Stepping into 2014…


(New jet for PM? Is this part of the cost cutting measures that Najib announced recently? It sure dwarfs the Penang CM’s purchase of a 2012 Mercedes Benz for his official car. Image source: Malaysiakini)

Just a short (unstructured) one, I am still recovering from “last year”…

Well, I must say that it was depressing stepping into 2014 and I’m not even referring to the recent raids on Bible Society of Malaysia and the planned protest against the church. Ha ha, with the overgrowing protest against the Government on the recent price hikes, would this be “the issue” to divert the more pressing issues? Having said that, I for one could not understand why the Catholic Church would be stiff in insisting to use the word “Allah” in its publications and create unnecessary attention, tension and ahem, opportunity. Are they using the same formula used to justify the toll hike? Yes I understand that it has been used in the past and people in East Malaysia are more familiar with the term but still, can’t they do this rather quietly without the same word and undue publicity?

No, it was depressing because I spent the last few days of 2013 in bed, down with high fever, a very bad cough and a running nose. My daughter had the same problem and she was cranky enough to drive us up the wall. She was in fact was on hyper drive and she simply refused to take her medicines which made the recovery even slower. My son however was spared from the same fate (thank God!) and was somehow cheerful looking forward to the start of school (oh, by the way, school bus fare went up another RM5 – an increase which I guess was cushioned by the fact that the school is quite near to the house. Pity those who are staying further from the school and have more than 1 school going kid).

It was also depressing to learn Michael Schumacher is in coma – the retired seven-time F1 world champion slammed his head against a rock on Sunday while skiing in the French Alps. Damn, that is downright bad luck, don’t you think? Of all the years behind a fast F1 car, he had to be seriously injured on skis. This reminded me of someone who smoked cigarettes and drank alcohol rather heavily and was certain that he would die from cancer or a burned out liver (pick one he always say), only to have slipped in the bathroom one fine morning and died from head injuries. Shit do happen. Let’s just hope that Schumacher will display his trademark fighting skills and recover from this one as how he has done many times during racing.

Next was the news on Illayaraaja – although the maestro was pushing his luck, somehow I knew that he could not make it in time for his concert in Malaysia. The man had a mild heart attack and was still recovering from the attack. It would have been too stressful for him to have pushed himself (and ignored his doctors) to be at the concert. But still it would have been something if he had led the concert himself.

Let’s see if there are anymore depressing matters before I sign off for this week?

Oh yes, despite waiting for the Android upgrade for my SP before the end of year, Sony had announced that it is still working on it and promised that the update would be out soon. Damn indeed but at least that is better than nothing and I still have plenty of games to keep company when I was down with fever, cough and flu.

Time to re-look into my monthly budget and see if I can do some “magic” with all that price hike looming in the coming months….


The Week Has Been….

Let’s talk on something that you may be facing but failed to recognize it…

(When is the last time you had depression? Or you are having one right now but failed to recognise one? Have you asked for help from someone or have you decided to face it all alone and end up more depressed? Image:

Whilst I finally managed to resolve the Ubuntu upgrade problem and upgraded to 12.04 LTS, this week has rather a stressful one. A couple days ago, I had to bring my Dad to the hospital for check-up (he has not been well since the last weekend) and after a long 4 hours wait for the doctors to complete their observations and diagnostics (discount 1 hour in between on waiting for the doctors), they informed that my Dad is undergoing bouts of depression (it seemed serious though).

Depression, damn I have heard of it and I am pretty sure I have experience it myself when I was far away from home, family and Malaysian food.

Wikipedia defines depression as:-

“….a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person’s thoughts, behavior, feelings and physical well-being. Depressed people may feel sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, helpless, worthless, guilty, irritable, or restless.

They may lose interest in activities that once were pleasurable; experience loss of appetite or overeating, have problems concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions; and may contemplate or attempt suicide. Insomnia, excessive sleeping, fatigue, loss of energy, or aches, pains or digestive problems that are resistant to treatment may be present.

Depressed mood is not necessarily a psychiatric disorder. It is a normal reaction to certain life events, a symptom of some medical conditions, and a side effect of some medical treatments. Depressed mood is also a primary or associated feature of certain psychiatric syndromes such as clinical depression…”

My dad is reaching 65 years old starting line and based on the national average of 71.8 years and that is considered old but depression not necessarily affect old people. I guess everyone reaches this point at one point of their live except a few mortals like my Grandma who in her late 80s can still see far without glasses, can speak clearly (including fluent Bahasa), can walk unaided, travels a lot and have a great expectation of life. I hope to follow on her footsteps as well.

The doctors have prescribed some medications for my Dad and it seems to be working – he finally had a good long deep sleep last night compared to the last few days. He had opted to stay at home to rest instead of going to work although he admitted that he can’t wait to go back to work once he has recovered. Of course, there would be follow up therapies to ensure a complete recovery from depression but this may take some time. It is not possible to keep my Dad locked up at home and closely monitor him – he is not the type.

PubMed Health recommends the followings to keep depression at bay:-

  • Get more exercise
  • Maintain good sleep habits
  • Seek out activities that bring you pleasure
  • Volunteer or get involved in group activities
  • Talk to someone you trust about how you are feeling
  • Try to be around people who are caring and positive
  • Avoid alcohol or illegal substances at all cost

Kids Health further suggests:-

Exercise – People who are depressed may not feel much like being active. But make yourself do it anyway (ask a friend to exercise with you if you need to be motivated). Once you get in the exercise habit, it won’t take long to notice a difference in your mood. Two other aspects of yoga — breathing exercises and meditation — can also help people with depression feel better.

Nurture yourself with good nutrition – Depression can affect appetite. Proper nutrition can influence a person’s mood and energy. So eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and get regular meals (even if you don’t feel hungry, try to eat something light, like a piece of fruit, to keep you going).

Identify troubles, but don’t dwell on them – Try to identify any situations that have contributed to your depression. When you know what’s got you feeling blue and why, talk about it with a caring friend. Talking is a way to release the feelings and to receive some understanding. If there’s no one to tell, pouring your heart out to a journal works (hmm, like how I usual do by blogging?)

Express yourself – With depression, a person’s creativity and sense of fun may seem blocked. Exercise your imagination (painting, drawing, doodling, sewing, writing, dancing, composing music, etc.) and you not only get those creative juices flowing, you also loosen up some positive emotions.

Look on the bright side – If depression has you noticing only the negative, make an effort to notice the good things in life. Try to notice one thing, then try to think of one more. Consider your strengths, gifts, or blessings.

Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish from normal stress, anger, mild depression and serious depression but I guess if one thinks positive and trust others to help out when the going gets tough, things will turn out just fine. And that is what we planned for my Dad on his road to recovery. After all, he has come this far in his life – putting his kids through good education and who now working in stable, good jobs. He have lived well enough to see 2 grand kids (including the Big Boss who is very, very close to his Grandpa) and is likely to see another 2 in the coming months.

For now, for the family (me and my siblings and my Mom), we probably entering a whole new phase and making sure he continues with his medication and therapies – I am very positive of this.

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