Thursday, January 25, 2007


I just booked AirAsia holiday package (3 days 2 nights) to Brobdingnag for just RM19.99 (excluding taxes).

Flight to idyllic Laputa is also reasonably discounted.

Thank you Tony!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Laos trip & Room to Read

I will be going to Vientiane, Laos in March 2007 hopefully. It is kind of my ritual to go back to that landlocked country and this time around I won't be going alone. My colleagues, Farouq,Mamagie and Vem will be joining me for a week trip to Laos. It is not a holiday kind of trip but more to volunteering. We will be conducting workshops on theatrical clowning, Indian Classical dance and youth work with the Donekhoi Children Centre - a place I have been associated with since my volunteering days in Laos back in 2002.

After reading the book by the founder of inspiring organisation of Room to Read , John Wood's Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, I have decided to throw a challenge to my fellow travel mates to adopt a project for Room to Read program in Laos. I hope we can hand in the contributions to the Room to Read Laos when we go there in March.

Below are the relevant information of the Room to Read Program we are going to support. (Mind you that in Laos, primary school completion rate for girls is 64% and % of literacy (15 and older) for female is 61%)

Room to Read Girls’ Scholarship Program

The goal of Room to Read’s Girls’ Scholarship Program, known as "Room to Grow", is to provide opportunities for girls in less-developed countries to attend school, thus allowing them to gain the lifelong gift of education and to take control of their lives. We fund scholarships for students starting in primary school, based on our belief that the best way to help improve the world is by starting education at a young age. To each girl, we make a commitment through the completion of secondary school (a period averaging ten years). This acts as a strong incentive to achieve and to stay in school, and also provides security and support to girls who often grow up in a very uncertain environment.

Opportunity: A quest for education for all children

Education within many developing countries is not free. Families are often charged school fees to pay for the operation of schools and teachers’ salaries. Many families cannot afford these school fees, or they are unable to forego the income of a working child. Due to economics and cultural bias, young girls are often left behind when it comes to educational opportunities. If families are able to send only one child to school, the eldest son is usually chosen.

However, the benefits of educating girls are numerous and include:

—Improvement of family health and nutrition and decrease in infant mortality
—Increased likelihood of educating the next generation
—Decreased population growth in resource-scarce countries, since educated women tend to have fewer children
—Increased wages of girls for every year they remain in school

Results: What can I expect?

By providing scholarships to young girls, one can have an immediate and direct impact on their lives. An education will allow them to take control of their future and empower them to make choices about a career. The key ingredient to an improved status for women in these societies is a solid education starting at an early age. Furthermore, by educating a girl, one educates her future family and thus generations to come. Educating girls yields a higher rateof return than any other investment available in the developing world.
Depending on the country and specific region the girls are in, the scholarship covers all the needs of a young girl, including:
  • Monthly school fees
  • School uniforms
  • Books, stationary, and backpacks
  • Female Room to Read staff member to oversee the program and mentor the girls
  • Additional tutoring as needed
  • Transportation (such as a bicycle or bus fare) for girls living far from school
  • Lunch money if the girls live too far from school to eat at home
  • Medical check-ups and expenses
  • Field trips and workshops

Monitoring & Evaluation
We check on the attendance and performance of our scholarship girls through regular visits and correspondence with headmasters and teachers. Our scholars get extra tutoring, as needed, to ensure their success in school, and we have female social workers on the Room to Read staff to oversee this program.

In order to allow our supporters to learn more about our girls on scholarship, we publish an annual Girls’ Scholarship Yearbook. This collection includes photos, stories about some of the recipients and general information on program results in order to help you understand how education is changing the girls’ lives.

Action needed
Tax deductible contribution needed to fund a scholarship:US $250/year for 10 years or a US $2500 up-front payment


Monday, January 22, 2007

floods & sardines

I managed to get RM300 to buy supplies of sardines for Johor Flood victims from my fellow STARians during our annual interbatch futsal last Saturday. Thanks to my classmate, Pet-Pet for going around asking our always-pokai oldboys to chip in.

Will be going to Banting this afternoon to collect supplies for the victims. Thanks to our volunteer in Banting, Mr Jacobs for organising donation drive in Banting.

RM300 equivalent of 150 cans of sardines by the way.

I think by now food supplies is quiet enough. Hopefully.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


"I will let no man drag me down so low as to make me hate him."

Booker T Washington

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

syazwan story : light at the end of the tunnel

(extracted from

Prior to this, I have mentioned that he is supposed to go for external beam radiation with a specific technique at Hospital Kuala Lumpur after the supposed option to go abroad for plate branchtherapy didn't work out. He hasn't..

His parents were very worried and reluctant because the procedure will not only blast the tumor cells but also blast the normal tissue and cheekbones and it causes the bones to shrink. They don't want the same thing happened to Syazwan's eldest sister ( who is also have retinoblastoma and has lost both eyes already) .

So, we look for alternatives treatment locally. Lucky for us, a private medical centre in PJ, Wijaya Baru Medical Centre has a new technology called Cyberknife and we had arranged for him to go for MRI at the centre the other day despite scepticism of the doctors at HKL on the effectiveness of Cyberknife. You can google "Cyberknife" for more info. Anyhow what is more important is whether it can be use to help Syazwan( By the way this treatment is not recognised by Ministry of Health - that's also another another story).

Alhamdulillah, MRI came out yesterday and it seems the tumor is shrinking. and two options is proposed by the doctors at Wijaya Baru Medical Centre.

1. Cyberknife - technically doable but practically very difficult because it involves GA (general anesthetics). It means they have to paralysed Syazwan completely including the eyeballs to ensure that the blast is correctly targetted. It is going to be like a major surgery. Cost wise quite expensive (up to RM80K) as they have to source out the GA. however they just need 3-4 days to do it.

2. Linear acceleration 3D conformal - practical solution as it only involves sedation with same effectiveness as Cyberknife. Not as precise as Cyberknife but still better than the previous external beam radiation to be done at HKL because it is 3D rather than 2D at HKL and due to that fact; they can avoid blasting the cheekbone and only focus on the eye area. However the treatment is for 8 weeks, 3 days alternate per week with 25 times radiation.cost wise quite OK and with the funds raised so far we can cover the cost (around RM20K).

With all the three options available locally for Syazwan, it is now up to family to decide which the best option for him. From my conversation with them - they are now more positive and seemed keen for 2nd options as they are quite worried on the risk of GA procedure.

But I must tell you that the radiations we are discussing at the moment won't ensure that the tumor will go away. if it doesn't shrink or comes back again the next best option would be to remove the eye.

So please keep praying for Syazwan.

Monday, January 08, 2007


He will be admitted to HKL tomorrow for external beam radiotherapy.Pray for him please.

kepala lebam - terlanggar pintu bilik. He started to complain of itchiness and eye-pains

me,Pn Rohana ( Roslina's sister) and Syazwan

While we played, he repeatedly hit the eyes of M&M guy with blocks. I guessed he used M&M guy as his coping mechanism.

Mamagie, Syazwan and En Effendi

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Birthday Wish

I am going to be 31 in a few days time.Never interested to celebrate it whatsoever. It is just a number added. Anyway, it would be nice to spend the day (It's Sunday!) reading these books:

Ah. going to Kinokinuya KLCC this weekend to see whether it's available on the shelves.