Showing posts from 2010

Another 2 Have Left Us.......

After that middle-aged gentleman landed in an ambulance that evening, everyone wondered about his fate, about whether he will pull through and continue living while on dialysis treatments like the rest of us. He was in hospital from that evening till now............ Until, Tuesday night, when he answered God's summons. That's right, he has left us. But then we (the rest of the dialysis patients in the center) kind of expected this because he was feeling poorly for the last few weeks he was undergoing treatment. In addition to that, his arm access has collapsed, that means he can't dialyse through neither of his arms anymore. His temporary neck access also got clogged up till his face was bloated. Because of all that, he was dialysing through his thigh, which isn't very hygenic, especially for a man as it's near the organ where men urinate...... Needless to say, he was one unhappy man! Like I said, we expected news of his death anytime, and the fact that

Someone Landed Into An Ambulance Last Evening....

I was just having my dialysis treatment as usual yesterday evening. Then, all of a sudden, someone's treatment ended, which just means he has completed his 4 hours of dialysis. But when the nurses went over to wake him (he appeared as if he were asleep), he just wouldn't wake up! Despite several nurses (they were all crowding around him by then!) shouting his name, and slapping his cheek, etc. This middle-aged gentleman, usually goes home by cab as his children are all busy with their own lives. However, after unsuccessfully trying to wake him, everyone realized that he was in fact in a dialysis coma; which means he fell asleep during treatment and slipped into a coma without anyone being the wiser; in other words, he collapsed without anyone knowing it (including himself). So, instead of a cab, he ended up on a stretcher in an ambulance. I will pray for him tonight. But if he doesn't make it, he will just join the rest of the people I know who's been called home

Why I'd rather be on dialysis than have a transplant

I'm a dialysis patient. I have been one for around 6 years. I am not a good candidate for a kidney transplant because the cause of my kidney failure is SLE. SLE patients aren't good candidates for a transplant, as the SLE that caused my kidney failure in the first place just might happen again. SLE is an autoimmune disease whereby my immune system produces mutant antibodies that attacks my own organs. That, my friends, in a nutshell explains what happened to my kidneys. A bit more about SLE, in different SLE sufferers, different organs get attacked. For some, it's the kidneys, others, the heart (which can even be fatal), some others, the skin, and some, even the brain. I have been on the renal diet for a total of 13 years, which means I've managed to stall eventual dialysis for 7 years after I was first diagnosed with SLE. What most people don't know is, even if a dialysis patient (for argument's sake, one that doesn't have SLE) does get a successful tra

No Excuses!

My weight has always been on a yo-yo trip. It goes up and down and up and down again. I have concrete proof in the form of my dialysis records. There was a time when my dry weight (weight after dialysis) was 54.5kgs! There was also a time when it was 68kgs! My dry weight is currently 56kgs and now I'm depressed! Why can't it be 50kgs?! (my goal weight). I'm not very tall, so the slightest weight gain turns me into a round beach ball! Okay, perhaps I'm exaggerating a little but that's how I feel whenever I see photos of myself now. My face especially is so round I feel like burying my face in the sand so no one can look at me! My dad keeps telling me that as a dialysis patient, I cannot exercise as intensely as a normal person. Perhaps he's right but that's no excuse for me to weigh what I weigh and to look the way I look! No excuses! No Siree! From now on, it's exercise!, exercise! and consciously making wiser choices of the foods I eat and eating

When Death Becomes More Real

I've been a dialysis patient for more than 5 years. And in these 5 years, I have experienced the death of many friends. Most of them, people above the age of 50. You would experience a sense of detachment when you read of people dying in accidents or natural disasters in the newspapers or even if you have visuals from a TV news report. It's like a 'things that happen to others who has nothing to do with me' kind of feeling. You feel that it is not likely to happen to you and it's none of your concern, so these deaths that you read, watch or hear about takes on an unreal kind of feeling. But when someone you personally know like a friend who undergoes dialysis with you passes away, then it brings it much close to home. It becomes too close for comfort when you think : "Oh my God, the next one could be me!". Death becomes a lot more real. I, personally have been warned again and again : "Watch your fluid intake, you don't want to end up like U

Send Out Vibrant Energy Over The Phone

Some first-time conversations over the phone leave you feeling happy and upbeat, whilst others make you cringe. Which experience would you like your customers to have? A few weeks ago, I had tried out for a voiceover (my first time ever!) Whilst I put the huge headphones on, the technician moved a stand aside so that they could see my face clearly. That particular script needed a lot of emotion in it. Whatever I felt as I read the short script would be reflected on my face. Which in turn, could be heard in my voice. The truth that we sometimes forget is that our voices can easily convey happiness, irritation, joy, hope, nervousness and more. Half the time we are not even aware of how much our voices are telling the world about our emotions. What does this mean for you as a businessperson? It means that no matter how you feel deep down inside, you’ve got to pretend to be happy, energetic and excited when you speak over the phone (unless it’s a negative situation). On a

Turning Small Profits Into Large Ones

Is it worthwhile spending your time with a customer who isn’t going to buy much from you? Is how you communicate with this small customer important? YES! We all know it but small business owners still break this golden rule, resulting in a loss of repeat customers who may bring in big business. Here’s an example. Caught in an unexpected situation, I had to buy a new handphone. Since I only needed something very basic it automatically meant a lower end model that did not cost much. At the first outlet, the owner looked disgusted when I told him what I was looking for. I fled from his sneering arrogant attitude. The young “punk” seated at the next outlet made my heart sink. I should have remembered not to judge a book by its cover. He turned out to be a load of surprises. Politely, the young lad me relevant models. Patiently, he explained the features of the different handphones. I was impressed. Along the way, he did politely inquire why I didn’t go for a higher end model.

European Welfare Systems and Changing Work Technologies

I attended eHomemakers’ Work-Life Balance Conference last week and listened to speakers from around the world discuss the tenets of work-life balance.  In general, participants looked to European countries as models for the work-life balance they would hope to implement in Malaysia.  They argued this is the future.  This choice of an idol, however, made an easy target for critics, who claimed the European system was unproductive and inefficient.  As evidence, they pointed to the crises facing the European economies and threatening these half-century old social democracies.   Both proponents and opponents were making a fundamental mistake, however, in equating the European-style social system with the fundamental changes that are occurring in the way people work.   Both of these subjects certainly affect work-life balance and alter people’s work environments.  The European social system subject pertains to politics and decisions on how to distribute resources already created
By Margaret Rickmann: YB Dato’ Sri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil gave an inspiring address to the Work Life Balance Conference . The Malaysian government has a strong commitment to continuing the economic growth of the country and encouraging greater participation of women in the workforce is definitely a major factor in the development of a nation. It was good to hear from many multinational companies working in Malaysia.  They all stressed the benefits of implementing a programme of flexible working that helped give their employees the ability to develop a positive work life balance.  The success of the companies like Microsoft, IBM, Ericsson and many others must surely encourage Malaysian companies to implement similar successful work life balance strategies and contribute positively to the growth of the nation. Throughout the conference this theme was energetically and enthusiastically endorsed by Datul (Dr) Rafiah Salim Director of NAM Institute for the Empowerment of Women

Thinking About Microfinance

I'm a little embarrassed that until this past weekend, I hadn't read Muhammad Yunus' Banker to the Poor . It was one of those glaring gaps into my personal and professional development that, looking back, is completely inexplicable. I probably shouldn't even be admitting this in public but I suppose it's never too late to get with the program. When I have a few moments to myself these days, I often find myself thinking about current aid structures and imagining how things might be different with the introduction of microfinance. Just this morning on my run, I was listening to a This American Life collaboration with Planet Money about NGOs in Haiti. They tell the story of a local mango farmer who has the land and the water for one hundred mango trees but needs a small canal to expand her business and the mango exporter who wants to distribute plastic crates to mango farmers because better packing methods would double his and the farmers' income. The canal-b

5 minutes, 5 Easy Ways = Better English

Just 5 minutes to improve Tips for improving your level of English. That’s what today’s piece is about. It all came about during a session with an inspiring group of working adults in, what I would call a "prestigious" body in KL. I shared some of the tips that I had successfully used over the years with students. At the end of it all, there was one request to have them written out. It shows how serious he is in improving himself, and I do admire him for it. The better your level of English when you communicate with customers, the better the impression you leave on them. So, here are five simple tips that just needs an investment of five minutes per activity. Good luck! 1. Write for five minutes each day Write on any topic that you like. It could be about what you did yesterday, your plans for the weekend, the colour blue, your ambitions, etc. The sentences do not have to be perfect. The whole paragraph does not have to flow well. This is just a practice sessio

Rural Champion Moms Unite 2010

Singing, dancing, clapping, cheering, good food and above all inspiring stories made a terrific event celebrating rural moms. Moms from all parts of Malaysia were nominated for the RURAL CHAMPION MOMS UNITE 2010 and the winners represented many different cultural groups all with one common aim: to make Malaysia a better place for the less fortunate. The winners represented the many dedicated and inspiring moms who give not only to their families but also to their communities. A snapshot of all the hardworking mom winners is here. Women with 8 children, who still had time to give to their community, women with very little education yet helping others to learn, highly educated women giving their time freely not only in Malaysia but also in less well developed countries such as Cambodia, women keeping crafts and cultures alive, women who trekked through deep almost impenetrable jungle to reach long houses and promote literacy and education. Wow! Their stories were breathtaking.

It All Depends On How You Look At It

You know the saying, two people can look at a glass of water, one will say the cup is half full while the other will see the cup as half empty? In other words, two people can look at the same thing but have different perceptions on the same thing. The optimist will see the good in things while the pessimist will see the bad in things. Well, I choose to be an optimist. Even though I have SLE and am now undergoing dialysis three times a week, I choose to see myself as blessed. I may not be working full-time and I may not earn as much as some of my friends, but I have a pretty nice life. I live with my family and I earn enough for my own expenses. Right now, I'm trying to save as much money as possible, so I try to spend less most days. Lot's of people will say someone is my situation has to be either depressed or suicidal but not me. I used to be depressed and negative about my situation but not anymore! What's the point of constantly comparing yourself with people more

Communication Is The Big Secret

“She only ordered my products a year after I had met her,” explained the young entrepreneur. “He didn’t need my services. But he did recommend them to his network of contacts,” declared another lady who had ventured out into the catering services on a small scale. That’s what a couple of persons have told me over the past few months. You must be wondering what their secret to attracting customers is. These are hardworking individuals who are passionate about their products and services. There is one other thing that I’ve noticed about them. The way they communicate with people. When they take up a booth at a small bazaar, they don’t just focus on a one-off sale. Its not just a “What is in it for me right now?” attitude.   Instead they communicate well with buyers and those who are obviously just window-shopping for the day. These smart entrepreneurs ask the right questions, they offer suggestions and help, and take criticism with a smile. H ome entrepreneurs seem to be b

Read More About eHomemakers' Mobile Banking Projects

eHomemakers recently entered a competition called " Women | Tools | Technology: Building Opportunities & Economic Power " hosted by Ashoka's Changemakers (where I work). The project they pitched involves expanding mobile-banking services to rural women, which addresses a number of issues that this group faces: finding work, getting paid, and supporting themselves. Utilizing the specific mobile technology that eHomemakers describes in their entry, women will receive work orders from a coordinator and final payments for their work through their mobile phones. The entry also outlines the positive impacts and potential challenges of the project and I strongly encourage you to check it out and leave a comment. And, while you're on the site, take a moment to read a few of the 267 other great ideas sourced from all over the world about improving women's lives through technology. But back to eHomemakers. I really enjoyed watching the videos they included in

Working From Home As A Facilitator In Healing Work

In the past, I would think deep with the companion of high stress levels building up within my decision to resign from a job, what I’d like to do in my career with a planned path, if there’s truly a passion behind the chosen path and earn enough for my keeps. I had always thought being an Admin assistant/Secretary or a position along those line of work was “the right fit” and with the intention to work from home freelance as some people have been doing and making a modest income while they’re at it as well. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to take control of my time and have my power to channel into my passion to do something more meaningful, beautiful and helpful to others and make a modest income from there but didn’t found the courage or the career and path that “fit just right”. At the end of much deliberation to leave a job and embark on my own was always filled with worries, fears with little happiness and wholeness. I went through experiences of negative patterns

My Life So Far....

I'm a woman in her mid-30s who was diagnosed with SLE in 1997. In 2004, I started HD. I've now been a HD patient for more than five years! Whew! how time flies! Now, how was it discovered I had SLE? Allow me to explain. I had just graduated at that time, I applied for a job in a big company and there was a compulsory health screening. During the urine test, it was discovered that my urine had traces of kidney failure. Because the clinic would not proceed without payment, I shifted my investigation to a government hospital. And I was fortunate that I was diagnosed early without the usual running around departments in the hospital that some SLE patients face because SLE is known as the disease with many faces that is, its' symptoms are similar to many other conditions, so it's very difficult to pinpoint accurately. Then came my next challenge : delaying dialysis for as long as possible. I was immediately advised to adopt the renal diet, which isn't as fun as th

What do you think of being a Christian?

I was wondering why Christians make such a fuss about regular pop music. Sure, the lyrics aren't exactly what you would call holy, but I find that if you close one ear it's not too bad. I certainly don't believe that all Christians should shut their ears totally to secular music and just listen to praise & worship or hymns alone. To me, that would be boring and I, for one refuse to do that. Of course, I don't listen to the really profane like heavy metal or (I don't know what they call it) music that has lyrics relating to satanic worship or the like. I just think that we Christians should be set apart for Christ but don't forget, we're still living in this world for now. So, should we go through life with blinkers on our eyes or earmuffs on our ears? I don't know about you but I don't think so! While we're here on Earth, we might as well enjoy what it has to offer but of course, make sure that it doesn't lead to sin, remember, I'

Happily Ever After?

Have you ever been in a relationship that ended and you were left wondering what went wrong? Or have you found yourself experiencing one failed relationship after another and you just couldn’t figure out what the problem was? If you believe that relationships are anything like you see in the movies, all lovey-dovey and everything is perfect and romantic all the time, you need a serious reality check! There is a lot more to relationships that happiness and bliss and everything going your way all the time. Relationships are no easy matter, and both parties need to work at it in order for it to work out. Lots of couples have long and happy relationships, and there is no magic formula there, just plain hard work. They’ve had their tough times and differences too, but the difference is that they managed to work it out despite the odds and that is what made the relationship last. So do these happy couples have any tips for us on how we can make our relationship a long and happy one to

How to Spot Fakes?

We have finally decided to let go of our love for fakes. But what do we do about those fakes being disguised as the real thing? I have a friend who bid for a Prada clutch on eBay just to find out upon arrival that it was actually a ‘replica’. Yes, they use word like ‘replica’ these days. Maybe to make it sounds less obvious. But not to worry because there are methods which can be used to spot the fakes. 1. The outrageously low prices. Like, hello?! You don’t get an original Fendi or D&G for 150 bucks for sure. The best thing to do is always check the price of the item from the official website of the brand. If the price offered to you is ridiculously low or lower than 30% of the original, it’s a surefire sign that you were about to add a counterfeit to your shopping cart. 2. Check the material and craftsmanship. If the leather feels like PVC instead of lambskin, then it’s not the real thing. Look closely at the stitching as well as the lining. Brands like Coach for instanc

Tips On Creating Your Own Blog

Peniaga bertanya, "Bagaimana cara pertama saya dapat membuka blog sendiri?" Blog dapat dihasilkan menggunakan Blogspot di Kunci bagi memasuki sistem blog ini adalah dengan mempunyai akaun Google. Melalui akaun Google juga, kita dapat mengakses kepada aplikasi-aplikasi lain yang dapat digunakan bersama blog yang dihasilkan. Akaun Google yang dimaksudkan menggunakan perkhidmatan emel yang disediakan dalam Gmail. Gmail adalah kawalan kepada semua aplikasi yang ada. Kita andaikan ia sebagai kunci kepada pintu-pintu lain dalam Google. Tanpa kunci ini, kita dapat masuk ke dalam dan menggunakan apa-apa aplikasi yang disediakan Google secara efisien. Membuka Gmail bermaksud kita mempunyai Google Account sendiri. Akses kepada aplikasi lain sangat bergantung kepada Google Account yang kita wujudkan. Mendaftar akaun melalui Google Langkah satu Layari Langkah dua Klik pada Create an account bagi pengguna Gmail untuk pertama kali. Kita akan diba

Why Buying Fake Goods Is Bad?

Fake, knock-off, imitation, counterfeit… whatever you want to call it. I am the kinda person who would rather tot around an inexpensive bag and shoes from the high-street brands than wear something fake. Regardless of the price, at least I know for sure that they are originals. It’s just sad to see how people would buy something that they call ‘high-quality fakes’ when they can get items from Guess, Aldo, Topshop, Promod etc for similar price. Does it feel good to have fake stuff on your body? And is there really such a thing as ‘high-quality fakes’? Do you have any idea where those fake Fendi, Gucci and LV came from? Most counterfeit merchandise is linked closely to crime rings, child labor, and human trafficking. These handbags and shoes are made in secluded sweatshops by workers who are working long hours in poor conditions. And the most upsetting part is these workers are young children who are being forced to work hours after hours on the old, rusty sewing machine just to pro

Reading and the Stay-at-Home Writer by Avantika

Reading has become a big issue in Malaysia. We even have a reading ambassador: Michelle Yeoh. The Star newspaper reports that she has been appointed ambassador for the Information, Communication and Culture Ministry’s “Come and Read 1Malaysia” campaign. Daphne Lee has commented on this issue with her own piece, Pretty faces aren’t enough . She says, amongst other things, that the libraries of Malaysia – be it in the schools or elsewhere – are not properly stocked and we should have teachers and librarians who are, themselves, enthusiastic readers. It is the last sentence in her piece that interests me: I nstead, give us knowledge, passion, personal commitment and long-term action. With that in mind, I thought that in this piece, I share with you some of the knowledge I’ve collected about useful books for writers. Essential Guides for those who would like to write anything at all. 1. Usage and Abusage of the English Language ; new edition edited by Janet Whitcut. At first glance

Chadian Women and Food as Enterprise

My friend Zhu Jun and I have spent the past few weeks exploring his experiences as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Chad and I wanted to share the final post with the eHomemakers community. (If you'd like to read the full series, you can check it out on my blog .) While there are few business opportunities traditionally open to women in Chad, many have managed to carve out a niche for themselves selling food and drink. Here's Zhu Jun's take on things: The vast majority of women in Léré and rural Chad are bound by unspoken gender rules that limit the types of entrepreneurship women can engage in. This generally means entrepreneurship for women in Chad is limited to serving food and drink. In streets near transportation centers and well-traveled roads throughout the country, women and girls hawk snacks including fried bean fritters, Chadian doughnuts or beignets , beans and rice, seasonal fruits, palm nuts, grilled chicken, grilled or fried fish, and packs of water. Grown men

Opportunities for Malaysian Changemakers

My full-time job these days is working for Ashoka's Changemakers , an international social enterprise organization that brings people together online to find solutions for different social issues. We host a number of different competitions and I just wanted to share two opportunities that the eHomemakers crowd might be particularly well suited for: Women | Tools | Technology: Building Opportunities & Economic Power This competition focuses on innovations that enable women to use the power of technology to expand their opportunities for economic advancement. Obviously, I immediately thought of eHomemakers but I'm sure there are other organizations and individuals in the community who have great ideas for this competition. The deadline is April 14. More... Leveraging Business for Social Change: Building the Field of Social Business Changemakers and Artemisia are looking at how social business initiatives can thrive and scale-up their impact on quality of life. You have

The Importance of Tabloids and the Stay-at-Home Writer by Avantika

Friend: What’s that you’re reading? Avantika: A magazine. Friend: I can see that. But which magazine? Avantika: Just a magazine. You know I read anything and everything I can lay my hands on. Friend: What do you mean just a magazine? What’s the name? Why such a secret? Avantika: No-lah. No secret. Just shy to tell you. Friend: So, which one is it? Avantika: Errr … Hello! magazine. Friend: W-h-a-t? Avantika: Don’t shriek! I knew you would react badly. Stop laughing at me. Friend: OK. OK. I’ll stop now. But, do you know how funny it is? I mean, you the oh-so-serious-writer reading a Hello! magazine. And what else do you have here? What? The Daily Mail and tabloids? What’s wrong with you? Avantika: I told you why I read these magazines. They help me in my writing. What I’ve listed above is an actual conversation I had with one of my friends just last week. Ever since I was in college, I’ve been reading the tabloids and also what others call ‘trashy’ magazines. I have ben