May 1, 2010

Chain emails

Few days ago I received yet another chain email seeking donations and getting more people involved in spreading the story: (This was the outrageous excerpt, followed by my sincere reply to the many who had the sympathising heart)

Subject: INTI College Chris Yeoh needs help


Hi, my name is Chris Yeoh. I am 19 years old, and I have testicle cancer .. I also have a large penile fracture, from repeated beatings. Doctors say I will die soon if this isn't fixed, and my family can't pay the bills.
The Make A Wish Foundation, has agreed to donate 50 cents for every time this
message is sent on.

For those of you who send this along, I thank you so much, but for those who don't send it, what goes around comes around. Have a Heart, please send this.
Please, if you are a kind person, send this on. PLEASE HIT FORWARD BUTTON NOT REPLY BUTTON.


       Chris Yeoh



Dear fellow recipients,

I have a few comments about this chain email that we have too often received over the past years.

Several reasons if carefully thought over can possibly invalidate this false message:

1) Let's assume that he was being serious to make the case for his injury. The fact that one has testicular cancer and penile fracture at the same time is just intriguing. Testicular cancer has one of the highest cure rates of all cancers: in excess of 90 percent; essentially 100 percent if it has not metastasized. Thus, the claim that doctors, not doctor, said he will die SOON if it is not fixed is just not true. The chain letter was possibly sent in early January; he would be in a dire situation if the claim is true. Penile fracture besides is rare. And LARGE penile fracture from repeated beatings is even rare. The case for fracture is when the penis is erect; thus, we do not see how a 19-year-old would have injured himself and the situation that could have evolved to cause such injuries is unimaginable.

2) Let assume that the case is valid. With high cost of medical treatment for cancer, his family cannot afford to pay the bills and he is seeking donations. That's legitimate. However, the mechanism of seeking donations doesn't make sense. As one might rationalise, the email spreads like a tree with branches. How is the Make-A-Wish foundation going to trace back and grant 50 cents (US dollars?) for each time the message is sent on? The description of the mechanism is itself confusing. And accordingly, the Make-A-Wish foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in the USA that grants wishes to children (2.5 years to 18 years old)[1] with life-threatening medical conditions. And we just knew from the first line that he is 19 years old.

3) The presentation of the letter seeking donations and understanding is confusing. The letter is in a format neither of a formal letter nor of an informal. The photo choice was poor to seek empathy and help. He definitely looks OK in that photo. The writing is full of grammatical errors (Your's Faithfully?) and outrageous conventions like capital letters and bold type. The last two paragraphs out of four are dedicated to begging us to push the forward button instead of giving more details about the date of diagnosis, endorsement from the foundation, his feelings about his illness, and such: there is a serious lack of information.

Also, few websites indicate that the chain letter is false:

And here are some information about the foundation and chain letters

I think that Chris Yeoh is a victim of many being falsely claimed to inherent the demon's disease (cancer) and luck to such an extent as to put our mind in vain of rational thinking whether it's true or false. Let's just be more careful about any claims in emails and such and be more clear to distinguish the fact from the lies.





Apr 8, 2010

Girls and Boys –Intro


Are we different? What is the difference?

In the playground, the quintessence of what makes girls and boys is clear: girls adore doll and boys play the soccer ball. Yes, we are different. And that is the difference. And that girls sew, boys goes gaga over trucks; that girls like pink, boys like tennis; and that, that, that…But then why.

We do not think this is the unsolvable chicken and egg issue.

Girls and boys are obviously different. Sex differences are clear the second we were formed in the womb; parents anticipate with joy from the first prenatal ultrasound. But are boys really more aggressive and girls really more empathetic –or do we just see what we expect in them? Are those gaps inborn or shaped by environment –that is, by us?

If we look into the brain, as if there is a neurological disparity between genders, it could explain important behavioural differences. But surprisingly, researchers have found little large-scale differences between boys and girls in brain structure and function (Eliot). It’s true that  boys have larger brains (and heads) than girls –unless some would wish to claim that girls have larger brains. Physical differences aside, neither of the findings could explain why boys are better in maths and physics and girls in reading and writing.

One fact about our brain is that it exhibits plasticity, that experience itself changes brain structure and functions. One simple example would be the act of walking depends on the experience in early life, without which the brain fails to wire up properly and thus renders one difficult in mobility in later years.

Then, does growing up as a boy or as a girl also wire the brain in a particular way? Researchers have discovered that the different ways parents raise boys and girls leave its stamp on their developing brains (Eliot). Most sex differences start out small but are amplified as children’s pink- or blue-tinted brains meet our gender-infused culture, including all the classroom activities, home dramas and playground capers. With that understanding, we shall be able to bridge the gaps between you and me –in school achievement, empathy, aggressiveness and conscientiousness.

Girls and Boys -Prelude

Brunswick Playground 

In a playground in the evening, kids and teenagers mingle and have fun under the blue sky. The stretch of green allows for more space for games and primes the mind to relax and the thoughts to wonder. At the central of the public space, a set of swings and see-saws and merry-go-around is enacted. Dancing trees and the breeze add to the beauty mother nature that is enjoyed by all.

Girls and boys are playing in the playground. Teenage boys are observed to kick, swing their arms and race around a ball. Their manoeuvre directly contrasts the pair of girls strolling across the ground in good mood and grace, chatting away in topics ranging from the schoolwork that is assigned to be done over the weekend to their favourite American Idols. They talk with no notice of the game of soccer, with no notice of the soccer ball high in the air coming their way as they walk. In any second the ball would hit one of them or both as they are talking and whispering.

A little girl accompanied by her grandma and grandpa walks across the sidewalk to the swing with a Barbie in hand. A little boy sits besides the swing with two power ranger toys, each hanging out in the air poised for battle; and as he closes his arms, the rangers appear to be fighting for the better or for the worst. But one thing for sure, the little boy enjoys it with frequent chanting of pomp, pomp, pomp, as the toys clash. And then, the little girl trips herself on the way to the swing, and injures her right knee as grandma rushes to her rescue. Putting her aging hand on the shoulder as the little girl cries, another comforts the wound, the grandma looks closely into the eyes of her grandchild and speaks volume about comfort and calm. Grandpa approaches with anguish and slight anger to the unfortunate fall, and clear from his voice as he comforts the grandchild that he wants her to be courageous and stand up again in her own feet. The little boy by the swing looks upon at the girl with no clues: within a hand stretched in front of the boy is the Barbie dropped to the ground as the little girl falls.

Around the walkways circling the parks are strollers and joggers.  Most of which take the time out back from a days’ work to celebrate how peaceful the weather is in the summer, and how in the evening a joyous atmosphere amid the greening trees along on the yellow-stoned pathway allows for smooth interactions with nature and for positive thinking. A middle-aged man in the formal wear back from work is walking his dog, a chi Wawa. Sniffing around for food and ants, it enjoys being in the company of its master. But it is talkative and hyperactive. Although he enjoys being with a small dog not having to worry about its strength, he is having a hard time trying to make connection with the nature than trying to follow the pace of the chi Wawa. Another woman in her forties is walking a dog coming into the walkway. The chi Wawa looks as being strong. But she seems to be in control. As she walks, the chi Wawa is being slow and steady: the rope between them is loosely hanged as they are in pace with each other. The woman shows no worries that it is going to bark with no apparent reason, or that it will be standstill in defiance. And in a distance, both the man and the woman are coming into each others from the opposite directions. And the dogs are approaching the crossing point as well.

Apr 29, 2009

Concerned We are

The journey of the teens’ – ours - is enthralling and complicated. Problems at school, social clashes, relationship trouble – we have many reasons to view life as being full of obstacles.

However, here are some ways to start feeling better:

1. TALK IT OVER: Open up to people you trust.

2. TAKE CHARGE: Do something that makes you feel in control.

3. GET EXPERT ADVICE: Seek out to your guidance counsellor or, to stay anonymous, call a helpline or crisis line.

4. DO SOMETHING YOU’RE GOOD AT: Whatever reminds you that you’re capable.

5. TAKE IT ONE DAY AT A TIME: Don’t worry about the long-term consequences.

6. LAUGH: Watch a funny show or joke with friends: Laughter is a great stress reliever.

Last but not least, kindness and caring should always be in the minds and practised, for they are a best catalyst towards a higher level of humanity and a greater perpetuation of love.

Apr 27, 2009


1) I have decided to put an end to my posts about love that I have myself so indulged in for the past few months. For now (now as apparent illusions and imaginations).

2) But that does not mean love is inconsistent, for love is true to the test of time; and that the eventual love is to see the happiness in her/him and be delighted in return.

3) I do admit having been flawed. I could only sincerely ask for understanding and forgiveness - as to err is human, to forgive divine. :p

4) For whom love may to what an extent concern, I do not know. However, I hope love will always be a pleasant and valuable experience in the process of learning and of life.


May she/he who has never loved before, love tomorrow; and may she/he who has loved, love tomorrow again. :)>

Apr 22, 2009

Mystical You

Yesterday (shouldn’t it be today; the mind and the heart are yet to shift its course…) did not meet with you. The day went by absent-mindedly, absent-heartily; the day was to some degree difficult. Lonely. Quite lost. But determined.

There was a catch though. You were spotted accidently. Ah, but why! Why! Almost went over, almost not. But in the end never.

The moment would always be in the memory. Mystical you, you walked with such countenance as to attract every attention: every other individual was oblivious. Watched you go. Followed you not. But turned away.

Should describe the feelings and minds thoroughly? Do want to recall, but shouldn’t. Be firm and positive. Such challenging. Such first experience.

(It is late, am reminded. One o’clock in the morning. Another day will be unknown. But very much possibly the day will be different.)


I am different, it’s up to me to decide its course. Everything will be fine.