Saturday, January 22, 2011

Chicken Soup for the Soul

What does success mean to you? Does success bring happiness? I believe it does. For that simple reason, many people crave for, dream of, aspire to be a very successful person.

Yet many people fail to go back to basics and ask themselves what is the definition of success? Is success to you a glittering report card of your achievements to-date? When I was young, I was taught that success was measured by the number of academic awards in school. After graduation, it is to be replaced by the fastest sprint to reach the top of the corporate ladder.

The vagaries of life have taught me that this is too simplistic and one-dimensional. Each of us will be faced with his or her own predicament. To me, the victor is one with the resilience to withstand the cruel storms of life. But not alone, we all need friends who will pull us through the hard times. And I believe friends are abound in this world, it's just that we have yet to meet them. But we will need to have the persistence to never stop trying and the ability to attract these living angels. And I hope you can be my angels :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Data and Simple Fix

Apart from Think and Grow Rich, Freakonomics and Super Freakonomics blew my mind away. Below is written from memory based on what I can remember. Enjoy!

From Super Freakonomics

In the past, childbirth was a dangerous affair. 1 out of 10 deliveries would see to either the death of the mother or infant or both.

The story was in Venice during the 1840s. It was found that women who gave birth in the top-notched hospitals, were more likely to die from child delivery. In particular, those who were delivered by doctors were twice as likely to die from complications (8%) than those by midwives (4%). Such complications were termed as puerperal disease.

Many possible explanations were spun:
1. Misconduct by the mothers during the first trimester (e.g. wearing tight corset)
2. Foul air in the delivery room
3. Trauma from the outrage of modesty by doctors - most if not all were male during the 1840s.
4. And etc.

Note that these reasons had not apparent solution. Most were figments of someone's imagination, with no solid grounding. It was not until one man by the name of Semmelweis that later came to analyse the statistics, that the reason was found.

Semmelweis first ruled out the explanations one by one by using logic. He found that women who gave birth at home and subsequently arrived at the hospitals did not have such high death rates. So it would be strange that only women who delivered in the hospital "misbehaved" during the first trimester. As for reason number 2, the air in the delivery room was the same for those delivered by midwives. In the case of reason number 3, it did not explain why the occurrance was only for delivery when we also had women who suffered from other ailments but did not exhibit such "trauma".

It was through an accident that Semmelweis found out the real reason -- from the death of a friend who died from a cut while carrying out autopsy. His friend died from the cadaverous materials from the cut.

What happened was during the 1840s, in the top-notched hospitals, the doctors were all busy with conducing autopsies on dead people to understand the cause of the death. Most rushed to the delivery ward with a only cursory clean of their hands at most. As a result, women in labor and being attended to by the doctors had a higher chance to die due to cadaverous materials. The explanation was further buttressed by the fact that women in longer labor had a higher death rate. It was because the longer the labor, the higher the number of proddings by the doctor to check the uterus which increased the risk.

Once the cause was identified. The fix was simple and easy. Doctors who performed autopsy had to wash their hands with a sprinkling of chorine with lime. The rest as they say is history. The death rate from deliveries performed by doctors fell to the level similar to those by midwives.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ria Bintan - Real Beauty

Bliss is soaking in nature's beauty. My hubby and I did just that in Bintan last December over a short weekend getaway. We made our way to Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal on a Friday afternoon.

As I rushed there after work in the morning, my mind was still mulling over some unfinished work matters on the ferry. With my mind filled to the brim with work details, my head soon felt heavy. Fortunately, the ferry trip was a shortone hour journey, the sparadic spasms in head were calmed as my feet felt the stability of land.

We put up at Bintan Lagoon - a resort which faced the ocean. It was a seaside paradise. As there was still daylight, we strolled along the beach and were greeted by the wide expanse of pristine sand the the greyish sea line in the horizon as far as the eye could see. We found a little bench and sat together relishing the postcard-perfect sight.

Before the break of dawn the next day, we proceeded to Ria Bintan for a 18-hole game of golf at the Ocean course. The view was magnificent as we hit our golf ball as the waves came crushing at the beach. At the same time, the sea breeze rushed into land and played with our hair. We were also intoxicated by the whiff of nature's bounty. There was a quiet serenity about the surrounding beauty. For the both of us who were more used to a concrete jungle, the ocean, the greenery and the breeze offered a refreshing respite.

After our 18-hole game, my sprighty hubby suggested to go for another game of 18-hole. It sounded like a great idea at the time when we were mesmerised by nature's beauty. Alas, it was no walk in the park. The next 18-hole game was punishing. I became reacquainted with muscles screaming for attention from the abuse I suddenly subjected them to. My hubby was not one who would allow me to give up once I had agreed to do something. Suddenly, I realised that I owed my discipline to him. Discipline has always been hard to me. Afterall, I am not built for discipline but for novelty and excitement. Boy, I am glad that he is around to give me the much-needed nudge.

Yes, we managed to complete the 36-hole. Though in the final few holes, I swung my golf club byut mostly did not manage a good hit. But you know, sports is not about winning but about completing. To soothe our aching bodies, we indulged in a 60 minutes massage. The skilled hands of the massage therapist rubbed away the muscle aches from overexertion like magic.

On our way back to Singapore, I gazed at my tired hubby as he shifted his head to dodge the draughty air on the ferry. I smiled, leaned my head on his shoulder and closed my eyes for forty winks.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Marriage is so Beautiful

I just have had a very enjoyable weekend. Yesterday, my hubby and I enjoyed a round of 18-hole golf in the afternoon before I headed out to attend my company's Dinner and Dance event.

It was then that I realised that I have known my dear for more than 2 decades. 20 years is a long time but yet our love has grown from strength to strength. No doubt, we have arguments and disagreements but we respect each others view.

Golf is not an easy sport to pick up. It is really tough to keep moving when every stroke that you hit seems to be wrong. When the golf ball of other players was taking off like a jet, mine was just spurting along like an old car's engine. Yet perseverence is the key to success. Underlying this perseverence is my love to keep my hubby company and support him.

This is mutual. Last night, he asked me to call him to pick me up after the event which only ended over 11 pm. I did but then realise how tired he was. I assured him that I was old even to take care of myself to take public transport home. The sweetness of his thoughts warmed my heart. That's the beauty of marriage. I love you dear.