Friday, October 29, 2010

Has it been FOUR years??

Four years.. I've been a freelance writer for four years already!! Gosh, how time has flown by!

From a reminder from this post, Oct 27, 2006 was my last day with the newspaper company that I had worked for more than 12 years. Actually when I left I never thought of going freelance, and never thought I would be doing it for this long.. I thought of just taking a break and find something else to do - most likely joining another publication full-time.

Not long after that, I was asked to contribute some articles for a couple of newspapers..So gradually, I drifted into doing freelance writing work. More opportunities came by and soon I was making quite a decent income. There had been a couple of times when I wanted to go back into full-time employment.. by somehow they just didn't work out at the end! It was as if I was led by God's invisible hand to do what I love to do..

Of course this `career' is quite unstable and I can tell you that throughout these four years, there had been so many changes and challenges. For instance, I was quite happy in 2007-2008 as I got to contribute regular to about 4-5 publications. But due to the set back in economy and various reasons.. I lost all these jobs one by one and had to pro-actively look for more jobs.

In the last one to two years, I have diversified to doing copywriting and translation work. They are quite tedious and can be boring but to be honest, they pay better than editorial work. THe set back however is that I feel my creative writing has become stale because I don't get to write free flow articles like I used to. It's quite frustrating but the fact is, it's not so easy to break into editorial features as many newspapers and magazines have enough writers already..

But thankfully, I still have a few platforms where I can contribute such articles.. though they really can't become my bread and butter..

As recent as just two months back, I thought I would be bidding goodbye to my free lifestyle as I verbally agreed to take up a full-time job as an editor of a yet-to-be-launched magazine. I was supposed to start work in October. But then I was having second thoughts and after a discussion with my dad, I turned it down. Why? Well, it's a long story - the job looked quite uncertain and potentially very stressful and even risky. But I guess at the back of my mind, I still could not give up the `luxury' of a freelance lifestyle that I've so accustomed to!

But God is good! He has provided me with quite a lot of work since - and many are new ones! :) In fact, I still have a few deadlines looming very soon right now.

Yes, I would say I really have enjoyed my years as a journalist with the newspaper - I've learned so much and got to go many places and meet many people. And it's my dream job anyway since I was in my teen. But again, if you ask me, I have never regretted a bit quitting my job four years ago. It's a welcome change. Despite its ups and downs, I wouldn't trade anything for this freelance writing `career' (if you could call it that!)

So here's wishing a `Happy Fourth Anniversary' to my freelancing career!! May there be many more (lucrative and fruitful) years to come! :D

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Oh those sickly days..

Thank God I finally recovered from a nasty flu that lasted 3 weeks!!

It's not a norm that I get ill for so long.. normally my flu/fever never lasted more than 3 days or so.

Caught this pretty nasty viral flu while we went to Shanghai last month for the World Expo. I already had a cough and had not been resting enough. The hectic schedule and the change of temperature didn't help.. By the end of the 3rd day, I was feeling really lousy and needed to see a doctor when I got up on the 4th day - supposedly our `rest' day in between the Expo visit.

The doctor gave me anti-biotic, cough mixture and other flu med. I was told that rest was what I needed. I was thinking maybe if I rested enough I could make it to the Expo the following day.. but that was just wishful thinking.

It was indeed miserable to fall sick while travelling. I spent two whole days sleeping in our hotel room :( And then on Friday afternoon, we needed to fly back. I was afraid I couldn't make it but God gave me just enough strength to make the journey. Though I was like sleeping on the chairs when mom did her last round of shopping in the departure hall.

The 5-hour plus flight was not good.. I slept (or tried to sleep) most of it.. speaking of sleep. I had trouble sleeping when ill - mostly because the cough was so bad that it affected me, and I think the medicine too had some effect. So ya, it was terrible.. :(

I felt like collapsing when I reached home that night.. forced myself to eat a little and just climbed into bed..

Since the med had finished, I went to my trusted GP the next day. I was upset that I had to miss 3 events that I was looking forward to attend - a friend's son's dedication in the morning, an old friend's wedding luncheon and the OKR mid-autumn festival celebration in the evening! Yup, had to just cancel all and just rested at home..

Took this pic of my old (China) medicine and the medicines my GP gave

Normally, my GP's medications are very effective. But not this time. I completed the anti-biotic and everything else (he gave me 5 diff. meds) but I had not recovered. The cough was still very bad and I still felt weak.. I have abstained from lots of stuff - of course cold, icy drinks and food, fried oily stuff, spicy stuff.. and even chicken and egg!! Ya, I know it sounds like old-wife tale but somehow when I took chicken I ended up coughing really badly. So I rather just `believe' on the safe side. I also tried various remedy like Manukka honey, garlic essence and so on... in desperation to get well..

The cough was still unbearable, so I decided to try alternative treatment - ie Chinese traditional medicine since many people have recommended this for treatment of cough. And since the anti-biotics and the many meds that my GP gave me had made me feel quite week, I thot the change would be good.

I went to see a doctor from China practising at the Tung Shin Hospital in KL. He basically just felt my pulse and looked at my tongue.. also took my blood pressure. And then he wrote a long list of `prescription' for us to pick up. The `herbs' included things like tree barks, roots and even rocks!!

Comparing to Western medicine, Chinese medicine is quite a hassle to prepare. The cooking time for the medicine daily is around 1.5 hours.. And this is how it looks like

For the following six days, I faithfully cooked the Chinese herbs (ok, my maid helped) and drank two bowls of it every day. To me, the taste at least was bearable, not too bitter.. but it's not exactly very palatable too..

But sigh.. the Chinese medicine didn't have much effect on my cough. In fact, after a few days, I started having slight fever again... and the cough was still really bad, until I even felt like I wanted to die - and even ranted on my Facebook status..

I was wondering what was wrong.. and deliberating what doctor I should see next. My wise parents suggested I should go see a specialist physician - my parents' doctor actually. I also agreed.

I think it was the most thorough check-up I had - and she was my 4th doctor already! After doing some checking, she declared my lungs to be cleared.. but because I was still having slight fever, she wanted me to do an chest Xray as well as blood-count test. Good thing that the labs and all were just next door. But it took an extra hour or more for the results to be out.

Phew, everything was fine.. but, she has to give me medicine again and it included a different type of anti-biotic too. It's my third round already..

And if by miracle, the medicines were working! Just a couple of days after, I already felt vast improvement - including my cough. But I was quite tired as I think that was the side effect of the meds.

By the following Tues (this week), I already felt like I've recovered.. at least 95 per cent! I had the energy again to go out and do things.. and even looked forward to sing - having not been able to go for my vocal class for 3 weeks..

And these few days, I feel the energy was coming back. Just now I even went out to see a friend and we went for massage, dinner and shopped a bit. Yey, finally I have recovered.

(ok, I know this post is rather pathetic but like I said, is not usual that I felt this ill and for so long...)

So, yes.. so long, nasty flu. Good riddance once and for all!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Oh Jam - my miracle puppy!

This afternoon, I brought Jam to another vet. The one that I brought him to last week didn't seem very promising to me - the elderly vet hardly even looked at him or said much.. So after a media friend's recommendation, we brought him to this veterinary hospital in Gasing, Petaling Jaya that is supposedly very good and popular.

A young female vet attended to us. After looking at Jam's Xray, she said: `If I hadn't seen the dog and just by looking at this Xray, I would have thought the dog is already paralysed. Indeed it is a miracle that he recovers so well!"

I was slightly taken aback and my first reaction was to utter a silent prayer of thanksgiving to God.

"I was really praying for him.." was all I could say to the vet, who returned a smile.

Just like what the other vets have said, there's nothing much we could do for Jam's condition, said the vet. Jam's vertebral column at the lower back has been fractured from the fall - causing his spinal cord being slightly bent. There is no corrective surgery that can be done nor medication that could correct it.

But God has been merciful to this little pup and he has healed very well indeed.. and my only wish for him is for him to grow up normal and healthy

And he is such an active little pup. He is totally oblivious to his own handicap.. he is a playful, naughty and a happy little pup. When he runs, he hops like a bunny because of his weak back legs..

However, although he can lives a normal life, he is not exactly normal. The vet said we must be careful not to let him to be TOO active. Just 4 days after arriving home, he already learned how to walk, no, run or hop, up and down the stairs! I got a shock one day when I found him outside my door when no one brought him up!

Going up and down staircase is NOT good for him, said the vet, so is jumping or running too much. Therefore we really need to watch out for him. Maybe an idea is to confine him to a playpan of sort when no one is around looking out for him.. And it is better to carry him - the vet also showed us the proper way of carrying a pup - it's not the same way as carrying a human baby!

We spent a good some time chatting with the vet and again she emphasised and reassured us that Jam is doing very well already. And there's a good possibility that his condition would improve as he grows up, but of course there may also be the dreaded opposite. I think a lot also depends on how well we look after him.

So darling Jam, mommy promise you to take very good care of you. And in return, be a good pup and grow up healthy and well, ok?

I love you, my miracle puppy! :)