DNA the next wave!


Spectacular new discoveries reveal the true power of our genes. Visionary technology now promises to end deadly diseases and provide us with the key to immortality. Witness the revelation in DNA THE NEXT WAVE. “REVEALED: DNA THE NEXT WAVE” premieres Saturday December 29, 2012, at 8pm.

LifeGen TechnologiesAgeloc_logoNu Skin’s ageLOC technology is featured in this Discovery Channel’s documentary. ageLOC is a revolutionary technology which allows Nu Skin to identify clusters of genes responsible for aging and reset these genes to behave like they did when they were younger. This new science is called Epigenetic’s and was featured on the front cover of both Time Magazine as well as National Geographic.

Published on Jan 3, 2013

Published on Dec 29, 2012

HIGHLIGHTS of the Discovery Channel program where Nu Skin scientists Dr. Joseph Chang, Dr. Tomas Prolla and Dr. Richard Weindruch were featured as part of an hour-long program on DNA and aging.
Link to 1-hour long full feature: http://youtu.be/qxBbo7ZtpLE

Discovery Channel DNA: The Next Wave (5 mins) on Vimeo

“ageLOC Vitality” improves the three dimensions of vitality—physical vigor, mental acuity, and sexual health—by promoting healthy YGC activity associated with youthful vitality.

“Life Pak Nano and Nutritionals” Pharmanex has created comprehensive supplements to provide the body with optimal levels of important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and many more, Call the phone in video for details.

2009年,Nu Skin 公司和全球基因資料庫最完整的 LifeGen 生命基因科技公司結合共同研究,完成了辨識基因及調控基因表現的劃時代技術 ageLOC 科技!

Discovery Channel 頻道 DNA the next wave《人類基因解碼》歷經1年籌備拍攝,足跡遍及美國猶他州、加州聖地牙哥、舊金 ­山、威斯康辛州及北京,採訪全球基因科技最重要的突破及科學家。

Discovery 頻道特別採訪 NU SKIN 如新首席科研執行長曾潤海博士、NU SKIN 如新抗衰老科研團隊 LifeGen 魏德理教授與彭樂濤教授,拍攝場景從北京抗衰老科研中心、至美國 LifeGen 美國生命基因科技中心及 NU SKIN 如新全球抗衰老科研中心。節目中完整陳述 NU SKIN 如新抗衰老科技,透過領先的基因晶片技術,辨識並找到掌控老化的青春基因群組,再透過­重設基因的年輕表現,進而重現青春的樣貌!

===

Unparalleled Opportunity:
Nu Skin’s 1st wave 28 years ago made millions.
If you want to catch the 2nd wave of Nu Skin’s amazing growth, which is predicted to be more than 10 times bigger, contact me for further information (i.e. the gene-expression Gamma project due for LTO launch by October 2013)

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT PRODUCTS AND BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY
PLEASE CONTACT:
Richard: phone: 6012-4860539
Email: rightwaystan@gmail.com

A Brain-Food Surprise!


A familiar brain-food takes on yet another starring role! Fat-rich fish.

Fish_Fat RichFat-rich fish is loaded with vitamin D. Neuroscientists now believe that your brain is the biggest beneficiary of vitamin D.

Consider vitamin D a stealth substance…..it is all around us, but increasingly elusive. You get vit D from the sun. We are told to stay out of the sun or use a sun screen. This makes sense, because of potential skin damage and related cancer concerns. The result, though, is that many people are deficient in vit D. A lack of vit D in the brain is not good news.

Here is what we know:

Too little Vit D in the adult brain increases the risk of stroke and dementia.

Vit D thins blood and protects neurons in your brain. Mood disorders are linked to low levels of vitamin D.

A link has been discovered between inadequate levels of vit D and autism and schizophrenia.

I have started to include more of these vitamin D rich foods in my diet:salmon, mackerel, sardines, shrimp, milk, and eggs

Recipes that use these foods could be considered a day of sunshine!

I have become very aware that I have one brain and that it is involved in every thing I do. I am doing my best to look after it.

For more on the brain benefits of fish check out Brain Bulletins 26 and 33 in the Brain Bulletin Archive.
In the last Brain Bulletin I told you that I had just started reading an amazing book:The End of Overeating by David Kessler

It is an absolutely remarkable book in that it approaches eating as a brain behaviour. I saw myself on just about every page. I could not read it fast enough!

Many of the questions that I get asked in my live presentations relate to eating. Usually about eating too much, or continually eating the wrong foods. I have told people for 25 years that you eat with your brain, not your mouth. The End of Overeating really illuminates how your brain interacts with food. You will enjoy it and remember, I don’t get a penny for recommeding it.

Last week I was in Barrie, Ontario keynoting the Aim Language Learning Conference. I met lots of great people and I got to celebrate Canada Day in downtown Barrie. It was lots of fun! This week our daughter and soon to be son-in-law, Taryn and Jeff, get married. I get to spend the rest of the month presenting seminars in beautiful Vancouver.

Everyday new horizons appear in your life and new doors open all around you. Train your brain to look for them and……

Remember: “You are a genius!”

By Terry Small.
Terry Small is a brain expert who resides in Canada and believes that anyone can learn how to learn easier, better, faster, and that learning to learn is the most important skill a person can acquire.
http://www.terrysmall.com

TPP affecting health policies?


TPP-bannerThe present debate on the TPPA in Malaysia is part of the global discussion on how trade and investment treaties are affecting health, including access to medicines and tobacco control.

ARE big companies making use of trade and investment agreements to challenge health policies? Evidence is building up that they do so, with medicine prices going up and tobacco control measures being suppressed.

This issue came up in Parliament last week when International Trade and TPPA problemsIndustry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapha Mohamed said the Government would not allow the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) to cause the prices of generic medicines to go up.

He added he would defend existing policies on patents and medicines and if we don’t agree with some of the terms, we can choose not to sign it.

Trade agreements and health concerns are linked because some companies selling tobacco, medicines and food are using these agreements to sue governments that introduce new regulations to safeguard public health.

Malaysia will host the next round of the TPPA negotiations this month, so the debate on these issues can be expected to continue.

The World Health Organisation’s Director-General Dr Margaret Chan recently noted that corporate interests are preventing health measures.

The cost of non-communicable diseases are shooting up. The costs for advanced cancer care are unsustainable, even in rich nations and some countries spend 15% of the health budget on diabetes.

“In the developing world, the cost of these diseases can easily cancel out the benefits of economic gain,” she said. It is harder to get people to adopt healthy lifestyles because of opposition by “unfriendly forces”.

“Efforts to prevent non-communicable diseases go against business interests. These are powerful economic operators. It is not just Big Tobacco anymore. Public health must also contend with Big Food, Big Soda and Big Alcohol. All of these industries fear regulation and protect themselves by using the same tactics,” said Dr Chan.

Those tactics include “front groups, lobbies, promises of self-regulation, lawsuits and industry funded research that confuses the evidence and keeps the public in doubt”.

Many studies show how trade agreements with the United States or Europe have raised the prices of medicines because of the constraints placed by the FTA’s strict patent rules on the sale of cheaper generic medicines. Patients have had to switch to costlier branded medicines.

One study estimated that Colombia would need to spend an extra US$1.5bil (RM4.74bil) a year on medicines by 2030 or people would have to reduce medicine consumption by 44% by that year.

“Data exclusivity”, one of the features of the FTA, has delayed the introduction of cheaper generic versions of 79% of medicines launched by 21 multinational companies between 2002 and mid-2006 and, ultimately, the higher medicine prices are threatening the financial sustainability of government health programmes.

The tobacco industry is also making use of trade and investment agreements to challenge governments’ tobacco control measures.

According to an article by Prof Mathew Porterfield of Georgetown University Law Centre, the company Philip Morris has asked the US government to use the TPPA to limit restrictions on tobacco marketing.

In comments submitted to the US trade representative (USTR) , Philip Morris argued that Australia’s plain packaging regulations would be “tantamount to expropriation” of its intellectual property rights, and complained of the broad authority delegated to Singapore’s Health Minister to restrict tobacco marketing.

In order to address these “excessive legislative proposals”, Philip Morris urged USTR to pursue both strong protections for intellectual property and inclusion of the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism in the TPPA.

The company has instituted legal cases against Uruguay and Australia for requiring that cigarette boxes have “plain packaging”, with the companies’ names and logos disallowed.

These cases are under bilateral investment agreements. The company claims that the packaging regulations violate its right to use its trademark, and also violate the agreement’s principle of “fair and equitable treatment”.

It claims that a change in government regulation that affects its profits and property is an “expropriation” for which it should be compensated.

Under such agreements, companies have sued governments for millions or even billions of dollars.

The provisions in the bilateral investment treaties are also present in trade agreements including the TPPA. Companies can directly sue the governments in an international court, under an investor-state dispute system.

Having been sued by the tobacco company for its health measure, the Australian government has decided not to enter any more agreements that have an investor-state dispute system.

In the TPPA negotiations, Australia has asked that it be granted an exemption from that agreement’s investor-state dispute system. So far, such an exemption has not been agreed to.

The controversies over how trade and investment agreements are threatening health policies will not go away, because the rules are still in place and new treaties like the TPPA are coming into being.

A “Google search” on this issue will yield hundreds, in fact, many thousands of documents. And the number will go up as long as the controversy continues.

Global Trends
By MARTIN KHOR

Related posts:

Looming danger on contrast and competition of economic models

The US Pacific free trade deal that’s anything but free?

ASEAN plans world’s largest trading bloc in Asia, the Regional Comprehensive Economy Partnership (RCEP) and the U.S. Secrecy in Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

Malaysia needs re-engineering sports, not computer games, junk foods….


Re-engineering sports in schools

KHAIRY Jamaluddin, our Youth and Sports Minister, wants to transform our country into a sporting nation – he has a daunting task to achieve with many challenges along the path of success.

Golf_schoolFirst and foremost, how much time is allocated to physical education in schools? With more children reportedly facing obesity, we wouldn’t even get to the starting block.

Also, our children are too engrossed with computer games and our fields are being hijacked for commercial development, making our children lazier. Let’s not forget too the unhealthy fast food eating culture.

Physical education classes are irregular in schools and disorganised. PE teachers lack the knowledge in sports science or health science.

Most teachers lack the capability to assess a potential athlete as they cannot even explain the percentage of fast and slow twitch muscle fibres and other aspects related to athletic performance such as physiology, physical ability, technical proficiency and psychological predisposition to performance.

Based on feedback, students are just given a ball to kick around without being given much guidance on ball skills. In many cases, students just laze around the field without proper attire.

The main focus of schools, teachers and parents seems to be for students to score the maximum number of “A’s” in the exams, with sports ranking low in priority among the stakeholders.

ATCO PSA World Series Squash FinalsThe million-dollar question now is how are we going to create a sports culture in schools and sell the idea to parents that sports offers great career progression?

Parents have seen that sports does not pay in the long run, except in a few cases like Datuk Nicol David (squash), Datuk Lee Chong Wei (badminton) and Pandelela Rinong (diving) who are positive role models.

There must be a firm commitment from the Government to prioritise school sports, facilities and space for competitive sports and play.

Khairy, our No.1 sports fan must work closely with the relevant stakeholders to promote a strong sports culture among our youths.

C. SATHASIVAM SITHERAVELLU Seremban

Related posts:

Superbug lurking! Drug resistance now a nightmare!


Top health officials in the UK and US warn that resistance of bacteria to medicines is a catastrophe and nightmare, and as serious a threat as terrorism and climate change.

Superbugmicroscope

MANY a Malaysian has lost a family member because of an infection contracted during an operation while in a hospital.

Several office colleagues and friends have told me that a close relative had died after being infected by a superbug that was so toxic that it could not be eliminated by antibiotics.

This, in essence, is the problem of antibiotic resistance – that a bacterium can evolve and change so that it becomes immune to the medicines given to a sick patient that are meant to kill it.

When a bacterium becomes resistant to one antibiotic, scientists develop a more powerful antibiotic to kill it. But bacteria can then change to also become immune to the new medicine.

When the dangerous pathogens out-run the drugs developed to combat them, humanity is at risk of losing the race between life and death.

Equally problematic is that many of these incurable diseases are contracted when patients stay in hospitals, especially during operations.

In the past two weeks, two top health officials – the Chief Medical Officer of the United Kingdom Dame Sally Davies and the director of the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Dr Thomas Frieden – have sounded the alarm bells.

Davies, the top health official in the UK, warned of a looming “catastrophe” of antibiotic resistance being so widespread that we would be back to a 19th century medical situation, a pre-antibiotic era when many diseases were difficult or impossible to treat.

Frieden evoked a “nightmare” scenario, a “very serious” problem caused by the advance of highly drug-resistant bacteria known as CRE.

A major cause of the acceleration of antibiotic resistance is the inappropriate use of the medicines and the inadequate action (or even inaction) of health authorities.

Drug companies often over-promote the use and sales of their medicines; some doctors over-prescribe or wrongly prescribe antibiotics (sometimes for the wrong ailment); and patients who are not informed enough sometimes pressure their doctors for antibiotics for a quick cure and often do not use the medicines properly by not completing the course of medicines.

There’s not enough action to make the public aware of the proper use of antibiotics, and not enough regulations (or their implementation) to ensure drug companies and medical personnel sell or prescribe the medicines properly.

The alarm raised by the two top health officials was aimed at pushing the regulators and also the patients into action.

Davies, during media interviews, even placed antibiotic resistance on par with terrorism and climate change as critical risks facing the nation.

She said: “Antimicrobial resistance poses a catastrophic threat. If we don’t act now, any one of us could go into hospital in 20 years for minor surgery and die because of an ordinary infection that can’t be treated by antibiotics.

“Routine operations like hip replacements or organ transplants could be deadly because of the risk of infection.

“That’s why governments and organisations across the world, including the World Health Organisation and G8, need to take this seriously.”

Although there has been a great reduction in cases in English hospitals of MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), which is a skin disease, this has been replaced by many times more cases of gram-negative bacteria which are found in the gut.

These bacteria include E. coli and Klebsiella (which causes pneumonia) which are resistant to many drugs.

Besides the new drug-resistant pathogens, resistance is also emerging in old pathogens.

In particular, the report cites tuberculosis, which has re-emerged in Europe in the form of new strains that are resistant to many or even all available drugs.

Another classical disease with increasing drug resistance is gonorrhoea.

Davies’ 152-page report also warned of a “discovery void” with few new antibiotics developed in the past two decades.

“While a new infectious disease has been discovered nearly every year over the past 30 years, there have been very few new antibiotics developed leaving our armoury nearly empty as diseases evolve and become resistant to existing drugs,” said a press release on the report.

Meanwhile, Frieden warned about the rapid spread of CRE or the carbapenem-resistant variety of Enterobacteriaceae, a gro­up of more than 70 bacteria which dwell in the gut, including Klebsiella, Salmonella, Shigella and E. coli.

Carbapenems are powerful drugs that are used as a last resort when the bacteria have become resistant to other drugs.

The occurrence of resistance has risen four-fold in 10 years.

According to Frieden, CRE was found in 4.6% of hospitals and 17.8% of long-term care in 2012.

While resistance is building up, there have been few new antibiotics.

No new classes of antibiotics have been developed since 1987, and none is in the pipeline across the world, said Davies.

“Antimicrobial resistance is a ticking time-bomb not only for the UK but also for the world.
“We need to work with everyone to ensure the apocalyptic scenario of widespread antimicrobial resistance does not become a reality. This threat is arguably as important as climate change.”


GLOBAL TRENDS By MARTIN KHOR
Superbugcartoon

 

 

Foot-Notes:

Superbug lurking

No, not this “Superbug.” W’ere talking about something much more sinister!

Patients receiving long-term or complex medical care in hospitals and nursing homes are at the greatest risk for CRE infection.

The bug is spread mainly by unclean hands, but medical devices like ventilators and catheters increase the risk of infection because they allow the bacteria to get deep into a patient’s body, Frieden said. - RYOT

Overprescribing of antibiotics creates superbugs

These bugs are named and defined by their resistance to the Carbapenem class of antibiotics. Unlike previous superbugs, there are no ‘last resort’ antibiotics after resistance develops and these stop working.

CRE infections can lead to pneumonia, meningitis, wound infections, sepsis and a host of deadly infections.

“CRE are nightmare bacteria,” said Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

“Our strongest antibiotics don’t work and patients are left with potentially untreatable infections.”

Resistance to antibiotics continues to be an issue worldwide, with overprescribing and overuse of broad-spectrum antibiotics being the main culprits.

In this week’s Lancet magazine, UK’s chief medical officer Dame Sally Davis, said that that antibiotic resistance is “as great a threat to our future as terrorism.”

That’s because routine surgeries, treatments for cancer and autoimmune disease all leave patients vulnerable to superbug infections.

“If we don’t take action then we may all be back in an almost 19th century environment where infections kill us as a result of routine operations. We won’t be able to do a lot of our cancer treatments or organ transplants,” Davis warned.

The problem is that much of the antibiotic resistance occurs in developing countries where antibiotics are readily available, resources scarce and education around resistance non-existent.

“Antibiotic stewardship has to be a global effort in order to make an impact on resistance,” said Romney, the medical microbiologist in Vancouver.

In addition, no new major antibiotics have been made since the late 1980′s because antibiotics can have a short lifespan before superbugs become resistant, making them unprofitable for pharmaceutical companies when compared to the other drugs.

But there is hope. Over the last decade, recognition of antibiotic resistance has led to decreased rates of other superbug classes such as Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in parts of Canada. – CBS

Fluttering around for company


Social relationships may glitter like diamonds, but not all will last forever. And we need to accept that relationships that promise high benefits will also carry high costs.

IN our brief lives, we always look out for good company. Like butterflies, we constantly flutter in the air, gazing at flowers, and sometimes landing on a petal which gives us a good feeling like we’ve never had before.

Although rarely do we linger for long, deep inside we all secretly hope to find that perfect petal to rest upon forever till the end of our brief lives.

Sometimes, people want much more than a social contract.

They yearn for a closer social relationship, with greater social commitments.

They are willing to invest all their efforts and emotions on a single relationship.

It can revolve around family, friendship, work or even a political, religious or social organisation. Wel- come to the Social Company.

Finding the right petal is very much like starting the right business company. A company is formed by business people of similar business interests.

They become shareholders and partners, and they have rights and responsibilities against each other. Whilst a contract is used for a one-off transaction, a company is used to get down to serious business for the long haul.

When a company is riding the high tide of success, its members have every reason to grow in confidence of greater things to come.

Why fear for the future? When the party is rocking, everybody’s singing and dancing, and nobody cares too much about who’s cleaning up the pool and picking up the broken shards later on.

But sometimes it’s good to turn on the lights, and check that everything’s alright. When the party’s over, and it will be over, there’s a heavy hangover waiting the morning after.

Likewise, when a company collapses, and no company is too big to fail, its shareholders, creditors and employees are bound to suffer heavy losses. Think of Enron, Lehman Brothers and Kodak.

That’s the difference between a mere social contract, and a social company. In a breach of contract, only the parties involved will be busy squabbling with each other.

However, in a breakdown of a company, there’s collateral damage to various third parties.

Thus, as much as it’s important and cool to live the moment, it’s also important (though less cool) to occasionally stop to think, have a sobering reality check, and account for what’s been said and done.

Under the law, it is mandatory for a company to perform annual audits on their financial affairs.

Likewise, people should constantly review their deep social relationships, to make sure that their company doesn’t turn from good to bad.

A simple example of a social company is marriage. It’s about two people exchanging vows to stick together through good times and bad times.

Sadly, nowadays, many people fail to follow through such vows. Divorces may be hard on the innocent spouse, but it’s definitely devastating to the innocent children.

They are robbed from enjoying a normal childhood filled with love and affection, and sometimes, deprived from sufficient maintenance and educational support.

So before entering into a marriage, think hard about the serious commitments that come with it, and the catastrophic consequences that follow if the marriage falls apart.

Think about your future children. Think about your relatives who will be forced to take sides, and spilt into irreconcilable clans.

Problems may also arise during the courtship stage, prior to marriage. Many of us are guilty of being consumed by love, or at least what we perceive as love.

After all, two’s a company, three’s a crowd. It’s easy to manage a company of two, whilst letting the rest of our family and friends fall by the wayside.

We ignore their calls and advice. We tell them to mind their own business and get the hell out of our lives.
But the easy thing to do is not always the best. Someday, you will long for their company.

Being married to our career can also be taxing on our social lives.

We burn all our days and nights for the sake of levelling up our corporate status.

We console ourselves that it’s only momentarily, until comes harvest time when we can reap the fruits of our labour.

But there is truly no end to the cycle. By the time we eventually find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, chances are we are too old, too weak and too late to share our riches with our loved ones.

These are mere examples of the larger problem, which is putting one’s entire mind, heart and soul into a single social company.

The key is to be aware that every deep social relationship takes a toll on our other relationships.

Social relationships may glitter like diamonds, but not all will last forever.

And we need to accept that relationships that promise high benefits will also carry high costs.

Hence, we need to think deeply before we leap into any social company. If we cannot bear the high cost, then don’t.

But if we do, we need to be bold enough to back out from a social company once the cost spirals beyond what we can bear.

In our brief lives, someday our wings will turn brittle and our favourite flowers will wilt away.

Until that day comes, we should cherish the freedom of the skies.

Sometimes, we may flutter too closely to a pretty petal in a thicket of thorns, and get our wings clipped.

But even then, we should never fear to flutter away. For there will always be a bed of flowers below to catch our fall.

Putik Lada By Raphael Kok

> The writer is a young lawyer. Putik Lada, or pepper buds in Malay, captures the spirit and intention of this column – a platform for young lawyers to articulate their views and aspirations about the law, justice and a civil society. For more information about the young lawyers, visit http://www.malaysianbar.org.my

Lee Kuan Yew On Getting the Best out of Life


“The human being needs a challenge, and my advice to every person in Singapore and elsewhere: Keep yourself interested, have a challenge. If you’re not interested in the world and the world is not interested in you, the biggest punishment a man can receive is total isolation in a dungeon, black and complete withdrawal of all stimuli, that’s real torture.”

MY CONCERN today is, what is it I can tell you which can add to your knowledge about ageing and what ageing societies can do. You know more about this subject than I do. A lot of it is out in the media, Internet and books. So I thought the best way would be to take a personal standpoint and tell you how I approach this question of ageing.

If I cast my mind back, I can see turning points in my physical and mental health. You know, when you’re young, I didn’t bother, assumed good health was God-given and would always be there.

When I was about 57 that was – I was about 34, we were competing in elections, and I was really fond of drinking beer and smoking.  And after the election campaign, in Victoria Memorial Hall – we had won the election, the City Council election – I couldn’t thank the voters because I had lost my voice. I’d been smoking furiously. I’d take a packet of 10 to deceive myself, but I’d run through the packet just sitting on the stage, watching the crowd, getting the feeling, the mood before I speak.

In other words, there were three speeches a night. Three speeches a night, 30 cigarettes, a lot of beer after that, and the voice was gone. I remember I had a case in Kuching, Sarawak . So I took the flight and Ifelt awful. I had to make up my mind whether I was going to be an effective campaigner and a lawyer, in which case I cannot destroy my voice, and I can’t go on. So I stopped smoking. It was a tremendous deprivation because I was addicted to it. And I used to wake up dreaming…the nightmare was I resumed smoking.

But I made a choice and said, if I continue this, I will not be able to do my job. I didn’t know anything about cancer of the throat, or oesophagus or the lungs, etc. But it turned out it had many other deleterious effects. Strangely enough after that, I became very allergic, hyper-allergic to smoking, so much so that I would plead with my Cabinet ministers not to smoke in the Cabinet room. You want to smoke, please go out, because I am allergic.

Then one day I was at the home of my colleague, Mr Rajaratnam, meeting foreign correspondents including some from the London Times and they took a picture of me and I had a big belly like that (puts his hands in front of his belly), a beer belly. I felt no, no, this will not do. So I started playing more golf, hit hundreds of balls on the practice tee. But this didn’t go down. There was only one way it could go down: consume less, burn up more.

Another turning point came when -this was 1976, after the general electionI was feeling tired. I was breathing deeply at the Istana, on the lawns.

My daughter, who at that time just graduating as a doctor, said: ‘What are you trying to do?’ I said: ‘I feel an effort to breathe in more oxygen.’ She said: ‘Don’t play golf. Run. Aerobics..’ So she gave me a book , quite a famous book and, then, very current in America on how you score aerobic points swimming, running, whatever it is, cycling.

I looked at it sceptically. I wasn’t very keen on running. I was keen on golf. So I said, ‘Let’s try’. So in-between golf shots while playing on my own, sometimes nine holes at the Istana, I would try and walk fast between shots. Then I began to run between shots. And I felt better. After a while, I said: ‘Okay, after my golf, I run.’ And after a few years, I said: ‘Golf takes so long. The running takes 15 minutes. Let’s cut out the golf and let’s run.’

I think the most important thing in ageing is you got to understand yourself. And the knowledge now is all there. When I was growing up, the knowledge wasn’t there. I had to get the knowledge from friends, from doctors.

But perhaps the most important bit of knowledge that the doctor gave me  was one day, when I said: ‘Look,   I’m feeling slower and sluggish.’ So he gave me a medical encyclopaedia and he turned the pages to ageing. I read it up and it was illuminating. A lot of it was difficult jargon but I just skimmed through to get the gist of it.

As you grow, you reach 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 and then, thereafter, you are on a gradual slope down physically. Mentally, you carry on and on and on until I don’t know what age, but mathematicians will tell you that they know their best output is when they’re in their 20s and 30s when your mental energy is powerful and you haven’t lost many neurons. That’s what they tell me.

So, as you acquire more knowledge, you then craft a programme for yourself to maximise what you have. It’s just common sense. I never planned to live till 85 or 84.! I just didn’t think about it. I said: ‘Well, my mother died when she was 74, she had a stroke.. My father died when he was 94.’

But I saw him, and he lived a long life, well, maybe it was his DNA. But more than that, he swam every day and he kept himself busy.. He was working for the Shell company. He was in charge, he was a superintendent of an oil depot.

When he retired, he started becoming a salesman. So people used to tell me: ‘Your father is selling watches at BP de Silva.’ My father was then living with me. But it kept him busy. He had that routine: He meets people, he sells watches, he buys and sells all kinds of semi-precious stones, he circulates coins. And he keeps going. But at 87, 88, he fell, going down the steps from his room to the dining room, broke his arm, three months incapacitated.

Thereafter, he couldn’t go back to swimming. Then he became wheelchair-bound. Then it became a problem because my house was constructed that way. So my brother – who’s a doctor and had a flat (one-level) house – took him in. And he lived on till 94. But towards the end, he had gradual loss of mental powers.

So my calculations, I’m somewhere between 74 and 94. And I’ve reached the halfway point now. But have I? Well, 1996 when I was 73, I was cycling and I felt tightening on the neck. Oh, I must retire today. So I stopped. Next day, I returned to the bicycle. After five minutes it became worse. So I said, no, no, this is something serious, it’s got to do with the blood vessels. Rung up my doctor, who said, ‘Come tomorrow’. Went tomorrow, he checked me, and said: ‘Come back tomorrow for an angiogram.’

I said: ‘What’s that ?’ He said: ‘We’ll pump something in and we’ll see whether the coronary arteries are cleared or blocked.’ I was going to go home. But an MP who was a cardiologist happened to be around, so he came in and said: ‘What are you doing here?’ I said: ‘I’ve got this.’ He said: ‘Don’t go home. You stay here tonight. I’ve sent patients home and they never came back. Just stay here. They’ll put you on the monitor. They’ll watch your heart. And if anything, an emergency arises, they will take you straight to the theatre. You go home. You’ve got no such monitor. You may never come back.’

So I stayed there. Pumped in the dye, yes it was blocked, the left circumflex, not the critical, lead one. So that’s lucky for me. Two weeks later, I was walking around, I felt it’s coming back. Yes it has come back, it had occluded. So this time they said: ‘We’ll put in a stent.’

I’m one of the first few in Singapore to have the stent, so it was a brand new operation. Fortunately, the man who invented the stent was out here selling his stent. He was from San Jose, La Jolla something or the other. So my doctor got hold of him and he supervised the operation.  He said put the stent in. My doctor did the operation, he just watched it all and then that’s that. That was before all this problem about lining the stent to make sure that it doesn’t occlude and create a disturbance.

So at each stage, I learnt something more about myself and I stored that. I said: ‘Oh, this is now a danger point.’ So all right, cut out fats, change diet, went to see a specialist in Boston , Massachusetts General Hospital . He said: ‘Take statins.’ I said: ‘What’s that?’ He said: ‘(They) help to reduce your cholesterol.’ My doctors were concerned. They said: ‘You don’t need it. Your cholesterol levels are okay.’ Two years later, more medical evidence came out. So the doctors said: ‘Take statins.’

Had there been no angioplasty, had I not known that something was up and I cycled on, I might have gone at 74 like my mother. So I missed that decline. So next deadline: my father’s fall at 87.

I’m very careful now because sometimes when I turn around too fast, I feel as if I’m going to get off balance. So my daughter, a neurologist, she took me to the NNI, there’s this nerve conduction test, put electrodes here and there.

The transmission of the messages between the feet and the brain has slowed down. So all the exercise, everything, effort put in, I’m fit, I swim, I cycle. But I can’t prevent this losing of conductivity of the nerves and this transmission. So just go slow.

So when I climb up the steps, I have no problem. When I go down the steps, I need to be sure that I’ve got something I can hang on to, just in case. So it’s a constant process of adjustment. But I think the most important single lesson I learnt in life was that if you isolate yourself, you’re done for. The human being is a social animal – he needs stimuli, he needs to meet people, to catch up with the world.

I don’t much like travel but I travel very frequently despite the jetlag, because I get to meet people of great interest to me, who will help me in my work as chairman of our GIC. So I know, I’m on several boards  of banks, international advisory boards of banks, of oil companies and so on. And I meet them and I get to understand what’s happening in the world, what has changed since I was here one month ago, one year ago. I go to India , I go to China .

And that stimuli brings me to the world of today. I’m not living in the world, when I was active, more active 20, 30 years ago. So I tell my wife. She woke up late today. I said: ‘Never mind, you come along by 12 o’clock. I go first.’

If you sit back – because part of the ending part of the encyclopaedia which I read was very depressing – as you get old, you withdraw from everything and then all you will have is your bedroom and the photographs and the furniture that you know, and that’s your world. So if you’ve got to go to hospital, the doctor advises you to bring some photographs so that you’ll know you’re not lost in a different world, that this is like your bedroom.

I’m determined that I will not, as long as I can, to be reduced, to have my horizons closed on me like that. It is the stimuli, it is the constant interaction with people across the world that keeps me aware and alive to what’s going on and what we can do to adjust to this different world.

In other words, you must have an interest in life. If you believe that at 55, you’re retiring, you’re going to read books, play golf and drink wine, then I think you’re done for. So statistically they will show you that all the people who retire and lead sedentary lives, the pensioners die off very quickly.

So we now have a social problem with medical sciences, new procedures, new drugs, many more people are going to live long lives.. If the mindset is that when I reach retirement age 62, I’m old, I can’t work anymore, I don’t have to work, I just sit back, now is the time I’ll enjoy life, I think you’re making the biggest mistake of your life. After one month, or after two months, even if you go travelling with nothing to do, with no purpose in life, you will just degrade, you’ll go to seed.

The human being needs a challenge, and my advice to every person in Singapore and elsewhere: Keep yourself interested, have a challenge. If you’re not interested in the world and the world is not interested in you, the biggest punishment a man can receive is total isolation in a dungeon, black and complete withdrawal of all stimuli, that’s real torture.

So when I read that people believe, Singaporeans say: ‘Oh, 62 I’m retiring.’ I say to them: ‘You really want to die quickly?’ If you want to see sunrise tomorrow or sunset, you must have a reason, you must have the stimuli to keep going..’

Have a purpose driven life and finish well, my friends.

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The rise of risky Internet casinos gambling among youths


Betting among youths more popular with rise of Internet casinos

PETALING JAYA: Gamblers are getting younger and increasingly using the Internet to try their luck in hopes of striking it big.

Besides gambling in online casinos, there are also bookies as young as 13, who take bets in school on football matches.

Gamblers Rehab Centre Malaysia president David Chiang said young punters were a worrying trend, with some already becoming habitual gamblers at 15.

Youths usually gamble over the Internet because it is not regulated. They will obviously get stopped at casinos because of their age. So they turn to online casinos instead,” he said.

Chiang said youths could also deceive their parents into believing they were conducting research over the Internet when they were actually gambling online.

 Addictive vice: Two boys visiting an online casino website. Teenage gambling is becoming more rampant with easy access to Internet casinos and young bookies taking bets in schools.

“Parents will easily believe them because the Internet is such a huge part of the lifestyle of youths today,” he said,

Chiang said young people were able to gamble in online casinos because they could borrow credit from online brokers, who offered their services on the websites.

“If the teenage gambler loses the credit, the broker would then pay the online casino first with a credit card. The teenager has to repay the broker in cash,” he said, adding that besides betting on games like roulette and poker, young gamblers were also fond of sports betting, especially football.

“The youngest habitual gambler I know is a 15-year-old. Habitual gamblers are actually addicted to gambling but they are not aware of it,” he said.

Chiang said that while the problem of teenage gambling was widespread across the nation, another alarming trend was schoolchildren borrowing money from loan sharks to pay their gambling debts.

“Some Ah Long know the teenagers’ parents are rich enough to pay off the debts so they have no qualms about encouraging them to take loans,” Chiang said.

He said young people resorted to gambling because many of them wanted a quick way to get money to buy better handphones, computers and branded goods.

The centre expects a surge in calls to its hotline at the end of Euro 2012, mostly from gamblers who have lost their bets.

MCA Public Services and Complaints Department head Datuk Seri Michael Chong said he had received six cases of gambling problems involving those aged between 16 and 18, amounting to RM200,000 so far this year.

“This is considered an increase because last year I received fewer than 10 cases. I’ve already got six and it is only June,” he said.

Chong said he believed the cases highlighted were only the tip of the iceberg, adding that the youths he met were already in serious trouble and needed to seek his help.

“There are many out there who choose not to seek help,” he said.

About 80% of gambling cases involve the Chinese, with the other races making up the remaining 20%, he added.

By YUEN MEIKENG meikeng@thestar.com.my

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Young and in trouble!


Many factors can trigger depression in children and teenagers.

BY the time she was six years old, Amy (not her real name) had already been sexually abused by her father for four years.

Amy never told anyone about it because her father had said it was their “little secret”. The secret was blown when Amy’s uncle somehow found out about it, and informed her mother about the abuse.

Sadly, instead of believing her, Amy’s mother turned her anger on the child, insisting that Amy must have been lying.

Dr Lai: Every time they get a compliment, it’s like a deposit for their self-esteem.

With her mother furious with her, Amy believed that she must have done something wrong, and that she was responsible for the mess her family was in. She took it upon herself to somehow make things right. She killed herself.

While this case did not happen in Malaysia, experts say there is definitely a disturbing trend where children as young as six years old are expressing suicidal tendencies.

Penang Hospital consultant (child and adolescent) psychiatrist Dr Lai Fong Hwa says he started noticing suicide cases among Malaysian children in the last five to 10 years.

“Kindergarten-going children can suffer from depression. Actually, even children who are four or five years old can suffer from depression, but usually these cases are due to biological causes rather than external causes,” he says.

Many factors can trigger depression in children and teenagers that, if left undetected and undealt with, could lead to suicide.

One factor, he explains, is the overemphasis on academic performance and achievement, even among pre-schoolers, which makes schools an extremely stressful environment.

“Some parents have the tendency to say things like If you want mummy to love you, you must get straight As in your exam.’ What happens is the child then equates academic performance with whether his parents will love him. So if the child doesn’t do well, in his mind, his parents don’t love him anymore.

“Even though parents may have good intentions, they should never say things like that because it can have serious negative repercussions. What they should say is We will love you no matter what’,” says Dr Lai.

Children, he says, need what is called an “emotional bank account”.

“Every time they get a compliment, it’s like a deposit for their self-esteem. But every time they are criticised, the account gets depleted. What’s important is that they should always have a good emotional bank account, because otherwise, when difficulty comes, they have nothing to draw from.”

He adds that children these days are constantly drummed with the message that they’re “not good enough” because society expects them to achieve certain academic standards.

In the younger children, this stress can cause them to fear school.

“If a child has been quite happy attending school, and then suddenly fears school a few months down the road, it shows that something is not right. School should be fun, not torture. This is why I encourage parents to send their pre-school children to playgroups, rather than to classroom-environment kindergartens,” says Dr Lai.

Apart from academic achievements, shoving a child into multiple co-curriculur activities can also be extremely stressful.

According to Childline project director Michelle Wong, the helpline has received calls from children who are stressed out from having “too many exams”.

“One girl contacted us, saying she was having piano, violin, ballet and school exams all in the same month, and she could not cope with the pressure. She didn’t know what to do,” Wong says.

Dr Lai adds that when a child has so much on his plate, the actual time spent with his parents is usually minimal, which is unhealthy for the child.

One question he frequently uses in his clinic when testing children on who they turn to for support is: “If you are alone on an island, and you can wish for one person to be with you, who would it be?”

“A normal child below the age of 12 would usually name their mother, or father, or a sibling whom they’re close to. If they’ve been brought up by their grandparents, then it’s also quite normal for them to name a grandparent.

“But when a child starts wishing for a friend instead, it shows that he doesn’t look to his family for support. This can be dangerous as his friends are not likely to be able to fully help him should he get into any problem,” Dr Lai explains.

His concern is very real. In the last few weeks, there have already been several sudden deaths involving students under the age of 18.

Last month, a 14-year-old boy hung himself after having a fight with a friend. Another 17-year-old boy hung himself over “academic issues”.

In another case, an 11-year-old boy who fell to his death from the 14th floor of a flat in Penang left behind a handwritten note. His family has, however, denied it is a suicide note, saying that he had always written letters to express himself.

Early this week, a 12-year-old boy in Sabah hung himself with his shoelaces he was apparently upset over not being able to return to his hometown to see his grandfather.

Dr Ng: Children often use acting out as a way to express their inner distress.

“The trend is worrying. Children shouldn’t be killing themselves,” Dr Lai says.

Depression among children and teenagers, more often than not, may appear as irritation or agitation, as opposed to the typical expression of sadness, says clinical psychologist Dr Ng Wai Sheng who has served in various settings including children social services, substance abuse rehabilitation and inpatient and outpatient psychiatric settings.

“This may partly explain why adults often overlook depression in young people. Depressed children and adolescents may be mislabelled as “angry” or “moody” kids. For young children, their behaviour may be confused with Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

“Children often use acting out as a way to express their inner distress, resulting in some being labelled as the bad kid’. Another common sign is the deterioration in academic performance and motivation, which may lead to the mislabelling of being lazy’ or not smart enough’,” she explains.

Divorce between parents has also frequently been linked to depression among children, but Dr Ng says it is not so much the divorce per se but rather how the divorce is handled that could be the determining factor.

“There is evidence to show that when a divorcing couple handles the matter prudently and maturely, and remain supportive of their children, the children continue to fare well in their lives,” says Dr Ng, a Fulbright alumni.

This includes communication between the parents and the child, whereby the child is assured of continuous love and support, and there is emphasis that the child is not responsible for the parents’ decision.

However, she notes that the stigma of belonging to a single-parent or blended household could pose a challenge for children in Asian societies.

Senior community consultant paediatrician Datuk Dr Amar Singh says that based on his 30 years of experience working with children, child abuse (physical, emotional, or sexual) is also a trigger factor for suicide among children. For teenagers, peer relationship (including boyfriend or girlfriend problems) is also a common cause.

So, what can be done about children and teenagers who are suicidal?

The key is communication, say the experts.

“A majority of those who commit suicide would tell at least one person before they carry out the plan, so look out for the warning signs (refer to graphic above). If one suspects that a child/adolescent may have suicidal tendency, it is important to stay with the person, and raise the issue sensitively but directly with the person. Talking about death or suicidal thoughts does not mean you’re putting ideas in the person’s head’. That is a myth!

“Instead, talking about it openly, albeit with care and respect, gives the child the opportunity to share with you what’s already in his head, and allows you to show that you care about him. Discussing the issue also provides for at least a 50% chance for him to consider alternative options to suicide. Avoiding the subject means you lose even that 50% chance of influencing him,” says Dr Ng.

Dr Amar, who is also Head of Paediatric Department Ipoh Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital, agrees.

“Many Malaysians are afraid to talk about this issue, but they need to realise that drugs aren’t always the solution (for depression).

“You need to probe and ask the right questions, and you most definitely need to talk about it,” he says.

Stories by LISA GOH lisagoh@thestar.com.my

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Whither our pursuit of happiness?


Malaysia can do a lot better in the World Happiness ranking as the country is free from disasters, rich in resources, besides being blessed with a multi-racial, multi-religious society.

AMONG the earliest songs that I learned as a boy scout in school was this: “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.”

It was indeed a happy song at an age when happiness was so much easier to define.

With age, comes the realisation that happiness is hard to find. It is such a subjective thing and seeking out its sources isn’t easy.

Perhaps the saying was created to make the poor feel good but for ages, philosophers, religious leaders and cultural icons have offered this answer: Money can’t buy happiness.

It may be so. The United Nations’ first ever World Happiness Report released last week attests that it is not just all about the cha-ching cha-ching and ba-bling ba-bling, as Jessie J puts it in her Price Tag.

It found that generally, richer countries tended to be happier but wealth was not the sole defining factor for happiness.

The 158-page report, commissioned for the UN Conference on Happiness, was based on responses from a worldwide survey from 2005 to the middle of 2011 to determine the happiness level of countries.

The rankings take into account several factors, including health, family, job security as well as political freedom and government corruption.

Political freedom, strong social networks and an absence of corruption are more important than income in explaining well-being differences,” the report stated.

Disneyland may be touted as the “Happiest place in the world” but when it comes to countries, it’s Denmark.

The Danes are blissfully above Finland, Norway, Holland, Canada, Switzerland, Sweden, New Zealand, Australia and Ireland in the rankings.

The United States is 11th while the Britain notched 18th – below the United Arab Emirates and just above Venezuela.

The common thread in the countries ranked at the top was good governance and confidence in public institutions.

The world’s poorest countries are at the bottom of the scale. Togo (home of rich EPL football star Emmanuel Adebayor) is the unhappiest place in the world, followed by Benin, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, Burundi, Comoros, Haiti, Tanzania, Congo (Brazzaville) and Georgia.

Malaysia is two-thirds above the rest. We are supposedly the world’s 51st happiest country, a spot over Thailand but way below Singapore’s position of 33rd.

For comparison, Indonesia was judged at 83rd, below Myanmar which ranked 74th.

The report states that a country’s GDP is crucial but it is not all that is important.

So what’s the big deal about the report? It is significant because of the increasing number of economists, political scientists and psychologists involved in exploring the measure of happiness.

Happiness, or rather “Happynomics”, has become the hottest topic in contemporary social science.

Politicians around the world have started to pay more attention and many countries, including Australia, China, France, Germany and Britain have included happiness and national well-being into policy formulation frameworks.

“Happynomics” is coming to the fore at a time when developed countries, including the US, are being seen as sliding socially, economically and geopolitically.

In the report’s introduction, economist Jeffrey Sachs, director of Columbia University’s The Earth Institute, said the world had come to a stage where “the lifestyles of the rich imperil the survival of the poor”.

He said the US is a key example of this “age of stark contradictions”, describing it as a place where affluence has been accompanied by widening social and economic inequalities, high levels of uncertainties and anxieties, declining social trust and low levels of confidence in government.

He cited obesity, adult-onset diabetes, tobacco-related illnesses, eating disorders, addictions to shopping and TV, as examples of disorders of development.

We are still a long way from being a developed country but all of the above sound familiar, don’t they?

But as Asli Centre for Public Policy studies chairman Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam has noted, it is a pity that we rank only number 51 out of 156 countries in the report.

Most Malaysians would agree with him that we can do a lot better as the country is free from natural disasters, rich in natural resources and land for habitation and cultivation, besides being blessed with a multi-racial, multi-religious society.

To go back to the happiest nation in the world, the 5.5 million Danes have one probable grumble: high taxes.

They pay probably the highest taxes in the world – between 50% and 70% of their incomes but they don’t complain because the government covers healthcare and education and spends more on children and the elderly than any other country.

The high taxes have another upshot. With a banker taking home as much money as an artist, people don’t choose careers based on income or status.

A garbage collector can live in a middle-class neighborhood and still hold his head high.

ALONG THE WATCHTOWER BY M.VEERA PANDIYANAssociate Editor M. Veera Pandiyan likes this observation by humourist Spike Mulligan: Money can’t buy you happiness but it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery.
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