Friday, 20 July 2012

Why the dung beetle is his hero

Jul 20, 2012


A man given to startling pronouncements, Alexandra Health group chief executive Liak Teng Lit gives Susan Long the lowdown on what ails the health-care system today: over-treatment, over-specialisation and over-generous subsidies.

A 78-YEAR-OLD nursing home resident was wheeled into hospital in a comatose state. He suffered from dementia, had one leg amputated and the other was gangrenous due to poorly controlled diabetes. He had no known family members.

Mr Liak Teng Lit, then chief executive of Alexandra Hospital, was discussing with over 200 doctors and health-care professionals whether they should proceed to amputate his remaining leg.

Two-thirds voted 'yes'. Doctors, after all, are under oath to save lives. When he asked how many would want to be operated on if they were the patient, two said 'yes'. The rest said 'no'.

It was a moment of epiphany, he says. 'We discussed why we do things for our patients that we wouldn't want done to ourselves. The answer that came back was, 'I don't know what he wants, so I do my best. My best is to prolong his life.' But if we were the patient, we wouldn't want those kinds of extra days.'

Saturday, 14 July 2012

What to expect when you wait to have kids

Jul 14, 2012

They will have old parents whom they'll be taking care of earlier

By Nona Willis Aronowitz

WHEN my 79-year-old father had two back surgical operations a couple of years ago, I saw him in a hospital gown for the first time. As his closest family member - my mother died of cancer in 2006 - I gave my dad rides to the doctor and the grocery store. I helped him clean out his house and move into a smaller, stairless apartment. I watched him struggle at physical therapy.

He has fully recovered, but the process aged him. Now I move a little slower when we walk down the street together. When he runs 20 minutes late, my imagination runs wild: Has he fallen or got into a car accident? Has he forgotten about our appointment? Oh, God, does he have Alzheimer's?

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Environmental Alarmism, Then and Now

The Club of Rome’s Problem -- and Ours

Bjørn Lomborg

Bjørn Lomborg is an Adjunct Professor at the Copenhagen Business School and head of the Copenhagen Consensus Center. He is the author of The Skeptical Environmentalist and Cool It.

Forty years ago, humanity was warned: by chasing ever-greater economic growth, it was sentencing itself to catastrophe. The Club of Rome, a blue-ribbon multinational collection of business leaders, scholars, and government officials brought together by the Italian tycoon Aurelio Peccei, made the case in a slim 1972 volume called The Limits to Growth. Based on forecasts from an intricate series of computer models developed by professors at MIT, the book caused a sensation and captured the zeitgeist of the era: the belief that mankind's escalating wants were on a collision course with the world's finite resources and that the crash would be coming soon.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Outgoing Singapore Envoy to US - Professor Chan Heng Chee

Jul 1, 2012

When US noticed the 'little country that could'
Outgoing envoy to the US Chan Heng Chee recounts her 16 years in Washington

By Tracy Quek

In a town where politics and policy are the raison d'etre for many of its residents and networking is an art form, Singapore's outgoing Ambassador to the United States Chan Heng Chee is a diplomat who appears to be very much in her element.

In her 16 years in Washington, Professor Chan, 70, has come to be noted for her 'salon dinners' at the Singapore Embassy, gatherings that bring together Washington's strategic thinkers, media personalities and policymakers to discuss hot- button issues of the day over a good - often Singaporean - meal.

Frequently sought for her views on Asian affairs, she is also known for her rapport with high-level US officials and diplomats, her support of charitable and cultural causes, as well as the elegant qipao she dons to the many formal events she hosts and is invited to.

Her reputation today as a distinguished figure in Washington's diplomatic circles, however, belies a difficult start to her job when she arrived in 1996 against the backdrop of tense Singapore-US ties following the caning of American teenager Michael Fay in 1994 for vandalism.