Open House Open Minds Open Hearts
Wasn’t it just Christmas? Having barely recovered from the 12 days of Christmas, I’m always caught off-guard when 15 days of Chinese New Year descend upon us at Spring.
Probably the biggest day for our family as we host Open House, this is also most fun for the kids, particularly for M6 this year. Previously napping through our Open House, now at 3 years old, he fully enjoys the experience. If he isn’t leading Lions into the house, or chucking oranges at them, he is tickling the underbelly of the Dragon that coils around dramatically.
We visit the Teos’ Open House where I get to carry my goddaughter and give her a big fat kiss. More mythical characters abound including the Prosperity God, looking victorious here with M1. Then we go to the Seahs’ Open House so M6 can pay respects to his godmother, while M4 goofs around the garden as usual. After that I rush to the hospital while the kids continue with their visits.
Days Three & Four
I deliver lectures on paediatric major trauma to the junior doctors and nurses. At the same time, we do a Lo Hei, a tradition peculiar to Singaporeans where we holler blessings largely related to prosperity while concocting a sweet salad tossed for luck. Someone accidentally requests for good business, and everyone shushes him amidst laughter, lest we have even more patients in our long queues.
Days Five & Six
I am trying to figure out the maze that is social media. You see, I made a video on fever and nosebleeds: Let Us Talk About Fever In Children. However I cannot figure out how to share them effectively. Meanwhile, I realise that my last blog post was accidentally posted when it was in its earlier iteration as a draft. I have accidentally sent an email to all my subscribers containing an unfinished article! Good grief. I feel like a loser.
Needing a break from this frustration, I bring the kids to the Ongs’ Open House. The home-cooked delicacies are a balm as is the good company. Unfortunately the break is brief as the next day is overshadowed by a long night at the hospital. Consequently I leave with a throbbing headache.
Days Seven & Eight
As part of my 2019 resolution, I am paying more attention to my children’s safety. After all, injury prevention is the best medicine. Hence I sign up for a technical course on child passenger safety via Taxi Baby, that starts with 2 days of lectures & tests. The most interesting & jolting lecture is the one on crash dynamics. I cannot help but picture my kids as those crash test dummies and feel a chill down my spine. https://sg.taxibaby.com/
I have the pleasure of convening with other alumni from the National University of Singapore’s School of Medicine over lunch with the President of NUSS. We debate several important aspects of healthcare, including both public & private systems and how we can best serve our patients. After all, medicine should be patient-focused. I share about my DARE app as an example of how good things happen when complementing organisations collaborate and it is well-received.
On Valentine’s Day, we celebrate at work by giving the junior doctors a bespoke packet of candy. They work so very hard, struggling through the patients as quickly as they can lest people complain about the long waiting time. The challenge is also in seeing them safely. This includes giving appropriate advice when patients leave so they know to return should the illness evolve into something worse. A harrowing experience teaches me the importance of documenting everything discussed lest parents forget salient points subsequently.
It is M1’s birthday! I have known him since he was a small child. I remember struggling through primary school with him where classmates would ask if I am a witch after being introduced as his stepmother. He was dreadfully embarrassed. Now an officer & a gentleman, he’s a wonderful big brother to my small children. I am pleased to pull off one more embarrassing “mom stunt” at Atout, orchestrating the restaurant staff to surprise him with cake and song.
The Chinese Women’s Association hosts a charity fund-raiser for which I am the Master of Ceremonies. The theme is Crazy Rich Asians and the ladies come luxuriously decked out and ready to party. They raise a lot of money for charity while having a grand time. I’m also pleased to spend time with the Guest of Honour, Ms Joan Pereira, MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC. She had worked briefly with me on my CPR campaign and is pleased to know that we continue Dare to Dream.
I pass the final assessment for the child passenger safety course. After that I spend the afternoon & evening volunteering with families who have driven over with questions about their children’s car seats.
I check my son’s homework and am livid when I discover he has had points docked for starting some of the words on his spelling quiz with capital letters. I have always told my son grades don’t matter as long as he has tried his best. However in this case I feel he has been a little hard done by. Hence I try to reason with his teacher, explaining that the words are spelt correctly. He says this is his method of teaching the difference between proper nouns and regular words. Although I do not understand, I am too tired to argue. So I feel as if the matter is unresolved and I have failed my son. Once more, I feel like a loser.
After work, I give him a hug and apologise that I didn’t manage to get his points restored. He hugs me tightly and assures me it’s ok as I have tried my best. Now that’s the closure I needed.
It is Chap Goh Mei. I spend it with some friends as we celebrate a birthday of one and mourn the passing of another. It is an emotional night and I come home in tears. Despite a fortnight of yelling to the Prosperity God for wealth, all I genuinely ask for is God’s blessing of good health and the capacity to do good within our transient time on Earth.