Wednesday, July 31, 2013

1049. Myanmar stories - work permits for nursing aides and maids

"You are earning $550 per month as a domestic worker," I said to the slim Mynamar lady who lived near Naypyidaw and who came to Khin Khin Employment Agency to look for job. "The employer is good. You have accommodation and meals provided. Why do you look for a job as a nursing aide?"

"My employer is returning to Hong Kong," she started working 5 years ago on $280/month. Now Myanmar maids get $400/month with 2 days off per month. The government takes around $270 as maid levy and so the Singapore employer is actually paying $670/month or more.

"You have worked 5 years in Singapore. Don't you want to go home to see your parents?"
Her parents are farmers who grow rice near Naypyidaw. They are around 50 years old. Farming is back breaking work and I guess this lady wanted a better life and salary. I hope she gets the nursing aide job. Her English is good since she has worked here for 5 years and should have no problem getting another work permit job.

"There is a vacancy for nursing aide," Khin Khin referred her to a 70-year-old Singaporean agent who specialises in the supply of nurses. Old employment agents (EA) still have the contacts and trust from Singapore employers but no good applicants.

"This Singapore agent has a share in a training school in Yangon that supplies nursing aides," Khin Khin told me. "He will source from his company usually but there is a lot of hassle and work involved. If I can supply an English-speaking nursing aide, he will place her easily."

The applicant spoke to the Singaproe agent by phone and went for the interview on the same day.
"Any good news?" I asked.
"Working hours are good. I work 3 days and get 2 days off."
"I know about private nursing job," I said. "3 days are actually 24-hour jobs."
I hope this lady gets her job before her employers return to Hong Kong as she will then have to return to Yangon. Once there, it is much more difficult going for interviews to find an employer.

1048. Myanmar stories - Looking for jobs in Singapore

Smaller employment agents are facing a difficult time now that the Singapore Governnment has clamped down on the approval of work passes for foreign workers by increasing the quotas, the fees and salaries for "S" pass holders. Employment Pass holders are exempted from the quotas but their salaries must be over $4,500/month to be approved. 

Yet many Singaporeans who are mostly well educated shun the long hours and working on Sundays. Food and beverage positions as the hours are long, starting at 10 pm - 3 pm with a rest of 3 pm - 6 pm and starting again from 6 pm to 10 pm. The usual pay is around $1,500-$2,000/month. Work-life balance seems to be inside the Singaporean's mindset. So, 9-5 job and 5 days a week and no public holiday work.

There is a limit to using automation and IT. So, many restaurants are left under-staffed and some have to close down.  Rentals have gone up and even the authority has increased the electronic road toll to $6.00. So, it is tough for the young Singaporeans with average educational qualifications to find a good employer and a good job.  Food and beverage industry is not considered a good job and so many young Singaporeans avoid working in this industry. Myanmar nationals who come here looking for jobs are hungry and don't pick and choose. But they are now having great difficulty in getting the jobs. I expect many restaurant owners to be losing money as they can't open the long hours or find sufficient locals. In the next few years, Myanmar will be booming and their educated workers in the Middle East and Singapore will not need to look for jobs in Singapore.  


Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Paintings by Myanmar Artists
Expressionist paintings, Bagan, Irrawady River. Toa Payoh Vets Expressionist paintings - National Kandawgyi Gardens, Pyin Oo Lwin, Myanmar. Toa Payoh Vets
Enchanted Bagan Pyin Oo Lwin Garden
Expressionist paintings. Toa Payoh Vets Expressionist paintings. Toa Payoh Vets
Expressionistic paintings for sale. Toa Payoh Vets Expressionistic paintings for sale. Toa Payoh Vets
Expressionistic paintings for sale. Toa Payoh Vets Expressionistic paintings for sale. Toa Payoh Vets
Expressionistic paintings for sale. Toa Payoh Vets Expressionistic paintings for sale. Toa Payoh Vets
The above acrylic expressionist paintings of the Burmese countryside and many other paintings are for sale. They will be of interest to European art collectors and those who appreciate the landscapes and cultures of Myanmar. 

The images above are paintings done by an experienced lady artist, KWK (Khin Win Kyi), born in 1952. Paintings by other Myanmar artists like Di Pa are available for sale. They make great presents to friends.

For queries, please
e-mail or tel +65 9668 6468 for more information. 


Monday, July 29, 2013

1046. Abdominocentesis - Ascites in 2 Jack Russells - video project for interns

Video of Jack Russell, M, 13 years after abdominocentesis

What is abdominocentesis? 


Patient: JR,M, 13 years
"Coughing for a few months.  Then the dog started panting for the last 3 weeks. Now he does not eat. He is heavier and has a bigger hard stomach area."

The daughter researched the internet and decided to make an appointment with me.


1045. Veterinary educational videos produced by Toa Payoh Vets

tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)TOA PAYOH VETS

Date:   30 July, 2013  
Focus: Small animals - dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, turtles & rabbits
Making "Be Kind To Pets" Educational Videos 
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
Date:   30 July, 2013 
Be Kind To Pets
Veterinary Education
Project 2010-0129

21 May 2013 - 19 June 2013 - Performance Report of my youtube videos

Jun 21, 2013
Around 2011, I decided to produce educational veterinary videos for as "Be Kind to Pets" Educational Videos are more useful for the younger generation of vet students and pet owners in Singapore. A video is worth a million words to the young ones.

Most of the young ones don't have time to read and sleep if they spend their time on social media and streaming movies.

I collaborate with my interns to produce the veterinary videos. By being hands on, I strongly believe they will learn more than just being an observer at the veterinary practice, as observation is the common practice for veterinary interns in the Western-education based veterinary studies.

I gave the interns my concept, sometimes dialogue and the theme, e.g How does a vet treat kennel cough? Video. They do the writing and editing so that the videos are not boringly my voice or point of view. It takes a thousand times longer to produce an educational video as compared to writing a case study but the educational value of a video is a million times more useful and I hope more entertaining. The videos are not perfect but it is better to produce a hundred imperfect videos and learn from the failures and errors rather than create one perfect video.

Today I review my youtube analytics for May 21 2013 to June 19, 2013 and the following are the results:

1.  690 views 768 minutes. Kennel Cough Video Produced in Nov 18, 2011.

2. 162 views  103 minutes. Oro-nasal Fistula Video Produce in Jan 20, 2010

Carnaissal Tooth Abscess Video 

Closed pyometra  & toxaemia

My favourite video is still the Kennel Cough Video which is at.

I gave the concept and a briefing of kennel cough to my associate vet and one intern. He roped in his friend who is experienced in video production. The intern acted as the dog owner. The experienced friend videoed and produced.  I left the Surgery so as to let them be free to act, keeping my fingers crossed that the final movie would be great. The angles, voice over and acting were great.

The only thing that the video did not capture was the "kennel cough" of the puppies. The pug puppy did have kennel cough but was recovering. There were no other cases and the interns worked for 3 days only.

Kennel Cough in puppies will sound like an "old man's cough" frequently heard in the 1950s as tuberculosis was more common. However new puppy owners in Singapore will know the cough! This is the top viewing video in May to June 2013, showing that kennel cough is of great interest to new puppy owners or that the video was produced 2 years ago and so garnered more viewings.

My 2nd favourite video is done by an intern from Raffles Institution. It was produced with a good narrative from the point of view of a young lady in the 2nd year of Junior College and who wants to be a veterinarian. The video is at:

Being a small animal vet is my 3rd favourite video prepared for a talk in Raffles Institution. It held the attention of the students, not an easy thing to do with the younger generation as this generation has a short attention span. The video is at:

  I thank all the young interns for their creativity and efforts to collaborate with me to produce educational and entertaining veterinary videos. These videos are not perfect as there may be some grammatical errors in some videos. It is better to for the vet interns to learn by co-producing the educational videos rather than by observation as a bystander beside the vet and writing case reports which can be boring. I hope all my interns will achieve their dreams of becoming a veterinarian.

P.S. Some videos produced in June & July 2013 are as follows:
Updates will be on this webpage:

More statistics and draft of this report is at:

More info at: Dogs or Cats
To make an appointment:
tel: +65 9668-6469, 6254-3326
tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)Toa Payoh Vets
Clinical Research
Copyright © Asiahomes
All rights reserved. Revised: July 30, 2013

Toa Payoh Vets

Saturday, July 27, 2013

1044. Follow up on Jack Russell with ascites

Sunday Jul 28, 2013
11.30 am

"I don't sms replies when there is too much text to do thumb," I said to the owner of the 13-year-old male aggressive Jack Russell.

I had texted: "Is dog breathing normally and not coughing?"
She responded at 9.19 am: "Yes, not coughing anymore. one thing I forgot to ask. Last few weeks when he barked too much, he sort of lost his orientation n balance n "faint" on the floor n whole body tense up n he involuntarily urinate. So is it normal?"

Continuing: she texted: "Is that a symptom of other illness I mean?"

"Thank you for your text doctor"

Another text 1 minute later at 9.21 am  "I dissolve medicine with milk n he drank all the milk with the dissolved medication."

So I phoned her to discuss further as I am not into texting furiously.

1043. The Fine Art of Digital Printing

tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)TOA PAYOH VETS

Date:   28 July, 2013  

Focus: Small animals - dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, turtles & rabbits
Continuing education in digital photography   
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
Date:   28 July, 2013 
Be Kind To Pets
Veterinary Education
Project 2010-0129

1043. The Fine Art of Digital Printing

Saturday July 27, 2013

I was at work in the drizzling morning on Saturday.  A lady wanted to consult me about her old Jack Russell who had difficulty breathing and the abdomen had started swelling for a few days.

"The dog is old, no point spending much money treating him," her 65-year-old father kept reiterating. I was quite irritated by his repetitions.

"You and I are old at over 60 years of age," I said to this man. "Does it mean that when we are sick, we should be put to sleep?"  That was the message he was transmitting to his daughter. 

His daughter said: "This dog has been with us for 10 years. I will not euthanase him just because he cannot breathe normally and is sick. My dad 's intentions are to save my money." 

To lower medical costs, I did not ask for X-ray of the chest and heart. A blood test and examination of the abdominal exudate would be done.

"Don't use sedation on this dog as he may die," I said to my assistant Naing as we muzzled this biting Jack Russell and held his four legs. He was much weaker since he had been panting probably for more than a week. I inserted a 19-G needle into his umbilical area and extracted around 1000 ml of blood-tinged fluid with 20-ml syringes. The abdominal swelling reduced considerably in size. Then I gave an injection to remove the excess fluid.

The dog stopped panting as the abdominal swelling was gone. He just looked much alert. "His abdominal swelling will return," I said to the owners. "He needs to be on heart medication for the rest of his life."

The dog peed at the waiting room and went home looking like a normal dog. He was given heart disease medications. By then, it was 12 noon and I had to rush to the Palm Room of the Singapore Flyer to attend a talk on digital printing by Stephen Loh. 

This was the 2nd old Jack Russell with ascites within a short period of time. Many veterinary events seem to occur in pairs recently. There were cost considerations for the first case too.

That dog seems to be normal after abdominocentesis as he did not have recurrences and is on oral chemotherapy. The owner WhatsApp his flat abdominal images to me recently. Both Jack Russells are much loved by the family members but the budget prevents me from more detailed lab tests like X-rays and follow through to come to a definitive diagnosis. 

How to print your photographs and sell them at $700 or more? It is not possible for most of the approximately 100 amateur photographers attending "The Art of Fine Printing" talk by Mr Stephen Loh of

Stephen is a professional wedding photographer and shares his experiences generously. He does around 40 weddings a year for clients who want more than just the mass wedding photographs and can pay for his services.

Here are some tips from him:
1. Always use RAW files. Hard drives are so cheap nowadays. He also uses tripod, light meter and lighting.

2. He uses Manual mode, except for focus.
3. He never uses Hue/Saturation which I used a lot as this affects the tonality of the images. For me, I use a lot.
4. He uses more Photoshop features than me e.g. dodging and burning.

5. He uses multi-layers and flattens them before presenting them to clients so as not to reveal his working steps which take a long time to develop. I guess it is like vets who don't reveal how they operate on difficult cases. 

Veterinary surgery is much less complicated and time-consuming than professional digital photography and photo-shopping, in my opinion. New software must be learnt. But both are skills to be mastered in a speedy, efficient and accurate manner. Take your time to do it but don't spend a lot of time because there are overheads to bear, unlike the situation for amateurs.

6. He calibrates his monitor which is a simple Dell monitor, not the expensive ones.  He uses luminous 90, not 130 for good results.

7. He saves in Adobe RGB files, not CYMK as Adobe RGB has a lesser gamut of colours. Therefore, less foul up when printed by the corporate owners. He prints his own wedding photographs rather than out-sourcing.

8. The Art of Selling Fine Prints to wedding clientele - make it an experience for clients rather than just giving them a CD. Examples of such marketing include the Japanese tea ceremony and selling of luxury handbags. Let the client sit down and have a drink or food before direct selling.  Spend some time with them viewing the prints. Clients who want cheap and good are usually corporations.

9. Perception of professionalism. Be presentable in dressing in tailor-made clothes. No necessity to wear branded suits. Vets ands staff may need to wear uniforms to project a professional image.

10. Niche marketing to the creative group who will refer others to him. He does some corporate work too but these are low cost quotation clients. He has international clientele to shoot wedding photos. For amateurs, it will be a tough business making a profit in mass wedding photography as there are too many competitors.
11. Resources. has much tips to offer according to Stephen.

The ink-jet print are now acceptable for international photo competition as they produce high quality prints. I doubt amateur photographers can afford the latest Canon printers if they don't print much.

It is important to attend talks by experienced photographers. This free talk was organised for ClubSNAP members limited to 100 on a Saturday afternoon. There appeared to be 100 present. Most participants were men. I am registered as a "dormant" member of ClubSNAP and got the email invitation the day before the talk!    
Updates will be on this webpage:

More info at: Dogs or Cats
To make an appointment: e-mail
tel: +65 9668-6469, 6254-3326
tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)Toa Payoh Vets
Clinical Research
Copyright © Asiahomes
All rights reserved. Revised: July 28, 2013

Toa Payoh Vets