Welcome. This blog was created share the happenings of my life, and thoughts on issues pertaining to whatever I'm interested in. Much as I am apolitical (I rather not take sides), I often blog about sociopolitical and socioeconomic matters.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Implanon: Contraceptive Implant in Singapore

I came to know of implanon in 2010.
It's not known that such a contraceptive method exists. Most still prefer less invasive methods of contraceptives using birth control pills, injection or even patch.

Contraceptive implant is very common in the West. However, doctors don't even advise on such methods unless one is in her mid thirties and wants to stop having children.

So what's implant, implanon or nex planon? Basically, the doctor inserts a tube of hormone (progestogen) into a layer of fat in the lady, right under the skin. The hormone slowly releases into the body and prevents pregnancy. It is far more reliable at preventing pregnancy than the condom. It's less tedious than the birth control pill, which has to be taken daily at the same time. It's less painful than injection, which has to be taken 4 times a year. It's far less invasive and has less side effects than intra-uterine devices, whether copper or hormone based.

If you're considering mid term contraceptive, and you're married (or settled on a singular partner), this can ease your worry of pregnancy and also improve your sexual relationship with your partner.

*implants do not prevent sexual transmitted diseases.

Costs of various contraceptive methods in Singapore (Oct 2015):
- Condom: $12 per month
- Birth Control Pills (Combined Oral Contraceptives)  $24 per month
- Implant $600 for 3 years: $17 dollars per month

Where did I get my Implanon
I got it at National university hospital  (NUH) Jurong Clinic for Women

How was the experience?
I called on my first day of period. They fixed my appointment on my 4th day of period (the norm).

Who was the doctor assigned to me?
Dr Chua. A female doctor who's in her fifties.

What did the doctor say?
You're very young. Do you want to try a more flexible contraceptive that's not so long term? No.
Your spouse doesn't want to use condoms? Yes.
You want to try birth control pills? (It's around the same price.)
What about injection? (Well its once every three months. Not injection!)
How did you hear about implanon? (Friend)

Are you aware that your period will be very irregular? Yes.

It's gonna have bruising. The implanon might move around. You might experience some bruising on first few days. Okay.

You sure? Yes.

Sign the consent form. We do it on your non master arm. (Ok. Left arm.)

What happened after signing the form?
I was told to lie down, stretch out my left arm and look away. "Don't move your arm." She cleaned my arm with disinfectant, injected anesthetic into my arm, and inserted implanon into my arm. The whole process took less than 3 min. The anesthetic jab was a bit painful, but the implanon wasn't.  Nurses were very caring and helped me off the bed.

Nurse wrapped my arm in crepe bandage to ensure the implanon doesn't move too much throughout the day. I look injured, but I feel fine.

How much does Implanon cost in Singapore? What's the price of Implanon in Singapore?
Consultation, implanon and anesthetic : $680

How did I feel on Day 1?
I ate at a hawker centre, took a bus home, texted my spouse, took a 3-hour nap, then slept for 9 hours at night.

There wasn't any pain, just slight acheing.

I didn't gain weight on Day 1. I lost 1kg overnight.

I perspired a lot on Day 2 morning. Hot flushes, I believe. I feel happy. My mood was really good. I seem to have decreased appetite. I had bread for breakfast, milk for lunch and Tom yam prawn soup and rice for dinner.

Did I do anything to the dressing?
Being first-aid trained, I knew I needed to shower without bandage. I did, but since the final dressing was water-proof, I removed the bandage, kept my dressing on and showered. Twice.

After my second shower on Day 2 afternoon,I removed the waterproof dressing,cleaned the sides of the wound with alcohol wipes (no I didn't touch the wound with that), applied antibacterial cream on the 2mm wound, stood in front of the fan to airdry my wound, then quickly replaced my dressing with a cotton gauze and a tergaderm  (waterproof airtight dressing). I wrapped my arm back in crepe bandage. I went to the toilet twice. Somehow Implanon promotes clearing of bowels for me.

I removed my bandage on Day 2 night, showered and slept.

Day 3:
I still have a bit of hot flushes in the morning and runny bowels (but not as bad as diarrhoea). I've had really sound perfect sleep on Day 1 and Day 2. Really happy through the day. Decreased appetite. Drank more water and avoided heavy lifting on left arm.  Avoided my cardio workouts too.

Was it worth it?
Yes.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Good Man: Tribute to Prof Tan Tai Yong

Prof Tan Tai Yong, Vice Provost (Student Life) used to be the dean of Faculty of Arts and Social Science, National University of Singapore.  I spoke to him even before I got admitted to NUS. That time, I was slightly critical, wondering if local universities are for me. So I asked him what his thoughts are on local universities. He smiled and told me very politely that for undergrad, NUS is very good. If I really want to venture out, do that after my Bachelors. He made good sense. More importantly, his very cheery and polite manners made me think twice about NUS. Ah, if the Dean is not an airy-fairy man, then NUS is probably quite grounded.

And it is. The leadership sitting in the Provost's Office are fortunately people with a heart for students, who could empathise what financial difficulty means, what academic stress means, what undergrad emotional turmoil means.NUS has, alas, provided a very safe environment for students to grow. The Provost, like Prof Tan Tai Yong, is also a good man.

Prof Tan also happens to be teaching history. Life took a strange turn in university. I who studied Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Geography (only) in Junior College ended up reading History, something which I thought I hated. (Of course, to my amazement, it was the best thing that happened to me!) The second time I saw Prof Tan was in a BBC documentary on Singapore. And I read his books as readings for my classes.

Prof Tan goes out of his way to help students cope with NUS life. I wrote a sensational article in a student newspaper, and got slammed for it. Prof Tan, alongside Prof JR and Prof KHC agreed to meet me to talk about the issue. JR and KHC said they cannot accept a student as residential assistant to help with financial difficulty, but Prof Tan told me to go see him at his office. He hired me as an intern so that I could move into the hostel, that I could better concentrate on my studies.

Prof Tan also made sure I settled in well, and he actually met and called the admin people from Office of Accommodation, the Cinnamon College, and possibly a number of other people, just so that I could get my room soon, and settle in. And then he got people to follow up with me to make sure I could move on from that incident. Strangely, no other staff really cared, or remembered. Many promised to follow up with me, but did not. Of course I moved on, but I thought it's quite spectacular to know that the Vice-Provost of NUS actually cares about a small fry like me who's just trying to survive. Quite glad that NUS has such high calibre management who are not only competent but cares.

Then Prof Tan happened to ask what I'm interested to work on for my thesis. My research interest, business history, Singapore, and India, happens to be quite obscure - very few work on India in the history department, and very few work on business history in the world. He helped me link up Ngee Ann Kongsi, and Singapore Indian Chamber of Commerce, to explore if I could help them write their history. That took a lot of Prof's time, I imagined. Those options didn't work out very well for me, so they were dropped.

One more chance. How about, write a company history, on a port-logistics company? Honestly, it sounded a bit daunting, partly because of the people I was expected to meet, and partly because I have no clue what CFS (container freight stations) and ICD (inland container depot) mean. Maybe I might disappoint Prof Tan, or embarrass him, or if I mess up, he may have to explain on my behalf. Just try. I met the chairman of the company, and it was an interesting project, and with all the faith people had, I felt that I should at least give it a shot.

At this juncture, I would like to say that Prof Tan would probably do the same for just any other student. There was really nothing I could offer him - no prestige, no salary boost, whatsoever. I still remember once I asked him why he troubled himself for an unimportant person like me and all he did was smile and said he likes working with students.

I really went to India to do research for my undergrad thesis! It was a steep learning curve (more so talking to high net-worth people, interviewing people with a different culture). Thesis is probably one of the best things that happened to me in NUS because it's (still!) fascinating, though not easy. I still hope things would turn out fine, but whatever - I'd put in my best effort, and that's the most I can give.

Thank you prof.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Survival of the Noblest

There are a few jobs that are recognised as "noble" at least in Singapore - nurses, teachers, social workers, paramedics, housewives/homemakers.

Surprise, surprise, all teachers. If you google "noblest jobs", your top searches are mostly related to TEACHING (maybe the websites trolled us or something).

I always thought a lot about this profession - how tough can it be??? Why does everyone complain? I suppose, the stress comes from all sides. Your principal, head of department, very-senior-colleagues, peers, very-junior-colleagues, naughty students, troubled family students, good students who has a crush on you, students who get too much homework at home, students who refuse to do homework no matter what you do, students who think you're too stupid, students who think you are a witch... And let's not forget, parents. They want you to be a nurturer, care-taker, counsellor, sexuality education educator, conservative, creative, hardworking, professional-looking, watchdog against boy-girl relationship, and of course, polish those diamonds in your class whether or not students are real diamonds, synthetic diamonds, carbide, graphite, charcoal or carbon dioxide.

Recently, I met a friend, who told me that senior teachers who stay in the job are not there because it's survival of the fittest, but survival of the noblest. Those who have pride already quit. Those who are there for the money would have found it too hard.

I think my friend's right. :) But it's still a rewarding job!


The Kettle and Vicks Vaporub

Mr Gurcharan Das was the trigger that made me write again. He mentioned in "Local Memoirs of a Global Manager" that an Indian lady in the local bazaar had actually taught him how to use Vaporub in this manner - put a spoon of it into the kettle, and inhale the vapour. Incredible!

Mr Gurcharan Das is former CEO of Proctor and Gamble. He has had many years of industrial experience worldwide, and eventually quit his job to become a writer. Initially I was skeptical when my professor recommended that book. Can a businessman write something moderate, something value-adding to academia? You'll be surprised. I was, at least.

"India Unbound" records a very fascinating perspective of India's progress since its independence from the viewpoint of not only of a businessman, but in many ways, an Indian local, a traveller, a semi-political figure (he's not a politician but he has lots of clout in India, at least, post-Independence). His habit of keeping a diary (I inferred) might have contributed to his colourful writing of how in the past, Indian judges ruled 10 out of 10 times in workers favour and not in businesses' favour and how things has changed. He also doesn't do it overboard and claim that India is the most amazing place to work in after liberalization in 1991, and went through the nitty-gritties that academics from outside might have otherwise missed, e.g. why Narasimha Rao lost the election despite being the person who brought so much good to India.

Another day I was chatting with an Indian friend, who warned me about the "perils of Delhi" after December 2013 protests over a lady who was gangraped on a public bus. I'm not sure whether things became worse, but I think the imaginations of India seem to be more "backward and looming-dark" rather than its possibilities.

I also spoke to lots of business directors during my recent trip to India, and they all agreed that India is full of possibilities, but also agreed that India is associated with everything backward (like Slumdog Millionaire) and dangerous (like the Delhi 2012 incident). I think it's more than that - it's just that international media prefer reporting on the sensational things vis-a-vis the glam and glorious contra-stereotypical India.

The kettle and vicks vaporub. 


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Foucault and Ideas

"If you say something often enough, it becomes the reality."
No, Foucault didn't say this, though Foucault really meant this.

I was admitted to USP as a Science student. Had I not been talking to people, I wouldn't have known of this programme's existence from that part of the world that I came from. In class, I was presented "Power/Knowledge" as my first reading. I learnt about the Panopticon and Foucault's "Power of the Gaze". I read that paper more than ten times, and felt demoralised that I still couldn't really understand everything.

Now that I'm in my Fourth Year, I was presented, yet again, Foucault. Such a brilliant man, I assumed. I heard much about him. Into Foucault's work I jumped, "The History of Madness".

Can "Madness" have a history? Isn't it a condition, a mental/psychological condition? Isn't it a sickness of sorts? How can a person write a History of Madness (or Happiness, or Loneliness)? 

His way of writing history is, to say the least, weird. Brilliantly weird. As a deconstructionist, he attempts to move away from "chronology". There isn't any teleology, no past, no future, lots of present looking into the past, and bits and pieces of the past that are haphazardly stitched together. But nonetheless, brilliant.

Madness, to my understanding of him (because no one can truly understand him, I think), is a form of the powerful subjugating those who are too liberal, those who do not follow norms. What do we call madness? Why is madness a medical condition? Why confine mad men and alienate them so much, to the extent one keeps thinking "the mad man may hurt me!"? Why confine them like a prisoner? If they can't restrain themselves like how criminals can't, do we lump the two together? They seem to be punished in the same manner (at least in the beginning of that history).

He mentioned, that physical sickness suddenly became a private affair and madness a public affair. It is true. Leprosy was a disease that was "deserving" of confinement for as long as Christiandom was hegemonic.

He writes in power/knowledge that power creates knowledge, which is a notch above "knowledge is power".

I then went back to the Discipline/Punish ( where the Benthamite Panopticon was situated). Discipline doesn't make one conform, he says. Discipline separates, distinguishes, and sieves out. Punish those who are different from others.