Fond memories

The late actor Robin Williams has a very special place in my heart. It was a role which he has acted  in a movie called “ Patch Adams” in 1998.

In that movie, which was based on a real life story, he took on the role of a medical student who was passionate about being a doctor. He believed that doctors should focus more on treating the person besides treating the disease.  In other words, the focus of patient care is the process of understanding the patient as a whole and how he or she has been affected by the illness ; in all aspects of a personhood, be it physical, psychological (intellectual and emotional), social and spiritual.

My heart was filled with sadness when I heard of Mr. Robin Williams death. The world has lost a truly talented and gifted soul.

Let us mourn and grief over our loss.

And let us cherish the fond memories that remains in our heart.


Growth and Change

Recently, I went for a family trip at Fraser’s Hill, Pahang, Malaysia and managed to squeeze in time for my personal retreat. I truly felt that it was a much needed break from my daily routine.

The thing that I enjoyed most at Fraser’s Hill was the cool morning walks at a temperature of 20 degrees Celcius. This was a great relief from the 37C in Kuala Lumpur / Petaling Jaya at noon.

As we were descending for Kuala Lumpur after a refreshing retreat, we came across an abandoned bungalow at midway.

I was told that the mansion was once a very famous bungalow and cafe which accommodated travellers, particularly those who needed a short rest. During those days, there was only one road to Fraser’s Hill. Travellers ascending and descending the hill needed to take turns based on a specific road schedule.

As such, the holiday makers used to enjoy delicious English breakfast and tea at the cafe while waiting for their turns to ascend Fraser’s Hill. Some may choose to stay overnight at the bungalow because the narrow road leading to Fraser’s Hill were closed at night.

However, in the recent years, new roads were developed and allowed for continuous access to the hill. Therefore, the bungalow which has once seen glorious days, was later abandoned.

From this illustration, I realized that I need to keep learning and changing with the times.

The world and our surroundings are changing each day. Medical sciences are flooded with new research findings. Our local social and cultural fabric are continually invaded by influences from other cultures. According to Erik Erikson, the famous developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst, the journey of a lifetime is about growth and adapting to changes from birth till death.  And I need to follow through these changes that happens in my internal and external world.

Human rights movement and individualism are permeating our shores. So how do we integrate individualism with the Asian traditional family and cultural values? Hence, if I do not learn, unlearn and grow alongside these rapid developments, I may end up like the abandoned bungalow, lonely and obsolete.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

Multitasking : Is it good or bad?

First of all, I would like to thank Mr. Daniel Chandranayagam for bringing up the important topic of multitasking.

From my personal experiences, multitasking was certainly more stressful and strenuous to my brain. I often felt a kind of “fuzziness” in my brain after a period of multitasking. I believed that the following article will enlightened us that indeed “Less is more”

Based on a several research findings, including one from Stanford University, Daniel Chandranayagam has reaffirmed the fact that multitasking may sometimes cause more harm than good.

Here is a news article on the research.

The Stanford research showed:

In                                                                         the multitaskers are

ability to ignore irrelevant information much                      worse

ability to organize information                                            worse

memory                                                                               equal

ability to switch tasks rapidly                                             worse

ability to focus on a task                                                   worse

Click here for a summary of the Stanford research

Click here for the article by Daniel

Less is more.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Stress and Mental Health

Stress and Mental Health

Living in a busy city like Kuala Lumpur or Petaling Jaya and other big cities in the world will certainly challenge our mental well being. Traffic jams is almost the norms of daily commuting and not the exception. In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the morning rush hour is a dreaded moment for every working person.

Therefore, it is important for us to learn how to manage stress and improve our resources to better cope with it. Long standing stress will lead to exhaustion, burn out, insomnia, depression, excessive anxiety, alcohol or illicit drug abuse and health problems.

Here is a recent talk on Stress Management .

Click here for the talk

Bullying and its psychiatric implications

Bullying and its psychiatric implications

Researchers have consistently showed that the victims of bullying suffers long term psychiatric problems such as anxiety, panic attack, Post traummatic stress disorder, Depressive illness, low self confidence and suicidal behaviour.

I have seen a 10 year old patient who is so traummatized by physical and emotional bullying in school that he expressed suicidal thoughts even at such a young age. Are we aware of the environment that our children is exposed to in their school ? Bullying can occurs in many forms. It could also be in subtle forms such as name calling and being rejected/boycott by certain group of friends. So we need to listen to our children and help them to cope in their social world.

Here is an informative interview by psychiatrist  from NIMH ( National Institute of Mental Health, USA )