Garfieldhug's Blog

This & That Including What Ails

Thoughts # 5 – Just Thoughts

This Saturday is Mid Autumn Festivalโ€ฆ..festival of moon cakes and lanterns. I heard that our Chinatown is lit up with giant size lanterns again and making the scape warm, lively and fun. I am not up to hanging out in Chinatown, crowds frighten me as I have an autoimmune disorder too.

Maybe, if I feel up to it, I will do a drive through for my folks to admire the lanterns and festivities. It will mean a lot to them as they went through the traditional mooncake festival in their era of years long ago.

I am in a bit more pain than usual post booster covax vaccination. Plus not in the mood for wanton chit chats although I was pleasantly surprised by 13 Points when she plonked a bag of โ€œWhite Coffee sachetsโ€on my pigeon holeโ€™s floor. Rather kind of her. She shared that a student in her class whose parents gave her that packet of coffee sachets and she did not appreciate our Asian style of coffee grinds so she shared it. Nice of her to think of me.

Neighbor has been brewing kombucha and I have tried her batch done with Earl Grey tea. This weekend, she said she would be doing a batch with Pu Erh tea, a smoky and stronger tea. I am curious as to how it will taste. She is good at cooking and her brewing kombucha skills are good too.

In turn I shared one mooncake with 13 Points, only when she confirmed that can appreciate mooncakes. She is from UK and today we learnt the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, 96 years old. I am sad to hear it but life is such, there is an expiry clause. At 96 years old and being of decent health till the end, I am proud of her achievements.

Finally King Charles will get to the throne. He has waited so patiently for this and the consort Camilla becomes Queen (?)

I wonder if he will pass it to William though?

It will be a sad time for Britons this week as the late Queen Elizabeth has done much for England and I bet her corgis will miss her. I hope the family adopts her corgis.

Deepest condolences to the citizens of United Kingdom on the passing of their beloved Queen. May she rest in peace!

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Sunday Before National Day & Last Evening’s Sad News

It will be a lie if I said that I felt no sadness when I was told of two things: –

Loss of a life – my brother’s classmate whom I have met once or twice and

Potential job loss for someone’s spouse.

My brother’s classmate passed on 7 July 2022. It caught my brother by surprise as none of his group chat community knew about it till someone in that group chat chanced upon the late classmate’s sister’s post on FaceBook that he had passed.

No one was able to elicit a response from her to know cause of death as it was sudden and those who knew his family refused to speak about it.

If it was a Covid related death, I feel it was nothing to be ashamed of.

If it was a sudden illness death such as a heart attack or stroke or an accident, it was also nothing to be ashamed of.

If it was cancer, again it should not be a stigma to his family.

I was more worried if it was a suicide and this could be a plausible reason as to why his family will not share with the community. But it is sad if the decedent was not honored for his life spent thus far.

The decedent left behind a wife and 3 children; parents and siblings.

For me, even though I am not close to him, I felt truly sad as it reminded me of the fragility of life.

In his prime, his life was cut short. He will never get to enjoy being a grandfather to his future grandchildren nor walk his daughter down the aisle to be married off nor stand proud as his son weds a wife.

It also reminded me of mortality – we all cannot live forever and that my aged parents’ life span will also end. Can I face up to all this?

I am not worried about my own mortality as honest truth, I am ready to check in. I have done what I needed to do and eaten, enjoyed, tasted the sweet and sorrows of life.

But thinking of the decedent’s family, it is sad as they were robbed of a husband, a father, a brother and a son.

I was also sad when a good friend of mine expressed worry about potential job restructuring at her spouse’s company.

There is no iron rice bowl mentality these days. Companies change hands for dollars and there are no sentiments for the minions that once slaved for them. But I reminded my good friend of the Labor Laws and that any unpaid wages, one can seek assistance from the labor office to get paid.

Like any minion, I too am worried about job restructuring and potential job loss. Apart from singing the age old tune of upskill, be adept and adjust, there is little else to be done.

New minions will cost lesser than old minions who have put in time and effort to grow with the company and then it suddenly gets felled with one swing of the “axe” – it is worst if there were no warning signs of things that came!

My advice to my good friend was to let the spouse handle the issue on hand. If he was chill with it, it means he can manage it and or a possible golden handshake was negotiated and agreed upon. Again, if not, then off to the Labor Office to seek mediation. I will sincerely pray for a win -win outcome for her spouse and that a possible severance package is offered plus a new offer of a job. This would be the optimal outcome!

But like any loving wife, my friend will worry about future things. I can only offer a listening ear and prayers that things will pan out well for her and her spouse.

One cannot stop worrying.

One cannot stop mourning loss of any loved one.

One cannot stop feeling alone though surrounded by many people.

What I do know is that, one has to be strong to overcome.

It takes true grit and gumption to survive in this dog eat dog world. Employers will continue to be ruthless and minions will always be minions.

My view is that I am no longer loyal to any employer. It is just a job. I do my fair day’s work, I get paid and I speak only when spoken to. No need to be “smart” or “act smart” as no one asked me to be “smart” – in fact my strategy is best described by Chicken,

“Act stupid. Deliver grade C class work to get bonuses and increments is good enough. Not all work tasks need a grade A standard.”

Troll? But true!

Coping is important in today’s life’s journey!

We plod on!

My deepest condolences to the bereaved family of my brother’s late classmate. May he rest in peace and gain eternal peace and happiness.


Losing People Or Pets We Love Or Care About

Last week Friday, was the start of the 7th month of the Chinese Lunar calendar, where the gates of Hades opened.

I know this month, will claim many lives as it is typical Hell’s month.

Yesterday, a good friend, business colleague, Mr Alvin Yeo, a gifted legal eagle and member of Parliament, passed after 2 years battling cancer.

I remember his gentle demeanor, never a show off despite his high rank in society as well as a truly good legal eagle.

I am sure his loss will be deeply felt by society as well as by his loved ones.

I also learnt of the passing of Lil Binky, a beloved cat of

It is with sadness that we bid any living thing we spent time with farewell when the time comes. I used to enjoy seeing Lil Binky walking through Granny’s garden of and the art that is created for this beautiful cat.

Life is precious, love the ones you love, as time on earth may not be very long.

Rest in peace Alvin Yeo and Lil Binky. I am sure you will both be free from pain and enjoying your new lives till you reunite with those you love and hold dear.


My Host Mother, Lucile McKenzie From Eugene, Oregon

When I started my university studies in USA, Eugene, Oregon, as a foreign student I learnt of host families.

Host families help foreign students adapt and integrate into USA’s cultural and social aspects such that we as foreigners will not be left alone, felt depressed coping with a new lifestyle and passing exams.

I enrolled into the program and was assigned a family with 2 children (16 & 18 years old). I felt awkward with them as they were uncomfortable hosting an Asian student. It is easy to sign up for a host kid with a host family, but on pairing, and there were no synergies, it is best I exited the arrangement.

My first term, I signed up for Art History 205 taught by Professor Allan Dean McKenzie. He was in his late 60s and I loved his class. He was perfect to me as a Host Dad and I boldly sauntered up to the podium to ask him. I still remember how big that classroom was…it was an auditorium for more than 120 students.

I told self at most he rejects me. But he did not, instead he said he would ask his wife, Lucile. Yes, Lucile spelt with one “L”

I was delighted when he told me at next class that he and his wife were delighted to host me during my stay in Eugene, Oregon.

Host Mum, Host Dad whom I fondly called “Prof” hit it off. They cooked meals for me. I learnt about pumpkin pies, coconut cream pies as Host Mum baked these pies for Thanksgiving dinners. In turn I shared our Chinese cuisine and invited them to my town house area of Singaporeans for spring food fest. 8 of us in 4 townhouses hosted all our host families. It was fun and these host parents brought us things that we could use for our homes. E.g porcelain plates, place mats etc.

I admired Prof’s art pieces in their home, Le Petite Chateau, and watched slide shows of his travels and seeing different art historical icons or buildings…doric columns, ionic scrolls etc.

Prof and host mum never stopped staying in touch and even visited me in Singapore post graduation. Sadly Prof passed away couple of years back after battling Alzheimers. I was very sad when Host Mum shared with me his violent traits and ultimately had to be put in a nursing home where he passed peacefully. Host Mum misses him alot as they were a loving couple.

Host Mum is 89 years old now and we still keep in touch. She managed to get a friend to take the following photos below so that I can see her lovely patio of home grown plants in her unit. The sprawling home they used to own was sold as it was too huge for Host Mum to manage.

My Host Mum Lucile, whom I love very much!๐Ÿฅฐ

Thank you both Host Mum and Host Dad for taking care of me in USA and making my experience in Oregon a beautiful one.

I will always love Eugene, Oregon because of you both.


Flowers Taken In India

These pics were shared with me by the photographer, Samy, my physiotherapist. He told me that he photographed these flowers that were happily blooming in the gardens of the sidewalks! So pretty!!

I love the daisies one most as Samy used it for his screen saver and it was very pretty!

Samy is from India and is working in Singapore under a work permit.

He is hoping to be able to bring his mum over to live with him in Singapore as his father passed away recently and his sister has a job offer to work in Czechoslovakia and his other brother is working in Qatar.

Samy will soon be match maked to a bride and he will marry her as he has been unable to find true love. He is nos in his forties.

I hope he is able to have his mum over and his future bride too.

All the best Samy!๐Ÿ’ž๐Ÿ’ž๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Photos are courtesy of Samy


Felix The Cat Is Dead…

Remember Boy who adopted 17 year old Felix from the shelter at a month or so ago?

Felix began to show his age and despite Boy giving him vitamin jabs, Felix went to Kitty Heaven last week.

Boy was sad but he was glad he spent the last month with Felix and was with him, till he passed.

I consoled Boy. The relationship was not long and his parting will not be too bad compared to if he had Felix since it was a kitten.

At least he still has Emma to keep him company.

Rest in peace Felix. Though you scared me, I am sad I never got to hold you nor offer you a treat.

I will remember your feisty character and prefer to see you as that spunky cat instead of how Boy described you as a feeble and weak cat when you departed.

โคโคโค๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒป๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ‚๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿ‚Rest in peace Felix.


Why Lil Red Dot Did Not Shut Up On Ukraine’s Situation

Many netizens have come out on social media to ask our men in charge not to say anything about the war between Russia and Ukraine. Their thinking is that we are too tiny and being tiny, we may aggravate the great mighty Russia to take action against us.

Whilst I can understand Lil Red Dot being a tiny sovereign country, the fear of antagonising the big and powerful is real. But the argument our men in charge held was that, being a sovereign state, what happened to Ukraine and also happen to all other small sovereign states. Hence the need to speak up and against this atrocity waged on Ukraine. The laws must be upheld as no country should invade the other without provocation.

I am sad that in this day and age, war is taking place. I would have thought with round table peace talks, arbitration and mediations will suffice and treaties brokered between any warring states.

As a non Ukrainian or Russian, I can only hear “she says” and “he says” – some of which I pondered over.

So and so is described as an actor. As an actor, publicity can be drummed up.

Someone reminded me that with Russia given all its might and power, it could have taken over Ukraine in days! Yet, we see photos of women walking to get groceries and garbage trucks still collecting rubbish.

What is the real truth behind the war?

I do not know. Only Putin and the Ukrainian leader knows.

Isn’t there enough loss of lives on both sides?

Isn’t there enough strife for those evacuating and seeking refugee status in Poland, Hungary etc?

I was told that men are not not allowed to leave Ukraine, just women and children.

I am sure both sides have seen casualties.

Russian soldiers commanded to wage war on orders. What is in their hearts to commit to fighting this battle?

In one of the news circulating on the internet, a soldier wrote to his mother and was subsequently a victim of war.

So Lil Red Dot has joined in to impose bans on the financial Russian institutions here and prevent funds movements – economic sanctions if you will.

I do not understand geo politics.

All I want is world peace – cheesy Ms Universe quips as uttered by Ms Sandra Bullock when she went undercover in that Movie, but real to me.

World peace equals prosperity and progress for any nation.

We have enough on the war front with Covid-19 pandemic, yet why must a deliberate altercation ensue between the 2 warring countries.

I sincerely hope that a country, any country can intercede and broker a peace pact for both. OR by some miracle, Putin decides to withdraw troops, not as a sign of loss but on a magnanimous approach that Ukraine has suffered enough.

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Uncertainties In Life

I wanted a swankier eye grabbing title but then I got confused as should it be “so much uncertainties in life” or “so many uncertainties in life.”

Grammatically, it seems both suffice but I am puzzled as if uncertainties are countable or are they not? I suppose it can be quantified and when it can be, it becomes “many” and if it is unquantifiable, it is “much”

I cannot deny that the Ukrainian episode is garnering a lot of world views and I am actually sad this is happening in my era of life. I would have thought with a more educated and worldly view, world leaders would be more restrained and not head into war just like that.

I am unsure who upset whom and my only question is – did it warrant a war that is seeing unnecessary loss of civilian lives or even the soldiers fighting a war because they are directed to do so?

If it was such a deep seated issue, why could not mediation or arbitration resolve the issues?

Our world is today, still reeling from the effects of Covid-19. We are still not out of the woods from battling this “war” where people dropped like flies till vaccines were created and people got covaxxed!

First there was Kim, North Korean leader with this trigger on nuclear arsenal. Now we have Putin.

I cannot imagine should the 2 like minded persons become bosom buddies, then the world will be in a big frightening world.

I worry for countries surrounding Ukraine and if they will be affected should the one waging war gets angry with them for giving shelter or food to the refugees.

I wish this ends, peacefully and amicably.

Seriously, I do not know who is the bully here?!

Anyone know what caused this blow up?


Chap Goh Meh – Sobering Reminders

Today is the last day of 15 days of Chinese Lunar New Year (CNY) celebrations. Yes, we celebrate 15 days of CNY. Tonight it will end with Chap Goh Meh (in Hokkien dialect, literally translated to mean 15th night).

This is not as elaborate as Reunion Dinner and most families do not bother about it, unless it is a multigenerational family structure.

I, for one, does not usually make a big hoo ha about it, but given my mum’s request to pop by, I will go over this evening and celebrate Chap Goh Meh with both my parents.

My mum has a large family and have have passed. I remember how my maternal grandmother passed away on eve of CNY or Reunion Dinner night. Contrary to Chinese superstitions that people will not visit wakes or attend funerals, I remember the lavish ceremony and the number of well wishers who came by to offer their condolences.

My maternal grandma passed away at age 72 years. I suspect she may be younger as the Chinese usually pile on a couple of years to inflate her age at death. I think she should have been 68 years when she passed. Comparing to today’s longevity, grandma passed at a relatively young age. Given the medical science and poor diet, she lived long compared to my paternal grandfather, who passed away in his 50s.

Today, people are living longer – like the Energizer battery, well into their late 90s and some beyond 100ys.

I disagree with living so long as it becomes a burden to family and society especially if the person is sans good mental faculty or decent health.

I will not want to live long. No point as no dignity, plus I do not have family support. I will be at the mercy of society and pretty much a burden to tax payers.

Even the best of friends will become exhausted I feel.

So my sincere wish is good health for all. Good health is so important as without it, we are nothing.

Good health is wealth, as without good health, how can one earn continued wealth?

Good health is happiness, as without good health, how can one be happy lying in a hospital bed or hospice, intubated and tube fed, not tasting fave roast meats, chewing veggies or eating blueberries?

Good health cannot be bought! Correction…yes, one can buy organs or receive donor organs but these may have life spans and the possibility of rejection of the organ by the body.

A sobering thought to end a celebratory period. But I thought good to share and remind good people, don’t do drugs, drink moderately and do your best to go for walks.

I ought to start going for my walks again….slow ones say the onco surgeon but where is the fun in that as brisk walking erodes fats!!! LOL!


This & That….Health Care By White Coat Continues

My White Coats are racking their brains to “fix” me.

Basically, I have a rheumatologist, Prof Fong; bone fixer upper, Dr Clever; onco surgeon, Dr Bodoh (Malay word for Silly); Pain/Anaesthesiologist, Dr Boey; Eye surgeon, Dr Eye and gastroenterologist, Dr Lui.

I have more White Coats but these will do for now as they are the main cast in my plot for today’s blog.

All in, I have undergone 30 surgeries, with Cancer topping the molehill like a caramelised cherry!

Mr Ability To Earn and Dr Eye has commented that I ought to write a book on my escapades in these 30 surgeries (all considered major as I underwent general anaesthesia with each procedure at minimum of 3 hours and maximum at 16 hours).

Who would want to read it?

If I was a weakling in mind, I would have gone bonkers literally as each time, I get sentencing, I just calmly tell the doctor my decision and sign off on the permission slips.

So, if a doctor does not know me well, they will think that I have “not accepted” the diagnosis and would want me to think through before deciding. This was the case with Doc Bodoh, my onco surgeon. She was insistent that I have not accepted the Cancer diagnosis and wanted me to speak to a medical social worker who can offer me “support” Sheesh!

I am a practical person. If I did not agree to surgery, will Cancer go away? Of course not! Worst case scenario is that it will worsen and begin to spread!

Will talking make my Cancer go away?

Of course not! So when I faced Dr Bodoh after Radiologist spoke to me on the outcome, I immediately gave her my decision instead of her offering options such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

I guess I did not give her a chance to spew her options and she felt that I was hasty in decision making during second week of December 2021. But hey, I solve problems for the company I work for and I have identified my problem, did my feasibility study and weighted the pros and cons. In my case, the pros outweighed the cons and it was a no brainer decision to remove the cancer where it resided.

Like a manager, I made an informed decision. I relied on research and read by googling, asking my other doctors and made a rational decision all in a couple of days. All done before I faced.

I survived Cancer surgery but struggling now with chest spasms. It takes time to heal. And no, I am not having heart attacks although Dr Bodoh’s team of nurses highlighted potential heart attack to me and to consider seeing cardiologist.

Meanwhile my autoimmunologist and Rheumatologist, Prof Fong, feels that I might need some Prednisolone for a couple of months to bring inflammation down.

Well, I am already FAT and if I ingest Prednisolone or steroids orally, guess what!!! I will get FATTER!

No thank you! With more FAT, I will be a victim of diabetes and I do not need more issues.

So, I will abstain from Prednisolone (going against Prof Fong’s orders) and hope for the best.

Like any sane person, I constantly ask WHY ME?

No amount of meditation will enlighten me to the path of Nirvana really!

The Monkey Brain in my brain box cannot be tamed and there is no logical answer.

If I choose the reason of karma then I must have been the most horrid and or evil person in past lives to be suffering bad karma now.

If I choose the positivity of things, it is divine intervention to tell me to slow down and smell the roses. Live a less rat race life and forgo a rank at top management and be a rank lower than minion hood!

I have no answer and as I journey on in my life….I get to meet kind White Coats, strangers who become friends and no lack of compassion or empathy in what I am going through.

Thankfully, I am sane. By a sliver of good luck, I stay strong to be sane. Else insanity takes over when a rationale answer cannot be delivered to me.

I often ask myself if I was a hypochondriac? But sheesh, each MRI or CT scan will show something not right. Neurosurgeon scanned my brain and found a tumor. Thankfully it has calcified and looks benign. I was told it can regenerate and reminded to check in on it now and then to ensure it is indeed calcified with no new shoots.

So here is the low down on this worn out body –

Brain – meningioma

Spine – 10 titanium rods, implants and screws – over time, more sections will collapse

Foot – loose bones, already removed one

Buccal Cavity – on roof palate I have a bony growth, no surgery for now. Future?

Hands – 4 surgeries done, more to come in future?

Gut issues – fear of perforated intestines is real and exists so White Coats are all hands on deck when I have tummy issues

Autoimmune issues

Eye issues

Life goes on…….until I hang up my boots as they say and believe it or not, I have already procured my niche in a columbarium, koi pond facing and corner unit so that I might have a quiet resting place after I serve my term of 3 years as a cadaver for the medical school.