The bills

Arm healing nicely
Arm healing nicely

A lot of us, not without justification, worry about medical bills. This is especially so if you are hit with a serious illness which require extensive and expensive medical care. And there are such cases. I am not going to deny that there are not a few people and families who struggle with medical fees.

What I hope to do, however, that in spite of this, you may take heart that not everyone may have to go through such trying times, if you do not ignore symptoms and catch your illness early. This may not only save your life but also prevent potentially crippling medical expense.

Anyway, I have received the bills for my two medical procedures – both done in the same month of September 2016.

The two procedures are:

  1. Angiography
  2. Quadruple coronary heart bypass graft (CABG)

In this article, I will focus on the costs of these two procedures, as per my own case. Continue reading “The bills”

The friends who helped me finally quit smoking


Picking up smoking was the worst decision I have ever made in my life.

Perhaps it was youth, or ignorance, or just plain stupidity. I still remember the first few days when I tried out smoking. I had been in the military, doing my National Service in the second year. I was by then a non-commissioned officer (NCO), and had a little authority and more freedom than those under my charge.

I was 19 or 20 then.

We NCOs had this room in the same building as our living quarters where we could hang out, watch TV, and such. I remember, one day, asking my friend for a cigarette, seeing that not a few of them were smoking. The friend obliged and passed me one. I recall I didn’t like the first few draws I made of the cigarette. Continue reading “The friends who helped me finally quit smoking”

“They will come at 6am to prepare you.”

“They will come at 6am to prepare you,” the night nurse told me. Mine would be among the first surgeries of the day.

Dinner the night before
Dinner the night before

It was a sense of relief to hear that because it meant I would finally be going through with the surgery, and that there is very little more I need to do. But later, that relief also turned to anxiety and fear, feelings which I knew I would have as the day drew nearer, although at the same time I had also been looking forward to the event.

And the next morning, just like clockwork, the nurses came into my ward and told me, “Mr Loh, we will have to prepare you.”

I looked at the clock and it was 6am.

I hadn’t slept much the night before. I kept running the whole operation through my mind, just to calm myself. I had had some last-minute nervous thoughts. Continue reading ““They will come at 6am to prepare you.””


Eating healthy to prepare for op
Eating healthy to prepare for op

It is 3 days to my coronary artery bypass graft (CABG – pronounced “cabbage”) surgery on 22 September. There are several things which I have to do to prepare for this.

The first is to stop taking anti-coagulent medication. In my case, this would be the drug called plavix. Doc wanted me to be on aspirin but as it turned out, I am allergic to that drug. (I am also allergic to naproxen, another painkiller.) So, plavix was recommended instead.

Here, I would like to explain that it is very important that you note your allergies. So that in time such as this, you are able to tell your doc straight away about them.

When they asked me for my allergies, all I could say was Synflex, which I later found out was known as naproxen, its medical name. When they asked if I was also allergic to aspirin, which I am told is a “cousin” of naproxen, I was unable to say for sure since I had not taken aspirin for a very very long time. Continue reading “Pre-op”

Triple bypass

Being wheeled into op room for angiogram
Being wheeled into op room for angiogram

It didn’t really hit me as shocking news. Ok, maybe a little. Actually, what I felt, when the news was relayed to me, was, “Ok, so how do we deal with this?”

It was bad news, of course.

A week earlier, on 6 September, I kept an appointment with Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), for an Electrocardiogram (ECG). I had been feeling chest pains whenever I walked briskly, or when I jogged and swam. In fact, the symptoms had been there for more than a year. I just brushed them off as perhaps I hadn’t slept well the night before and thus was somehow physically weak.

I had taken comfort that after the initial first 20 to 30 mins of jogging or swimming, where I had to pause every short distance, I was able to continue exercising without feeling any pain in the chest.

So, I ignored the symptoms.

Then one night, while sitting in bed reading, I felt a shortness of breath. Continue reading “Triple bypass”

Why is Election Department silent on pro-PAP Facebook page’s post on Polling Day?

eldUnder the Parliamentary Elections Act (PEA), “election advertising” is prohibited on Cooling-off Day and Polling Day.

That much is clear.

What is not so clear is what constitutes “election advertising”.

This was a question raised in Parliament in April 2010, when the Amendment Bill was being debated.

People’s Action Party (PAP) Member of Parliament (MP), Ellen Lee, and then Nominated MP, Viswa Sadasivan, had both asked the Law Minister, K Shanmugam, to explain the phrase.

Ms Lee’s question is particularly relevant to the issue being raised in this article.

“The Bill does not clarify exactly what constitutes election advertising and I submit that some clarity on this will be useful,” she told the House. “For example, is expressing one’s opinion(s) on local current affairs be deemed elections advertising and thus prohibited?  How about reader’s comments on blogs and posts on online forums including “status updates”, comments on “Wall” and “photos” on Facebook?”

Do note the mention of “photos” on Facebook as this will be relevant later in this article. Continue reading “Why is Election Department silent on pro-PAP Facebook page’s post on Polling Day?”

PEA allows “transmission of personal political views on the Internet” – or does it not?


The ongoing police investigations into the alleged Cooling-off Day breaches are puzzling for several reasons. I would like to highlight one of these here, and it is what I would argue would be at the centre of any court trial if the accused – Teo Soh Lung, Roy Ngerng, in particular – are charged.

But first, the Elections Department (ELD) and the Singapore Police Force (SPF) issued a joint-statement on 1 June 2016, “in response to media queries”. (See here.)

That in itself is puzzling for very obvious reasons. Let us remember that it was the ELD which had filed the complaint with the SPF.

So, why would or how could the supposedly neutral SPF, which is still conducting its investigations, issue a joint-statement with the complainant (ELD)?

Such a thing would give rise to charges of bias, that the SPF – in standing with the ELD, as it were – has already compromised its own neutrality.

Justice, as they say, must not only be done but be seen to be done. Continue reading “PEA allows “transmission of personal political views on the Internet” – or does it not?”