My Own Happiness Project

My Own Happiness Project
because happiness begins inside and flows out...


back on a jet plane...... beluran day 2......

Actually I went to Beluran this time round only to report duty, and sort out some really really really urgent matters. I will come back here for good after I've sorted out some more important stuffs at the HQ.

Day 2 started with people lining up in front of my office, all with papers for me to sign. If only I were a superstar, it would be appropriate, but in reality, people were asking for transfer approval, asking for leave, unsorted bills etc... sigh.

There was even already a case of a staff going around with an MC for 4 months, milking off the poor government's tit not doing work when she is in fact already well.

This is the administrative office, with clutters everywhere. Not that I have hoarders working in the office, just that the space we're renting is really really small.

Wah, my own name on my own plaque on my own door in my own room.... That will do for now.

Public Health. I strongly believe that medical schools generally don't do justice to this field. When I was in UM they never told us that it would be this much fun, instead they bombarded our Friday afternoons with statistical classes and boring computer applications.

I learned to like Public Health only after a year in service while still in Lahad Datu. Late have I come to understand the significance of this field. In fact, when we speak of the bigger international level health authorities, like WHO - World Health Organisation or UNGASS - whatever that stands for I can't remember, we're basically talking about Public Health!

Of course I still like to do clinical works (although I couldn't imagine another day in the hospital) but there's so much to do on this side of medicine as well. Public health talks about treating a community rather than individuals. Peers from the other side of medicine more often than not give a kind of 'look' when they hear about me staying in Public Health. I don't blame their shallow mindedness actually. Anyway, the field of Medicine seems to suggest we have to hand out some pills in the end, doesn't it?

I recently had a strained conversation with my folks about this even. Well, it's a taken fact that people don't see doctors doing community health management as doing medicine at all. Even among our own professional peers can't get it, so it's okay.

Well, at the end of the day, it boils down to what makes us happy, and I've seen clinical doctors who whines about work all the time, complaining and cursing their chosen field all when they're too scared to come and find out what public health is all about.

As for me, yep, Public Health makes me feel much alive.

Ah yes, UNGASS stands for United Nations General Assembly Special Session (on HIV/AIDS).

all photos taken with RICOH Caplio GX8
by PicHarmonics Photography

leaving on a jet plane...... beluran day 1......

I thought I posted something on my definite transfer to Beluran, when in fact it was just a mention in another entry. No wonder so many people still give the "What the... what are you doing in Beluran!?" look when the topic comes casually in our conversation.

Well, it is final, the letter came 5 days back dated. I received the news with much hope for an appeal on the 18th, and the summon paper (transfer letter) came on 20th, dated 16th June. Sigh. I went to see the Boss immediately, but somehow I think I would benefit from my experience there, so I didn't put up much a fight.

Newsflash: Beluran is now the biggest district in Sabah after Kinabatangan broke off from Tongod.

So on Thursday, I went to visit Beluran for the first time.

I've posted a similar picture of MAS's new outlook that's supposed to be more cheerful. I don't know what to think of it. People actually thought I purposely put random colours on the seats to show my Photoshop skill - heck no, the only manipultion I made here is to remove colours from non-seats. This is real!

I wouldn't miss an opportunity to snap a picture of the mountain against the sunrise...

I arrive at Telupid Clinic which is under the administrative management of Beluran Health Office. This clinic is located right in the middle of the road connecting east coast and west coast of Sabah, so the patient load can be quite impressive for a Health Clinic. Functioning almost like a Hospital without the actual facilities, my poor doctors are struggling to fight for their patients' survival.

But I like to quote myself, (hehe) that Public Health is a place only for the creative and innovative, because we are working in a substandard environment most of the time.

Telupid Health Clinic is only one of the 5 general Health Clinics in the district, with 1 only accessible by river. There is a main Maternal and Child Health Clinic in town, and another seven Rural Clinics (manned by either one or two nurses) 3 of which only accessible by river, all scattered all over Beluran.

I have a ninja or a fortuner to shuttle me around, but I actually look forward to my supervisions where I would have to take boats to reach. Wow, I will be bringing my dSLR!!

all photos taken with RICOH Caplio GX8
by PicHarmonics Photography


of dreams, past and present......

But there's a Tree, of many, one,
A single Field which I have looked upon,
Both of them speak of something that is gone:
The Pansy at my feet
Doth the same tale repeat:

Whither is fled the visionary gleam?
Where is it now, the glory and the dream?

But for those first affections,
Those shadowy recollections,
Which, be they what they may,
Are yet the fountain light of all our day,
Are yet a master light of all our seeing;
Uphold us, cherish, and have power to make
Our noisy years seem moments in the being
Of the eternal Silence: truth that wake,
To perish never;

What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now forever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower;

We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;

In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;

In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.
excerpt from
Ode: Intimations of Immortality From Recollections of Early Childhood
William Wordsworth 1770-1850


you came
you left
without a goodbye

yet your brief stay made so much
gave reason to life
and what it means to have it
or not
to think that it is in my hands
rather should it at all
showed what fear feels like
in desolation
with desperation
for grace

you left
so I can know that grace
when pressed
when persecuted
when struct down
crushed, abandoned, destroyed
yet not

may be the least i could offer
yet you surrendered
so that I may live instead
in loving memory of Alex
24 June, 2002

(p/s correction: 26th June 2002)

same old, same old......

I have known Vic since 1992 or 1993, and ever since, our path has been more or less charted along the same path, if not the same route, even though what I meant could be 2 parallel roads, one in UK and one back here. Being the only two from our batch who did medicine, we do also share a lot of common thoughts, philosophies and life experiences, but I just found out that he's never seen the ground like I have. (I pray that you never have to see the ground ever, friend!)

This time round, it will be a little bit different, as I have to learn to take him as a bigger entity, a more complete being (that he has found his other half). Nisha and Vic (are) here to make arrangements for their wedding, later this year.

I can't deny that I did worry for things might have changed.

What would a person who has found his completion talk like, or about... would there still be carefree dreaming and giving birth to philosophies... would I roll my eyes everytime they say "we" or "us"... yet we talked about change almost the whole night, over 3 different types of coffee.

And more than ever, I am sure that nothing has changed. For it has been a looong looong looong time since I has my last mental orgasm... and it is still just as goood.

Nisha, Vic, I am trully happy for both of you.

the friendster's pose, taken with RICOH Caplio GX8
photo by PicHarmonics Photography
shutter pressed by Vic, checked for perfection by Nisha

last sunday......

I was invited for lunch at David's place.

The storm gathering as I left for home... scary isn't it? Like something you'd see in horror or apocalyptic movies. Who-o-o-ooo...

all photos taken with RICOH Caplio GX8
photos by PicHarmonics Photography

business as usual........

Early morning the next day, the Inspectorate Team in charge of food premises were called in to make a follow up evaluation. In fact, Dr Jenarun who is the Health Officer in charge of the whole area was given a call at 12am the previous night to inform that they're ready to be re-evaluated. That's the spirit, but a tad bit too much lah.

The condition of the kitchen was much better than it was yesterday, and although they still don't get impressive marks overall, the improvement was remarkable. After being ordered to do a final surface disinfection, they were allowed to reopen and lunch was allowed to be served.

The whole 4 days (I missed the opening day) was totally a working drill that prepared me for the work that awaits me at the district.

Standing among the ranks: Dr Jenarun (Tuaran, Ranau) Arteo (Beluran), Liza, Dr Khebir (Kudat), Bona, forgot-his-name, Dr Richard (Keningau).

Another coloured picture to give justice to the mountain...

all photos taken with RICOH Caplio GX8
photos by PicHarmonics Photography

ironic turn of event... mock outbreak turns real....

Ah, I finally am connected again and trying to do as much as I can before the connection decides to act up again. Now, where were we...

19 JUNE 2008
Thursday, Kundasang

The morning started with continuation of the mock outbreak of Avian Influenza in our make believe state, of which I was the State Director (kunun). The simulation includes a visit from a make believe Chief Minister, acted by Dr Tajul (wow, he can really act) and the Health Exco (by Dr Khebir)

Make believe villagers and press asked questions after questions to make the simulation practice more realistic.

The funny thing about coming for this mock outbreak, and learning how to manage it was that we actually had an actual outbreak at the same time. By noon on the fourth day, more and more people were coming up with symptoms like diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea, flatulence, and gastric discomfort. Suspicion of food poisoning was made and that lead us to promptly organise another group, this time for real, to investigate the matter.

Almost half of the participants were sick by now, but I was feeling well. They put up a cohort study, and deviced a questionnaire on the spot to investigate all of us.

While all these were happening, being well, I went down to Kundasang Health Clinic for a visit. I remembered asking to be relocated here when they gave my first district posting in Lahad Datu.

On the way down to the clinic, passing through shops on the roadside selling fruits, flowers and vegetables.

Kundasang Health Clinic.

With a view like this, I don't blame Dr Wong for staying put here for more than 10 years. The mountain is usually seen on a less foggy day.

This was not taken on the same day.

By the time I came back to the hotel, the inspectorate has already gone through the hotel's kitchen and done sampling on the food prepared there. The hypothesis remains that those people got food poisoning from the food, but nothing conclussive until the lab result comes back. Anyway, the condition of the kitchen netrayed them all. It was really not in its prime condition, and not even anywhere near it. They left us no choice but to shut the kitchen on the spot and banned them from using the facility until they improve.

The notice that's stuck to the front entrance of the restaurant kitchen. Premis is closed until further notice with immediate effect. Ouch.

That night was supposed to be out Malam Mesra and we were promised streamboat and performances. since the kitchen was closed earlier, we had no choice but to get take-out from other place, not that I am complaining, you'll see why......

But one thing I'd like to complain was that the food came sooooo bloooody late, we were eating cakes from a packet, a rare delicacy (delicacy?) I won't even think of touching on a normal occasion.

Food finally came at about 10pm when we have been waiting since 730pm. I gobbled down my KFC (no, actually I slowly and chewed every mouthfull 20 times before swallowing, making small talks in between bites about how good life is) and was satisfied.

Not 10 minutes later, I felt a little bit uneasy on the stomach, maybe resulting from my table manners, and in the toilet I regurgitated half of what I ate that night. Feeling more bouts of anti-peristalsis, I got myself excused to the room and let out the remaining portion of that night's dinner, plus the afternoon's beef and vegetable. Gross. I did not digest anything since afternoon.

So it was official, I had succumbed also to food poisoning, and the next day, I filled in another form, for those who got sick later.

Good thing it was a cohort study!

all photos taken with RICOH Caplio GX8
photos by PicHarmonics Photography


mock outbreak..... the day 2 challenge......

Day 2 at the course, we started early by presenting the mysterious outbreak that we had to investigate the day before. Our group was the last one so it was already nearly 1030am by the time I get to present our management. The whole time I was waiting for the chance to snap a good mountain picture but no luck today.

Dari pagi tu gunung bertapuk saja di belakang awan... a'macam ni?

Gadis gadis urusetia, ready to print anything that we need to be printed. Hehehe.

In the afternoon, we were given another task, this time a more realistic mock outbreak, of possible Avian Influenza involving the whole state. My group was given the task of being the state Health Headquarters, and I am the Director of Health. Uiseh, pangkat besar but really, I don't know what to do...

So during the second session, we planned out our strategies and the night session ended with a (mock) press release, at which I was stuttering like woodie woodpecker.

The moon veiled by the clouds, 8seconds on ISO 200, mounted on tripod.

all photos taken with RICOH Caplio GX8
photos by PicHarmonics Photography


outbreak management course at kundasang......

We took off at about 8am, but still the jam held us back a little. It's really exciting going for this course, with the landmark of my destination so visibly clear early in the morning.

The view of Mount Kinabalu from the reverse side, not the typical postcard view. This was taken from Tuaran.

Since I was going to be late anyway, we stopped by at Tuaran for a quick breakfast after refueling the car. I think there are more shops in KK selling Tuaran noodle than in Tuaran itself.

Quite a pleasant surprise to find out that the secretariat gave me a suite for my whole stay here. The suite comprises a living space with a sofa, normal TV and a fridge, and the bedroom proper with a queen size bed, a flat screen LCD TV with an ample sized bathroom - all for myself. Wow, I don't mind going for courses all the time if all the accommodations are like this!

I missed 2 lectures in the morning, but was just in time for the practical work. It's a problem based discussion activity, trying to solve a mysterious outbreak which causes unstable high fever in a group of camping hippies.

The weather was kind enough for me to take good pictures of the mountain. I believe it will do no justice to put this picture in black and white, so some special exceptions are always tolerated in PATCH.

Nah, urangranau, your mountain, sya jaga baik-baik juga tuh...

Later in the evening it rained, so we drove down to Ranau town for a drink and some tid-bits.

Blogging and researching from the hotel lounge, Topion Cafe.

I tried the long exposure function of the camera. The mountain actually is hardly visible in the darkness of the night, other than the blinking lights at the mountain foot. This below is taken with exposure 30sec on ISO100, mounted on mini-tripod.

This I think is 15sec on ISO400, zoomed in.

All photos taken with RICOH Caplio GX8
Photos by PicHarmonics Photography