Roundup for Week 3

Friday 28 January 2011, 6.19pm HKT

Roundup for the week of 17-23 Jan 2011.

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The first baby boomers are reaching age 65 this year. (These are people born in 1946-64.) Baby boomers make up a quarter to half of your industry’s workforce, depending on the industry. As baby boomers are nearing retirement age very soon, are you making sure that valuable technical know-how and general institutional knowledge doesn’t walk out the door with them?

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Hong Kong’s logistics and banking sector showed the best performance and quality of customer service in 2010, according to the latest spin from the government. Codswollop.

Remark: In my line of work, I work extensively with a lot of logistics companies as well as lots of bankers, and that is not what I see or hear.

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The cold weather started clearing up in Hong Kong by midweek last week (10-16 Jan), but lots of people are down with colds and the flu. It’s amazing so many people have no idea how to tell if their condition is turning for the worse.

Protip: If you’re coming out with a fair amount of sweat in your sleep and wake up from it, it’s called bedsweat. You’re not sweating because of overblanketing. It’s the first sign of a lung infection going downhill such as bronchitis, pneumonia and even tuberculosis (TB). If there is also non-stop coughing for two solid hours every 8-10 hours, then it might be TB, which is on the rise again worldwide.

Protip: If the hospital says you’ve got TB, it’s an ND (‘notifiable disease’) so it’s perfectly in your right to ask to be admitted to ward. It is better that way, rather than letting the hospital brush you off and send you packing home with two boxes of Amoxicillin and Erymax — it’ll take you forever to recover.

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American home prices has finally fallen past that of the Great Depression (1928-33) and banks this year are expected to take back even more than the one million home repossessions they already have done in 2010. Home prices in the USA have been falling for 53 straight months since their peak in 2006 (pre-dating the financial tsunami), representing an overall 26% price drop to date. In the five years of the Great Depression, it was a 25.9% price drop.

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The Naked Listener himself was burning up with a 104ºF fever (40ºC), and it scared the living daylights out of everyone. Aspirin, six in one go every four hours — plus steaming my head over a washbasin — and I was golden 12 hours later. In my line of business, it is morally and professionally unacceptable to take time off sick.

Remark: People, don’t try my Aspirin dosage at home unless you’re absolutely sure about your tolerance level to it. I happen to know mine and I have an official grading for it.

* * *


Doctor: You have a mild case of bronchitis and we’ll be prescribing antibiotics to clear it up.

Me: Err, antibiotics for bronchitis, which is 90% viral? Can we just treat it for symptoms since bronchitis is self-limiting?

Doctor (caught out): Umm, you’re perfectly right. How d’you know this? Are you a doctor?

Me: Never been. My first job was a medical lab officer at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London. How about some good old-fashion NSAIDs for the bronchee, please?

Doctor (smiling): Sure.

Me: No offence meant to catch you out.

Doctor: None taken — really.

The moral of the story is, you need to know something about the disease you’re lumbered with in order to get the best out of the treatment. The medical field, much like law, is just a machine. If you know which buttons to press, if you understand your own predicament, and if you’re lucky, you might get something that resembles treatment (or justice as in the case of law). That is all. Both medicine and law are just systems to get what you want or need. You yourself still have to do the legwork.

© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2011.

6 Responses to “Roundup for Week 3”

  1. Guus said

    That doctor conversation is really a wake up call that I’m still far too trusting to the medical profession.


    • Trust me, Singapore is lots better than Hong Kong in this respect. Joking aside, most people fall into this ‘fundamental attribution error’ that doctors, because they are in the business of treating patients, somehow are above the rest of us mere mortals. That may be so, but it is also true that they are also human. Like I once said to you before, disasters will happen, it’s how you manage them that makes the difference.


  2. I couldn’t agree more about doctors. My wife suffers from Lupus and most doctors know very little more about it than it is a disease that affects the immune system. Through my own research I have learned more than all of the doctors that we have spoken to put together. Mostly they offer advice that on the surface seems like common sense but upon closer examination may do more harm than good. Next time I get sick I think that I will go to the local witch doctor to have him shake his rattles over me before I go anywhere near an MD!


    • Lupus, huh? You have my sympathy. But seriously, though, the best way to have proper treatment is to have a good, personal relationship with the GP (i.e. family doctor). I’m very lucky in that I have an old-fashioned GP who’s more interested in getting patients to suffer less (if curing isn’t possible). As to hospital doctors, well, not much we can do – it’s pretty much whatever hand we’re dealt with. As to witch doctors, sometimes I feel they’re at least making a brave effort to pretend they’re giving treatment – I don’t suppose we could ask for more.


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