Tag Archives: ipoh echo issue 178

AmanJaya Bus Terminal



I refer to the AmanJaya Bus Terminal in Jelapang which has received so much public complaints by users.

It should be on record that this was a project initiated by the Pakatan Rakyat State Government.

The then DAP majority State Government only presented the plans to the public after it coddled up a deal with some businessmen. There was no prior consultation with the public before the site was decided and the plans drawn up. If my memory serves me it was the State Exco for Local Government (Nga Kor Ming) who announced some sort of competition (naming the station?) with “fabulous” prizes as candy to soothe an irate public.

I wrote to the press then, condemning the high-handed manner the PR state government handled the matter. It was a “we know best” attitude DAP had often accused BN of. I also pointed out the inconvenience and extra cost to the travelling public.

However, whichever party blundered, this untenable situation must be corrected.

Don’t expect Joe-Public to pay for your mistake and arrogance.


Colour Blindness

Resident Consultant Ophthalmologist, Hospital Fatimah Ipoh
Dr S.S. Gill

Eye Health

Ipoh Echo’s EYE HEALTH series continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. GILL talking to us about Colour Blindness or Colour Deficiency.

So many of us take the ability of seeing colours for granted. Every year, 17 year olds undergo colour vision assessment as part of their drivers’ licence test. A fraction of these teenagers are shocked when they find out that they have colour blindness (better called Colour Deficiency). What does colour deficiency mean?


The eye is a very sophisticated camera! Inside the eyeball, right at the back of the eye is the layer of the retina where all the nerve cells are. These nerve cells comprise of special cells called Rods and Cones. The Rods have no colour vision function except that they are very sensitive to light and help in our night vision.

On the other hand, the cells responsible for picking up the colour that we see are the Cone Cells. Among these Cone Cells, there are varying degrees of pigment present. Depending on the pigment present in the Cone Cells, they help react to different colours. Some of them respond and pick-up the longer wavelength light like the red colours and some of them respond to the shorter wavelength light like that of blue colours.


Although there are many conditions that can result in Colour Blindness, for most people who suffer from this, it is mainly of genetic cause. This just means that they are born with Colour Blindness. When we say it is genetic, it means that the Colour Blindness has been passed down in the genes from the parents.

In our genes, there are the X and Y chromosomes. The gene which is responsible for Colour Blindness is carried on the X chromosome and so more men suffer from Colour Blindness than women. Women are usually only the carriers but do not normally have Colour Blindness. Worldwide it is estimated that there are some 250 million people who are colour blind to a lesser or greater extent.


Colour Deficiency may be mild, moderate or severe. Also, depending on the amount of pigment deficient, it may be divided into:

Red-Green Colour Deficiency – Is the most common type where the reds and greens appear similar (adjacent picture is a simulation of how it would appear)

Blue-Yellow Colour Deficiency – These are less common. Most of the time they also have some concomitant red-green deficiency too.


There has been on-going research in the area of gene therapy for the treatment of Colour Deficiency. Animal studies for this have shown promise where the introduction of a gene (opsin gene) has given the animals colour vision that they did not have before treatment.

In the USA, special kind of spectacles have been developed which are purplish in colour that are able to help those with the most common form of Colour Blindness. These glasses filter out certain wavelengths of light that disturb the perception of colour vision. They are not without trouble though because some things disappear from vision when these glasses are worn in some instances. If you are unsure of whether you have colour deficiency or not, do not hesitate to get your eyes checked.


For more information, call Gill Eye Specialist Centre at Hospital Fatimah (05-545 5582) or email gilleyecentre@dr.com.

Hospital Fatimah’s Nicotine-Free Campaign in Schools


Dr Chan Chee Hoe“You will never have to quit if you have never started”, said Dr Chan Chee Hoe,  Chairman of  Hospital Fatimah’s Clients’ Support and Counselling Centre (CSCC), in his recent talk at Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR), Perak Campus.

The CSCC has held a few Nicotine-Free campaigns this year to reduce the use of nicotine, especially among school-going students in view of the alarming increase in smoking-related diseases (for example, heart disease, cancers and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) lately. Statistics show 23 per cent of Malaysians smoke, with the highest rates among men (1 in 2 males smoke), teens (new smokers) and women (highest rate of increase).

Members of the CSCC, comprising nurses of the Hospital and Dr Chan Chee Hoe, Consultant Physician, have held this campaign at SMJK Ave Maria Convent, St Michael’s Institution, UTAR Kampar and in Hospital Fatimah itself.

The objectives of this campaign are to develop a persuasive argument against smoking, examine the effects of smoking and impart information on the health effects of smoking to school-going students.

Nicotine-free campaign

This 1½-hour programme comprises various interactive activities for the students such as a debate, a straw game, a role-play by the nurses of the CSCC on the effects of smoking followed by an extensive presentation on ‘How to Quit Smoking’ by Dr Chan.

The responses from participants of these campaigns have been so encouraging that the school teachers have requested for repeated programmes in their respective schools. Schools or any organisations dealing with adolescents that are interested in organising this programme may contact the Hospital at 05 5455 777 Ext. 276.

The CSCC in Hospital Fatimah provides personalized clinical counselling services to patients starting from the ward and extending to outpatients for their follow-up care. The CSCC aspires to educate patients on their illnesses and to answer any doubts or problems pertaining to their illnesses and to provide physical and psychological support to patients during the process of rehabilitation, reference material/pamphlets, and preventive and aftercare services to meet our community needs.

Some of the services provided at CSCC are counselling for people with Diabetes Mellitus, Stroke, AIDS/HIV, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and those who want to quit smoking; coordination of palliative care, cardiac rehabilitation and weight management. All counsellors at CSCC are trained in conducting counselling services and they are available to counsel in the language that patients prefer.

DJS’ Cakecraft


“Helping women help themselves”, is the goal that Jabatan Pembangunan Wanita has always been actively working towards. In their newest venture, they have formed a partnership with DJS’ CAKECRAFT to offer programmes  designed to assist those interested, a means  of self-supporting income through the art of cooking and baking.

DJS’ Cakecraft

Under the System Latihan Dual, DJS’ CAKECRAFT will train participants to bake and cook, thus equipping them with the means to venture into small business enterprises or the opportunity for employment in the food industry. Participants between the ages of 18 to 45 are eligible to register with the government body, which will then inform them of sponsored workshops.

The Jabatan Pembangunan Wanita is also keen on initiating more programmes that will teach and provide industrial training for participants in the near future. With this programme it is hoped that there will be less dependence on foreign labour as more local people will be qualified and experienced enough to work as chefs in various commercially run establishments.

An allowance for the course work and transportation is given, with the hope that more people, both men and women alike, will take this golden opportunity to make a better life for themselves and their families.

Speaking to Ms Alice Sebastian, the director of the programme and owner of DJS’ CAKECRAFT, I learnt that many such programmes are currently available but little is known about them. Although most of the programmes are tailored to help single mothers, there are a lot of other people who can also benefit from signing up for such courses.

Besides being a part of this new government project, Ms Alice also conducts other smaller individually tailored programmes. These other programmes are conducted periodically, at very reasonable course rates. Ranging from pastry courses to international cuisine courses, Ms Alice carefully designs the course content to fit current market needs. Everything is provided, ranging from the equipment to the ingredients, which is completely covered by the course fee. At the end of the course the participant will be given the opportunity to take an exam and receive a certificate upon passing. Upon passing, the participant will receive a Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia.

Ms Alice is also an expert in vegetarian cakes. In an earlier issue the Ipoh Echo had covered a story on Ms Alice’s wonderfully delicious wholemeal bread selections that have no preservatives. She actively promotes the “No preservatives” element in her recipes which makes this the cornerstone of her creations, thus ensuring that everything is healthier.

For those interested in trying their hand at becoming a chef, or even simply wanting to learn a new thing or two about the wonderful world of cooking, enrolling in any of the various courses available at DJS’CAKECRAFT would be a good first step to take. No need to go overseas, or even to big cities to explore your cooking passion, when DJS’S CAKECRAFT is just round the corner.

DJS’s Cakecraft
Tel No: 05 526 5129  Fax: 05 527 3991
Email: djs3@streamyx.com

Serena Mui

Breast Cancer Awareness Month


Breast Cancer Awareness Month

In conjunction with the International Breast Cancer Awareness month in October, Perak Women for Women Society (PWW), Pink Champion Society Perak and Pantai Hospital Ipoh organised the Pink October Carnival to raise awareness on the disease and women’s issues. It was held at the Polo Ground recently.

One of the relevant events on the programme was the Walk-A-Hunt where teams of participants hunted for clues concerning breast cancer and women-related issues.  These clues were derived from participating booths and the surroundings. Dato’ Hj Abdul Rahim Md Ariff, Ipoh City Council Secretary, flagged off the hunt.

Breast cancer awareness

Other activities consisted of Bowling to Beat Breast Cancer, where coconuts were used as bowling balls and recycled bottles as bowling pins. Participation among the spectators was keen.

Breast cancer awarenessOne other event of relevance was the Walk-In-Her Shoes where men wore high-heel shoes and paraded in front of the crowd. The objective was to make the male participants know how it felt to be in a woman’s shoes. Some were game enough to dress themselves as women.

Pantai Hospital Ipoh provided health screening and other NGOs dispensed information on breast cancer and women’s issues. Booths selling food and knick knacks enhanced the prevailing carnival atmosphere. A flash mob dubbed, “One Billion Rising” prompted the crowd to join in the dance. The message of the group dance was preventing violence to women.

Maybank presented aids to Pink Champion Resource Centre in the form of a personal computer, breast prosthesis and wigs. It will also organise a workshop for counsellors.

The finale saw the Executive Councillor for Health, Tourism and Culture, Nolee Ashilin Dato’ Mohammed Radzi, giving prizes to winning participants. She then officially closed the event.


The Miracle Boy



It is a miracle that Mohd Amar Mohd Azizi, 10, who was hit by a bullet, underwent a successful operation at the Ipoh General Hospital recently.

What was most amazing was that the boy tolerated the whole episode in spite of a dangerous and delicate operation and being placed under undue duress caused by public attention.

I join the rest in praying for Amar’s complete recovery so he can join his schoolmates at school. I praise Amar’s parents for their vigilance and care when he was in the hospital.

My heartfelt congratulations to Dr Cheang Chee Keong and his team of dedicated doctors and nurses for having performed the unexpected.

As a member of a non-governmental organisation based in Ipoh I wish to visit Amar at his home with my other members. However, this was being discouraged by the hospital for reasons best known to all. Amar needs all the rest he deserves for the moment.

Notwithstanding that, I wish to thank Ipohites for the concern you all have shown.

A. Letchimanan

67 pupils graduate from Daybreak


In 2008, Persatuan DAYBREAK and the Special Education Unit of the State Education Department started the Work Experience Programme for pupils from special schools around Ipoh. The purpose of this programme was to provide the pupils the opportunity to learn various vocational skills (assembly & packaging, general cleaning, plant nursery and socks manufacturing), cultivate good work habits and prepare them for open employment. Since then, 300 pupils have been given the opportunity to attend this 15-week programme held at DAYBREAK.

67 pupils graduate from Daybreak
Mr Siu Tack Chuan, Chairman of DAYBREAK presenting a graduation certificate to a pupil from SMK Pengkalan

This year, 67 pupils attended this programme with the support of their teachers. Each of them were presented with a certificate at a graduation ceremony officiated by Encik Aznan Bin Haji Alias, Ketua Sektor Pendidikan Swasta dan Pendidikan Khas, Jabatan Pelajaran Negeri Perak at DAYBREAK recently. In his speech, Encik Aznan congratulated the pupils for having successfully completed the programme this year and expressed his gratitude to the teachers for their support for the past six years. He applauded DAYBREAK for hosting this programme and expressed his wish that DAYBREAK will continue to carry on this programme for the benefit of persons with disabilities in our community.

Mr Siu Tack Chuan, Chairman of DAYBREAK presenting a graduation certificate to a pupil from SMK Pengkalan
Mr Siu Tack Chuan, Chairman of DAYBREAK presenting a graduation certificate to a pupil from SMK Pengkalan

Also present during this ceremony was Encik Rahmat Bin Ismail, Pengarah Jabatan Tenaga Kerja (JTK) Negeri Perak and his staff members. Encik Rahmat presented some slides on JTK’s Program Azam Kerja which was aimed at helping individuals in need of training to support and learn a skill or trade for a better future. He identified DAYBREAK as a centre of excellence and would like to work with Jabatan Pelajaran Perak to provide skill training opportunities to pupils from special schools associated with DAYBREAK.

The Kindest Cut of All



By SeeFoon Chan-Koppen

Given the option to have surgery with a choice of surgeons, I would certainly choose Dr Chan Ching Phing. As consultant General Surgeon in Fatimah Hospital, Dr Chan has only recently left General Hospital Bainun to take up full time consultancy a year ago.

Dr Chan Ching Phing-2

The reason for my choice of Dr Chan as preferred surgeon is due to her one and a half year’s training in the Plastic Surgery department at the General Hospital in Ipoh. Not that I have any actual experience of her operating on me but having had a fair number of surgeries in my past, I have enough scars on my body to qualify for the “Most Scarred For Life” title if there was ever to be a competition. And these are scars not embellished by the specialist touch of a plastic surgeon’s handiwork. Which are always much finer, the stitching, more delicate.

Understandably, the raison d’etre for going to a General Surgeon is not for cosmetic reasons but often for life-saving ones, but it certainly helps to put oneself in the hands of a surgeon who does delicate suturing work as well.

Dr Chan never dreamt of becoming a surgeon. Finishing her medical degree and posted as a houseman at the General Hospital in Ipoh in 1992, she found herself in the Plastic Surgery department and it was here that she developed her passion for surgery.

Dr Chan Ching Phing-1Applying for the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS) a professional qualification for practising as a surgeon in the British Isles in 1995 saw her passing her first examination with ease and subsequently breezing through Part 1 in 1996 and Part 2 in 1998 soon saw her accredited as a full fledged Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons.

Further training in Laparoscopic surgery soon established Dr Chan as one of the few laparoscopic surgeons in Ipoh, performing minimally invasive surgery, bandaid surgery, or keyhole surgery, which is a modern surgical technique in which operations in the abdomen are performed through small incisions as opposed to the larger incisions needed in laparotomy. This technique is ideal for gall bladder removal (known as cholecystectomy), or appendix surgery.

Other surgeries commonly performed by Dr Chan include Hernioplasty which require repair of the abdominal wall or repair of inguinal hernias more commonly found in men, which occurs when tissue pushes through a weak spot in the groin muscle. This causes a bulge in the groin or scrotum that may hurt or burn.

But her true sub-specialty as a General Surgeon is in breast surgery where most of her current workload is focused. “Actually, the correct person to manage breast cancer is the General Surgeon, together with the Oncologist of course. While the detection of breast lumps may come from any physician or specialist especially the gynaecologist, the decisions on removal and subsequent management rest with the surgeon in consultation with the oncologist.”

“Breast Cancer can be localised or systemic and the treatment options will vary depending on the diagnosis. I prefer a conservative approach, always recommending a lumpectomy (removal of the breast lumps or lumps) first and only as a last resort, a total mastectomy” she added.

When asked what she thought of Superstar Angelina Jolie’s double breast mastectomy as a breast cancer preventive due to finding a specific gene indicative of a tendency towards breast cancer, Dr Chan said,  “ I think she is very brave, not just to be able to live long enough to see her children grow up but to tell the whole world about herself losing her breasts (one of GOD’s greatest creation for a woman). By doing so she can actually help many women to face their disease and continue to live normally. Bravo Angelina! I give her a big salute.”

One of the principal precepts of medical ethics which is taught in all medical schools is that of “Primum non nocere” or “First Do no Harm”. Given that a General Surgeon’s primary task is to perform invasive surgery, Dr Chan finds herself walking a constant tightrope between recommending invasive surgery or leaving a medical condition well alone and prescribing palliative treatment instead. Judging by the number of happy patients treated by Dr Chan, is testimony to the fact that she walks that tightrope very well.

To contact Dr Chan Ching Phing:
CP Chan Surgery, Hospital Fatimah, Suite 11 (Grd flr)
Tel: 05 548 9098

Woven in Deception


Book Review

By Chelvi Murugiah

Woven in DeceptionWoven in Deception is a classic Indian tale condensed in a 153-page book on the trials and tribulations of three generations of a wealthy Indian family, spanning over a century. The book relates the geographical move from India to Malaysia and the continuing struggles faced by three generations of the Kamelanathan family, apparently due to a curse inflicted upon them.

Although the theme seems heavy-handed, Woven in Deception is pretty much a light and easy read from start to finish. The author is able to keep the reader entertained with her tales that are easy to comprehend and, notably, identifiable individual and group behaviour within typical Indian households.

So, if you happen to be looking out for a good weekend read, nothing too mind-boggling, this book is quite straight forward, and would make an ideal selection.

The author, Nirmala Kasinathan, of Indian origin and a doctor from Ipoh, aptly reflects the Indian diaspora in Woven in Deception, beginning in the early 20th century. She takes readers through a litany of imaginary happenings, portraying  living conditions during the British and Japanese Occupation, right up to post-Independence and leading to incidences as current as 2010.

The historical background of Malaysia and evolution of the Indian origin compliments the unravelling of the extended family saga spanning three generations. The book tells tales of love, marriage, betrayal, despair, frustration and more. These emotions and manifestation of human sentiments are revisited through the unfolding of the descendants’ lives throughout the book.

Woven in Deception is centred on the belief that a curse so strong had been inflicted upon three generations of the Kamelanathan family by an angry, never-to-be father-in-law.  The reading reveals the customary practices (mainly superstition), within the Indian and Ceylonese communities where an elder of a family, takes on a superiority position to consult with an astrologer for predictions on their family members’ future. An astrologer’s word, however illogical, is seemingly held in high esteem and is considered the absolute truth, no evidence required. As spelled out in Woven in Deception, each member of the extended Kamelanathan’s family’s misfortune is decidedly due to the curse, inflicted three generations earlier.

Progressing through the chapters, are revelations and turning points in the lives of the protagonists in each generation. Secrets and personal longings are reflected upon to justify intentions and actions taken. The “sizzle” factor, however, takes on a rather passive note, as the author chooses to depict the main characters’ private lives and thoughts rather politely. However, the storyline does reflect, in reality, the workings of a typical class-conscious Indian family.

Whether by design or not, Woven in Deception’s storyline is, in my opinion “woven-in-deception” through the revelation of strong subliminal influences which form the crux of the Indian community’s identity. The Indian social organisation is, till today, structured on its culture, superstition, social norms, caste system and its discriminating patriarchal social system, that define roles of family members within an Indian household.

As an advocate for the equality for women, I abhor patriarchy, and commend the author, although she did so passively, for revealing the conservative traditional and restrictive beliefs practised by Indians and Ceylonese till today.

Woven in Deception is a good medium to create awareness to the readership on gender discrimination and social-class segregation, caste systems, traditions, norms and culture that inhibit the progress of the Indian community, per se.

To quote Arundhati Roy, an accomplished Indian author and political activist, “Our strategy should not only be to confront but to lay siege. To deprive it of oxygen, to shame it, to mock it, with our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance , our sheer relentlessness – in our ability to tell our stories. Stories that are different from the ones many are brainwashed to believe.”

Woven in Deception (166 pages) is published by Strategic Book Publishing in Houston, Texas. The book USD12.95 and can be ordered through the publisher’s website: http://sbpra.com/NirmalaKasinathan or at www.amazon.com or www.barnesandnoble.com.

For Malaysian readers, the book can be obtained directly from the author at RM40 per copy (inclusive of postage and handling). Contact Dr Nirmala at 016 508 4263 or 05 527 6453, or email: nirmy78@hotmail.com. (Those interested can bank into Maybank account 108225181197 (Acc. holder: Nirmala a/p A K Nadan @ Kasinathan) the cost of the books as ordered and email the author the banking slip as proof of transaction. Kindly provide full mailing address. Books will be sent by Poslaju within 2-3 days or may be collected personally from the author’s residence in Ipoh.

Hepatitis C


Dr Saravana.KDigestive Health

By Dr Saravana.K
Consultant Physician,
Gastroenterologist & Hepatologist

Hepatitis simply means “inflammation of the liver” (the suffix “itis” means inflammation and “hepa” means liver). Hepatitis C (HCV) is a specific type of hepatitis that is caused by a virus. There are many other hepatitis viruses such hepatitis A, B, D, E, etc. The only thing they have in common is that they all affect the liver. Most people infected with the HCV have no symptoms until liver damage shows up decades later, during routine medical tests.

It is spread when you come in contact with blood contaminated by the virus. Three per cent of the world’s population is chronically infected with HCV. In Malaysia the prevalence of HCV is about 1.5 per cent.


  • Hepatitis C-1HCV infection usually produces no signs or symptoms during its earliest stages
  • Fatigue, fever, muscle and joint pains
  • Nausea or poor appetite
  • Yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice)
  • Leg swelling, abdominal distension
  • Passing foul smelling blackish stool
  • Vomiting blood

How do I become infected with HCV?

  • Hepatitis C-2Health care and emergency workers who have been exposed to infected blood or accidental needle stick injury
  • Have ever injected illicit drugs
  • People with HIV infection
  • Received a piercing or tattoo in an unclean environment using non sterile equipment
  • Received a blood transfusion, clotting factor concentrates or organ transplant before 1994
  • Received hemodialysis treatments for a long period of time
  • Was born to a mother with a HCV infection
  • Sexual partners of anyone diagnosed with HCV infection
  • People with hemophilia.

People with the above risks may want to talk to their doctors about screening for hepatitis C infection, to detect it early and prevent complications. HCV infection at the initial stages produces no symptoms and if detected early treatment could be administered to prevent complications such as:

  • Scarring of the liver tissue (cirrhosis). After 20 to 30 years of HCV, cirrhosis may occur. Scarring in your liver makes it difficult for your liver to function.
  • Liver failure. A liver that is severely damaged by HCV may be unable to function adequately.
  • Liver cancer.

HCV can be diagnosed by doing simple blood tests that include:

  • HCV antibody test: To determine whether you have the HCV virus.
  • Measure the quantity of the HCV virus in your blood (viral load) and the genetic makeup of the virus (genotyping), to determine your treatment options.


Antiviral medications

HCV infection is treated with antiviral medications intended to clear the virus from your body. Your doctor will decide whether you are eligible for treatment and may recommend a combination of medications taken over several weeks. Throughout treatment your doctor will monitor your response to medications and for side effects.

Liver transplant

If your liver has been severely damaged; a liver transplant may be an option.


Protect yourself from HCV infection by taking the following precautions: stop using illicit drugs, be cautious about body piercing and tattooing and practice safer sex.

Tips To Maintain a Healthy Liver

  • Vaccinations against the hepatitis A and B viruses. These viruses can also cause liver damage and complicate treatment of hepatitis C.
  • Stop drinking alcohol.
  • Avoid medications that may cause liver damage.

For more information call Saravana.K Gastroenterologist and Liver Specialist Clinic at Hospital Fatimah (05-5487181) or email gastrosara@gmail.com.