Monday, November 30, 2015

2371. Travel stories: Hinthada, Myanmar. Government and monastery schools

In Oct 2015, I visited Hinthada, a thriving town in the Irradwaddy region.
The benefactors were Drs Thin Thin Soe and Aung Thein Au. October is a donation month and alms were given to 2,700 monks as a tradition of the family of Dr Thin Thin Soe since her grandparents' started this process.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

2370. An 11-year-old Miniature Schnauzer vomits 4X today

Today, the dog vomited 4X. First time food, then white froth. What's wrong?

2369. Play is the work of children - eco shrimps

Early childhood pioneer Maria Montessori said "Play is the work of children". \

Instead of commercial toys, nature resources such as plants, sand, water and eco-shrimps make children learning more meaningful and fun. Parents are still concerned about academic work like worksheets. There is a new shift to play in pre-school education as studies have shown that children become more innovative and creative when left to experiment and play instead of being a vessel for filling up academic knowledge. 

Eco shrimps appear to be most popular with some Singapore teachers in 2015. They are cheap and easy to maintain.

2368. How to treat very smelly ears - Labradoodle puppy

This 5-month-old labradoodle has hairy and infected ear canals. Ear hair plucking and cleaning of the ears must be done weekly by the owner or groomer. However, the puppy objected to ear cleaning and hair plucking by the groomer. The inside of the ears become ulcerated and infected, leading to very smelly ears. The owner sought veterinary treatment at Toa Payoh Vets Singapore.

There are 3 methods of treatment depending on the professional judgment of vets consulted.
METHOD 1. MEDICATED EAR DROPS. One inexpensive method by many vets is to prescribe medicated ear drops and the owner applies the drops at home regularly. I find this method, in this case of very smelly hairy ears, ineffective.
METHOD 2. EAR IRRIGATION.  In Toa Payoh Vets, in such cases, the ear canals are irrigated to flush out the blood clots, bacteria and debri, after ear hair plucking.
This dog is sedated for this process. There is always the anaesthestic risk which deter many owners from accepting the second method. In healthy puppies and dogs, the risk is very low, but many owners do not want anaesthesia. So, the otitis externa get worse and become chronic.
METHOD 3.  EAR SURGERY. A lateral ear canal resection surgery which opens up the vertical ear canal by removing the side wall. After surgery, the ear is well ventilated and able to drain any water owing to bathing of the dog. This leads to no more head shaking and smelly ears and no need to go for the dreaded (by the dog) painful ear hair plucking every 2-3 months by the groomer. 

In this dog, the owner prefers METHOD 2. She maintains the ears and 7 months since the ear irrigation, as at Nov 25, 2015, I have not seen the dog again. 


2367. Unbelievable stories: Eco-shrimps bring luck in 4-digit draw

Nov 24, 2015

I visited the pet shop and saw bottles of 2 eco-shrimps/bottle selling at S$58.  There were eco-shrimps and bigger bottles with eco-shrimps and snails, all miniatures. The shrimps were less than a year old and measure around 7 mm long while the snails were around 7 mm across. They do not need water changes, feeding and sunlight as they feed on the algae. They can live up to around 8 years and are mature at 4 years of age. Entirely maintenance free except occasionally to top up water.

"In January, I was selling these shrimps like hot cakes," Agnes said to me. "Many buyers had become lucky to have won 4-digit draws.  So, if the buyer feels happy to buy the selected bottle of eco-shrimps, they can become rich by winning the 4-Ds draw."  For a $10.00 bet (big),  the winner must get any of the numbers in the draw from lst prize to starter. He will win $20,000. For a similar $10 bet (small), he must get the correct number from the top 3 prizes. His prize will be $30,000.

"Buying eco-shrimps will bring me wealth in 4-D sounds very much like sales talk," I said to Agnes, a pleasant fair lady. She laughed loudly.

"I won $20 for a $2 bet when the recent first batch arrived," she related her own luck. She had been selling eco-shrimps from the American suppliers from January to April when there was no stock for the next two months. Many teachers had purchased from her for educational purposes and that was why she sold them like hot cakes. She dared to take risk to introduce this new pet to Singapore and had been rewarded by the great demand. The other shopping malls were selling at a much higher price and few Singaporeans are aware of this new type of pet.

"What number did you pick to bet?" I asked.
"My van number. Some driver hit me from behind in June, along Braddell Road, turning into Raffles Institution. I was trembling and had whip lash. I still go for physiotherapy every week but I just do not feel well as before."

"Since you don't indulge in 4-D bets but now you had a personal experience (of being lucky to win the 4-D) on only one purchase, it must be true that eco-shrimps do bring good luck." In Singapore, you need good luck to win the 4-D. As Agnes does not indulge in 4-D bets, this win of 20X for her bet was considered very lucky. She was betting on  the combination and so the payout would be small, at $100 for a $10 bet. 

So, do eco-shrimps make you win 4-D?  Anecdotal evidence from Agnes and many of her buyers seem to support this supposition.

Agnes was traumatised and had not received counselling after this first vehicle accident. It can be very stressful to be banged from the back when driving. She found she had green fingers as she planted sunflower seeds which grew well in her pot and spoke to the plants. "This is plant therapy," she smiled happily. She showed me the images in her smart phone. Then she gave me some sunflower seeds to grow. I am glad she has mostly recovered from the accident as she had to run her pet shop with one aunty helper only. 

She told her Primary 3 student son to come to Toa Payoh Vets to work after 2 weeks of holidays.
"He is so young," I said. "Let him work in your shop more often than occasionally and he will be happier and more confident when he meets various customers."

Her educational philosophy is tell her 5 children not to aim for high marks in their studies. Just pass their examinations, not to get As. "This is what the government tells us," she said. "Do not stress the children and let them enjoy their childhood."

"So your children will not bother to study hard. After all, mummy said so. If the parents do that by telling the children that they only need to pass examinations and not excel," I said. "Will the local university accept students who have mediocre grades?"


2366. Royal Asia Veterinary Surgery Surgery Hours

Mon to Sat:  10 am - 1 pm
                        6 pm - 8 pm

Sun & Public Holidays:
                         9 am - 1 pm



Dr Sing Kong Yuen 
BMVS (Glasgow), MRCVS

Dr Thein Tun Aung
BVS (Yezin)

Dr Min Zaw Aung
BVS (Yezin)

Dr May Than Oo
BVSc (Yezin)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

2365. A funny management story

Friday Nov 20, 2015

A lunch at Paragon at 2 pm to catch up with an old friend who is a very busy business woman. She had invited her business adviser.

She related this story of her ex-general manager whom I had met some years ago. 

During a sea trip, he was sitting across her. She sat next to Mac, her administrative manager. This GM was in his 40s and had been selected.

"He stretched his foot across the table needling my foot and up to the trouser," she said that this man had presented his wife at the office after being appointed.

"This is unbelievable behaviour," I said. "He really did that?"
"Yes, yes,"
"Did he then put his hand under the table and touch your knees?" I asked in a serious tone. "Just as in the movies!"
"No, no, the table was quite wide."  My friend was laughing so loudy as she bent double inside the restaurant. I was glad that she was no longer stressed out by such situations. 

"This looked like office harrassment," I was surprised that a married man could misbehave and risk losing his job ."Did he think he was Valentino? Irresistible to all ladies. A god's gift to woman? What happened next?"

"Well, I moved my leg sideways," she said. "He continued with his action and put his leg up the trousers of Mac!"
"Didn't he know that he had inched onto hairy legs?" I asked.
She laughed again. A very unusual story.  This man had quarrelled with the others in the office too.  I can't believe this story was true but then it was.


A 9-year-old Miniature Schnauzer dislocated his right hip yesterday

Sunday Nov 22, 2015

The dog was leased as the painter was painting the apartment. The dog went under the bed and the painter pulled his leg out. He suffered a right hip dislocation (video).

The owner opted for the non-surgical solution. We have to wait 2 weeks to see whether the reduction is successful.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

2362. Follow up: A 4-month-old pug has a screw in the stomach

Nov 22, 2015

Before I left for the Balkans Adventure Tour on Nov 5, 2015, the owner had agreed to wait for his 4-month-old female pug to pass out the screw and a large piece seen in the X-rays done on Nov 5.  Dr Daniel had offered him an option to wait for the pug to pass out the 2 radio-dense foreign bodies and had prescribed Science Diet W/D.

"Did your pug pass out the screw?" I asked today.
"She passed out the squarish piece of glass which was about the size seen, cloth pieces, stones and large seeds. But I did not see the screw in her stools."

"Is she still active and has she diarrhoea?"

"She is active and has been passing good solid stools since I feed her on W/D," he said. "But yesterday, she passed loose stools in 7 places. I had fed her cooked pork liver.  So I will switch back to the W/D!" 

Oct 10 2015. Dr daniel
Diarrhoea. No vomiting. Dr daniel
Foreidn bodies, poisoning. Adverse food reaction. Stoamach flu owing t boarding
Advised x rays. Declined

Oct 19 2015. Dr Sing
Mucus in stools passed 5x
Gas in intestines
No abd pain
Had diarrhoea on Oct 9. Medication Oct 12 to 16.

Nov 5 2015. Dr Daniel
Recurrent diarrhoea
Voniting. 3rd time
 -XRay.  1 screw. 1 seed-like object
Canine WD.

Nov 22 2015
Follow up. Not sure whether screw passed as dog had been boarded. Stools are large when fed WD. Screw might have been embedded, the owner said. Also worry about screw rusty
W board again and return next wk t x ray again

Nov 30, 2015
Owner had to travel overseas again 4 days later. Will board the dog. Came for X-rays. If the rusty screw is still in the gut, will operate today.
X-rays. No screw.  He was happy but said that he had to spend so much money.

He had not wanted X-ray in the first instance and only did so on the 3rd episode when I insisted.
Dr Daniel had advised wait and see. A few days later, the pug did pass out a piece of glass and a large seed and other pieces of clothing but he had not seen any screw.

He boarded the pug in a place where she has fun playing with other dogs and has a daily outing. The boarding kennel WhatsApp a video daily of the fun the pug had going out and so retained his loyalty. He felt that the kennel would not separate the stools in which the screw might be embedded and so did not ask the operator.

"So how do you prevent your pug from swallowing everything?" I asked.
"I put her on a leash and pull her away when she wanted to eat anything inside the grass during exercise outdoors!"

The pug had a great appetite as you can see from the fully distended stomach in the X-rays on the 25th day after discovery of the screw.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

2360. Name card for vet.

Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
Veterinary Surgeon                                                                                                             logo

Toa Payoh Vets
Blk 1002, Toa Payoh Lor 8, 01-1477, Singapore 319074
Toa Payoh Vets @ Queen's Road
Blk 3, Queen's Road, 02-155, Singapore 260003
Royal Asia Veterinary Surgery
296A Than Thu Mar Road,South Okkalapa Township, Yangon, Myanmar

Tel +65 9668 6468, +65 6254 3326,

Be Kind To Pets

Monday, November 16, 2015

2359. Travel stories: Five flights movie v real life

On November 15, 2015, Luftansa cabin crew had commenced working and so my packaged tour group of the Balkans Adventure Tour boarded the A380. We had enjoyed our SIA flight from Singapore to Istanbul on November 5 instead of Luftansa as the cabin crew had started a strike then. I was glad there was no delay even though we might fly back by SIA.

There were no interesting movies and after watching the James Bond's Skyfall, I chose the movie 5 flights adapted from a book "Heroic Measures" by a French author. It was about a couple's personal and real estate problems when they wanted to sell their 5th floor apartment which had no lift.

The title "5 flights" reminded me of my problems of climbing up 5 flights of steps at the Mostar's Hotel Peregino during my Balkans Adventure Tour. I had a weak right knee and had to carry 4-kg computer and camera bag up 5 stories to my room to check in. Then to walk down to go for dinner at a restaurant 10-minute walk away. After dinner, I had to climb up 5-stories and walk down the next morning. The other 19 travelers except one had no knee problems and so had no worries, sprinting up the steps.

The hotel had two strong men to carry the heavy luggages upstairs since there was no elevator. I considered my weak knee as a sign of wear and tear and so took my time. There was no knee pain and I was very careful. Still, this was a surprise from the packaged tour company to offer us a hotel with no lifts.

My fellow travelers complained of the need to have two keys. One key to open the main door and the other key to open the bedroom door. This was so rare nowadays as my fellow Singaporeans are used to electronic card access. The other 7 hotels had card access. Aggravating their unhappiness was the lack of hot water for bathing, the lack of air conditioning as some European hotels do not provide air conditioning in winter. The floor to ceiling windows had to be opened to let in the cool air. But one traveler on the 4th floor complained that the window unit compresser hummed so loudly that he could not sleep when he had opened the windows. He inferred that it was my air conditioner preventing him from having a good sleep since I was on the 5th floor.

I had no problem with the air conditioner working. However, I had cold water in the bathroom though others did have hot water. The 5 flights of stairs  and my camera and computer bag could damage my right knee more but there was no sharp knee pain. I limped to the outside restaurant for dinner as the Hotel did not provide in-house dinner.

The soup and fried chicken were served. However, the guide had said that drinking water would need to be paid unless served. Since this restaurant did not give us a bottle of drinking water for 6 people, none of us ordered a bottle or asked our tour leader who had paid for our drinking water the night before at a meal.

"It is not that we can't afford it," one seasoned lady traveler in my table of 6 said. "We don't want to be burdened with the local konner coins in our purse since the restaurant does not accept Euros."

After the chicken, we waited for the dessert which is customarily served in other hotels. None came and our guide did not inform us. After a long wait, we stood up to go. "Since you all did not order drinking water, " I commented. "This is why the restaurant did not serve you the dessert!" There was joyous laughter as none of the 19 in the group had dessert. Some had bottles of drinking water on their tables although they did not pay eventually.

Hotel Peregino was a most memorable occasion, but my fellow travelers would say otherwise as they would like to forget about the most unusual experiences encountered. This included climbing up the 5 flights of steps and a real telephone operator waking us up early. I picked up the phone hesitantly and there was a real person.

I doubt the travel agency would book Singaporeans into this hotel but it was such experiences that make travelling so much memorable.



2358. Down and out in Singapore

Nov 16, 2015

When I checked in with a group of travelers to the Queen Astoria Design Hotel in Belgrade, an old lady came into the posh lobby to beg for money. Today, I was having coffee at the busy Toa Payoh's Ya Kun coffeeshop, two older ladies went around the table to beg for money.

My insurance friend whom I had treated her old dog wanted to give me her 2016 insurance notebook and I invited her for coffee.  She gave the second lady who was emaciated and in her late 70s some money. The old lady continued begging at the other table.   "Maybe she is hungry and wanted to eat something," May said to me.

Suddenly, a younger man to May's left asked the old lady whether she wanted to eat some food from Ya Kun. The old lady petted her back side and said: "Give me the money."
"I don't have the money," the young man shouted. "I can buy you the food!"

"She wanted cash in the first instance," I related an incident I encountered last time. "Some weeks ago, I offered to buy Ya Kun coffee and toast for the cardboard collection lady outside. She just said, 'Give me the money!'" I gave her the money.

Singapore is said to be a developed country. Yet it has senior citizens needing cash for survival based on today's incidents.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Check list of items for photograher in the Balkans Tour in Winter & some images of street photography

Check list for an amateur photographer visiting the Balkans in Winter

Nov 15, 2015
Just came back from the Balkans Adventure Tour

I record a list of things to carry, as an amateur photographer and videographer


Notebook computer, battery charger, Multi USB Port Hub
Wirelss mouse, battery, USB receiver
Hard disk (2TB) x2, wires   
Notebook bag with wheels

Camera (I use Canon EOS 70D) x2 (one is backup if possible)
Lens x2   (18-135mm, 55-250mm)
Battery x3, SanDisk No. 10 x3
Battery charger x2
Camera bag

Mobile phone, power bank

Camera with video capabilities
Lens x2   (18-135mm, 55-250mm)
Battery x3, SanDisk No. 10 x3
Battery charger x2
Camera bag

Mobile phone, power bank

Camera with video capabilities (Canon EOS 70D) x2 (one is backup)
Lens x2   (18-135mm, 55-250mm)
Battery x3, SanDisk No. 10 x3
Battery charger x2
Camera bag

Mobile phone, power bank

Grand Hotel Park impressed with a large dining hall and the painting on the wall.

A home cat (with collar) presented himself. I waited for him to look in the same direction as the statue. Fortunately he did.


At the souvenir shop, the young lady was browsing and the bright sunlight shone on her.
Suddenly, the young lady tourist, dressed in bright colours, looked in the photographer's direction as the camera clicked.

Mr Raynard Tan of EU Travels. Needs to photoshop the others below the image

Good sunlight and good-looking travellers make great pictures

A Japanese or Korean tour leader carries multiple head sets for the tour group

Looks like a gigantic ice cream

Another great image

Bright sunlight from the windows of this restaurant serving great pork belly meat and chicken.

1. Malfunctioning power points in some hotels, no cups
2. Download images and videos daily to hard disks
3. DSLR cameras and batteries do break down, hence carry a spare
4. Phone and camera batteries drain fast during winter exposure

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

2356. Travel Stories - Split, Croatia

Nov 11, 2015
Hotel Kolovare, Zadar

A renovated hotel. Looks modern. Room facing pool. Going to National Park walk. 12 deg C

Yesterday, at Split. Old town has a palace. Local guide Franz is very hardworking. A history graduate who told me that jobs are hard to find in Split. So he becomes a freelance tour guide and will finish the season on Nov 22, 2015. Tourist season had extended with more tourists coming.

A relatively undeveloped tourism region for the Asians. Highways are good, with no potholes. Historical old towns are what tourists want to see, rather than modern shopping malls like Singapore.
Sunset layered in blues and pink seen yesterday on the way to Zadar. Night starts at around 6 pm.

One retired accountant said that the CA (Chartered Accountant) is the top mark of the profession as the person has international tax and accounting exposure, unlike the CPA.

Few tourists from China or even Singapore but we met one group at this hotel dinner. Group from Super Travel.