A Day at the Doctor’s Office

I visited a nearby General Practitioner (GP) yesterday to get an Influenza flu vaccine shot. It was the first time I visited a GP since moving from Canberra to Melbourne last year. I looked for a GP that will be near where I work so that I can easily drop by for a visit during lunch breaks on a weekday if I need to. In the end, I settled for the same GP clinic Raquel goes to. I didn’t get the same doctor though.

I was worried that the flu vaccine injection would hurt quite a bit but it was actually relatively painless. It was like being bitten by an ant, as it were.

But before the actual flu vaccine shot, my new GP, Dr H, asked me some questions regarding my health and medical history including those of my family. I guess it should be expected as I was a new patient. The two major problems I had in the past were benign polyps found in my colon and an incident with kidney stones. Unfortunately, I forgot to mention the kidney stone episode so I’ll just bring her up to speed on that when I come back in two to three weeks for another check-up.

She weighed me and she calculated my Body Mass Index (BMI). A BMI of 18.5 and below means you’re underweight. A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is normal. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 means you’re overweight. A BMI of 30 or more means you’re considered obese. Unfortunately for me, I had a BMI of 31 and that makes me obese! I’m sure it was just because my pants weighed me down but of course the doctor wasn’t convinced.

She wanted me to lose 15kg in all. She didn’t want to rush me though as she said I should at least lose 2kg for now. She didn’t recommend any special diet or anything but she did tell me to lessen my food intake by a third and to increase my stationary bike excercise routine from 30 minutes per day to 45 minutes per day. Fair enough, I thought. Shouldn’t be too difficult to do.

After that, she also took my blood pressure. The first time she tried taking it, she couldn’t believe the result so she tried a second time and a third time. Then she told me that I have a slightly high blood pressure. Uh oh. She then stressed that I lose weight soon or I may get some heart-related problems in the near future.

It’s one of those things you wouldn’t want to hear but needed to hear from someone anyway. And as my family knows, I tend to be very frightened at the possibility of being afflicted with serious health problems.

Well, at least now that I’m more “motivated” to lose some weight, maybe I can finally fit in my old jeans again.

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Published in: on June 2, 2005 at 3:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Corby Case Backlash

On October 2004, customs agents at the Ngurah Rai Airport in Bali, Indonesia found 4.1kg of cannabis in Australian Schapelle Corby’s bodyboard bag. Corby claimed that the cannabis found in her bag wasn’t hers and that it was probably placed there by somebody else. She could be telling the truth or she could be lying. In the end, I couldn’t really know for sure. However, what was sure was that 4.1kg of cannabis was in a bag and she admitted to the customs officer that the said bag was hers. Last May 27, the Indonesian court sentenced her to 20 years in prison.

That court decision caused outrage here in Australia where a majority of people believed in Corby’s innocence. She was believed to be innocent by many people here because they couldn’t believe that someone would bring cannabis all the way to Bali when it was actually cheaper to buy it there. It was probably like bringing cigarettes from the USA to the Philippines. But then, Filipinos actually prefer the more expensive foreign American cigarettes over the local ones even if they had the same brand sold locally like Marlboro. Anyway, there are those who claim that Australian marijuana actually has a market in Bali so the idea of importing it from Australia may not be that far-fetched after all.

Others believed that she must be innocent because she shed a lot of tears whenever she claimed that she wasn’t aware that the cannabis was in her bags to begin with. I want to believe her but I always wondered why she hadn’t noticed that her bodyboard bag was 4.1kg heavier when they arrived in Bali.

Still, I feel for her. It must be horrible to be in the same predicament she’s in specially if she’s actually innocent. I would probably be crying foul, too, if I had a daughter in the same situation — guilty or not. A lot of Australians feel for her, too. However, I thought that the reaction of a few people were ugly. Ugly, how?

Well, a few ignorant individuals took to calling the Indonesians monkeys. Wasn’t that a bit racist of them? According to some radio station callers, the Indonesian judges sounded like monkeys or wookies (like Chewbacca from Star Wars) when they were speaking during the trial. The Indonesian language — Bahasa Indonesia — probably sounded like chimps talking to these people. I guess in the same token, they probably thought Malaysians and Filipinos talk like chimps as our languages sounded alike.

They also complained that the court wasn’t conducted in English. They were in Indonesia after all, not in Australia, so it should be expected that they would conduct their court hearing in Indonesian. It was like expecting Australian judges to speak in Japanese if the accused was Japanese.

There were a lot of Australians who generously donated to the victims of the Boxing day Tsunami. Sadly, a few of them wanted to have their cash donations refunded just because of what happened to Corby. It was unbelievable! It made me think that maybe these people only donated to the Tsunami appeal because it was the “in” thing to do at the time and not because they were actually sympathetic to the plight of the tsunami victims. The Indonesian tsunami victims had nothing to do with the Corby case yet these “generous” people wanted to punish them because Corby was found guilty in their country.

A majority of Australians (according to polls conducted by the local media) felt that we should all boycott Bali because of this incident. Doing so would only serve to punish the Balinese people as their major source of income comes from the Australian tourists who frequent their beaches. This does not seem right to me. And if Australians really have the moral high ground then they should know that this isn’t right (or at least, fair), too.

Then, there are these few individuals who took it a step further and wanted to “boycott” all Indonesians. I heard in the news the other day that there was this Austrlian-owned restaurant being threatened by supposed Corby supporters just because the restaurant had an Indonesian name and served Indonesian dishes. I’m worried that the anti-Indonesian sentiment might worsen and that it might lead to discrimination against all Indonesians (and people who may look like Indonesians like Malaysians, Filipinos and Thais). I hope it never comes to that.

And just when I thought everything was cooling down, yesterday (June 1), the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra received a package through the post containing a suspicious powder-like substance that may be a biological agent. It sounded to me like a terrorist attack on Australian soil (even if the target was the Indonesian embassy)! This despicable incident was suspected to be an act of reprisal over the Corby’s conviction.

Most Australians, including Corby’s supporters, were appalled and outraged by the attack on the Indonesian embassy. Not only did this incident make Australia look bad to our Indonesian neighbors and the world but it might very well destroy any chance Corby has of being acquitted in her upcoming court appeal.

I just couldn’t believe the insanity caused by the Corby case. I thought that people wanted Corby acquitted because they believed in fairness and justice. But where is the fairness in boycotting Bali so that its inhabitants will suffer? Where is the fairness in refunding donations to Indonesian tsunami victims who had nothing to do with the Corby case? How could employing terrorist methods as a means of coercion ever be justifiable?

I truly hope that everybody regain a grip of themselves real soon and realize that no amount of threats and protests done here in Australia could really help Schapelle Corby be freed from Indonesian prison. In fact, threats might only serve to hurt Corby’s chances of getting a pardon or winning in the appeal.

Published in: on June 2, 2005 at 12:51 pm  Leave a Comment