the correct one.

It's quite amazing to see these people actually jumping and balancing on tall poles with all those acrobatic movements. One wrong step might end up with a broken leg or neck, so it's not something anyone can perform. In fact, because it's so dangerous, it was recently reported that one would have to go through several years' training before actually doing these dangerous stunts.

Because of the risk of injury, most Chinse folks in their right mind would not encourage their children to learn the lion dance. And over the years, it gradually became clear that hardly any Chinese would perform the lion dance! The funny thing is that although the lion dance is actually a Chinese tradition, these days only the bumiputras would perform it. Because of the lucrative side of it, these days one can only see the Kadazans, Bajaus and Suluks performing the lion dance. But if one is lucky, perhaps he might be able to spot a Chinese kid in the crowd. But that in itself is very, very unlikely.

That, then, is the scenario in Kota Kinabalu City as far as the lion dance is concerned. I'm not very sure what's the situation like in the other cities and towns in Sabah, but I think things aren't very different there. I suppose one is still able to see some Chinese youngsters performing the lion dances in West Malaysia. Maybe tradition is still holding steady there. In Sabah, lion dance is all about business these days and hardly about customs and tradition.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Politeness & Bluntness

Two of my loyal readers wrote to me today, asking me why haven't I been posting over the last couple of days. To be quite honest, I wasn't in the mood to write. Besides, I reckoned that since the whole of Malaysia has been engrossed in Mohd Saiful Bukhari's anus over the last week, no one would notice a few days' break on my part.

A different friend wrote me an email in response to my email to him earlier, and he raised something about my having the "guts to be vocal." He said he admired me for that. He said most people (especially Asians) are brought up to be polite rather than honest.

It occurred to me that he is not the first person who told me that. And so this gives me an excuse to tell a bit of my story.

Some people have criticized me for my bluntness when giving my opinions. I have also made "impolite" comments in other blogs. Since there are a number of people who've told me the same thing, then I suppose there must be some truth in it.

I have been criticized, for example, because of the way I expressed myself against my own father with his peculiarities. I have also been criticized for raising some things I dislike about my mother. Sometimes the truth sucks, and many of us would rather sweep the rubbish under the carpet. The truth hurts too. And the hardest thing to do is to draw the limits when balancing between politeness and bluntness.

One of my nieces stole my money when she was still a young girl. It was just a small amount, but I was concerned about her anyway. For a while, I was debating with myself whether to tell her mother about this problem. My sister had high expectation of her daughter, and perhaps because of parental instinct, she's very sensitive whenever any of us gave negative comments about her children. Most parents believe that they know their children the most, you see, and it is not often easy to shake that belief.

Then later on when I was talking with another sister, I realised that the rest in my family had known of the stealing habit for some time. When I asked them why didn't they tell her mother about it, they said that they pity the mother—that she would become very disappointed. Besides, there was that risk of her mother not believing us. I took a while but eventually told my sister about her daughter. She was indeed devastated, but I had the feeling that she did not believe me.

Years later, when my niece was all grown up and was in college, she was caught stealing the cellphone of her room mate. In fact, that was not the first time she did it. Several cellphones went missing until someone actually followed her secretly to the shop where she tried to sell the phone. Her parents pleaded with the dean for leniency. She was eventually suspended from school for a couple of weeks.

And now I see something "not quite right" in my 5-year-old nephew. I am not a child specialist, but I do read a bit about children. I see some peculiar signs in this boy—those which suggest autism. I happen to know that early intervention can help in autistic children. But as I said, I am not a child specialist. I am usually very blunt with my siblings. Hell, I am blunt with most people! Yet I don't really know how to tell my sister about her son.

I can of course be nice and polite and leave things as there are. That would probably save my sister the heartache of knowing that her son has a problem, although I honestly hope that I am wrong. Like I said, sometimes the truth hurts.

And then the other option is that I just tell her point blank and ask her to bring her son to see a specialist as soon as possible. One possible outcome is that the child is found to be normal after all and my sister may think that I'm just wasting her time. The other possible outcome is that my suspicion is correct and the specialist can help to remedy the problem a bit.

From my experience talking to people, I found that most of them prefer me to be truthful rather than polite. So don't tell them that they look skinny if actually I think they're obese. Don't say that they look good with short hair, when actually they look awful. Nevertheless, most of them can't handle the truth. When told the truth, they become hurt and offended.

So let's hear it from you all. If you have a choice between the two, would you prefer me to be polite or blunt?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Blood Test & Injections

Every year almost all of us in the office would have our annual comprehensive blood test. My partner started this program since ages ago. It is a good idea because, generally speaking, not many people would actually make it a point to get their blood tested every year. From these blood tests, one is able to detect possible health problems such as high cholesterol, diabetes, cancer warnings and so on.

Typically we would have it within the first quarter of the year. This year, our sports club decided to schedule the blood test a little earlier than usual, i.e. in January. So last Tuesday, those folks from Pathlab came over first thing in the morning to draw blood samples from all of us. Since there were about 70 of us, it took a week to compile all the results.

This morning, at around 10am, our results arrived. As in the previous years, there's always the excitement and commotion when they're comparing results—who's healthier and who's not. And to some people—who's not so healthy and who's even worse.

Ignoring the fancy folder, a typical result comprises 3 pages, listing the types of test conducted, and the summary of the respective readings. Whenever something is not quite right, for example a reading is too high or too low, the lab technicians would highlight it with a yellow marker. So it has come to a common practice to ask each other how many highlighted items are found within those 3 pages. Obviously the more yellow highlights one has, the more he is in trouble with his health.

After going through several years of these annual blood tests, I have come to the conclusion that perhaps half of the staff in the office would fail their Lipid Profile tests. It has been said that women are generally protected by the female hormones, but from what I've seen so far, that is not quite true. Quite a fair number of the girls in the office—some of them still very young—have high cholesterol. And of course the guys too.

I myself didn't get a perfect score this year. I had 2 yellow highlights in my result. And yes, both are found under the heading of Lipid Profile Test. My total cholesterol count is at 5.4 MMOL/L, which is a little over the 5.2 MMOL/L range; and the LDL cholesterol count is at 3.0 MMOL/L, which is over the 2.6 MMOL/L range. However, because my HDL cholesterol is 1.83 MMOL/L against the minimum 1.04 MMOL/L recommended range, my TOTAL/HDL RATIO is at a very commendable 3.0 (recommended range less than 5.0.)

Now that the results are out, one can expect those who've failed the Lipid Profile tests to be very careful with their diet for about 2 weeks. Whenever they eat anything, they will be conscious of the cholesterol and oil contents in their foods. But this is only for about 2 weeks, mind! People forget very quickly, you see. After that, they won't be able to control what they eat. It will just have to wait till the next blood test in a year's time before they are careful of what they eat again.

Try and ask the people around you, what is the most important thing to them in life. I bet high amongst the top in their lists would be "health". Yet, it is strange that very few of them would actually put in the efforts required to maintain their health, let alone to improve their health. They would spend a lot of money on slimming products or food supplements etc, but hardly ever break a sweat to exercise. Because of course all of them simply have no time for the workout.

Oh yes, I also have a bit of an issue with my Hepatitis B antibody. According to the result, my antibody count has gone down to as low as 27 MIU/ML. Below this figure is a comment which says: BOOSTER DOSE MAY BE CONSIDERED.

Then later on, I found out that CYP's reading for Hepatitis B antibody was at 77 MIU/ML, much higher than mine, but still considered low. And of course a booster injection is also recommended for her. However, she said she's not going for a booster jab. She explained that she had in the past taken Hepatitis B immunization injections. She took the first and second injections, and then before the booster injection was due, she became pregnant. The same thing happened when she had her third child. Always when it's time for the booster injection, she would become pregnant! So that's why she's not going to even consider a booster injection now.

Perhaps it's time that I get Grace or Pat to have a serious talk with CYP. I think she's getting it all wrong. Someone really has to make her understand that it's not the Hepatitis injections that caused the pregnancies; it had a lot to do with a different kind of injections which her husband administered.

Anyway, coming back to my own result, I really need to cut down on eggs and prawns. Although my lipid profile is not very serious at the moment, it may quickly worsen if I'm not careful, and it will be extremely difficult to remedy the situation when that happens.