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The Dirty Word that is Cancer

Cancer. A 6-letter word that nobody ever wishes to hear from their doctor. Unfortunately, the reality is that everyone of us knows someone who has or had cancer. We’ve even lost friends and family to this dreaded C.

Despite the prevalence of the disease, most of us don’t really know much about the disease itself. Perhaps ignorance is bliss but after attending a blogger workshop on lung cancer & melanoma recently, I’ve come to realise that it’s very important to be educated about cancer treatment options – especially immunotherapy.

Immunotherapy is a new treatment option for lung cancer and melanoma. Do you know that 10 Malaysians die from lung cancer, every single day? The mortality rate for lung cancer is also scarily high, more than 80%. However, now with immunotherapy, lung cancer patients have far better shots at living.

So what is immunotherapy? How does it work? Dr. Tho Lye Mun gave us a comprehensive but simple-to-understand presentation on the treatment at the blogger workshop.

It is a treatment that uses certain parts of a person’s immune system to fight cancer without the dreadful side effects that we all know of from other conventional cancer treatments. With lesser and milder side effects (they are only about as bad as regular flu symptoms), patients are able to lead better quality lives. Unlike conventional treatments, immunotherapy also does not damage healthy cells, so the rate of infections will definitely be lower, hence the potential for also extending long-term survival.

Listening to Niki Cheong who shared his personal stories of losing friends and family to cancer at the workshop was really heart-breaking. I was very young when my grandfather passed away from cancer so I didn’t feel much but as an adult now I can imagine the anguish. To watch somebody you love slowly being chipped away by the damn cancer. Early detection is the key, of course and often survival rate from cancer is a lot higher with early detection. That said, not many are lucky to catch it early on. Consider this, 9 out of 10 patients are diagnosed with advanced stage lung cancer. It’s heart-breaking.

After I posted about my experience at the lung cancer workshop on Facebook, I reconnected with a former college-mate, Sharizan. She revealed to me that she’s suffering from lung cancer that has metastasised to her brain. When I found out she was undergoing immunotherapy, I was relieved for her as I reckoned she’d have much better chance at survival with immunotherapy. She too attested to the effectiveness of the treatment. It’s given her a better quality of time and a renewed sense of hope that she may have a chance at survival.

However, when she told me about the costs, I was shocked. It’s not cheap and she had already exhausted her insurance, so she was going to stop her treatment and seek help at government institutions with conventional treatment aka chemotherapy. After learning what I’ve learned from the blogger workshop, I was crushed by her news.

I understand why immunotherapy is expensive – it’s the years and millions and millions of dollars invested into the research of this life-changing treatment. So ladies and gentlemen, if you’re reading this, do check your insurance policies. Personally, after listening to Sha, I have contacted my insurance agent and updated my policy to increase my annual limit to accommodate inflation and the high cost of current hospital treatments. I had already forgotten what I was entitled to in my insurance policy so I was very surprised to learn that the policy I got 5 years ago, which was pretty comprehensive back then, could barely cover a treatment such as immunotherapy now! So yeah, check and upgrade your insurance policies guys!

As for Sharizan, we are raising funds for her immunotherapy treatments at You can also read about her plight at the website. Please do help give my friend a shot at life, thank you!

Anyway, I digressed. My point is, get educated about cancer. Learn about its treatments! Don’t get caught off-guard. Cancer affects everybody, not just the patients and you’re better off with some good knowledge in hand.

Posted in: Social/Political - Continue Reading

Not another rant about the Malaysian government?

This is not my first complaint. Just had one not too long ago. You can read it here.

Went to Duta’s immigration office to make Liam’s passport today. We reached there just before 1pm and found the passport office was dark, as in literally all the lights had been switched off.

According to a personnel who was there, the office was closed between 1pm-2pm.

I was annoyed because there’s no notice on changes with operation hours on website or anywhere.

If you know Bahasa Malaysia, it says operation hours during fasting month is 8.30am – 5.30pm. Sounds fair. No mention of 1pm-2pm rest time though.

As you can see, normal operation hours is 7.30am – 5.30pm. No mention of afternoon breaks too, except for the Friday which is for prayers.

So who sanctioned that afternoon break!?

I guess I am lucky that I have flexible hours so I can suck it and deal with it. But really, with such bloated civil service, how hard is it to keep operations going by having staggered breaks??

Half of the staff work while half of the staff take a break. After one hour, the one who rested start work and the one who worked could rest for an hour. Like this also difficult meh!? Simple logic no? But no no no no no, everyone rests and the rest of Malaysians get their toll, petrol, time and work leaves wasted for no reason.

This sort of inefficiency really gives me the angrys!!!

What about normal tax paying working people that have to go all the way to the government office during lunch break only to find that the shutters are down because they have decided to “rest” for an hour. Pay tax for this kind of shitty service?

With other companies, if I don’t like their service I can boycott the brand, stop buying their products or service. But hello, I can’t boycott getting a passport?

Anyway, I went to have lunch at the nearby Publika and went back at 2.30pm. It was pleasant, paid up etc and got a slip to come back to collect the passport after an hour. So, instead of waiting we went off to Publika (5 minutes away) to get some groceries, got back to the goverment office at 4.58pm and guess what??

Lights all turned off again! *&^*&^$%%$&^%$&^%$&^*&^(*&)*&$&^

What is this!? 5.30pm closing time right? Why not yet 5pm already closed??

Not a single soul in sight. Don’t know if sleeping behind the counters or gone home already. Who knows? Mind you I am not in some sleeping town type of branch, I am in Duta branch! Next to one of the most affluent neighbourhoods in Malaysia.

These people really have no pride in their jobs. All they want is more rest, more rest and more rehat.

Don’t make it so easy for people to insult you can or not? Be professional! Have pride in your jobs!

Like I always say, I feel most sorry about being a Malaysian whenever I go to the government office. The chaos, the slightly run down amenities, the awful charts and farce of inspiring slogan after slogan, the attitude. Everything is just a hint, a taste of the state of our nation.

Posted in: Ranting Is a Right, Social/Political - Continue Reading

Power some toys up this Yuletide.

In the spirit of giving, Energizer will be playing Santa to the children of Kiwanis Malaysia, gifting over RM20,000 in educational and fun toys. Toys that can improve their confidence and social skills to brighten their days ahead.

However, all these toys are battery-powered and you can help to power them up by donating new Energizer Max batteries to Kiwanis Malaysia.

Just buy Energizer Max batteries and donate them at these locations between 22 November and 4 January 2015.

You could also do so at 1Utama Shopping Centre (Ground Floor Highstreet) between 18 to 28 December 2014. On top of donating batteries, you can donate your pre-loved battery-operated devices (especially those with educational value) that are still in good working condition to the children of Kiwanis Malaysia.

They can be dropped off at roadshows nationwide or 1Utama Shopping Centre (Ground Floor Highstreet) starting 18 to 28 December 2014.

Posted in: Social/Political - Continue Reading