Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Day +665 : An high end personal computer, at least for now

I am fine today.

My boss complained that his computer is slow. He needs to run many programs at once, and while these programs are running, the utilization of both cores of the Intel Core 2 Duo processors almost reaches 100%. This makes him difficult to continue working on his computer.

I asked my nephew Heng Chiek, a computer enthusiast, to put together a very fast system for my boss.

“What is your budget?” he asked.

“No budget constraint, just assemble me a very fast system – a system that will make my boss happy,” I told him.

I dare to say there is no budget constraint because the system is for the boss, and there is no more boss over the boss. Thus no one will question why the system is so expensive later.

The system just arrived last night. The configuration is as follow:
CPU : Intel Core 2 Quad Xeon 2.66GHz (almost the top range) RM1,300
Motherboard : Asus Rampage Formula RM1,215
RAM : Twin 2x 2048-8500 C5D (4GB) RM605
Hard Disk : WD1500ADFD 16MB (150GB) RM630
Power Supply : 800watt

Heng Chiek wants to overclock the system to achieve a higher speed than it supposes to operate. Wikipedia describes overclocking as a process of forcing a computer component to run at a higher clock rate than it was designed for or was designated by the manufacturer, usually practiced by personal computer enthusiasts in order to increase the performance of their computers.

One of the shortcomings of overclocking is shortened lifespan of the components. This applies to human also, if we overclock ourselves by burdening us with workload more than we suppose to handle, we might face the same consequences.

The overclocking will generate a lot heat wich might cause the system to catch fire. I must make sure that Heng Chiek put a fire extinguisher beside him while adjusting the overclocking parameter of the system, else he might burn my house.

An internal view of the system The cooling device for the CPU only. Heng Chiek said it is like airconditioner in the company where he works.
Heavy duty heatsinks on the motherboard
Even the RAM got its own fans
The overclocking might draw extra power, so the he put in a 800w power supply
Heng Chiek wanted to overclock the processor from 2.6GHz to 3.6GHz.

I wish him success.

See you next post :-)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Day +664 : “Nothing. I can’t even see anything!”

I am fine today.

“Nothing. I can’t even see anything!”

This was what the eye specialist told me on last Friday when I enquired about the result of the Schirmer’s test. As I mentioned in the earlier posts, Schirmer's test is used to measure the production of tears. Paper strips were inserted into a patient's eyes for 5 minutes. The amount of moisture on the paper was then measured. A normal person should moisten the paper strip at least 10mm in 5 minutes, but unfortunately in my case, nothing was shown on the paper :-(

The result could be bad to the eyes because it might render the cornea unhealthy and thus affecting my vision.

The lack of tears is one of the side effects of bone marrow transplant called graft versus host disease (GVHD). My donor’s immune cells attack the tear glands making them unable to produce tears :-(

In this regard, the answer “Nothing. I can’t even see anything!” becomes a blessing because most likely the same effect will apply to the cancer cells as well. In other words, if similar test is done to measure the cancer cells in my body, the result will also be “Nothing. I can’t even see anything!” :-)

With this argument, I am pretty happy with the result of the Schirmer’s test :-)

See you next post :-)

Monday, April 28, 2008

Day +663 : A buffet steamboat dinner

I am fine today.

My wife and I had a buffet steamboat dinner at the famous Yuen Buffet Steamboat at Sunway Mentari. Together with us were two friends from Hong Kong and some church members.

The restaurant is very popular. It always attracts a lot of diners even during the weekday. People have to queue up for their turn to dine during the weekend. We even saw people coming for supper at about 11pm. Just can’t imagine how are they going to sleep after the heavy meal.

The restaurant supplied a great variety of foods including seafood such as prawn, crab and squid. And the delicious honey chicken wing is something we have to “fight” for it. Each refill will be emptied within a few seconds.

Our friends from Hong Kong were very satisfied with the dinner :-)

This is my first ever visit to the restaurant after bone marrow transplant :-)

The spicy Tomyam soup
Honey chicken wings
Some of the offering
Another one, and many others are not in the photo
See you next post :-)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Day +662 : Outing and eating

I am fine today.

My family and I attended an outing to Lake Titiwangsa Garden organized by our church this evening. The 60 metre tall portable Ferris wheel, Eye on Malaysia, is still located here. It will be relocated to Melaka after August this year and will be called Eye on Melaka.

After the outing, we went to the famous Lau Heong Seafood Restaurant at Jalan Sentul for dinner.

There were more than 80 members attended the outing and dinner. This is equivalent to about 80% of the total church population :-) I believe the primary reason that attracted so many members attending the event is because of the eating session :-) Everyone likes to eat! (民以食为天!)

A delicious 7-course meal for 10 persons (one table) was priced at RM150 nett only. We booked a total of 8 tables :-)

The Eye On Malaysia Adriel and Joseph
The happy children and my wife
The group
Dish 1- vegetable
Dish 2 - curry fish
Dish 3 - bean curd
Dish 4 - pork leg - very delicious :-)
Dish 5 - squid (sotong) -very delicious :-)
Fried chicken wings

Lala soup
My wife, Adriel and Daniel
Daniel and my mother-in-law
See you next post :-)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Day +661 : Visiting friends

I am fine today.

After seeing the eye specialist, I went to the hematology ward to visit a few friends.

The first one that I visited was Bidah, an Iban from Sarawak who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. She completed first round of chemotherapy in Gleneagles Intan Medical Centre Kuala Lumpur and after that, chose to continue her treatment in UH.

Her cousin stumbled across my blog early of the month and since then we keep in touch constantly. My visit yesterday seemed to encourage Bidah very much.

I believe many patients would be encouraged to see a Leukaemia survivor like me :-) In fact not only me, but any Leukaemia survivor. “When I see you, I see hope,” a mother told me not long after I did my bone marrow transplant. Her daughter was diagnosed with Leukeamia.

After visiting Bidah, I visited Mr. Lim. He was on his Day +10 post bone marrow transplant yesterday. He was generally well but started to have mucositis. Doctor gave him oral morphine to ease the pain.

“I am watching live TV series every day,” his wife joked. She was prohibited to enter the isolated ward and thus could only watch her husband “acting” inside the room through the glass panel :-) I don’t know if my wife shared the same feeling while watching me “acting” inside the isolated ward. Apart from “acting”, I also gave live classical guitar concert in the room :-)

I also visited Mr. Teh. He was still having lung infection but the coughing had improved quite a lot. Besides, his white blood count had increased to 1.1 which was a very positive sign. I pray that the count will continue to increase until it reaches normal level.

Please remember my friends in your prayer.

Thank you and see you next post :-)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Day +660 : First visit to UH’s Ophthalmology Clinic

I am fine today.

Finally, I saw the eye specialist in the ophthalmology clinic in UH this morning, after more than two months of waiting. My hematologist referred me to the ophthalmology clinic but the appointment could be arranged only more than two months later :-)

The doctor did a Schirmer’s test for me and when I asked him about the result. “Nothing. Can’t even see anything,” was the answer. Schirmer's test is used to determine whether the eye produces enough tears to keep it moist. The test this morning showed that my eyes almost stop producing tears :-(

The doctor also checked the cornea of my eyes and find out surprisingly that despite the extreme shortage of tears, the cornea is still healthy :-)

The doctor also performed other tests which include measuring the pressure of my eyes, and I believe all these tests show good result, else the doctor will definitely mention about it.

“No cure,” doctor commented on my condition. “We can only give supportive treatment to you,” he continued. However, I believe the condition will improve once the graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD) effect due to bone marrow transplant subsides.

Considering the aggressive life threatening treatment that I went through earlier, I see this condition a very minor glitch only :-) As long as I am alive, I don’t mind applying artificial tears every 15 to 30 minutes :-)

The doctor scheduled my next follow-up 3 months later.


Almost RM500 worth of artificial tears and gel
See you next post :-)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Day +659 : Samuel is back to Kuching

I am fine today.

Samuel goes back to Kuching today – Day +27 after bone marrow transplant. He was discharged many days ago. Compared to me, he recovers extremely fast. I was still in the ward on Day +27.

Our actual age differ by about 15 years, but based on the transplant age, I am only 632 (659-27) days older than him :-) This is equivalent to an age difference of approximately 21 months. So now I am his brother instead of uncle :-)

By God grace, the transplant was successful and he did well throughout the transplant procedure. There is no sign of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) yet, but the symptoms could show up any time. I had GVHD 6 months after the transplant, and until now still taking medication to control it.

He will be receiving outpatient treatment for a short period of time in Kuching before returning to his home in Miri.

The last post that I talked about him can be found here : Day +644 : Visiting Samuel.

Let us continue to pray for him to be completely cured from the disease.

May God bless Samuel and his family abundantly!

See you next post :-)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Day +658 : Malaysia’s Air Force One

I am fine today.

My brother Richard forwarded to me his story about our Air Force One.

“Our Prime Minister with a group of ministers visited Sibu on the 9th February, 2008, about one month before the general election. They travelled to Sibu using Malaysia’s Air Force One and landed in Sibu airport safely. I heard that he and the gang visited Sibu for the sole purpose of attending the opening ceremony of a new Hall of Sekolah Elizabeth. Without much guessing, we can easily conclude that their motive of attending the small event was to campaign for the general election on 8th March 2008. Who care to take all the hassle to come to Sibu just for the opening ceremony of a school hall if not for the election?

The funny thing I noticed was that the Air Force One was still parked at Sibu airport on 13rd February, 2008. I saw it when I was in the departure hall on my way to Kuching from Sibu.

“Whose airplane is that?”, I asked the airport staff.

“Oh! This is belong to our Prime Minister.”

Due to some technical problem it couldn’t take off and our Prime Minister already took the Malaysia Airlines flight to return to Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, 10 February, 2008.

This is the first time I see our Air Force One but it looks like it has become another white elephant. Luckily the technical problem did not occur in the air; else the outcome would be unimaginable. “

The Air Force One parked at Sibu airport This is a clearer one taken from internet. It was at Kota Bahru airport
In fact, the airplane for the Prime Minister of Malaysia is not called Air Force One. It is called Perdana One, and if our King is aboard the plane, it is called DiRaja One.

The wikipedia has the following description about the plane:

Malaysia's Prime Minister and the Royal Family travel in a Boeing Business Jet operated by the Royal Malaysian Air Force with the serial number M53-01.The callsign of the plane is Perdana One (for the Prime Minister) or DiRaja One (if the King is aboard). The BBJ was purchased in 2003 from Malaysia Airlines who operated it with the registration number 9M-BBJ.

I have more confident on aircrafts of Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia. If you ask me to board the Air Force One, I would have second thought.

See you next post :-)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Day +657 : Ask for the price before ordering

I am fine today.

A classmate of mine forwarded a mail to me sometimes ago, describing a “painful” dining experience.

“Last week, I brought my guests to Genting Highlands. After a day 'above the clouds', we decided to have dinner at the Gohtong Jaya area on the way down.

We ordered some dishes and decided to have a steamed fish as well. So the captain recommended 'sultan fish'. The steamed fish came. HALF, and plain steamed. Good & fine.

But when the bill came, it came to over $500 !! We were shocked !! We were told the fish was 1.4 kg ( & please bear in mind, its ONLY HALF A FISH ) at RM 320 per kg! RM 420!! This was daylight robbery. We were not informed by the Captain that a kg of the Sultan fish would cost us RM 320 and there was also no signs of such pricings anywhere in the restaurant.

When we checked with the cashier, she told us, its correct !!

Of cos, it was our mistake for not asking the price first.

Anyway, on the way back to KL, we stopped at Unique Seafood,PJ, where one can choose a live fish. The most expensive Soon Hock swimming in the tank is RM135 per kilo. Asked them about the Sultan fish, it is going for RM100 a kilo.

Will be sending this letter to the newspapers, Tourism board, etc etc; and friends, pls pass on to all on yr email list.


The bill

My brother Richard, the busybody :-), called the restaurant to find out the price of the sultan fish and he was told that the price was indeed RM320kg per kg, and they didn’t even have stock on that day.

Why the fish is so expensive? One reason could be the sultan fish that the restaurant supplies is from the river, and it is extremely difficult to find such fish in the river. That is why even you are willing to pay for RM320 per kg, it still has to count on your luck to have the fish :-)

Richard told me the Soon Hock cost about RM110 per kg in that restaurant, which is cheaper than the Unique Seafood at PJ.

Be extra careful when ordering food especially the fish, and among the fish, especially the sultan fish; else your dining experience might cause a fish lover like you to have fish phobia. If you can’t remember well exactly what type of fish you should watch out when ordering food, just remember “the fish for the rich Sultan” . With this you will straight away link it to sultan fish, and since this fish is for the rich sultan, and we are not so rich, we better choose other fish :-)

See you next post :-)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Day +656 :Follow-up

My Blood Count Today: - Readings in square bracket [] are result from previous test.
Red Blood Count (HB) = 149[148] (Normal 130-180)
Platelet = 166[171] (Normal 150-450)
White Blood Count (WBC) = 7.4[6.0] (Normal 4 - 11)
Absolute Neutrophil Count (ANC) = 3.63[3.18] (Normal 1.5 - 8.0)
ALT = 65[44] (Normal 30 – 65)
AST = 41[29] (Normal 15-37)
GGT = 74[48] (Normal 15-85)

I am fine today.

I go to UH to do my post bone marrow transplant follow-up today. The blood count result is normal. The doctor is reducing my Prednisolon dosage to one table (5mg) alternate day. Another breakthrough :-) My next follow-up is scheduled two months later.

Today’s lipid profile is as follow:

Total Cholesterol : 5.5[5.8] (< 5.2)
Triglycerides : 1.5[2.1] (< 1.7)
HDL Cholesterol (good): 1.21[1.36] (> 1.0)
LDL Cholesterol (bad) : 3.61[3.49] (< 2.6)

Not much change compared to the result from the last follow-up two months ago. I have to work hard to lower the bad cholesterol.

I also went to visit two friends in the hematology ward – Mr. Lim and Mr. Teh.

Mr. Lim did his bone marrow transplant done on the 15 April. He is now in the isolated room no. 1 (VIP room) to wait for stem cells engraftment. He is doing well.

Mr. Teh is having lung infection and his bone marrow is still unable to produce blood. He had been staying in the hematology ward for more than 2 months :-(

Let us pray for both of them to be cured from their respective diseases completely.

See you next post :-)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Day +655 : Happy birthday Aaron!

I am fine today.

We celebrated Aaron’s two-year-old birthday tonight.

He was born while I was doing my fourth round of chemotherapy in UH. Even though my wife and Aaron were just staying next block to my ward, but I couldn’t visit them because my white blood count at that time was still very low.

One thing worth to mention is that half of my family members were hospitalized at that time; 3 (my wife, Aaron and me) out of 6 were in the hospital. However, all three of us were discharged together a few days later.

After about two and half months after the birth of Aaron, I did my bone marrow transplant.

Again, I am very thankful to God that I am alive to celebrate his birthday :-)

The Japanese Cheese Cake
Singing the Happy Birthday song
Blowing the candle
A family photo
A group photo. Left to me is Pastor Lui. He is from Hong Kong
See you next post :-)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Day +654 : A new refrigerator

I am fine today.

I purchased a Toshiba GR MG48MD (480 Litres) refrigerator to replace the old and rusty Samsung 290 Litres which failed to work consistently. Sometimes, it tried to be smart by defrosting the food by itself :-(

Since the old one had been in service for more than 10 years, I am not too unhappy to replace it.

The version of Toshiba GR MG48MD that comes with glass door cost RM1640 and after extending the warranty to 3 years, the total cost is RM1700.

The general features of the new one include the following:

  1. Tempered Glass Door
  2. Hybrid Guard System
     UV Fresh Guard
     Cool Air Wrap
     Hybrid Plasma Deo
  3. Tempered Glass Shelves
  4. Ice Twister

Compared to the old one, this one is very spacious :-) It is more than enough for a family with a population of 8 – 10 people :-)

The refrigerator
See you next post :-)

Day +653 : Back from KL (3)

I am fine today. Continue from Day +651…

“Can you wear your shoes?” the security said while I was registering to enter the Petronas premises to visit my former colleagues.

It was definitely not a problem to satisfy the guard's requirement if I was bringing along my shoes, but unfortunately this was not the case.

What could I do? I was thinking of calling Ahmad Kendong and told him, “Ahmad, I am just about to meet you, but I don’t have shoes, can you please send me a pair of shoes?” If Ahmad didn't have extra shoes, he could borrow them from his colleagues temporarily, just to get me into the office. And once I was in the office, I could wear back my sandal happily and return the shoes to his colleagues :-)

James came to the rescue while I was pondering how I should handle this situation. “I have safety boots and shoes in my car, see if they can fit you,” What a relief!

In the end I managed to complete the visit with the following shoes without bothering Ahmad :-) It fit me perfectly :-)

After the visit, I have the following Fried Cooked Mee for lunch (炒煮面). Before I left for the airport, Dr. Choo brought me to a restaurant called “Kuai Ke Li” (快可利) for the Yam Mee shown below. This dish was very unique, and this was my fourth dish of noodles of the day. I had Kampua Mee for the breakfast, Fried Cook Mee for the lunch and a bowl of instant Baku Teh(肉骨茶) flavoured noodle cooked by James for afternoon tea before enjoying this final dish of the day :-) However, I should not feel too guilty about eating too much noodles. James took 3 plates of Kampua Mee; two for breakfast and one for lunch :-)
The restaurant is owned by a friend from Bintangor – the middle one. So we had the meal for free :-)
James packed 20 plates of Kampua Mee for me to bring back to KL :-)
Apart from Kampua Mee, James also packed a big chicken and some fishes for me to bring back to KL. The following fish was fished by James’ friend, so it is very fresh.
The airline does not allow passenger to check in baggage that contain frozen food.

“What is inside the box?” the airline staff asked.

“Fruits,” I answered; exactly what James taught me earlier :-) If I told them the truth, the staff would decline the baggage.

I must admit that I did a little bit of cheating here :-( However, if I were cunning, I could argue that my answer was correct because those frozen foods were the "fruit (成果)" of my visit to Miri :-)

See you next post :-)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Day +652 : Happy birthday to mother-in-law

I am fine today.

We celebrated my mother-in-law 73 years old birthday last night.

Her actual birthday should be on last Tuesday, but due to some confusion, we forgot about it :-( Even though the birth date on her identity card is 3rd March, my mother-in-law insisted that we should follow Chinese calendar instead of Gregorian calendar. This means that there is no way for me to setup a reminder for this occasion in my electronic Gregorian calendar such as Outlook Calendar or Google Calendar.

In order to avoid repeating the same negligence, I marked my Google Calendar with the following:

I will receive reminder through both SMS and email annually forever because I set this event as a repeating event without ending date :-) For your information, the reminder through SMS is free of charge. It is very useful. If you need to remember something forever, try Google Calendar :-)

We had dinner at Taiping Lang Restaurant in Puchong. I am expecting Chinese food, but the dishes are more or less like Nonya food. If you want to find out more about the restaurant and its food, visit We ordered a lot more dishes that the one shown in the link, but I was too busy to take photo. The cake
Aaron and Adriel were so happy with the cakeMother-in-law blowing the candle. One candle only :-) A family photo
May God bless my mother-in-law to be healthy and happy all the time.

See you next post :-)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Day +651 : Back to KL (2)

I am fine today. Continue from yesterday...

After visiting the Canada Hill, James fetched me to Petronas Carigali office in Lutong to visit my former colleagues there.

I had my first job with Petronas Carigali, Baram Delta Operation as Network and Telecom Engineer from mid of 1993 to 1996. At that time, the Network and Telecom section was under the IT department. After working there for three and half years, the company wanted to do away with the IT department as it was not the core business of the company. This formed the main reason for me to leave the company as I felt that there was not much room for me to develop here anymore.

My worry came true as the entire IT department was gone later. Some of my colleagues joined the newly formed Petronas subsidiary company called iPerintis and those who insisted to stay were absorbed into various non-relevant departments :-(

This is the first time ever I visited the company that I left 11 years ago and is quite sad to find out that not many former colleagues were still working there :-( If I were not mistaken, we had over 20 staffs during peak time and we maintained good friendship among us.

The Petronas office building situated at Lutong, Miri. It was not even exist when I joined the company. We shifted to this new building about one year later. I was involved in the setting up of data network in the new office. “The cat-5 network cable was laid by him,” my former colleague, Ahmad Kendong, told someone in the office. In fact, most of the systems that I put in were obsolete and the network cable should be the only few that are still being used today.

The Petronas telecom tower which houses the microwave discs for offshore communication. My former colleague, Ahmad Kendong, was involved in setting up the tower.Former colleagues from left: Ahmad Kendong, Pehara Sidhu, Mr. Lau (formerly shell IT staff), Zakaria. Apart from Ahmad and Sidhu are still with Petronas, the rest joined iPerintis.
Former computer room operator Mr. Abdul Karim, still with Petronas.
Mr. Hamka, former colleagues, but not in IT department. He was crazy about IT and later joined IPerintis, but now is on his own business, doing vessel cleaning.
To be continued and see you next post :-)